June 2nd, 2014

Beware of Trains

Fading Warbonnets

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) has trackage rights over the UP (ex-SP, ex-CP) main railroad line in front of Fernley House, including the right to service intermediate customers. Their "Little BN" switch job usually works the two-track yard across the street from us five days a week. Sometimes Little BN takes cars to and from Sparks (where the crews are based) and sometimes they tie up on the Fernley "House Tracks" and are taxied back and forth between Sparks and Fernley. (I assume this has to do with how many hours they work; railroaders aren't allowed to work more than 12 consecutive hours, and this is a very hard and fast rule, to the extent that a crew that goes "dead on the law" can tie up the railroad, so they can't let crews "die" on the road.) The current pair of locomotives that Little BN is using were parked overnight (and for a change, not automatically restarting and idling to stay warm, the way they do in the winter). I took an opportunity for a photo just as "Big BN" (one of the through BN freights that drops/picks up cars in Fernley for/from Little BN) showed up to make a deposit.

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Later that morning, the Little BN crew arrived and fired up their units. Once Amtrak #5 came by (2 1/2 hours late, sigh), followed by a couple of Union Pacific freights, BN tied on to the cars that Big BN left them and set off to deliver them to their customers in the Fernley area. The yard was empty and the units weren't here when we got home from Reno this evening, so we assume they were able to work their way back to Sparks today.