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It’s Official

April 16, 2013

As of 5:00 PM yesterday, April 15, 2013, Union Pacific cut in 4.5 miles of new main line between Heacker (CP SA014) and what had been the west switch of Missouri City (CP SA019). You might recall some previous posts here showing the double track construction project as it progressed.

One of the first trains to traverse the new main was Amtrak’s Sunset Limited. I had received word that today’s #1 would be more interesting than usual because it would have Heritage P42 184 on the point and 2 private cars on the rear.

As I had covered an afternoon deposition near the Galleria, CP LF372 was a convenient spot for my first shots. It was very cloudy, but nothing that ISO 2500 couldn’t take care of. At 1913, #1 blew by me doing a good 60mph.

Amtrak 184 on Sunset Limited in Houston TX



Houston rush-hour traffic being what it is, I didn’t think I’d be able to get another shot of this train. But the Sunset had to wait at Heacker for about 10 minutes before it could get clearance through the various Form B and C bulletins in place. As such, I was able to set up in Missouri City with plenty of time to spare.

The next image shows where the new main, main 1, ties into the east end of Missouri City siding.  The switch was slated to be removed today.

New Union Pacific trackwork in Missouri City TX

It’s become quite dark by the time #1  got by me at 1941 requiring the 5D II’s maximum ISO of 6400. Note how the hi-rail’s headlights light up the side of the Superliners.

Amtrak #1 at Missouri City TX

Amtrak #1 at Missouri City TX

Amtrak #1 at Missouri City TX

 The train had a 15mph slow order through here so I was able to get ahead of the train one last time. I went to the curve just west of CP SA020 in Stafford where I caught #1 at 1948 accelerating as it cleared the limits of the westernmost Form B.

Amtrak P42 184 on the Sunset Limited at Stafford TX

Amtrak #1 at Missouri City TX

private cars on the Sunset Limited at Stafford TX

To the extent Amtrak’s Heritage locomotives don’t get assigned to the Sunset Limited often, it’s not surprising that I’ve never been able to catch one in nice weather. Hopefully Amtrak will keep this equipment together for #2 that comes through here this upcoming Friday morning.

Edit: I wanted to note the names of the two PV’s trailing #1, but I didn’t have the hi-res images handy when I completed the post. 

The first private car is the Puget Sound. The dome is the Northern Dreams. Both cars were built in 1955 for the Union Pacific.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Howard Bingham permalink
    April 16, 2013 6:32 pm

    Good catch…! Did you get the name of the pvt. car on the end..?

  2. Christopher P. permalink
    April 16, 2013 9:11 pm

    Great catch, Robert! I saw a whole bunch of MOW guys out at the switch today, and I wondered what they were doing. Thanks for letting us all know! At least UP finally got this done, even though it was slated to be done by January…

  3. April 17, 2013 2:25 pm

    GREAT-TWILIGHT-WORK, Looks good enough for them to make ‘ FINAL ‘ for that contractor ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  4. Kevin D. permalink
    April 20, 2013 12:17 pm

    Excellent pictures, can’t wait to see the first side by side race. Any information on the second have of the project to Rosenberg and what’s up with all the box cars at the UP’s Sugar Land yard ?

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