o sum up my day in a word – orange.
For the first day of my Tehachapi train operations adventure, me and a Canadian named Cal were teamed up on an all-day effort, the Arvin job. For this, we picked up power off the ATSF ready track at Bakersfield and scurried through Kern Junction at 8am sharp, running for Magunden and the branch line there. From there, it’s a very short hop through the backdrop to the hidden world of Arvin, a place where evidently all the potatoes in the world come from.
And that was our day, pulling blocks of orange reefer cars out of the sidings, lining them up on the interchange track and swapping loads for empties off the various Arvin turns.
Ninety reefers in, and ninty more out.
Unlike most switching jobs, this was slow-mo switching, just taking our time and getting it right (the usual thing when two hardcore railroaders work together and nobody wants to look stupid by screwing up). (i.e. “Aren’t you running a wee bit fast?”). And really, we had to stagger the work anyway because not everything was ready to go at the start (loadings were completed all through the day). But working packing sheds is fun work – pretty much like very slow Tetris. Works for me, anyway.
And, if there is something like paid advertisement on this blog, I would be remiss to neglect Mr. Chisolm’s crazy downhill race for Bealville, running for a on-the-dot meet with high speed varnish opposing. He pulled it off and cleared with lots of time (i.e. a bucket of seconds) to spare. But it was a slick move – I’ll give him that. Such a daredevil.
Anyway, I ended the day just easing a cab forward helper into a big cut of beets. Tomorrow, I’ll be pushing for the Tehachapi Summit and the long ride back down (as an extra, pushing into a rainstorm of scheduled trains). So we’ll see what happens.