RailPictures.Net Photo: BNSF 771 BNSF Railway GE C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) at Merritt, Washington by Ross Fotheringham
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» BNSF Railway (more..)
» GE C44-9W (Dash 9-44CW) (more..)
» The Slot (more..)
» Merritt, Washington, USA (more..)
» December 27, 2008
Locomotive No./Train ID Photographer
» BNSF 771 (more..)
» BNSF 4522 (more..)
» Ross Fotheringham (more..)
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Remarks & Notes 
Rescued Train; 16 inches of snow fell in 8 hours and this eastbound stack train got into trouble on the icy rails shortly after starting down the 2.2% grade. At 5 MPH over the post speed for freight the conductor looked at the engineer and asked him if he had control of his train. The engineer replied, No. The air was dumped and once the train stopped the crew started the long task of tying down 2/3rd's of the hand brakes in waist deep snow. Waiting nearby on a westbound Z train at Merritt was none other than BNSF Locomotive Engineer Mentor and RailPictures contributor Greg Weirich. Greg convinced the chief dispatcher to allow him and his crew to take their power up and rescue the eastbound on the mountain. No less than 5 hours later and “a lot of cussing” the power was connected, the air was charged, but the FRED wouldn’t rearm with the lead locomotive as required. So the conductor had to make his way back to the end of the train, again, in waist deep snow and Greg assisted helping him release hand brakes along the way. Hours later all 8 locomotives helped this train travel safely down the mountain. A beautiful Warbonnet with broken ditch lights leads the train off the mountain to this scene and if you look closely you can see (now dead-heading) Greg Weirich hamming it up for the camera. His on-duty time that day was 26 hours. Click Here to see a night shot I uploaded from the grade on the west side of the pass.
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Since added on March 30, 2009

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