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Norfolk Southern’s Norfolk Southern Heritage Unit in Texas

September 15, 2014

Norfolk Southern 8114, Norfolk Southern’s Norfolk Southern Heritage unit, has been roaming around Texas on the UP for the last week.

It came to San Antonio on the ASMKB-06, arriving on the 9th. It made a San Antonio to Eagle Pass round trip over the last 6 days, before being assigned to the MKBHO-15.

This train didn’t get out of San Antonio until mid-morning, so I didn’t expect it to get into my area before dark. I had written it off so I was surprised to hear the DS call the NS 8114 about 6:45 PM.

Apparently the train had been at Harlem waiting for a route to Settegast Yard. The DS told the NS 8114 to head east on signal indication and stop at Willowbend Drive to allow Amtrak to get by.

I had just finished preparing dinner and I was actually quite hungry. Sunset was about 30 minutes off and the train would be coming pretty much out of the sun. Almost a worst case scenario. What to do?

I wrestled with the decision as I gathered some equipment. Let’s see. NS heritage leading through here is rare. Light is really bad, but it’s not storming. And I have a microwave to re-heat dinner. Let’s roll….

I set up at Ormandy, CP916, in an attempt to use some trees there to block the sun from shining directly into the camera lens. I took a few test shots, none of which looked decent, before the MKBHO arrived at 7:18 PM.

NS 8114 (Norfolk Southern heritage) at Houston TX

NS 8114 (Norfolk Southern heritage) at Houston TX

I knew Amtrak #1 was getting close, but I didn’t realize how close. Had I looked east after taking the going-away shot, I would have seen its headlight. But I didn’t, and #1 blew by Ormandy just seconds after I got to the car.

Since Amtrak has gotten by, I wasn’t sure if the MKBHO would still stop at Willowbend, so I made the 10 minute drive to the Willowbend Drive grade crossing in 7 minutes. Bad light or not, I didn’t want to miss the shot.

The MKBHO made the turn at West Junction and came into view at 7:32 PM.

NS 8114 (Norfolk Southern heritage) at Houston TX

The train did stop, allowing me to spend about 10 minutes getting a couple of different angles as darkness took over. ISO for the first shot is 16,000. The second shot is 25,600. And to think I believed anything faster than K64 was communist!

NS 8114 (Norfolk Southern heritage) at Houston TX

NS 8114 (Norfolk Southern heritage) at Houston TX

All in all, the shots are quite lame. But as a wise man once said, “I think that any love is good lovin’, so I took what I could get…”

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