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October 1996


CSXT Introduces CW60AC Locomotive

CSXT officially introduced its 6000-horsepower CW60AC locomotive 602 at a ceremony September 13 at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. One of three such units now being tested, a total of 53 are slated for service over the next two years.


Beaubien Tower Closes

[By Charlie Whipp] . . . Beaubien Tower in Detroit is now closed. Beaubien controlled the crossing of Conrail's North Yard Branch and GTW's Shore Line Subdivision. This leaves Milwaukee Junction, Delray and FN as the only true towers left in the immediate area of Detroit. There are also two drawbridge installations which have separate tower structures and perform the same function as an interlocking tower. These are "Bridge" on Conrail's Detroit Line and "River Rouge" at the NS & GTW crossing of the Rouge River.


Monuments Dedicated to Victims of Georgetown Junction Wreck

Two monuments were dedicated September 21 in Brunswick, Maryland, in memory of the victims of the collision between the MARC train and the Capitol Limited at Georgetown Junction in February.


CSXT Sells South Louisville Shops Property for Use as Stadium

The University of Louisville has acquired CSXT's former South Louisville Shops property to construct a football stadium. In exchange, CSXT will receive a 118-acre parcel at Hurstbourne Park, and $3.5-million in cash payments over 20 years.


CSXT Transfers Operating Territories

CSXT's Augusta and Columbia subdivisions, and Augusta and Cayce terminals have been transferred from the Jacksonville Division to the Florence Service Lane; and the Dothan, Bainbridge and Tallahassee subdivision, the PD/P&A Subdivision between mileposts 645.0 and 810.7, and the Pensacola Terminal have been transferred from the Mobile Division to the Jacksonville Division.


Emmons Industries Acquires GP16 from CSXT

[By Stewart Rhine] . . . Emmons Industries, owner of Yorkrail and the Maryland & Pennsylvania, has acquired former Family Lines GP16 locomotive 1815 from CSXT. Earlier it had acquired units 1733, 1734 and 1735.


Ohio Central Adds Power Due to Traffic Increase

[By Oscar Manheim] . . . Due to increased freight traffic, the Ohio Central has placed into service GP10 unit 7586, GP30 unit 2187, and GP35 unit 2393. All units wear a Conrail blue paint scheme, less Conrail markings. Generally, 7586 and 2187 are being used between Zanesville and Warwick on steel trains AY-1 and WX-2, and 2393 can be found on the Coshocton to Columbus CBT-17. All units have assisted with coal traffic movements as well.


Another Flood!

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Just shy of eight months following what was described as the Flood of the Decade, yet another deluge cascaded its way down the Potomac River. This time it was the effects of tropical storm Fran, which left its mark on September 6 sending the river over its banks the next two and one-half days.

Pictured above are scenes at Brunswick, Maryland, at the height of the flood early in the afternoon of Sepember 8.

Further upstream at Miller Tower in West Virginia, the river crested September 8 at a point about 21 inches below the level reached in January. Still, the railroad was out of commission for over two days, and the Capitol Limited was not operated through the area for a whole week.

Much of the storm's impact upon CSXT was felt in the Carolinas, where it was described by many as the worst they had ever seen.


First Class to Boston

[By Jim Rogers] . . .

As summer approached, we considered possible destinations for a short vacation trip. Relatives in Massachusetts had invited us to visit, but the thought of spending most of the available time driving wasn't pleasant. So a call went to Amtrak. And, to best use the available time, why not travel at night? So reservations were made for a trip by, well, not Pullman, but sleeping accommodations for myself and my 11-year-old son. It would be his first trip in a sleeper, and my first in a double bedroom. And likely our last trip in a 10-roomette, 6-double-bedroom car.

We parked our car at BWI station just after the 10PM closing of the waiting room. But on a warm July evening, the wait was not a problem. We watched 165 pass heading to Washington, then set our sights on the northbound track. A headlight appeared around the bend, and we prepared to board - only to see MARC 4900 leading. As the train stopped, the trainman announced that "Boston passengers" for #66 would have to cross over to track 3. So up the stairs we went, and down to the southbound platform. Within a minute, AEM7 #937 came into view, leading another AEM7 and the train formerly known as the Night Owl. (Pennsy fans will remember when this train was The Federal.) An Amtrak material handling car and a Heritage baggage car handled the headend business, followed by five Amfleet coaches, one Amcafe car, and the 10-6 sleeper Pine Fern. "Here's your sleeper passengers," one of the trainmen called out to the sleeping car attendant as we walked back to our accommodations. He greeted me by name, and showed us the way to bedroom E. We got acquainted with our room, then settled in to watch Baltimore pass by our window. Many familiar sights were recognizable, even in the dark.

