Houck, North Siding

 

Long night for the crew of extra east BN 8038 at Houck. The railroad is busting loose, and the dispatcher has no alternative but to order 8038 into the north siding at Houck to let 5 hot eastward trains pass. Westward traffic is just as heavy, as a stack train approaches Houck. On duty since 9:00 PM at Winslow, the crew has made it only as far as Houck, 95 miles, and the hour is already approaching 4:00 AM, as evidence by Venus rising above the dynamic fans of the green SD40-2. Overall, this has not been a good trip. First the crew hit the hotbox detector at Bibo, which proved to be a false reading. Because of the delay and the resulting backup, the crew was ordered to take the siding at Pinta to let 3 get around. Underpowered and with one unit not loading, the tonnage train was only able to make 35 mph over the long 0.3 percent grade leading to Houck. Three of the 5 eastward trains have passed, and such a gap exists between trains that signal 1902 has cleared to green, and nothing is behind since the dwarf is still yellow (not long after the shutter closes, the dwarf flips to red). Clearly, BN8038 won't make Belen with one crew. Not all trains on the Santa Fe have the privilege to run at 70 mph.