Drama on Mullan Pass 3/26/23

Manifest – Train made up of mixed rail cars

I was up on the pass getting some control point information for ATCS when I spotted the BNSF manifest at Helena Junction tieing on helpers to the rear end. I decided to head back up the pass and catch this train at some different spots than I normally setup at. I am thankful that I did as I got to catch some drama that is common place in mountain railroading. This manifest pulled a knuckle at East Austin and then was unable to get started again due to locomotive issues resulting in the train having to back down the hill and get a run at it. There is also the surprise of a NS thoroughbred on the point on an EB empty coal train. Hope you enjoy!

Knuckle (Part of the Coupler) The pivoting hook-like casting that fits into the head of a coupler and rotates about a vertical pin to either the open position or to the closed position. Coupler knuckles must conform to a standard dimensional contour specified by the Association of American Railroads.

Knuckles don’t break that often but when it does happen it’s a frustrating time for the crew. The need to change the knuckle out and so they always carry spares with them. I believe engines carry spares but I’m not sure about the cars.