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Out & About – March 20, 2013

March 21, 2013

After all the storms last night, it cleared out nicely this afternoon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend much time capitalizing on the nice weather due to editing commitments.

In the middle of the editing project, the trackball mouse I use on my video editing system cratered . It’s been acting up for some time, so a trip to Fry’s was in order – strictly work related. But I took a camera and radio with me, just in case.

En route, the radio advised me of a westbound headed my way so I paused just west of the Dulles Ave. grade crossing for a quick photo-op. UP 3818, the MEWEY-20 (Manifest Englewood-East Yard), came into view shortly.

UP SD70M 3818 on MEWEY train at Stafford, tX

The third unit was looking particularly good. UP 8000 is an ES44AC that was built in July, 2012. Too bad it wasn’t leading.

UP ES44AC 8000 at Stafford TX

Mixed in among the MEWEY’s hodgepodge of freight cars was a TTX 89′ flat with a 67′ PROX tank car. The tank car didn’t appear to have wreck damage, but it has certainly seen better days.

ITTX 912205, an 89' flat car

The DS advised the MOW foreman that the QEWWC-20 would be the next train by, but it was about 30 minutes behind the MEWEY. That should be just enough time to get in and out of Fry’s.

As it turned out, it took me about 45 minutes to get back trackside. But the QEWWC also took longer than expected to get cleared through the various Form B’s, so it worked out just right.

Today’s QEWWC would be operating under a few extra rules. The conductor had advised the Glidden sub DS that they were a “key train” and they also had a high-wide load.

What’s a “key train”?

A “Key Train” is any train with:
* one tank car load of poison or toxic inhalation hazard (PIH or TIH) (Hazard Zone A, B, C, D) or anhydrous ammonia, or;
* 20 car loads or intermodal portable tank loads of a combination of PIH or TIH (Hazard Zone A, B, C, D), anhydrous ammonia, flammable gas, Class 1.1 or 1.2 explosives, and environmentally sensitive chemicals, or;
* one or more car loads of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), High Level Radioactive Waste (HLRW).

My understanding of the main operational difference for this train will be it will stay on the mainline for meets and it must be stopped before other trains will be able to pass by it.

I set up for UP 8385 at CP SA020, in downtown Stafford, Texas. As it came into view in the distance, the second unit seemed somewhat different.

UP freight train QEWWC led by SD70ACe 8385

UP freight train QEWWC led by SD70ACe 8385

UP freight train QEWWC led by SD70ACe 8385

Union Pacific SD70ACe 8385

The “somewhat different” second unit was UP 6181, a legitimate Southern Pacific heritage engine, still proudly wearing its Southern Pacific colors. Can you believe this unit will be 18 years old in May?

Union Pacific AC4400CW 6181 still in Southern Pacific colors

The high-wide load was  5 cars from the head end. Right behind it were 2 DODX flats loaded with USMC AAV-7A1 armored personnel carriers.

QTTX 130528 flat car

QTTX 130528 flat car

DODX flats with USMC AAV-7A1 APC's

Two ES44AC DPU’s bring up the rear of the QEWWC as it passes the intermediates at CP SA020, shoving the train toward its final destination, the huge ex-SP yard at West Colton, California.

Union Pacific DPU locomotives at Stafford TX

Union Pacific DPU locomotives at Stafford TX

At this point I headed home to complete the wedding video I was working on, content that I’d been able to get in a bit of railfanning without having to play hooky. Not that anything’s wrong with that…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2013 6:52 pm


  2. Joseph woehler II permalink
    November 26, 2015 10:49 am


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