I experienced the limitations of the cab-car today...

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Cristobal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
397
Riding back from SAC on the CC 729 this morning we lost HEP somewhere between MTZ and RIC. Since this is a 'pull' direction for CC it didn't do much noticeable besides kill the A/C and the overhead lights. There were still sparse lights on (battery-powered DC I'm guessing?) and the doors still worked (also DC?). The conductor did his best to explain what was going on and apologize for the inconvenience. This train was supposed to go as far as OAC but the conductor said that would not be possible without HEP because the cab-car was disabled and they couldn't drive it 'backwards'. We went on into OKJ (my stop anyway) and I'm guessing that with the yard only a few miles back over slow track the conductor was able to talk the engineer through the backup to the yard.

One and a half hours later I board the 733 at OKJ and it has 2 locos (one for HEP perhaps?) and have an uneventful ride to SJC. After a fairly quick layover at SJC I get back on the same train (now the 736 and being pushed, cab-car in affect) and about 5 minutes into my 20 minute ride back to GAC we first slow way down, then lose HEP, roll a bit further down the track, and then slowly come to a halt. That's twice now (HEP lost) on two completely different trains! :eek:

We sat there for about 10 minutes without a single announcement from this conductor and I began wondering how far my walk back to GAC (and my truck) was going to be from that point. Fortunately, the A/C and overhead lights kicked back on (HEP restored!?!?) and we were once again underway.

However...

We never got above 20~25 mph all the way back to GAC where I got off. That section is normally run at a much higher speed so I can't help but wonder if they were maybe running that train in some sort of 'crippled' configuration just to provide HEP for the cab-car. That would've made for a VERY long trip to SAC. :(

If I do another points run next week maybe I'll ask that crew how the rest of that trip went today...

Oh yeah...

I got to see the CZ yesterday south of EMY on it's way to get turned around (I still haven't figured out where they do that) and then once again this morning at about the same place/time where we lost HEP on the 729.
 
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Hytec

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
252
Cristobal, I never thought about HEP being required for a Cab-Car to operate. It makes sense since there is no other source of power at the "back" end of a train.

However, your experience reminded me of a similar one I had six years ago. I was on a NEC Regional from WAS to BOS when our locomotive tripped its main curcuit breaker three times between NWK and NYP. The last time was at the bottom of the Hudson River tunnel. Apparently the locomotive's design required the engineer to wait five minutes before he could reset the breaker, during which time the cars were without any power except for Emergency Exit lights....no noise at all, very quiet!!! It was interesting to hear some of the comments from folks listening to the dripping water in the middle of the tunnel, and in the dark too. Fortunately there was a spare locomotive in Sunnyside Yard that replaced our sick one.
 

jis

Conductor
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Aug 24, 2003
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25,698
Do they turn it around or stick a loco on the other end and reverse all the seats?
They turn it around at a Y near the Amtrak maintenance facility. All Amtrak LD trains are turned around.
 
A

asst conductor okj

Guest
There is a WYE track at the Oakland Maint. Facility. The WYE crosses over Third Street in front of the crewbase. The yard crew splits the train in half, runs the engines and sleepers around first, than gets the switcher and pushes the coach seciton through and re-assembles the train.
 

Cristobal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
397
There is a WYE track at the Oakland Maint. Facility. The WYE crosses over Third Street in front of the crewbase. The yard crew splits the train in half, runs the engines and sleepers around first, than gets the switcher and pushes the coach seciton through and re-assembles the train.
Thanks. Of course now that you point it out it's pretty obvious. :D

I also wasn't thinking of it being a two-part operation. That's pretty cool...
 
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