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W&H MAIN YARDS: Humorous Scanner Conversations

Compiled by Christopher Coleman
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Last Updated 5-30-97

This is a compilation of the best of a thread on the old newsgroup rec.railrod concerning amusing conversations that took place over radio frequencies

I live north of Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport and travel to Denton quite often up HWY 377 which parallels the ex MoPac/Katy now UP line into Ft. Worth from Denton. A few days ago I was headed north along side of a mixed freight which apparently originated out of Ft. Worth. I had the scanner on and this is what I heard:

Train:  Train XXX to dispatch...

Disp:   Go ahead.

Train:  Yeah...uh...dispatch...can you, uh, tell us what train we have?

Disp:   What?!?

Train:  We need to figure out what train we have, because something isn't 
	right here. We're supposed to have a bulkhead flat, number
	TOE XXXX on the end of this train, and the crew we just passed
	in Roanoke told us it's nowhere in our train. Our manifest doesn't
	seem to match the rest of this train too well either. We need to
	figure out what train we have before we get too much farther up 
	the road.

Disp:   Can you come back?

Train:  No. We're already past milepost 729. We just need to figure out 
	where this train is supposed to go.

Disp:   Oh, yeah. OK. Uh...I'll talk to the yard master and try to figure 
	out what happened.

A few minutes pass...

Disp:   Dispatcher to train XXXX.

Train:  's'train XXXX.

Disp:   I looked you up in the computer, and everything seems to check
	out ok. I didn't find the bulkhead flat, so I got ahold of the yard
	master. Apparently he changed your consist, and he did update
	the computer, but he didn't give anyone an updated manifest.
	You must have the right train.

Train:  Well, we need to verify that bulkhead flat TOE XXXX because with
	it, we're limited to 40 mph. If we don't have it, then we're a
	50 mph train.

Disp:   Well, if you don't have it, then go 50.

Train:  (sounding unconvinced) We don't KNOW that we don't have it.

Disp:   Your manifest should be correct, and if it's not there, go 50.

Train:  (still sounding unconvinced) Well, OK.

End of conversation.

This probably doesn't seem as funny in print (with my paraphrasing), but at the time, I thought it was hilarious, and that it made the price of the scanner worth it.

Tad Marko Internet: tad@jove.acs.unt.edu

If you really want to help me, give me Liberty.

Tad's story reminded me of my own funny scanner experience back on 12/27/93 on the NYS&W in Binghamton, NY...Here's a rough approximation of the chatter overheard...

NYS&W talking detector- "New York Susquehanna and Western equipment
detector milepost 230" (or somesuch) "...Checking
train...........................New York Susquehanna and Western
equipment detector milepost 230...no defects...THINK SAFETY!!!"

Pause of about 45 seconds

Train- "bzzzzztgrrrrrrrrbzzzzzzzzzzzzzztshoopshoopshoopbzzzzzzzt"

Train- "bzzzzzt...4000 Cooperstown"

Dispatch- "Cooperstown"

Train- "Uh...We just...uh...hit a tree".

Dispatch- "What was that 4000?"

Train- "We just hit a tree"

Dispatch- "What's your damage?"

Train- "It shattered the front cab window"

(The temperature was about 5 below zero at this time)

Dispatch- "Where are you?" 

Train- "We're just past the detector"
       "We're not going anywhere with this windshield...Better call us a cab"

Pause of several minutes...(I'm assuming that they backed the train to a
crossing during this time)

Talking detector- "New York..." etc.  "Checking train...No defects...THINK

????- (Different voice) "Glad this thing doesn't check windshields..."

af877@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Harry Dodsworth) writes...

My favorite scanner story - heard at Ottawa station some years ago. Conductor to Dispatcher VIA Train 36 (to Montréal) ready to leave except ... we don't have an engineer - nobody called one!

I heard an interesting set of conversations last August as I sat in Amtrak train 4 waiting to leave Albuquerque, NM. Albuquerque is supposed to be a 20 minute stop for fuel, water, and fresh air (and to let a DEA dog sniff around the baggage car), but for one reason or another it sometimes runs longer. The crew keeps track of any and all delays and relay them to the Santa Fe dispatcher. This is a paraphrase of what I heard that day...

Engineer: Are we ready to highball?

{somebody): DEA still has their dog on the baggage car.


Station agent: Albuquerque Station to chief of on-board services, 
	train 4.

On-board services: This is on-board services.

Agent: Yes sir, we have an order of veggies here for your diner.  You gonna
	send somebody over for them?

On-board: Okay...yeah, I'll send the cook...chef...whatever...over to talk 
	to you.


Engineer: Is the DEA done yet?

On-board guy: Well, they're chasing some guy down the platform, I guess 
	they're done...

Engineer: Head end Train 4 to Chief of On-board services...

On-board: Chief of on-board services train 4...

Engineer: We ready to highball?

On-board: No...we're still sorting out that order of veggies for the diner.

(after getting the veggies sorted out and highballing)

Dispatcher: DS to Amtrak 4, what's your time and delay out of Albuquerque...

Engineer: 32 minutes, for the DEA and an order of vegetables for the diner...

Dispatcher: (after a pause) ...can you break that up somehow?

Engineer: Make it 26 minutes on the DEA, 8 minutes on the veggies...

       *                      *                       *

  I can see the headlines now..."Train Held Up By Vegetables!"

Dispatcher: "Dispatcher 82 to crew bus."
Crew Bus": {static}
Dispatcher: "Crew bus, what is your location?"
Crew Bus: {static}
Dispatcher: "Uh, would you by chance have a set of jumper cables on your bus?"
Crew Bus: {static}
Dispatcher: "Uh, would you know how to jump start a locomotive?"
Crew Bus: {static}
Dispatcher: "I didn't think so.  Dispatcher 82 out"

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