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Sand Patch PA 03.26.11: On Hands And Knees

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Published on Apr 3, 2011

While Q165's crew helped inspect the Q389 stopped ahead of it, the other main did not stay silent. A few minutes after Q165 had disappeared around the bend, Q389 radioed an approaching Q394 to give them a thumbs-up on their roll-by inspection. I could hear the roar building in the west as if it was right around the curve, but there was still no headlight.

Several more minutes of listening to the roar passed, and then Q394 finally showed its face. SD70MAC 4769, C40-8W 7715, and GP38-2 2745 were locked in a full-throttle fight with gravity as they clawed their way to the summit with 143 cars on the drawbar. The roar of the head-end trio was replaced first by the marching rhythm of the freight cars, and then by the squeal of brakes as the gravitational battle began again. As an emphatic finish to the parade, the tail end of the beast was topped off by SD60I 8755 and C40-8 7641 - certainly a departure from the sameness of the SD40E pushers on NS' Pittsburgh Line, and a suitable finale for the morning.

All the effort expended on that climb took its toll, however - somewhere outside of Cumberland, the engineer announced on the radio that the 4769 had been shut down due to low water.

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