mime-version: 1.0 content-location: file:///C:/D05346D7/DeSmetTrackProfileUploaded057.htm content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable content-type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" TT00057

= DeSmet Track Profile Uploaded   &n= bsp; TT00057

4/3/2004 12:32 PM        =             &n= bsp; Bill Kuebler      Finally...= I got the DeSmet PDF files uploaded to the NP Tellta= le site. Go to "files" and click on "DeSm= et". In the DeSmet folder are two PDF files. One is= of the Track Profile legend (for reference); the other is of the DeSmet area track profile.

 

At DeSmet you'll note a cluster of spr= ing switches, but only one of them is a spring switch without a facing point l= ock (the X is not in a circle). That switch is most definitely the west switch of t= he west crossover. It is not the east switch to the north siding. This has be= en confirmed by reference to both Special Instructions and photos. The track profile is dated 1952.

 

It sure would be interesting to know exactly how DeSmet was handled in the pre-CTC days, and whether or not that SSoFPL was replaced with a standard mechanical switch with electric lock, and whe= n and why.

 

I use Adobe to read PDF files. You can download Adobe Acrobat Read= er, I believe, but not sure of the details on how to do that. It's definitely wo= rth doing, however.

 

If there's no discussion on this subject, or the discussion soon d= ries up, I'll delete those files, since they take up a fair amount of space.

 

4/3/2004 1:57 PM        =             &n= bsp;   Bill Kuebler   &nbs= p;  The DeSmet= files I uploaded earlier today have been deleted and replaced with jpeg files by t= he same name. The jpegs are much smaller--on the order of 40-45kB each. The j= peg format should be much easier for everyone to work with, too. Sorry about t= he troubles the PDD files might have caused. Anyway, these two files should be manageable now and ready for viewing. They are in the "DeSmet" file.

 

4/3/2004 8:52 PM   =             &n= bsp;        Jim Hill            = ;  Thanks for posting this data on De Smet.  I had already drawn up a layout b= ased on your excellent text description so I could follow your story.  Until I did that, I didn't realiz= e how interesting the topic was.  I= had never considered anything to do with automatic routing at junctions such as this= , or even anything much about track layouts in general.  For those of you who haven't paid attention, it is well worth checking out to see how trains were routed here with the passenger 6th sub and the freight line.  You can understand the details su= ch as the siding on the 6th sub being short because only passenger trains would = be expected to use it.  I would = guess that the SSoFPL may have been replaced due to excessive wear because it is the one that would have been hit with the hig= hest speed trains- the WB passengers maybe getting a run at the hill- going str= aight through.  EB passenger trains= would have presumably slowed for the crossover so all the other spring switches = would have handled slower traffic.  Thanks again for broadening my understanding of the topic.

 

4/4/2004 4:12 AM        =             &n= bsp;   Bill Kuebler      Rather tha= n do this twice, I'm going to forward to this list my otherwise private correspondence with David Hepper about the ans= wers I've obtained regarding DeSmet. At first, I wa= s going to keep it private, as I'd come to think that this was of little interest = to the list, but then Jim Hill's remark persuaded me to post this. I guess th= ere's some interest in the subject after all...

 

My source for this is R. M. "Bud" Cain. He's 83 now, and= has a mind as sharp as ever. (He claims his memory is fantastic as long as we'= re talking about things that happened more than 40 years ago. Anything since = then is...blurred. I think I know what he means. For me, it's not quite Alzheim= er's, so I call it "half-heimer's<= /span>.")

 

Bud Cain grew up in Livingston.= His dad was in engine service there. The NP had nepotism rules in effect at one time, so Bud hired out as a fireman in 1941 at Missoula, was promoted a few years lat= er, and worked in engine service until his promotion to Road Foreman of Engines on= May 1, 1956. On that date, he moved west to Seattle and, later, to other places. So...he fired and/or was engineer at Missoula from 19= 41 until 5/1/56. Perfect for our purposes here.

 

DeSmet:

 

I was right about Glenn Staeheli's rem= ark. It most likely happened just as I described it. Bud confirms that DeSmet was more or less set up for passenger train operation--BUT, only during the day time!! He recalls that the operator th= ere handled the one MS that DeSmet had in the xos. The east switch of the east xo was manual. As described in my earlier post, the xo switches in the EW main were SSFPLs, and the west switch of the west xo was an SSoFPL. He called this the "west switch, 6th Sub crossover" by the way.

 

Well, he recalls that the operator was on-duty there only during t= he daytime. It was a two-trick operation only, and he thought that at one time (before trains 25/26 went into

operation) it might even have been a single-tri= ck operation.

