Business Latest News

NGS coal train operators lose "best job in the world"

Krista Allen
Particular for

DA & # 39; DEESTL & # 39; IN HÓTSAA & DZILYIN, Ariz.

When Thomas Lengthy Jr.'s family asked him what he was doing for a dwelling, he informed them, "I'm driving the train."

"They think they are running a little train," Long stated, "but it's a big train! It's the best job in the world and it is the best work I've ever had. That's what I always say. That is what we (the Navajo plant workers) say. "

Lengthy, with an assistant, makes use of water on the Black Mesa and Lake Powell Rail, which hauls coal in tanker vans from the Peabody Western Coal Firm's Kayenta Mine, 78 miles – NGS near the aspect, Arizona. She works 10-hour shifts.

Long grown in Gallup and graduated from Gallup Excessive in 2000. He is Tódík ozhí and was born in Bitáá Chii for them. In 2006, he applied for Operations and Maintenance I at NGS and was selected by the Salt River Undertaking the following yr for a seven-week training. He accomplished the program and moved together with his wife and youngsters to his new job. Long started maintenance at the manufacturing unit's railway terminal and labored till O&M III, which gave him the opportunity to tug. "I've since had a train (the driver) expert," Long stated Friday morning throughout one among the last run of 8500 tons of coal in four locomotive, which the Mexican nationwide rail used once in the 90's.

"It takes about two hours and 20 minutes on the train, but it's about an hour's drive on the motorway," to the Klethla Valley warehouse bridges which are close to mines on US Route 160, he stated. The final run (part) of the railroad will shut on August 26, after the last coal provide was delivered to NGS, stated manufacturing unit spokesman George Hardeen. "People are coming together to watch the final demolition called Farewell to NGS," he stated.

"And they start to use all the coal on top of the coal so they take it out (and) they don't have to transport it outside the area," Hardeen stated. Long stated that when the railway stops, it's sad, however "it's what it is – life. "The 37-year-old began using the train in the early thirties. Based on him, due to this job, he raised his family on Page, where his youngsters grew up. His oldest baby is now a freshman on the first page." St. Johns on, depending on where (SRP) to send me over the next couple of months, "Long stated." I'm still SRP's underground They provide us with jobs, and it's pretty good "

Shifting imply a new career,.. new obstacles and studying new things and "it's good," stated Lengthy. "When I started here, I was like 25 years old and 30 when I started (operating) unaa, "Long stated." I've learned a lot (and) it gave a lot of opportunities that I would not have received elsewhere "

Long's assistant, the train operator Sylvester Shorty, was 21 when he started working NGS. The railway station. She is Tóh's, born Tódích to them. Using the train (half) "I was going to college," stated Shorty, 34, of Tonalea-Pink Lake, Arizona. “Because my money ran out, I had to find a job to train (finance). So I left and joined SRP. It was back in 2006. ”Like Longy, Shorty completed the training and accomplished the program successfully and worked upwards. "I finished it and at the end we had three options," Shorty stated. "The railroad was more fascinating.

At that time, heavy gear (drivers) on the rail aspect might drive the train." Shorty wanted to take the train instead of sitting in the cab. "It was the greatest determination I've ever made," Shorty said. "I've discovered quite a bit. It was fun. One of the best time I had was with the monitor crew. (I like) the whole lot to do with the train since you are outdoors. You will notice landscapes and comparable goods there. I never considered driving this train. “Shorty stated that over the years, he has seen drones float above the train and loads of Toh Dine's photographers and tourists.

As far as strange things are involved, he stated he has seen individuals enjoying "chicken" in front of shifting locomotives, individuals chasing a train, bikini models posing for crossing Shonto Junction and a UFO night time along the railway at night time. Staff Miss It (Backside) When the railway stops, Shorty stated he would miss it as a result of he might rise up each day and work in his backyard. "It was interesting," Shorty added. "It felt like I was home all the time."