Our "Night Owl" rolled to a stop at Aberdeen. This Harford County town has weekday MARC service, and other than the early morning southbound Night Owl, only evening Amtrak service. Several coach passengers boarded. We then turned in for a night's sleep. Pine Fern was built by Budd for the Santa Fe in the early 1950s. At this point the car has been in Amtrak service longer than Santa Fe. Although clean and fairly well kept inside, the old girl proved to be something of a rough rider, even at mid-car. Apparently maintenance has been little more than necessary as she runs off her last miles before replacement by a Viewliner.

Sleep was fitful at best. I looked out briefly at Philly, then dozed off and on. During the lengthy stop in New York's Penn Station, I was awakened by activity on the platform and well-lit station. I watched an AEM7 slide by on an adjacent track with a material handling car. A few moments later, it was coupled gently but noticeably to the rear of our sleeper. I guessed that the car was on the rear so as to be easily cut out en route to Boston, but it followed us all the way! Why wasn't the head end traffic kept up at the head end? Union switching charges??

By this time I was wide awake for the 2:30AM departure, so watched out the window as we climbed out of the East River tunnel and passed the huge yards in Long Island City. We stopped briefly at the tower before proceeding through the junction putting us on the old New York Connecting Railroad. Although the bedroom side missed the Manhattan skyline, I enjoyed the view of the twin pantographs arcing in the night sky as we climbed the approach to Hell Gate Bridge. It was quite a dramatic scene as the tracks curved to the right and passed beneath the beautiful arch and onto the main span. After the show was over I turned over and tried to get some sleep. I was vaguely aware of being stopped for awhile at or just past New Rochelle. When I awoke again, daylight was beginning and I could see that we were departing New Haven. Oh, no, could it be that late? Somewhere we had lost 50 minutes, along with my chances of making a connection with a MBTA train at South Station.

As the sun came up, we raced along the old New Haven Shore Line. It was one of the prettiest days of the summer to enjoy the ride along one of Amtrak's most scenic lines. The stretch from Old Saybrook to Stonington has some of the best scenery in the East. We sat in the Amcafe car to enjoy our complimentary breakfast. We chose the Amtrak version of an Egg McMuffin, steaming hot out of the microwave. I'm glad we didn't pay extra for that! But the scenery didn't disappoint us as we crossed inlets and skirted salt marshes along Long Island Sound.

As we zipped across Rhode Island our engineer really had his two F40 units notched out. By Providence we had made up about half the time, and by Route 128 there was renewed hope. We rolled to a stop at Back Bay at 7:59, and I decided to get off and try to make the planned connection with an MBTA train due at 8:05. It was a run, but we made it!

This was probably my last trip in a 10-6 sleeper, but hopefully there will be other trips on the Shore Line. If you haven't had the opportunity to try this route, you should plan on doing so. And if you can do it soon enough, take a circle trip that includes the Lake Shore Limited out of Boston while it still runs.

I wonder if this trip will be as enjoyable in the new American Flyer trains?


Ten Years of Bull Sheets

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Believe it or not, it has been a whole decade since the current-era Bull Sheet began publication. Time flies when you're having fun! With such a notable occasion, I suppose it's excusable that I devote some space to reminisce. Indeed, that was the very focus of the first current-era Bull Sheet back in October 1986 - to reminisce upon an earlier era. A fact few people know is that the October 1986 Bull Sheet was actually intended to be a commemorative issue, not something to be followed by more issues each and every month. But this quickly changed, and the Bull Sheet did become a monthly publication, uninterrupted through this, its 121st consecutive issue. To explain how it all evolved, let us examine some history:

The Bull Sheet actually had its pre-beginning in January 1982. At that time I was the second-shift operator at HX Tower in Halethorpe, near Baltimore. It was on a railfanning mission while on an off-day, a small group of us was attending to the project at hand in the area of Cumberland, Maryland. We had learned that several trains were about to operate in different directions from or to both ends of the yard at the same time. We had their respective engine numbers, but herein we were faced with a dilemma... To systematically choose which of the trains to set up for (since we couldn't catch them all) it occurred to us that knowing what the respective trains' engines "looked" like (as to their paint schemes) could have played a very vital and timely role in our decision-making process. This was our dilemma - the paint schemes we simply did not know.

