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Today in History – 1980

April 2, 2010

During the first 6 months of 1980, I had a job that involved driving throughout the Rio Grande Valley. I would take my camera with me just in case I saw something interesting.

The Missouri Pacific’s main facility in the Valley was its yard in Harlingen. Assigned motive power was non-turbo’d Geeps, but the road trains would have anything from GP35’s to U30C’s. All of which is interesting enough, but my visit to the Harlingen roundhouse on April 2, 1980 was slightly more interesting than usual.

As I pulled in, I saw some uncharacteristic color among the engines. “What’s that red thing?” I thought to myself.

GTW SD40 5912 adds some color to the MP Harlingen, Texas roundhouse tracks on April 2, 1980

The “red thing” was GTW SD40 5912. I had no idea what it was doing here, but this is exactly why I had a camera with me.

After taking my pictures, I checked with the roundhouse foreman who advised me that the MP was leasing some engines because of a motive power shortage.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Fernando Uribe permalink
    April 4, 2010 10:50 am

    In all my years I have photographed Harlingen, I NEVER knew there was a roundhouse! What side was it on? This shot is incredible! A piece of history retold.

  2. April 4, 2010 10:58 am

    It was approx. 300-400 yards north of spur 54….

  3. Steve Schievelbein permalink
    April 8, 2010 4:28 pm

    I really like this shot! My father was an engineer out of Kingsville for the MP from the early 70’s till 1985, and I have many memories that this shot recalled! He was made an M.O.P. and we moved to Tahoe briefly for 6 years before he returned to the San Antonio Service Unit.

    Do you have anymore Mopac shots from the Kingsville sub?

    • April 9, 2010 12:06 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed the trip down “memory lane”. Everyone I encountered on the MP at Harlingen was very friendly, and gladly tolerated me, my camera, and my questions.
      I do have some more shots from the area that I’ll post…

  4. April 25, 2010 11:46 am

    The locomotive between the two power poles on the left has my attention more than the GTW (well, today at least – it would not have been that way then). By the width of the stripes this locomotive has the older MP scheme with a basic buzzsaw … oh, and it an old high hood Geep!

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