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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=
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
I was right about Glenn Staeheli's rem=
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=
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=
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<=
it was a SSoFPL. Bud is 98% certain that that =
was unchanged during his entire time at
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
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
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...