Back in 1976 I was a student at the University of Oklahoma, and I managed to find a ground floor apartment where my bedroom window looked out onto the ATSF mainline 100 feet away. I kept busy watching trains as well as studying, and living that close to the tracks made it easy to run out and catch shots in bad weather. Visibility was good with about eight inches of snow on the ground when the power of this northbound passed me doing around 40 mph, but the train whipped the snow around it into a small whiteout by the time the caboose came by. I took this shot in 1976, and it was not too many more years before cabooses vanished all together as this one soon did into the snow that day.
It was a long Monday at work, and nothing was in sight at the west end of Centennial Yard on the way home as the sun set. So with no new pictures to show, it is a good time to reflect on the past and things you can’t see anymore. If this is not motivation enough to get out and photograph what is happening today, I don’t know what is. It is trite, but “Here today, gone tomorrow” is all too true. Case in point, this picture of a westbound SP train on the Tennessee Pass Subdivision between Parkdale and Spikebuck in the summer of 1997. The Arkansas River and the rafters having a good time are still there today, but the trains are gone, and the CTC mainline is now two streaks of rust.
I’m still learning the proper format for entering these posts, so please excuse the disorganized appearance until I get it corrected!
Sunday afternoon I was dispatched on a trip to the market just before sunset, and I made the most of it with two trains on the Baird Sub. First up was an eastbound UP intermodal with an SD70Ace on the point that I caught at the Rosedale crossing in Benbrook. I wanted to emphasize the low sun angle behind him and the glint off of the phone wires and rails, so I used the Canon 100-400mm zoom at full length (640mm with the Canon 20D sensor). The heat waves from the exhaust was an added bonus.
I made a quick run to the grocery as he got in the clear at Centennial Yard so the MFWOD could come out and head west. The sun was perfect for a nose shot of the westbound train dropping down the hill at Horse Club Road in Benbrook, and he had three SD40-2′s and one SD40-T2 to boot. I headed on back to the house just before the game, thinking the last shot of the weekend would probably be the best.
With the help of friends, I learned that today’s MWCFW train on the Baird Sub would have a UP SD70Ace on the point, and he was due into Fort Worth around 10:00am. In addition to a photo, I also wanted to get a good recording of the new model Nathan K5LLAR1L horn the SD70Ace’s come equipped with.
Aledo with its two grade crossings seemed like a good place to start, and I got there roughly 15 minutes before the train arrived. The light was too much on the nose so my picture was only fair, but the taping was good except for the last horn blast slightly overpowering my digital recorder’s automatic gain control.
Click Here to Listen
I packed up quickly and followed him back to Iona, where the dispatcher had him hold until a track was available at Centennial Yard. I shot the waiting train along with a closeup of the lead unit.