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He Ain’t My Brother, He’s Heavy

March 19, 2014

My high hopes of getting some after-work  railfanning in today, 3/18/2014, were dashed when the job ran much longer than expected.  No matter though, as I was able to sneak some in before work.

I happened to have the radio on this morning as I was getting ready.  With just a few more things to load up, I heard the DS call UP 8841 and say “ILBEW (Intermodal Long Beach-Englewood), I’m ready for you at the east end of Sugar Land”.

Sweet!  The ILBEW is 5 miles behind me and has just started pulling toward Houston, I’m headed to Houston, and the weather is perfect!  And one more thing: the ILBEW has a brand-new SD70AH on the point!

SD70AH is UP’s designation for its latest order of  SD70ACe’s. H stands for “heavy” because these units were spec’d at 428,000 lbs. gross weight versus 420,000 lbs. that’s been the norm. The extra 4 tons, in conjunction with new software, is expected to provide increased tractive effort compared to a non-heavy SD70ACe.

Unlike many of my adventures, there was no “Perils of Pauline” drama today. The drive to Missouri City was smooth and I was set up at MP 18 a good 5 minutes before the ILBEW arrived at 9:04 AM.

Union Pacific ILBEW led by brand-new SD70AH 8841 at Missouri City TX on 3/18/2014

Union Pacific ILBEW led by brand-new SD70AH 8841 at Missouri City TX on 3/18/2014

Note the SD70AH model designation below the locomotive number.

UP 8841-3

I really like the lines and texture of the B&W going-away view

UP 8841-4

Eastbound international container traffic is the ILBEW’s bread and butter.

UP 8841-5As the ILBEW was only doing about 30 mph, I decided to jump ahead of it and get another shot of it at West Junction. It came by me at 9:18 AM.

Union Pacific ILBEW led by brand-new SD70AH 8841 at West Junction TX on 3/18/2014The trailing unit looks pretty sad compared to the 8841.

Union Pacific ILBEW led by brand-new SD70AH 8841 at West Junction TX on 3/18/2014

 brand-new Union pacific SD70AH 8841 at West Junction TX on 3/18/2014There were 2 more trains following the ILBEW, plus Amtrak was due in about 90 minutes.  None of that mattered because I still had the 10:00 AM  work commitment in Houston.  But I wasn’t too bitter because the one train I did catch was probably the best of the bunch.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Christopher P. permalink
    March 19, 2014 12:47 am

    Nice pictures, Robert!
    You didn’t miss much if you had planned on staying for Amtrak. I was out later, and Amtrak still hadn’t come through by 2:30! It didn’t arrive at the station until 3:19, so I assume it would’ve come through there around 2:45 or 2:50, much later than when you were out and about!

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