Baltimore and Ohio Railroad helper engines at Sand Patch Tower

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Baltimore and Ohio Railroad helper engines from Sand Patch Tower

Depending on where other trains are on the mountain the dispatcher may hold a helper set at Sand Patch until a heavy train makes it to the top. After the train passes, then the dispatcher will grant authority for the helper set to return to it home. Holding a helper set at Sand Patch gives the dispatcher some insurance. If the second train has power problems, the dispatcher can call on the helper set at Sand Patch to go rescue the ailing train. A heavy westbound train would not be permitted out of Cumberland, unless the helper set was on its way back to Hyndman or another crew was called for the second set of helper power we saw earlier at Hyndman. Engines 7608 and 7601 are waiting in reserve at Sand Patch for a heavy eastbound train. SA Tower is just to the right of engine 7608.

B&O helper engines Sand Patch Tower

Extra 4037 East is approaching Sand Patch with a heavy coal train on June 26, 1980. Notice that the train is shifting from main 1 to the center siding. The train came east on the westbound main to get around another coal train that had problems getting up to Sand Patch. That train is tying up on the eastward siding and we will see it later in this series. Disk 120

B&O helper engines meet eastbound train by Sand Patch Tower