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Out & About – Dec. 18, 2012

December 21, 2012

As the video job I had today didn’t start until 1:30 PM, I turned on the radio about 10:30 to see if I might catch a few trains before I had to go downtown. Right off the bat I hear Amtrak calling the signal at CP SA020.  No hope of catching that, but the DS advised the MOW foremen that he had 3 eastbounds  following Amtrak. Cool. These next 3, I can catch.

I had already loaded the video gear in the car, so I was able to get on the road quickly. As soon as I got trackside in Stafford,  a headlight was in view. It was  KCS 4739 with an eastbound manifest, which I photographed right at MP 20 of UP’s Glidden sub.

KCS 4739 at Stafford TX

Right behind the KCS 4739 was UP 5122 leading an MLDEW (manifest Laredo-Englewood) which I caught at the intermediate signal at MP 20.6 ( The westbound signal, facing the camera, is 20.5; the eastbound is 20.6)

UP SD70M 5122 on eastbound freight train at Stafford, TX

Note the conductor-in-training wearing the orange cap required of employees in training.

UP SD70M 5122 on MLDEW train at Stafford TX

There were 3 of these CELX  (Celanese Chemical) 6-axle tank cars in the train.

CELX tank car

Dec-18-2012-032

I moved about a 1/2 mile west for the last train of the morning, the MEGEW (manifest Eagle Pass-Englewood). It had only one unit for power, AC4400CW 7046.
UP AC4400CW 7046 leading freight train MEGEW at Stafford TX

One unit, and the hood doors are open. Makes you wonder if the crew had issues with the unit.

UP AC4400CW 7046 leading freight train MEGEW at Stafford TX

 Eastbound fleet over, I headed downtown, ostensibly to my 1:30 job. But it was only 11:30 AM. What to do? Hmmm. Amtrak #2 is scheduled to leave the depot at 12:10 PM. The depot is downtown. My job is downtown. Sounds like a plan!

I headed to the McKee street grade crossing, about a mile east of the depot, where I can capture the eastbound Sunset Limited with downtown Houston as the backdrop. The train departed on time, passing by me at 12:13 PM.

Amtrak Sunset Limited departing Houston Dec-18-2012

Amtrak Sunset Limited departing Houston Dec-18-2012

After photographing #2 doing the “Maury Street Maneuver”, I made my way to my video assignment. As it turned out, it was brief, allowing me to catch one more train on my way back home.

UP 7042 was stopped at Heacker (CP SA014) but I passed on the shot as the light was too nosy. I was a few miles down Hwy 90 when I heard the 7042 get cleared through a Form B. I set up just west of CP SA020. The track curves away from the sun here just enough to create a nicely lit image of UP 7042 leading an MEWEG (manifest Englewood-Eagle Pass).

UP 7042 on MEWEG train at Stafford, TX

 I noticed that this unit also had hood doors open, in addition to the GE-trademarked scorch damage along the hood. The 7042 looks like it’s been worked hard during its tenure on the UP.

UP 7042 on MEWEG train at Stafford, TX

The DS indicated there was a fleet of eastbounds set to run. I decided against staying out, opting to head home to prepare for the next day’s video assignment.

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