The railroad was constructed by Morrison-Knudsen of Boise, Idaho, in the early '70s, based on the Powell Museum archive. Development started in February 1971. The BMLP Railroad was the first 50,000 volt electrical railway in the world. In line with the archives, the high-voltage system eradicated the want for substations alongside the route. The train drove its own engine for the first time in August 1973 and commenced its first coal run in October of that yr. Two trains made six round trips of 156 miles a day. At that time, every automotive had 122 tonnes of coal.

When the plant was operating at full capability earlier than the start of current decommissioning efforts, NGS acquired three deliveries a day, which was about 240 automobiles of coal. Since final week, the train has continued to make three trips a day with about 85 automobiles, which is less than a mile. "Each car weighs about 100 tons," stated Lengthy, who doesn’t begin or end his day on the rail. And every locomotive is 200 tons and there are 4 of us. Three a day. We're now making an attempt to get all the coal from the silos. We're making an attempt to build a coal pile and get all the remaining coal. "

Safety Checks (Backside) Long and Shorty's transfer often begins before departure and should cross a full vary of safety controls. Before the morning train to go away for the coal bridges on Friday, Brian June helped the NGS railroad in the preparations. "Yeah! We're getting close, about 10 days left," he stated of the coal run. A minute later inside the lead locomotive, No. EA022, lengthy and brief made for departure. "The brakes when we release them make a lot of noise," Lengthy stated moments earlier than the train began shifting at eight mph. So Sylvester drives out and I drive again. We drive at 40 km / h. "

stated for a very long time that everybody on the railroad had wonderful communication." We want to develop a safety culture, "Hardeen stated. and at work – and at residence – and in consequence, injuries have actually diminished. Last yr, the railway gained the so-called Presidential Award, the highest security award for the whole firm. The BMLP Railroad acquired prime environmental honors last yr with simply sufficient seating for two drivers and even their coffee on the dashboard and copies of the Navajo Occasions.

At 40 mph, Lengthy mentioned that there have been more photographers than normal these days. "You see them every 20 miles and then they chase the train, always taking silos, taking pictures," Lengthy stated. “With silos, they look forward to us again and then travel back (to the plant). "It's been so for the last two or three months," he stated, "a lot of people." About eight individuals got here to us final week. We even had a guy standing between mile 25 and 28 when the night time train was coming back. He was ready for the train. "

Not as noisy as the diesel (lower finish) Shorty stated that the railroad ballast, the gravel that types the base of the railway monitor, will probably be changed with a modern sort after 2012. He stated that the ballast breaks in order that it’s locked collectively and prevents movement. For decades, Hardeen stated issues like ballast and rails have been improved to scale back noise. "It's an environmental benefit," Hardeen stated. “So if individuals stay next to the train, it's not as noisy because it could possibly be. For the similar cause, it’s an electrical train to scale back pollution as an alternative of being a diesel train. “

This was decided when NGS was rebuilt in the seventies, when the first clear air regulation was handed. There are about 36 crossings alongside the railroad, stated Shorty, who heard the whistle earlier than every junction. Operators stated they had to hear a continuous whistle when a disturbing object was found on the monitor. Headlights are additionally used to extend the visibility of the train every time the train is in movement.

"Four locomotives together, that's our transmission," Long explained. “We are certainly one of them right now. That is the leading locomotive. "The cameramen say that is undoubtedly the greatest job in the world and it provides panoramic views of the great thing about Diné Bikéyah – Lake Powell, wild horses, water holes in blue-green water, & # 34; , Dzilyíj, and the land is faultless. The train begins to slow down miles earlier than the inventory bridges.

"The train slows down just enough to exchange money for barbecue brushes with Shonto Junction vendors," Shorty joked. "We pull the silos and announce to the shipment that we're going to the silos and which (two silos) side we're going to load," Lengthy explained. "The track divides the silos and we load either left or right, depending on where they got the full silos." Friday's train pulled to the proper, where just one locomotive was used to tug all 85 automobiles by means of. The loading velocity is 1 mph and it takes about an hour to cost the coal.

"That's where we finish loading and then test our brakes," Long explained. "After you test our brakes, Sylvester walks around the train to listen for air leaks – just to make sure no one gets on board while loading." He added, "From there, he'll come back and leave the silos and go back to NGS." "Yes, we miss this," Shorty added.