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A Quick Two-in-a Row

September 15, 2010

I had occasion to drive into Houston early this afternoon.  I took the camera and radio just in case. I mean, you have to be prepared, right?

Right off the bat, the dispatcher tells a bridge gang working at MP 20 (UP Glidden sub) to clear up as he had some traffic to run.

Hoping the traffic was westbound, I headed east on Hwy 90A. As I approached CP SA014,  I could see a westbound in the distance with its headlight dimmed. About the same time, the bridge foreman releases his track & time, so the stage is set. Let the show begin.

The Glidden sub's hottest train, the ZATLC, accelerates west at Heacker, TX on Sept. 15, 2010.

This is the renowned “juice train” that I posted about a while back.  The symbol of this train has changed recently. Previously, this train’s symbol was KATCI. As of a few months ago, the symbol was changed to ZATLC.

The train still originates on the CSX at Atlanta. It still terminates in the LA Basin, albeit at the “Shops” Yard versus the City of Industry previously. The main difference if the prefix.

I’m not sure about the significance of the K prefix.  But put a Z prefix on a train, and it becomes a “Z train”.  Hottest of the hot. Everyone from track laborer to Executive VP-Operations knows that you don’t mess with Z trains.

My guess is the new symbol results from enhancing the priority of this train, or possibly combining all high-priority trains under one prefix, specifically Z.

As the ZATLC had just started pulling at Heacker, I was able to get ahead of it for one more shot at CP SA017, the east switch at Missouri City.

UP 7372 has the ZATLC at track speed at Missouri City, TX on Sept. 15, 2010

With the juice train by me, it was time to set up for the next westbound. Radio chatter indicated that it was right on the juice train’s block. I headed back east, but quickly u-turned west when confronted with some pesky clouds around MP 15.6.

By the time I set up CP SA019, the west switch at  Missouri City, the next train was already between switches!

UP SD70M passes CP SA019 with a westbound bare table on September 15, 2010.

I don’t care much for photographing bare tables, but at least I had set up just into the curve, so most of the train out of sight. Getting a notch-nose SD70M on the point was a bonus.

There was more traffic, but it was eastbound. Not to mention, I still had some errands to run in Houston. If I wanted to avoid rush-hour traffic, it was time to put the camera away…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. anonrailfain permalink
    March 27, 2011 3:59 pm

    im pretty sure this sets out on NS from atlanta, not CSX as you had mentioned

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