At that time there were six distinctively different schemes within the then-Chessie System locomotive roster. We, like most railfans, had previously memorized the engine numbers for the two Western Maryland schemes then still in circulation, but neither of these were on any of the trains we were then faced with choosing among. This left us with the regrettably incomplete knowledge of which units on the roster had the various C&O or B&O blue or Chessie schemes. So we had to chance-it, and hope for the best.

What happened after that was a quickly-thought-up idea for each of us to maintain a notebook of engine numbers into which color-scheme sightings could be recorded for future on-the-spot reference.

THE TASK . . . Owing to my frequent and regular contact with engines passing HX Tower, I undertook to list all of the units I would see each day onto a 5x8 hand-written sheet of note paper; carbon paper being used to make whatever number of copies were needed for distribution to the other members of the group. The name we selected for this was THE BULL SHEET.

The Bull Sheet continued in this fashion for the next three years and nine months - about 1000 of them altogether - providing its selected recipients with timely updates of paint schemes for transcription into their notebooks, along with current news items. These sheets are now referred to as those of the "HX-era." They ceased with the closing of HX Tower on October 1, 1985.

After a hiatus of exactly one year, the Bull Sheet was revived with what was intended to be a commemorative issue - a five-page typewritten production in essentially the same format as what survives to this day. Its front page contained current news; the following pages were devoted to reminiscences from the Bull Sheets of the HX era and reproductions of the tower's last train sheet and final train order. A distribution list was published showing the names of 20 recipients... That was the issue of October 1, 1986.

This may very well have been the Bull Sheet's final contribution to the annals of railfanning. But some things happened in the early days of that issue's month that sowed the seeds for continued tenure. First, I recalled the enjoyment in producing the sheets of the HX-era and the enjoyment in producing the commemorative issue. Then I received a "letter to the editor" which I knew would be ripe for inclusion into a presumptive November issue, if I chose to produce one. The letter was from Bob Uhland, a B&O operator included in the distribution of the October issue.

Bob's letter offered great encouragement. In it he wrote: "My compliments for the fine job you did in editing a special edition of the Bull Sheet. It was nice to reflect back on some very special times had with friends in a very unique setting of fast disappearing Americana. Truly, the end of an era. I will forever treasure my eleven years with the B&O and WM and hold valuable indeed the friends made there. No amount of photos can compete with the memories. If only one could put emotions and good feelings, that which the memories evoke, on film, we would have the perfect communications medium." He went on to reminisce upon the Ma and Pa Railroad, near where he grew up, of the B&O at Camden and Mount Royal stations, of B&O E8 locomotives, and of reflections on life in the towers after he had become an operator. His letter was printed on the second page of the November 1986 issue, a four-page endeavor distributed to 18 readers. Other features that issue included a list of Seaboard units locally sighted, and a miscellaneous page of tidbits.

The December 1986 issue had five pages, and included a feature (reprinted twice in later issues) of a bicycle ride I took on the Northern Central Railroad Trail. It was distributed to 23 readers. (Today, the Bull Sheet goes to over 500 readers.)

Thus was the beginning of the Bull Sheet as most of you know it. While certain changes have been made, some rather subtle, many of its hallmark traditions have remained intact: printed single-sided, on color paper (different from month to month), with current news on the front page. Features are varied, and there has never been a set pattern as to how they would be presented. The Bull Sheet was never intended as an all-inclusive railfan publication; rather its import is material you are not too likely to see featured elsewhere.

Indeed, I've been living the dream of newsletter editors. Most newsletters are printed as an instrument of an organization. The Bull Sheet is not. Consequently, I don't have to answer to anyone on content or editorial policy. In fact, by not taking subscription funds in advance, I'm not even beholden to keep the thing going. If I wanted to quit, I would. I don't plan to, at least not yet, but there is great comfort in knowing that I could pull the pin at any time. In the meantime, what transpires from month to month has become, in effect, my personal diary. I was never keen on keeping a diary, as I saw little value in writing something to myself, but writing something to be enjoyed by others has a different value altogether. I hope that history will record the effort to be worthwhile.

Vince Hammel, Rusty Agnes and Mike Welsh (pictured left to right) were the three recipients of the HX-era Bull Sheet by the middle of 1982. All kept notebooks for use as the occasion required, and the information proved helpful in knowing the paint schemes for known lashups before they arrived. The distribution of the sheets was kept small, and no more than four copies of any sheet were ever produced. Mike Welsh, now a CSXT locomotive engineer, has saved his HX-era Bull Sheets - nearly all of them produced - neatly filed away in cigar boxes.