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D&RGW train loading procedure at Sunnyside Coal Mine

D&RGW train loading at Sunnyside Coal Mine D&RGW train loading at Sunnyside Coal Mine D&RGW caboose on train loading at Sunnyside Coal Mine

The train is loading coal at the Sunnyside Mine. The engineer is using a special technique to control the trains speed as it slowly moves forward through the loadout. Since the train is on a descending grade during the loading process it is difficult to maintain an even speed of about one mile an hour. You can't use the dynamic brakes because the speed is too low. The train brakes respond too slowly to give minor corrections to maintaining the proper speed and it is too easy to stall. If you use the independent brakes, it wears out the brake shoes and generates a lot of heat in the brake shoes and wheels. This technique was worked out by a couple engineers.

After shoving the train under the loadout and stopping. You release the train brakes and hold the train in place with the independent brake. So far this is standard procedure. However, when the mine gives the green light to begin loading, you don't put the reverser in forward, you leave it in reverse. Release the independent brake and open the throttle to notch one, and watch the ground. When the train starts moving forward, open the throttle to run two. You want to maintain about one mile an hour, a slow walk. As cars are loaded the weight of the train will increase and you will have to increase throttle settings to maintain the right speed. You would think this would burn out the traction motors, but this puts a smaller load on the traction motors than when you are starting a heavy train on a hill.

When EMD heard about this practice, they sent a bunch of officials to observe the operation. There were so many officials in the cab that the engineer hardly had room enough to run the train. Disk 34