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Southbound Katy at Mockingbird Lane

October 27, 2010

Let’s look at a few photos I took back back when I was a 12 year-old railfan in Dallas in 1972 and a K-Mart 10-speed was my mode of transportation.

I wanted to explore some tracks near near the intersection of  Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Ave.  It was an easy bike ride as it was only about about 3 miles north of home.  Of course I took the family Kodak Instamatic camera just in case a train came by.

My explorations typically consisted of looking at the tracks and switches, throwing some rocks, and hoping a train would come along. Usually, no train would come along.

Then again, sometimes one did.

(Image scanned from the original 1972 print, hence the color shift below the engineer's window)

Two Katy GP40’s, 171 and 221, are bringing a southbound manifest in from Dennison. By this point in time the Katy had already started re-painting its fleet into the John Deere scheme, so I was glad to get a matched set in the red scheme.

The building in the background is the iconic Dr. Pepper bottling plant, long a fixture on Mockingbird Lane. At least until 1996, when it was demolished to make room for some apartments. That’s progress, don’t you know.

Somehow I managed to advance the film quickly enough to get a going away shot of the lead unit.

Note the spur in the background leading into the Dr. Pepper plant. Beyond the covered hopper, you’ll see the Bekins Moving & Storage building. That building is still there, but it’s now occupied by Public Storage.

Union Pacific merger mania in the 1988-1996 period made this line redundant. The tracks were pulled up and the right-of-way was sold to DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) for use as a light rail corridor.

The spot where I stood for these two photos is now the location of DART’s Mockingbird Station, but it is below ground level.

I’ve embedded a Google street view from where the Katy main line crossed Mockingbird Lane. It’s looking north toward where I was when I took these shots. (The street view loads kind of slow, so give it a moment.)

There’s no hint that a railroad once passed through here, but look at the high tension power lines. They haven’t changed a bit from how they looked in my two photos. Drag the street view so you can look to the right and you’ll see the old Bekins building. Drag it a bit more to the right and you’ll see where the the old right-of-way was, just to the right of the mini-storage units.

It’s interesting to see that regardless of all of the changes in the last 38 years, some things haven’t changed at all. Which permits me to see where I was on that lazy summer afternoon in 1972 when I decided to get on my bike to see what was going on at the tracks on Mockingbird Lane.

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