Re: remembering SP nuclear shipments-They only let me handle bombs and missiles...
Author: Bill Maltby
Date: 01-08-2019 - 15:12
Back in the 90's I was lurking around the Vancouver, WA depot area watching trains when scanner chatter indicated that a special move would be arriving soon. When it appeared it was a 3 car BN train with the nuclear fuel casks. Obviously a spent fuel move from Puget Sound Navel Shipyard in Bremerton, WA to the military site in eastern Idaho.
The train stopped, the road power cut off and a switcher came out and headed south with the train over the Columbia River to North Portland Jct. where it would be interchanged with the UP. When it arrived at the Junction the BN switcher cut off, crossed over and headed back to Vancouver leaving the three cars unattended on one of the main lines.
The UP crew and power was there on their track waiting for this train. After the switcher left the UP crew rang up the BN dispatcher and told him that they did not have paper work to enter the BN. They had assumed the switcher would shove the cars onto the UP so they could couple up and head east.
Since the UP crew couldn't enter the BN the few hundred feet to the cars a solution was reached where the BN dispatcher would send the paperwork to UP's yard office at Albina and then someone delivered it via vehicle to the crew waiting at N. Portland Jct.
I remember thinking how amazing it was that they left three cars of spent nuclear fuel (extremely radioactive) sitting on one of the main lines on the north side of Portland for over and hour while all this was going on. The track in that area is not real visible because of the vegetation and stuff and I'm sure 99.999% of the people that did see it didn't realize what it was, but imagine if the news media got wind of this.