Ride along with me as the conductor of the Freight House Job to see how I get the work done. We start running south out of Humboldt Yard, and don’t stop until we’re just past the scale track switch south of Commerce Street. We open the switch and signal the engineer to back the train in so we can uncouple the caboose (MILW 01803). We’ll leave it here out of the way just north of the street on the scale spur. While we do our industry work we’ll either be riding the engine or on the ground, while our two brakemen ride the cars or work on the ground as needed.
Pulling ahead again, we leave most of the train on the running track between the switches for the Juneau Avenue lead track, the runaround track that connects to the Blatz warehouse and freight house spurs. Our train is long enough so we’ll “cut the crossing” at Juneau Avenue, meaning that we uncouple the last car north of the street and pull the other cars ahead to clear the roadway.
One of the brakemen uncouples the first car, NYC 160000 going to freight house door six, and takes it and the engine past the south switch and back onto the lead. Meanwhile we’ll check with the loading dock foremen at Blatz and at the freight house to be sure the outbound cars are all ready to move. Learning that they are, we signal the engineer to come ahead to couple to the car at freight house door one, NH 34006, and then to come ahead again to pick up URTX 2037 from track one in the Blatz warehouse. We set these cars over on the south end of the lead, having made room to get the engine into the freight house spur. Then we leave the NYC car for door six on the north end of the lead and switch back from Blatz track one to the freight house spur to pick up the outbound car from door eight, MILW 703848.
Coming back out to the lead, we’ll have the engineer push MILW 703848 across Juneau to couple to NYC 160000, then continue pushing north back to the running track and across Commerce Street to the Pabst Shipping Center spur. Leaving the NYC car on the running track past the Pabst switch, we set the outbound MILW car on the near end of the Pabst spur to get it out of the way.
Now we can couple the engine to NYC 160000, pull it back through the lead to Blatz track one, and back the car up the freight house spur to its spot at door six. This may seem a long way to go to exchange the inbound and outbound freight house cars, but it lets us keep the engine out of the Blatz warehouse.
Next, we’ll pull the outbound cars from the team track, C&IM 8103, and Blatz track two, URTX 7044, and set them over with the other outbounds we left at the south end of the lead. We can have the engine push these cars past the south lead switch and onto the tail track so they’ll clear the switch to the Blatz spurs just south of Juneau.
Now it’s a simple move for us to take the engine back out the north switch to pick up the cars left on the running track, then back north with them to clear the switch to the lead. From that position we can shove the cars south on the lead and into the spurs to spot URTX 5847 on Blatz track one, URTC 87028 on Blatz track two, MILW 703425 on the team track, and MILW 18522 over the switch opposite freight house door one.
With all the inbound cars spotted, we’ll pull the outbound cars back north off the tail track into the lead, leaving them clear of both ends. Then we’ll take the engine over to the scale house spur, retrieve the caboose, and next get MILW 703848 that we left on the Pabst spur. Pulling south on the running track all the way to the tail track, we shove ahead through the south switch to assemble our homeward-bound train on the lead. The order from south to north is:
MILW 01803 (N)
MILW 703848 (X)
URTX 2037 (R)
NH 34006 (X)
URTX 7044 (R)
C&IM 8103 (X)
From there an easy runaround gets the engine on the north end of the train, and we’ll have the engineer push back onto the tail track to get the train in the clear south of Juneau Avenue while we connect air through the cars and make a brake test. Then we’re ready for the homeward trip to Humboldt Yard. You can relax in the caboose while I list our cars for the yard clerk. Once we get back to Humboldt and put our engine away next to the yard office, it’ll be quitting time!
2 thoughts on “The freight house job on the Milwaukee Road Beer Line”
I am in the process of learning operations. Andy's articles are very helpful and this article is especially so in that it shows a specific operating method that can be easily followed. Great for beginners.
I have always enjoyed the switching puzzles offered in MR, and this was no exception. Hope to see more in future issues!