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Party Like It’s 1996

February 13, 2012

UP SD70ACe 1996, the Southern Pacific heritage locomotive, visited Houston this past weekend. It was the lead unit on the QWCEW-8 (Quality West Colton to Englewood) priority manifest. The train arrived at SoSan Yard at 3:48 PM on Friday. To the extent this train has work at SoSan and East Yard in San Antonio, I was optimistic that it would get to the Houston area mid-morning on Saturday. Which would have been perfect, because the weather was perfect on Saturday.

Unfortunately for me, the train made better then expected time. The train passed through my neck of the Glidden sub before sunrise, arriving  at Englewood at 6:28  Saturday morning.

I learned that the 1996 was scheduled to lead the QEWWC-12 train, heading back to West Colton,  Sunday afternoon. Of course the perfect weather had moved on, leaving the Houston area with some seriously overcast skies.

Overcast skies can’t stop a true heritage fleet junkie from doing his thing, so I headed out to try my luck at photography under poor lighting conditions.

Arriving to the west end of Englewood about 2 PM was perfect because the QEWWC-12 was just starting his double over. I scrambled up the Lockwood Drive overpass for my first shots:

UP 1996 (Southern Pacific heritage engine) at Union Pacific's Englewood Yard in Houston, TX

At it shoved back to couple up with the balance of its train, I moved to capture the other side of the 1996.

UP 1996 (Southern Pacific heritage engine) at Union Pacific's Englewood Yard in Houston, TX

UP 1996 (Southern Pacific heritage engine) at Union Pacific's Englewood Yard in Houston, TX

Its train coupled up, the 1996 drags west to Bringhurst Street for its air test.

Bringhurst Street is the first grade crossing west of Englewood. It’s at MP 359.85 on the Terminal sub, about 2/3 mile beyond the overpass in the background of the below image. No, I don’t know what’s taken over  the pole behind the third unit…

Time for me to move to Bringhurst.

As soon as the QEWWC pulled to a stop at Bringhurst, an eastbound KCS arrived. The trailing unit looks pretty new.

The crew change had to wait until the KCS got by.

I did a double-take when I saw this because the KCS doesn’t have brand-new SD70ACe’s right now. When I saw the cab number, 4022, I realized that this was a sibling of lead unit 4027. It’s one of KCS’ original SD70ACe’s, delivered in the gray scheme in 2005. The 4022 is spotless, leading me to believe this unit is fresh from being repainted by KCSM in Mexico.

Once the KCS cleared up and the air test was completed, the 1996 departed Bringhurst.

It’s close to 4 PM by now, getting darker and darker, but I’m no longer afraid of the dark side. So I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and headed west to attempt one more shot of the 1996. I ended up at the UP overpass of I-10, near MP 365, looking toward downtown. Within 2-3 minutes, the 1996 arrives.

The QEWWC and QWCEW trains typically have DPU’s, so I hung out to see what might be bringing up the rear of today’s QEWWC. Within a few minutes, an SD70m and an SD70ACe arrived, with the 4570 laying sand on the rails. You sure don’t see that much in the flat lands of Houston!

With the passage of the DPU’s, I finally surrendered to the increasing darkness. All in all, not a bad day, considering just how dark it was. With digital, especially the 5D II, the dark side is not as bad as I thought it was.

BTW, in preparing this post, I just realized that it was an all EMD day. The power for the two trains I caught was 5 SD70ACe’s and 3 SD70M’s.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pete permalink
    September 14, 2017 3:38 am

    The West end of Englewood Yard hasn’t changed at all!! Last time I worked there
    Was probably about 2002! That old light pole at TOFC yard with all that
    Poison Ivy growing on it, I remember it was growing last i relmember, long
    Live ,UP’s Poison Ivy Vine!! LOL!😂 In all great photography, thanks for sharing!

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