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UP Engineering Dept. Passenger Special

May 10, 2010

Union Pacific’s Engineering Dept. Passenger Special is out and about again. It came into Houston yesterday. Symboled SNLHO-09, it departed North Little Rock at 6 AM. Its 450 mile run took it through Texarkana, Marshall, Longview and Palestine en route to Houston.

Since the late 1990’s, Engineering Dept. specials have been powered by UP 6936, per the request of Bill Wimmer, UP VP-Engineering. Part of UP’s Historical locomotive collection, the 6936 is UP’s last operational Centennial locomotive.

Perhaps symbolic of Mr. Wimmer’s retirement promotion to VP-Operations in 2008, the 6936 is not pulling the Engineering Dept. special this year. Powering the train this year is UP 1995, the C&NW Heritage locomotive.

Flying by McGowan, MP 225 on the Palestine sub, at 4:58 PM on May 9, 2010

Note the dust being kicked up toward the rear of the train. Thanks to the 70mph speed limit on the Hardy Toll Road, we were able to get ahead of the train at Belt Junction.

The SNLHO-09 approaches Belt Junction, MP 229 on the Palestine Sub.

I assumed the train would travel via the East Belt, through Pierce Yard, to Settegast. En route to the next photo spot, I caught a glimpse of the train in the distance, but it looked like it was on the “wrong” track.

It turned out that the train was being routed via the Beaumont Sub, in order to bring the train into Settegast from the north.

No problem. A quick course correction got me to the Crosstimbers Rd. grade crossing near MP 380 of the Beaumont Sub for the following view:

UP Engineering Dept. special SNLHO-09 approaching Settegast yard in Houston, May 9, 2010

The train is about a mile or so from the top end of Settegast, but it will be easy to get ahead of it due to a 10mph speed restriction at Settegast Junction.

The SNLHO at the far North end of Settegast Yard. Settegast Jct. is in the background.

The train spent the night at Settegast Yard. The Engineering Special departed Houston at 5 AM this morning. Symboled SHOSA-10, it would review the Glidden sub between Houston and San Antonio.

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