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Dodging Clouds

May 31, 2014

                                                                (Images taken May 29, 2014.)

It’s been a cloudy, rainy week here in Southeast Texas. So when the sun made a surprise appearance yesterday afternoon, I snuck out to try my luck with some westbound traffic that was headed my way.

I set up at Prison Road crossing (MP 26.26 on UP’s Glidden sub) to await the first train. Unfortunately, a small, but thick cumulus, cloud arrived about 2 minutes before UP 5003 West did. Had the train arrived 30 seconds later, it would have been a nice shot. But it didn’t.

I actually took a picture, but I deleted it. The locomotives and first 2-3 cars were in shade and the balance of the train was in bright sun. There was too much contrast, making it a useless shot. Too bad because the 2 trailing units were standard-cab UP C40-8’s which have been pulled from storage due to UP’s persistent power shortage.

After throwing some rocks to relieve my anger, I was ready for the next train. About 10 minutes later, I hear UP 7413 West talk to a signal maintainer about a grade crossing a few miles east of my location. OK, time to get ready.

Except that here comes another small patch of cumulus. Not wanting to get hosed again, I drove about 1 1/2 miles west where it appeared I could dodge the clouds long enough to get a shot.

The patch of clouds I just got away from started to ease my way, but not before UP 7413 with the QEWWC-29 in tow. You can see the sun/cloud demarcation line about 13 cars back.

UP 7413-1

I whine about clouds, but when they behave properly, they can make the shot.

UP 7413-2

There was a good-sized block of UP’s ARMN reefers about halfway back.

UP 7413-3

Last, but not least, no QEWWC is ever complete without its DPU’s. However, nose-to-nose DPU’s aren’t very photogenic, are they?

UP 7413-4

Once the QEWWC cleared up, I returned to the Prison Road crossing. The 2 mile tangent between there and CP SA025 offers the best light angle for summer, late afternoon shots.

It wasn’t long before the next westbound came into view, the IHOLA 29, with UP 9469 leading.

UP 9469-1

These older GE’s are typical power on rock trains and locals. You know UP is hurting for power when this 23-year old C41-8W is on a hot domestic intermodal.

The clouds have dissipated a bit since the QEWWC went by me, but they’re still looking good.

UP 9469-2

UP 9469-3

I’m no nativist xenophobe (sorry Dan Patrick), but I’ve always thought the domestic containers looked better than the foreign ones, not to mention they’re in much better condition.

UP 9469-4

The dispatcher was set to run 2 eastbounds now, so I took that as my cue to head home.

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