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Out & About – January 10, 2013

January 11, 2013

I was able to capitalize on several hours of what passes for nice weather yesterday to catch a few trains.  We just had a strong front go through southeast Texas, with several days of rain. The crystal-clear conditions that are typical after a front passes through just aren’t happening this year. A thin layer of high cirrus, with a few large sucker holes is about as good as it gets this year.

First up was the MEWEG train, UP 5193,  at MP 27. There’s a nice curve here that’s typically not shootable due to overgrown vegetation.  But the UP  recently had several hundred yards of it cut back, probably to create a safer walk for the crew changes that take place here regularly.

The MEWEG train is a low-priority manifest to Eagle Pass, Texas. The containers in the distant background belong to an eastbound KCS train in the Sugar Land siding that’s waiting for the 5193 to clear the east switch.

Union Pacific SD70M 5193 at Sugar Land TX

Union Pacific SD70M 5193 at Sugar Land TXOnce the MEWEG cleared up, KCS 4590 pulled its intermodal eastward. Even though it wasn’t going fast, maybe 35mph,  I just coudn’t get ahead of the 4590. I couldn’t get a green light on Hwy 90A to save my life. I don’t know how, but I barely made it to MP 20.5 to get this shot at the intermediate signal. (Actually, I do know how I was able to finally get ahead of the train, but I can’t talk about it.  You know, 5th Amendment and everything….)

KCS AC4400CW 4590 at Stafford TX

KCS AC4400CW 4590 at Stafford TX

Next up was KCS 4702 with the daily Shreveport – Laredo manifest which I captured at MP 25, the east switch of Sugar Land.

KCS ES44AC 4702 at Sugar land TX

KCS ES44AC 4702 at Sugar land TX

The KCS local, with a one car train, waits impatiently for its turn to move east toward Houston.

KCS ES44AC 4702 at Sugar land TX

As the westbound manifest was passing, I relocated about 1/2 mile east to the Brooks Street grade crossing. You might have seen it in the news recently. It’s the grade crossing where an auto carrier 18-wheeler bottomed out, getting  stuck , and shortly thereafter, whacked by the KCS local this past Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.


You’ll never guess the history of the GP40 leading today’s local. It was built  December 1965 as New York Central 3030, keeping the same number when it became a Penn Central / Conrail unit. Conrail returned the unit upon expiration of its 15-year equipment lease in 1980. C&NW picked it up in late 1980. It was overhauled, painted into C&NW colors, and re-numbered C&NW 5519.  C&NW retired the unit, selling it to National Rail Equipment in 1989.

NRE then re-built the unit. Helm Locomotive Leasing leased it to Union Pacific, where it became UP 882 in February of 1990. It only lasted 2 years on the UP. It suffered fire damage in March 1992  and was retired by UP. Helm sent the unit to AMF in Canada, where the unit was re-built again. The unit then became KCS 4755 in Spring of 1994. It was re-numbered 2800 several years ago when KCS combined KCS and TFM locomotives into a common numbering plan. By the looks of it, it was recently re-painted into the current KCS livery. It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover…

Here’s the going-away view of the KCS local as it crosses Oyster Creek en route to do its work in Houston.


MOW was getting the railroad once the KCS local got through the Form B between Heacker and Missouri City, so I took a cue from the classic Simon & Garfunkel tune and went homeward bound.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2013 9:29 am

    I am new to your website.I must say you take absolutely georgeous photos.I wish I had found you years ago.Thanks so much for letting others enjoy your work.Warren Johnson

  2. james cristinian permalink
    March 26, 2013 11:48 am

    Curious, what work does it do in Houston?

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