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Back to the Valley – The McAllen local

January 29, 2010

A previous post showed a photo I took in McAllen, Texas back in 1978. A reader asked for anything else I might have from that part of Texas.

Since we here at Southwest Rails aim to please:

MP GP15-1 1613 working westward at Donna, Texas with the McAllen local on March 11, 1980

You’ll have to trust me on this, but there is definitely a railroad track in the above image. It’s just that the weed sprayer didn’t get this far south very often.

We’re at Donna, Texas, about 10 miles or so from the U.S.-Mexico border. Donna is roughly the midway point for the McAllen local, which originated in the MP yard in Harlingen, and would go to McAllen doing what locals do – picking up and setting out cars to the lineside clients.

I still recall the train pictured above because the engineer had his 1500 hp GP15-1 pegged out in order to maintain track speed (probably 30mph) with the sizable train. It looks like he’s got a good 40 or so cars.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron Kiser permalink
    January 29, 2010 11:31 pm

    Good photo. After the UP took over the Katy here in Oklahoma City, the GP15’s were the first switch engines they sent us. I still consider them to be the best yard engine available.

  2. Fernando Uribe permalink
    January 30, 2010 10:39 am

    I always pass by Donna, and even I have to admit, the scenery around the train looks completely different…in 30 years. Those GP15-1’s/GP15AC’s proved their reliability, even today some still survive with mo-pac’s NLR Lettering.

    From the 90’s up to 2004 or so, the trains were 100+ long. After most produce companies ceased operations, the trains were about the same length as the 1613’s train. When the recession hit, you could actually admit it was a trainset with one locomotive and the most of 5 to 12 freight cars.

    Great photo Robert! Keep up the work! I hope to see more of the Valley!

  3. April 25, 2010 12:01 pm

    Robert … cutting off the Rio Valley classic palm tree on the left?

    • April 25, 2010 12:09 pm

      Cutting off the palm tree was intentional. It was to illustrate, with irony, how mankind has destroyed half of the environment….
      You believe that, right?

  4. Rick Malo permalink
    January 13, 2011 2:22 pm

    The first GP-15 I saw was a MoPac unit running long hood first with 2 cars and a caboose through Missouri City, Tx back in the ’70s. It looked like a “Baby Tunnelmotor” compared to the SP’s SD40&45T-2 models that we would see along South Main(HWY 90A).

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