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Out & About – April 4, 2014

April 6, 2014

This past Friday was forecast to be overcast and dreary and I, of course, had no plans to get out. But upon looking out the window around 9 AM, I saw that it was actually quite nice. I then implemented Plan B, which consisted of turning on the radio to see what was running in my neck of the woods.

There were several westbound UP trains, but too backlit to worry about. It was about 10:15 AM when the tide of traffic turned and the DS started talking about several eastbounds to run before Amtrak came into the picture. I took that as my cue to hit the road.

The first eastbound was KCSM 4745. I wanted to catch it near MP 19, but it got there before I did, so I jumped ahead to Heacker where I was able to catch KCSM 4745 passing by KCS 4159.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen CN refrigerated containers before.

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Once the KCSM 4745 cleared up, I grabbed a roster view of KCS 4159, a 3-month old SD70ACe, just east of the S. Post Oak grade crossing.

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I knew there were more eastbounds coming, but I didn’t like the shot here, so I headed back to Missouri City. Within 5 minutes of arriving there, UP 7990 arrived with the ILBAV (intermodal Long Beach – Avondale) in tow.

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The mix on this train was classic priority traffic: stacks, racks, and pigs.

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UP 5777 was the DPU. I know there’s a good reason for these 20′ K-Line containers to be riding on a chassis in the well car. I just don’t know what it is…

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Running on the ILBAV’s blocks was an RBMBT (Rock Beckman, TX to Beaumont,TX) train led by ex-C&NW C44-9 9755.

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Amtrak #2 was running 2 blocks behind the rock train, calling out advance approach aspects from Harlem to CP SA 020. Apparently the DS was finally able to get the rock train crossed over at West Junction, because #2 finally called out a clear aspect at CP SA 019.

I opted for a slightly different perspective for #2:

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Next up was the KCS 4159 on the ASPLDR-03 (Autos Spring TX to Laredo TX reposition). The DS told them that he was ready for them to pull west from Post Oak. They complied, but as they approached my location, the conductor toned up the dispatcher to advise that they only had 20 minutes left to work.

The dispatcher then asked “Is this the 0830 crew?”

“No, we’re the midnight crew” was the conductor’s reply.

Noticeably annoyed, the dispatcher told them to stop their train off crossings until he could locate the 0830 crew.

A few minutes later, the DS called the ASPLDR to advise that the relief crew was just leaving Englewood, over 3 hours after coming on duty!

By this point the KCS 4159 arrived, stopping just short of the Cravens Road grade crossing.

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At this point the DS took back the KCS 4159’s signal at CP SA 019, telling the crew that he was going to run traffic around them until the new crew arrived.

About 20 minutes later, KCS 3916 with the daily QSHNL (Quality Shreveport to Nuevo Laredo) train, overtook the hogged-out ASPLDR.

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Both of the units on this train were ex-TFM SD70MAC’s, but the DPU had been re-painted into the Belle colors.

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Shortly after the QSHNL cleared up, the crew limo arrived at 12:16 PM with the 0830 San Antonio crew that would take the ASPLDR west.

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Once the new crew was aboard, they toned up the DS to advise that they were ready to blast off. The dispatcher’s response was to ask why it took them nearly 4 hours after coming on duty to get to their train.

The conductor said that Crew Express didn’t pick them up at the hotel until 10:30, and the remainder of the delay was printing paperwork at the yard office and travel to the train.

The DS didn’t sound too impressed. He then told the conductor they’d see one east before he could take them.

The eastbound didn’t arrive until 12:53 PM. It was the MLDEW (manifest Laredo-Englewood) with flared SD70M 4763 on the point.

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I was surprised to see GMTX 3300, a May 1970 vintage SD38, dead-in-consist. It’s been working on the Gardendale Railroad in South Texas. In its previous lives, it was NS 3809 / CR 6939 / PC 6939. It’s apparently en route to Settegast Mechanical for some work.

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A string of 20 or so brand-new oil tank cars were near the rear of the MLDEW, presumably built in Mexico.

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As the MLDEW was passing, I relocated about a mile west, to the S. Gessner grade crossing for a few more shots of the ASPLDR.

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KCS 4159 approaches the diverging approach aspect at CP SA019.

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The ASPLDR had to flag the next 2 signals, so I took that as a sign that I should try to catch it one last time. Actually, I look for any excuse to shoot a fresh Belle.

I went to the east switch of Sugar Land to await its arrival, hoping to get better light and a better background for a better picture.

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All in all, not too shabby for an impromptu outing, especially since the forecast called for cloudy skies. I wish the weather folks would be wrong like this more often…

 

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. THE OZARK WEAVERS permalink
    April 26, 2014 10:43 am

    SUPER=OUTING

    Finally up & run-n on our NEW DELL W/ M/S-8.1 & LOTS-TO-LEARN ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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