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Reply to "Rail-fanning on The OGR Forum 🚂 Welcome: Pictures YOU have taken! This is a new thread."

@Number 90 posted:

Hot Water, it must have been your day off.    Or is there a story about the soot on the locomotives?

Tom,

The reason behind all the soot on 4449 in that is; after our layover in San Louis Obispo, on the SP Coast Route, an Amtrak SDP40F diesel was added for assistance climbing Cuesta Grade. Upon departure, we ascended the grade, and then stopped on the big horseshoe curve for a photo-runby. Since I was "off duty" that morning, I got off to take photos of the photo run. The train then backed up, made the photo run, then backed up to re-board all the passengers. As I headed for the crew car, I saw McCormack franticly waving for me to come forward. It seemed that the Amtrak SDP40F had tripped an alarm (as indicated by the red light on the Diesel MU Control Box in the cab of 4449).

I went back to check on the Amtrak diesel, but could not clear the problem (it would no longer load in either direction). I informed the Boss, that he was going to have to start the whole train, including the dead SDP40F, on the steepest part of Cuesta. So much for Amtrak "diesel assist"!

Now, the bad part is, there is a tunnel at the top of Cuesta, and without any diesel assist, McCormack was forced to operate 4449 at FULL THROTTLE thru the entire tunnel,,,,,,,,,,,thus steam cleaning more than 20 years of diesel oily exhaust snot from the tunnel interior. That is why 4449 looks to bad in subsequent photos  on the remainder of the trip to Oakland. We had a multi-day layover in Oakland, and it took two days to clean 4449, with diesel fuel and large quantities of Dawn Detergent!  

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