There was no operator on-duty during the night, or third trick, du= ring Bud's Missoula years, and possibly also during second trick during t= he pre-25/26 days. So...when the operator was on-duty, he handled the one MS switch. The "normal" position of this switch was for the xo--i.e, to route WW freights to the 5th Sub. That was t= he position the operator normally left the switch in, except during the few h= ours in mid-day when westbound passenger trains operated through there. For westbound passenger trains, he would get word from the dispatcher as to wh= ether the WW passenger train was on time or what, then he'd line that MS for the= 6th Sub when the time came, the line it back after the westbound passenger tra= in passed. Sometimes, if there were no freights in the offing, he'd leave that switch lined for the 6th Sub for several hours, to line trains 1 and 3 thr= ough there for the hill, the line it back to normal, for the 5th Sub xo.

 

The WW passenger trains would, according to Bud, "fly through= the DeSmet plant like a knife through soft butter"<= o:p>

or some such colorful phrase. When I pressed him on speeds, he said = it was common to go through DeSmet with trains 1,= 3 and, later, 25, at 60 MPH. He said they'd be going even faster if it weren't fo= r the mountain grade operation just west of DeSmet. = He also noted that they would just be setting the air there, too, for the 30 MPH mountain grade operation that began just under a mile west--just around the curve that lies immediately west of the short 6th Sub siding. By the way..= .the main purpose for that 6th Sub siding was for helpers, not trains. He said = he couldn't recall ever using it for a train, not even during WWII.

 

As for the "mystery switch". . .yes<= /span>, it was a SSoFPL. Bud is 98% certain that that = switch was unchanged during his entire time at Missoula, which means that it was likely in place until at least 5/1/56. (He noted that for the last couple of months at Missoula, be= fore his 5/1/56 move, he was in yard service there and not on the main line, so= the switch might have been changed in the spring of 1956, but he doesn't recall hearing anything about that happening.) The earliest photo-confirma= tion I have of that switch being a MSEL rather than a SSoFPL is 1959, as is the earliest SI confirmation o= f it being an MSEL as well. So, apparently at some point in time between spring= 1956 and ca. 1959, the NP must have decided to replace the switch. Bud says he = knows nothing about that, however.

 

As for high-speed passenger train movement through that switch, he= said that yes, they would come "flying through there," activating the spring mechanism, at 60 mph like nothing. When I asked him if that caused excessive, or dangerous, wear and tear on the switch, his answer went some= thing like this: "Well, we only hit that thing about twice a day--trains 1 = and 3 were the only ones that regularly operated that spring mechanism at high s= peed.

Later, when we got trains 25 and 26, they dropped 3 and 4, so it w= as still only twice a day, just different times of the day than before. Twice= a day is not exactly a big operation. It was just enough to give the track g= angs some work to do there once in a while... The only other time that spring s= witch was activated by a westward movement was with the helpers, and they usually went through there at walking speed, because they had to get their own swi= tch at the east crossover." (More on this remark belo= w.)

 

What about when the operator was off duty?

 

"Well, the only time that was an issue was when we worked the helpers. I'd go to work about 4 a.m. on the helper. We'd head out from Missoula and hea= d for Arlee on the 6th Sub to help No. 4 over the hill, and then spend the rest = of the day helping on the hill. Inevitably, we'd get to = DeSmet about 4:30 in the morning and there'd be no operator there on-duty. He wou= ld have left that east crossover switch lined for the crossover to the 5th Su= b the previous evening, so we'd have to stop and get the switch ourselves. We'd = leave it lined for the crossover behind us, because the idea was to leave DeSmet lined up for freight movements during the nig= ht. So, the normal position of that east crossover switch was for the crossover to= the 5th Sub. That way, freights could operate through there at night in either direction without having to stop. During the day, the operator would throw= that east crossover switch whenever a westbound passenger train movement was in= the offing. Of course...eastbound passenger trains could operate through there= at any time without a switch being thrown, because the normal position of the= west crossover switch for the 6th Sub was for the crossover to the eastward main."

 

As for passenger train schedules...again, eastward passenger trains were a non-issue. They could operate any time without switches having to be thrown. Westward trains: No. 1 left Missoula in mid-afternoon, between 2 and 3:30 pm, depending on the year. This was t= he case from pre-WWII until after CTC. No. 3 left Missoula earlier in the day. Bud remem= bers it being around late morning or noon most of the time. Then, on 11/16/52, tra= ins 25/26 began operation and trains 3/4 were dropped (on the RM Divn). No. 25 was due out of Missoula about 6:15 p.m= . Bud worked at Missoula only four years during the 25/26 operation--and most of= that was in "west end chain gang" service, but even so, he recalls th= at the operator was on-duty at DeSmet for No. 25's movement through there. Apparently there was a first and second trick at <= span class=3DSpellE>DeSmet during the 25/26 years, so there was an opera= tor until 11 pm or so. Unfortunately, we can't quite nail down the question of whether that second trick operated during the pre-25/26 years. Bud thinks = that maybe it didn't, at least during some of those years. (Perhaps it did duri= ng WWII only, but that's conjecture.)

 

Anyway, that pretty much settles the big questions. Perhaps that's= more about DeSmet than 98% of you ever cared to kno= w.

For what it's worth...