BNSF coal drag stopped by tumbleweeds!

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Russ Bellinis, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You guys back East may not be familier with tumbleweeds, but anybody living West of the Missippi is probably aware of them. Usually if you hit one with a car they just go "poof" and explode into little bits of dead weed. I just received an email from a buddy about a BNSF coal drag that was pulling Rowley hill 12 miles West of Hardin, Montana at a speed of 15mph into a 50 mph headwind. They hit a drift of thousands of tumbleweeds, and the things got under the wheels of the locomotive and they couldn't get traction. The train came to a dead stop in about 5 car lengths! They got 2 helper engines sent out to push on the rear of the train, but couldn't get it moving! They were stuck there for 5 hours 35 minutes and then had to back down the hill to change crews because they had run out of time! The story was related by one of the members of the crew on the train trying to get through them. I tried to copy past the enclosure with pics, but I can't figure out how to do it.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Tumbleweeds...???? Hard to believe they'd stop a train...But then...apparently they can....Any luck with that picture..??
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Ahhh - Russian thistle! A pesky invasive species. They travel in groups, and collect in strategic areas. I'd love to see the photos, but it's not that hard to believe for me. I can easily imagine thousands collecting in wind-protected area like a cut or on the leeward side of a hill. They can stack 10's of feet high.

    I have seen mormon crickets or grasshoppers on roadways so thick that they had to close the road for safety reasons. Seems all the squashed bugs interfere with the traction and cause folks to lose control.

  4. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Ah, yes, I agree. Nothing like invasive species. Like those Zebra mussels that clogged up Detroit's waterways? Or that odd seagrass that was taking the Med. Sea by storm?

    Have any of you been hit by a tumbleweed?
  5. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I think its natures way of getting back at mankind. You have fish jumping into boats on rivers hitting passengers, deer jumping through windows on cars, and dogs accidentally knocking guns off of tables and shooting there owners in the back. Yep its payback time.:mrgreen:
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    When I was a kid growing up, my buddies and I would have battles with tumbleweeds. basically a tumbleweed grows large and green in the spring. In the summer it dries out, and then in the fall it withers at ground level and blows away. If you pick one up and hit someone with it, it just explodes into little pieces. We were careful not to hit anyone in the face because you might hurt your eyes, but if you hit someone across the back it just itche3s a little.

    If anyone wants the pictures, send me a pm with your email and I'll forward it to you. If there is someone here who knows how to take a picture out of an email enclosure, pm me with your email and I'll forward the pics for you to put up.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Here's Russ' tumbleweed picture...

    I chose this out of the ones you sent, as it gives an idea of the depth of the pile, and how tangled they became under the wheels of the loco...!


    Attached Files:

  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    And a CIT SD70M-2... interesting catch! Oops, unintentional pun.
  9. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Wow. That's a lotta tumbleweeds.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Thank you for posting the pic for me, Andrew.

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