Down By The Corner
If there’s any point on the Union Pacific in the Houston area that can be called a corner, it would be Eureka, at MP 366.3 of the Terminal subdivision. Westbound trains make a fairly sharp 90 degree turn, from Northwest to Southwest.
I had seen a westbound QEWWC manifest departing Englewood this past July 17, 2011, but there just wasn’t proper light for a shot. Knowing that the track makes the 90 degree turn at Eureka, I made the 8 mile drive there to wait for the train.
The train arrived within 15 minutes, allowing me to capture this series of images as it traversed the big curve.
The track in the foreground serves double duty. It’s a lead into the ex-MKT Eureka Yard and a connector to the Eureka sub. An SD70M/SD9043MAC duo have the DPU duties today.
The DPU’s pass a train tied-down on Main 2. Eureka is a convenient spot to tie it down eastbounds when the crew is on short time, or Englewood isn’t able to take it.
Once the train gets out of this curve, track speed jumps from 20 to 40 mph for the 9 miles to West Junction. There, the Glidden sub begins and track speed increases to 60 mph.
I headed home to Sugar Land at this point, traveling via Loop 610 and Hwy 90. As I was passing through Stafford, I heard the detector at MP 15.6 go off. The detector’s exit message announced the train’s speed at 51 mph.
I set up inside the curve near MP 20. Not the best location, but just not enough time to get to a better spot. As expected, the train arrived shortly. Interestingly, the same train I just photographed at Eureka 25 minutes prior!
I didn’t try a shot of the DPU’s as the shot would have been almost straight into the sun. Homeward bound again. As I was pulling in to my driveway, the detector at 15.6 announced another westbound.
There’s still plenty of light, why not? I headed to my favorite location, the Imperial Sugar shot at MP 25. A friendly wave from the engineer accompanied the verboten whistle. (All of Sugar Land is a quiet zone, but crews may sound whistle to alert pedestrians.)
Once the KCS 4672 got by me, the sun was almost at the horizon, signifying that it’s really time to head home. Honest!