CHEMX train

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CHEMX train

Unread postby Buffalo387 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:46 am

Hi there:

Looking at a C&O Chicago Subdivision (west Michigan) dispatcher sheet from 8/14/81. Among the normal trains listed (942, CW15, etc) there is a westbound CHEMX train.

It left GR at 0358 headed to the B&O Barr Yard with SD40 7565, 7 loads and 44 empties 2565 tons for the CEI at Yard Center. Met 942 at Holland, DT10 and Livingston and FL16 at Sawyer before going to Conrail at Porter at 0905. Power came back on 942 and crew on GR18 early the next day.

I can decode all the other trains but not CHEMX; anyone know what it was? I was guessing chemical empties as it was all CEI but it also handled loads.

Any of the West Michigan folks on here know what this train was?
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:47 am

Kind of sounds like the Bomb train, maybe?
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby Jetlink » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:50 am

SD80MAC wrote:Kind of sounds like the Bomb train, maybe?


That was my thought too. The Texas bound bomb train from Dow.
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby Buffalo387 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:19 pm

That was a thought I had but I thought the Bomb was loaded southbound to Texas; this train was mostly empties. There was also a MP17 train to the CEI that day which I think was sometimes referred to as the Bomb
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby Doktor No » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:53 pm

DOW EXTRA. AKA the bomb train. MP 17 originated in Saginaw and made a major pickup at Midland daily. The Dow Extra was midweek for the most part and had an eastbound counterpart. Set off at Midland and power went into Saginaw.
These trains ran on the Baldwin and Ludington subs. My last trip before a long furlough was an MP17 detour via Plymouth due to the rebuilding of the Baldwin line at the time.
Did catch one of the first MP17's into Yard Center too. A LONG backup move, switch into the yard at Dolton was from the west so it was pull towards Barr, get a pilot for the rear end, back in, set the cab over, then back the rest of the thing into the yard. Many officials standing around, watching the whole move. Worked out OK but very time consuming.
ML18 for Midland was always setting in Barr Yard with power on waiting to go eastward to Michigan when I got it more then a few times.
Same operation for the Dow Extra. Pull by Dolton and back in going down. Train in Barr all ready to go back with the north/eastbound for GRP.
And for the most part we very often had no time left HOS on MP17 or even the Xtra going down so a yard crew from Barr would finish the job.
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby Buffalo387 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:38 pm

Okay that matches up pretty well as this CHEMX left GR early Friday morning (C:Robinson E:Bateson). MP17 departed later that day with 50-39/6740 with 20 autos all CEI.

At this time (1981) C&O looked to be running once a day to/from the Chicago connections, so some of the late 1970s trains were missing (CG41, NI42, ICG5, etc.). Perhaps you were on one that did run.
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby AARR » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:38 pm

Last I heard what was left of the Dow Bomb Train was handled by UP/CN/HESR. Three blocks of 10 cars per week. When Chessie had it was about a 75 car unit train IIRC.
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby C&O Dispatcher » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:28 pm

The Chemical Special ran as a separate train from ML18/MP17. We got the loaded train from GR showing up at Baldwin every Sunday evening. They generally set off the entire train at Dean (Midland), and ran lite power into Saginaw. On Thursday afternoons, we called the train out of Saginaw referenced in your post with usually a single SD40 and they ran to Dean to pick up the Chemical Special empties to return to GR-Chgo and to the MP for movement back to Freeport, TX. Some of the empties may have been piecemealed back west/south during the week on MP17. Once we got a hold of the loaded train at Baldwin, we kept our fingers crossed that it made the run without incident over the Ludington Sub!!
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby MSchwiebert » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:50 pm

When were the "Bomb Trains" moved down to the B&O, running via Deshler? I first noticed them in 1988, which was also when the Soo trains that ran via Deshler were moved up to the PM route (and the PM trains - for a while were moved down to the B&O).
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby Buffalo387 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:58 pm

Ref C&O DS post, didn't realize it was loads to Midland and empties back to Freeport. Learn something every day.
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Re: CHEMX train

Unread postby C&O Dispatcher » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:09 pm

[quote="MSchwiebert"]When were the "Bomb Trains" moved down to the B&O, running via Deshler? I first noticed them in 1988, which was also when the Soo trains that ran via Deshler were moved up to the PM route (and the PM trains - for a while were moved down to the B&O).[/quote]

I believe it was sometime in 1988, but I can't remember exact date. I was working the west end dispatcher job in Saginaw at that time and before I took a buyout in October of that year they were already pulling up the rail on the Ludington Sub between Coleman and Baldwin. I recall around the same time, they started running a manifest train out of Midland via Saginaw and Plymouth to Grand Rapids and re-crew toward Chicago (and vice versa). I seem to remember for a short period the "westbound" was called the Lake Michigan Flyer (LMFR) and the "eastbound" was called the Lake Huron Flyer (LHFR). Then they became 333/332, I think. The Chem train came up from Toledo, though. Don't remember how long those other manifest trains lasted.
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