Fayette Power Plant empty coal train near Decatur, TX

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Fayette Power Plant empty coal train near Decatur, TX

Extra 7187 West is a Fayette Power Plant empty coal train. We are stopped east of Decatur to avoid blocking any crossing. While waiting we hear that Extra 6774 East broke in two climbing the hill into Decatur.

Fayette Power Plant empty coal train near Decatur, TX

Extra 6774 East pulls into Decatur with the first five cars from its train. Fortunately the knuckle broke at the west end of a car. After setting out the bad order car, they will go back down the hill to get the first one third of the train.

Fayette Power Plant empty coal train near Decatur, TX

We have left the train east of town and taken the power to the west end of the siding while Extra 6774 East pulls the first third of its train into town. In the picture below, we are backing through the siding while the Extra 6774 East is pulling its train slowly down the main. That is downtown Decatur in the background. The town was named for naval hero Stephen Decatur.

Fayette Power Plant empty coal train near Decatur, TX

Trains breaking in two was a common occurrence near Decatur during 1979 and early 1980. The local sheriff was getting tired of complaints that crossing were blocked for hours at a time while train crews replaced busted knuckles or set out cars with broken drawbars. One night the sheriff arrested the conductor of a coal train that had broken in two and was blocking several crossings in town. After the BN had to bail their conductor out of jail, the railroad assigned a helper to Decatur. The helper was eliminated with the advent of DPU, but has recently been added again due to increases in train length.