Wolverine Service Operations

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I was under the impression that Wolverine Service trains ran with either an engine or NPCU on each end, however yesterday I saw 350 at Royal Oak with IDTX 4624 leading and nothing on the rear. We went up to Pontiac and watched them take IDTX 4615 (Facing west) and put on the rear to lead back to Chicago and then take 4624 off and parked on the station track at the north end of the platform. Is this standard or something one off?
 
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NSC1109

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I was under the impression that Wolverine Service trains ran with either an engine or NPCU on each end, however yesterday I saw 350 at Royal Oak with IDTX 1624 leading and nothing on the rear. We went up to Pontiac and watched them take IDTX 1615 (Facing west) and put on the rear to lead back to Chicago and then take 1624 off and parked on the station track at the north end of the platform. Is this standard or something one off?

1) there is no IDTX 1624 or 1615.

2) yes, it’s standard. The only Michigan Service trains that regularly run with units on both ends are the Pete Marquette and the Blue Water because there’s no place to turn power. Why they leave one at Pontiac is anyone’s guess.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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1) there is no IDTX 1624 or 1615.

2) yes, it’s standard. The only Michigan Service trains that regularly run with units on both ends are the Pete Marquette and the Blue Water because there’s no place to turn power. Why they leave one at Pontiac is anyone’s guess.
Every time I have seen the Pere Marquette it has only had one locomotive. I have only used it once, but on that trip the train was turned at a wye just after dropping off the passengers at the Grand Rapids station.
 

PerRock

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Why they leave one at Pontiac is anyone’s guess.

It's a rescue unit. If there is a locomotive problem, the one stored at Pontiac can be swapped out while the train lays over there. They've also used the thunderbird locomotive in Pontiac to lead the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited (or a combined train) over the MI track when they have to be detoured, as the P42s used on those trains don't have the ITCS system needed on the MI Line.

peter
 
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1) there is no IDTX 1624 or 1615.

2) yes, it’s standard. The only Michigan Service trains that regularly run with units on both ends are the Pete Marquette and the Blue Water because there’s no place to turn power. Why they leave one at Pontiac is anyone’s guess.

Typo should have been 4624 and 4615. Has been corrected in original post.
 

Burns651

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1) there is no IDTX 1624 or 1615.

2) yes, it’s standard. The only Michigan Service trains that regularly run with units on both ends are the Pete Marquette and the Blue Water because there’s no place to turn power. Why they leave one at Pontiac is anyone’s guess.

There's an active wye at the west end of CN's Port Huron yard, which is actually about 1/2 mile closer to the Port Huron depot than the Pontiac depot is to the wye there. Apparently the yard tracks/switches arrangement makes it more of a pain to get to the Port Huron wye, though. Having to wait for clearance across a busier mainline is probably part of the reason too.
 

NSC1109

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It's a rescue unit. If there is a locomotive problem, the one stored at Pontiac can be swapped out while the train lays over there. They've also used the thunderbird locomotive in Pontiac to lead the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited (or a combined train) over the MI track when they have to be detoured, as the P42s used on those trains don't have the ITCS system needed on the MI Line.

peter

shouldnt need a rescue unit if it’s on the train. You can operate the train using MU’d locomotives only if your leader dies but it’s not ideal.
 

Trogdor

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shouldnt need a rescue unit if it’s on the train. You can operate the train using MU’d locomotives only if your leader dies but it’s not ideal.

Double-heading every train requires more locomotives than just having one on standby at the terminal.
 

NSC1109

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Double-heading every train requires more locomotives than just having one on standby at the terminal.

it might but in the end, which is better for the customer? Being able to control the train with a minor stop to reset the train to run off the trailing unit or wait for potentially hours for a new crew and a rescue unit to come from Pontiac or Chicago? Guarantee Amtrak’s extra board, if they even have one in Michigan, is at least a 90 minute call and I don’t know if they have a crew base in Battle Creek anymore.

BN is having the same issues. They’ll burn a dollar to save a penny. We’re in desperate need for locomotives and there are 150 of them sitting in one of our northern hump yards that we aren’t allowed to use without VP-level approval and we need more crews but no one wants to hire. It’s insanity. Whatever happened to providing a good service to our customers vs lining the shareholder’s pockets?
 

Trogdor

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it might but in the end, which is better for the customer? Being able to control the train with a minor stop to reset the train to run off the trailing unit or wait for potentially hours for a new crew and a rescue unit to come from Pontiac or Chicago? Guarantee Amtrak’s extra board, if they even have one in Michigan, is at least a 90 minute call and I don’t know if they have a crew base in Battle Creek anymore.

BN is having the same issues. They’ll burn a dollar to save a penny. We’re in desperate need for locomotives and there are 150 of them sitting in one of our northern hump yards that we aren’t allowed to use without VP-level approval and we need more crews but no one wants to hire. It’s insanity. Whatever happened to providing a good service to our customers vs lining the shareholder’s pockets?

I’m not sure what BNSF’s shareholders have to do with the Wolverine’s consist, but I would imagine that if there is a lack of available power (and Amtrak doesn’t have 150 serviceable locomotives sitting in a yard, so what BNSF does is irrelevant), they don’t have a bunch of extras available to run on a train “just in case.” If the train can be dispatched with one, then that’s what it will get.
 
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