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Unexpected Encounter with Miss Katy

January 21, 2010

I suspect virtually anyone reading this needs no introduction to UP’s Heritage locomotives.  Just in case,  UP’s website has a good page about these engines.

In any event, I’ve never had real good luck catching these engines on the road.  The only time I was able to catch the Katy Heritage unit, SD70ACe 1988, stopped and in good light was Aug. 25, 2007. It had gone to Strang the day before and was slated to leave Strang on a QSRLI (Quality Strang, TX – Livonia, LA) train early Aug. 25th.

As I had a wedding ceremony to cover early that afternoon, I figured there was no way I could get the 1988 on this particular visit to the Houston area.

As I’m driving to the wedding reception about 5:30 P.M.,  I had to pass over the Strang sub.  As I glanced eastward, I spotted something in the distance that seemed, well, a little too red for your average UP engine.

Long story short, the 1988 was waiting just short of the Central Ave. grade crossing, the normal parking spot for trains waiting for a light at Manchester Jct.

It was really socked in to the west, but opportunities like this are rare, so I spent about 20 minutes waiting for the sun to work its way out. The light was still a bit hazy, but what can you really do?

UP 1988 holds the QSRLI at Central Ave. in Houston, TX on Aug. 25, 2007

UP 1988 under threatening skies in Houston, TX on Aug. 25, 2007

I just know that the crew aboard this train had to be wondering “what is this guy, dressed in a tie on a hot and humid day, doing taking pictures of our train?”

As I was taking “just a few more”, the DS called the UP 1988 to advise that he was ready for them at Manchester. I quickly re-located to the Manchester Ave. grade crossing for a nice shot of the train going by the open lawn at Peiser Park.

UP 1988 pulling the QSRLI past Peiser Park in Houston, TX on Aug. 25, 2007

All in all, not too bad an encounter with Miss Katy, considering I wasn’t expecting anything.

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