PSR: Indiana to Texas in just 46 days

By February 14, 2020February 19th, 2020Features

By Tom Marsh, Gulf Coast Chapter NRHS

Reproduced with permission from the Chapter’s newsletter Gulf Coast Railroading.

Yes, the headline is a little dig at the railroad executives and industry analysts who are currently enamored with the mantra of Precision Scheduled Railroading. And to be fair, the car in question required special handling and some of the delays in its move from Indiana to Texas were not the fault of the carriers involved. But read on. Our latest acquisition, Amtrak heritage fleet dining car no. 8527, known to us by its Southern Pacific Sunset Limited number 10212, is now in Texas and it only took a month and a half to accomplish the move. This timeline was compiled from information provided by CSX, BNSF, AWRR and ASTA.

Day 1 Mon 25 Nov 2019: CSX attempts to pick up 10212 at Amtrak’s Beech Grove Shops, but reports that the car is “not accessible”.

Day 3 Wed 27 Nov 2019: CSX picks up 10212 and several other cars at Beech Grove for the local move to Hawthorne Yard, Indianapolis, the first step in our car’s journey to Texas.

Day 6 Sat 30 Nov 2019: CSX moves 10212 from Hawthorne Yard to Big Four Yard at Avon, Indiana, via a scheduled yard transfer.

Day 7 Tue 1 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Avon at 5:38 pm eastern time on CSX train no. Q68501 with an ETA of 12:32 am 2 Dec 2019 at the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) yard in Madison, Illinois, (across the river from St. Louis). Instead, 10212 is dropped at Rose Lake (St. Louis area), Illinois, at 10:50 pm on 1 Dec.

Day 8 Wed 2 Dec 2019: CSX car trace system indicates 10212 remains at Rose Lake and was offered for interchange to KCS. After we make contact, the CSX Shipment Problem Resolution Team agreed that nowhere in any shipping instructions is KCS mentioned and the next transfer should be to BNSF. A correction was entered into the CSX system canceling the interchange offer to KCS and routing the car to BNSF via TRRA.

Wed/Thu 2/3 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Rose Lake on CSX transfer train no. 68502 at 11:24 pm on 2 Dec, arriving at TRRA in Madison, Illinois, at 12:16 am 3 Dec. Official interchange to TRRA was recorded as 12:31 am

Day 9 3 Dec. At this point, transfer to BNSF was delayed because the Gulf Coast Chapter NRHS account with BNSF had aged-out and had to be reestablished.

Day 14 Sun 8 Dec 2019: 10212 transferred to BNSF at 11:43 pm via TRRA train no. 7.

Day 15 Mon 9 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Madison for Galesburg, Illinois, at 6:30 am on BNSF train no. H MADGAL1 08, arriving Galesburg at 1:33 pm.

Day 18 Thu 12 Dec 2019: The scheduled 11 Dec train departure was delayed for an unknown reason, then 10212 departs Galesburg for Kansas City, Kansas, at 5:16 am on BNSF train no. H GALKCK1 11. The train arrives in Kansas City at 2:50 pm. At this time, BNSF Customer Service indicates because 10212 is tagged for special handling, it could be up to 24 to 48 hours before the car is assigned to a train to continue on its way. “24 to 48 hours” appears to be a standard, canned response; both BNSF and CSX used it multiple times during the move. We did get a shorter “24 to 36 hours” estimate from TRRA, maybe because it’s a smaller railroad?

Day 19 Fri 13 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Kansas City at 8:49 am on BNSF train no. H KCKTUL3 13, arriving Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 9:44 pm.

Day 21 Sun 15 Dec 2019: 10212, still in company with one of the other cars from Beech Grove, departs Tulsa on BNSF train H TULIRB1 15 at 1:01 pm. This train’s route is from Tulsa to Irving, Texas, which is the route a car would take if it were going to the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas.

Day 22 Mon 16 Dec 2019: 10212 arrives in Irving at 9:52 pm. After we make contact, BNSF Customer Service agreed that the car had been sent to Irving in error, and steps were taken to return the car to Tulsa.

Day 23 Tue 17 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Irving at 6:45 pm to return to Tulsa on BNSF train no. H IRBTUL1 17.

Day 25 Thu 19 Dec 2019: 10212 arrives back in Tulsa at 4:35 am.

Day 26/27 Fri/Sat 20/21 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Tulsa at 1:12 pm on BNSF train no. H TULTPL1 21. The car arrives at Temple on Sat 21 Dec at 11:07 pm.

Day 30 Tue 24 Dec 2019: 10212 departs Temple at 7:21 pm on BNSF local train no. L RDV3011 24.

Day 31 Wed 25 Dec 2019: Merry Christmas! 10212 arrives at McNeil (Austin area) at 2:00 am. The holidays will slow our progress now.

Day 46 Thu 9 Jan 2020: 10212 delivered around 9 pm by Austin Western Railroad to Austin Steam Train Association Cedar Park Yard.

Done! With the car now in Cedar Park, our initial inspection could take place. Chapter President Jim Goldmeyer, his son Charles, Chapter Vice President – Mechanical Al Dykes and I headed to the ASTA yard on Saturday, Jan. 11, to have a look at this addition to the Gulf Coast Chapter collection. We cleared out trash, did a little other cleaning and sweeping, and made some discoveries. We have plenty more work to do on the car, but the photos and captions tell the story to date.


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