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October 1997


Maryland MTA Reaches Pact With CSXT for MARC Service

The Maryland Mass Transit Administration has reached an agreement with CSXT affecting MARC commuter service through 1999. Included is service expansion to Frederick, Maryland. Also included is the reconstruction of a connection track which will allow Penn Line trains to operate into Camden Station. The connection track will reportedly follow the route of the former Claremont branch in West Baltimore which once connected the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline with B&O's Mount Clare Yard. This would allow sports event specials from the Penn Line access to Camden Station, and makes possible the routing of some of the regular trains as well. Camden Station is more accessible to Baltimore's business district than is Pennsylvania Station. Also, a shop is planned near Carroll Park which can be accessed from both the Penn and Camden lines.


CSXT Taking Delivery of Additional AC-Traction Locomotives

CSXT has been taking delivery of addition AC-traction locomotives. As of September 28, SD70AC units 700, 702 through 716, 720 and 722 (total of 18), and CW44AC units 281 through 300 (total of 20) had been delivered.


CSXT Retires its Last GP30M

CSXT has retired its last GP30M locomotive. Unit 4216 was retired on September 9. Formerly a C&O unit (x-3021), it was built as a GP30 in 1962 and rebuilt as a GP30M in 1983.


Average Horsepower on CSXT Exceeds 3000 Per Locomotive

The average horsepower of a CSXT locomotive now exceeds 3000. When the Bull Sheet last calculated this information in June 1997, the average horsepower was 2992.3.With the addition of the high-horsepower AC units this past month, plus the retirement of a number of lower-horsepower units, the average horsepower as of September 28 (with 2766 units on the roster) was 3016.1.


CSXT Appeals Jury Verdict in New Orleans

CSXT is appealing a $2.5-billion punitive damages jury verdict in New Orleans as a result of a 1987 railroad car fire. Pete Carpenter, CSXT president and chief executive officer, has issued a statement that a leak in the tank car occurred because the owner of the car had improperly replaced a gasket in a closure on the bottom of the car, and that CSXT was the victim of a hidden defect. He added that the National Transportation Safety Board had concluded the incident was not caused by CSXT.


Restaurant to Open in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Station

A restaurant is slated to open in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, train depot on October 9. The 1910 structure, serving both Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express, was recently renovated to include Claiborne's Chophouse, an upscale steak restaurant.


Track and Signal Improvements Slated for Oregon Service

The Federal Railroad Administration has announced a $5.2-million cooperative agreement with the state of Oregon toward track and signal improvements between Portland and Eugene in support of a designation of the segment for high-speed train service.


Capitol Limited Delayed by Bomb Threat

Amtrak's Capitol Limited was delayed over four hours on August 29 due to a bomb threat. More than 200 passengers were evacuated from the train at Hancock, West Virginia. They were unloaded into an open space next to the Hancock yard and then transported by school bus to a school in Maryland. Meanwhile, the train was moved a safe distance west while a bomb unit searched the train. There was no bomb. A 48-year-old man from Florida, who was a passenger on the train, was taken into custody, charged with three counts in connection with the incident, and held in lieu of $10,000 bond.


Five Years at Miller Tower

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

As the saying goes: "Time flies when you're having fun!"

This month marks the fifth anniversary of my tenure at Miller Tower. Tucked quietly away in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, along the bank of the (usually) placid Potomac River, in nature's realm, it's truly a wonderful place to be.

It's a long way from home -- two hours, in fact -- but the pleasant surroundings more than make up for the lengthy drive.

Those who have followed the pages of the Bull Sheet for an extended period of time will recall that I have faithfully committed many thoughts on tower life along the way. These thoughts would, I suppose, fill a small book. A number of folks have even suggested that I write a book, but since everyone saves their back issues of the Bull Sheet (you do, don't you?), I'll just let those numerous earlier articles serve as reference and not repeat everything just yet.

But I suppose I ought to at least recall some of the highlights of my first five years at Miller Tower, for better or for worse, which surely would make their way into whatever final manuscript I'd choose to offer:

Much of what I'll always remember of Miller Tower happened just last year. That was when I got snowed in for 30 hours. That was some snowstorm, too. Nobody could get in, and nobody could get out. Well, at least not by car. Trains were running, though barely, and that's how I finally got out. It was in style, too. Amtrak's Capitol Limited stopped and picked me up. What a thrill that was!

Then one week later, melting snow from that same storm, plus some monsoon-like rain, sent the Potomac River well over its bank and into the bottom floor of the tower. I was there when the water came up, or at least when it began to, and it was I who had the chore of moving myself and the working records to higher ground. Fortunately, I needed no train to get out that time ... by then they had stopped running! This was the type of flood seen on the Potomac about once a decade. But later that year we had another one, though then the water did not rise quite so much.

Then there was the time the electricity went out! We all take lights for granted, I suppose, but when it gets dark at Miller Tower (at night, with no moon), believe me, it gets DARK!

But I suppose what I'll most remember from my first five years at Miller Tower, and for what I'm the fondest, was the addition of my hound dog, Rex, who wandered in during a snowstorm three and one-half years ago and stayed. He needed a home. I tried to find his owner, but nobody came forth. So to my home I brought him. I still have him. I jokingly tell people that Rex was my award from the company for my then 24 years of service!

I'm now in my 28th year of towerdom. Beginning in 1970, I spent five years on the extra list in Baltimore. I then spent ten years at HX Tower at Halethorpe, Maryland, being there when it closed. Next I went to JD Tower in Hyattsville, Maryland, serving there for six and one-half years, and I closed the place (literally) in 1992. Then it was to QN Tower in Washington for six months, and I was there when it closed, too.

Do you see a pattern here? Yes, I'm not one to jump around. God willing, and barring the harsh realities of being displaced before then, I fully plan to stay at Miller Tower until it meets its doom. Then, likely, I'll retire.