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Working freight along the Ontario Northland is a lot more than just copying clearances and looking out the window. In fact practically all active Ontario Northland freights have a certain degree of switching to them whether in a yard or along the train's route. In the new era of Conductor-Only running crews, you'll find that the one man on the ground sometimes has a lot of running around to do. Pictured here is train #213 which operates between Englehart and Cochrane on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Donald is our Engineman and Phil is our Conductor today. The train has just arrived at a spur belonging to a chemical facility located at Nellie Lake on the Devonshire Subdivision. Luckily there's also a siding at Nellie Lake which will be vital in this switching job. Let's follow along as Phil and Don switch out tank cars at Nellie.
It's a beautiful day at Nellie Lake as 213 arrives. Here we see "Step 1" as the train comes to a stop a few hundred feet south of the spur where Phil uncouples the inbound tank GATX 6983 (and 2 gons which also double as buffers) from the consist. They then pull ahead to the spur.
Here we see "Step 2" of the switching process. With the Conductor riding the head end, the short consist proceeds on to the facility property and lifts the outgoing car PROX 91459. It's then pulled out onto the main.
Nellie Lake Siding comes in real handy for "Step 3" of the process. Once the outgoing tank is brought to the main, it is then switched into the siding, the brake is applied, then uncoupled. The consist reverses back to the main, then moves along the main passing PROX 91459.
"Step 4" occurs once the inbound tank car GATX 6983 passes Nellie Lake Siding's south switch. Once clear, the south switch is turned back towards the siding, a brake is applied and the GATX tank is uncoupled. The consist proceeds to the north switch of Nellie Lake siding. Therefore, on the left is inbound tank GATX 6983 and on the right is outbound tank PROX 91459.
This opens the door for "Step 5". Once the consist (2101 and the 2 gons) clear the north switch to the siding, the train is then lined to enter the siding. Once 2101 and the 2 gons enter the siding and clear, the switch is immediately lined back for the main. The consist then continues back until coupled to outgoing tank PROX 91459 which was placed in the siding in Step 3. Once cut in, the consist continues back through the siding's south switch (which was turned back in Step 4). With the completion of Step 5, PROX 91459 is now in the proper position on 213's consist. But remember, the remainder of 213's train is still a few hundred feet south of here.
We move on to "Step 6". Once the 2101 clears the siding's south switch, the switch is then lined back to the main. 2101 along with the 2 gons and the outgoing PROX 91459 are brought ahead to lift the GATX 6983.
With GATX 6983 now placed at the head end of 2101, we move on to "Step 7" where GATX 6983 is slowly brought on to the facility property for spotting.
The final step in the process is to back the 2101, the 2 gons, and PROX 91459 out of the spur, line the spur back to the main, and proceed to the remaining consist of 213's train. We'll call this "Step 8". Once the joint is made and the air is cut in, the train continues for the final 23 or so miles to Cochrane.

 

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