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Out & About – October 26, 2014

November 30, 2014

Another beautiful Sunday morning in the Houston area means it’s time to head out, try my luck with Amtrak #2, and whatever else might be running.

I started leaving the house when #2 was between East Bernard and Rosenberg, about 25 miles west of me. But I got sidetracked with letting the dog out, securing a loose gate, and several other trifles. Before I knew it, 15 minutes had gone by. Add in that the radio had been very quiet, which meant that there wasn’t any other traffic out there to slow down #2’s progress, and I was feeling pretty nervous. As I finally get going my fears are confirmed when I hear the detector at MP 30.5 announce no defects for 36 axles at 70 mph. Crap!

Here’s a word problem I would have appreciated in school: MP 22 is the closest shootable location. The train is less than 8 miles from there travelling 70 mph on clear signals.  I’m 3 miles away, limited (allegedly) to 40 mph, and have 4 traffic signals to traverse pursuant to all traffic laws (circumstances permitting). Who arrives first to MP 22?

The problem can’t be solved mathematically, but I can tell you that I arrived with maybe 10 seconds to spare before #2 blew by.


Nice to see another P32-8BWH in consist. One of these days I’ll catch one leading…



The dispatcher made reference to 2 eastbounds running behind Amtrak, but there’s time for a few shots of the MP 19 – MP 28 double-tracking project. All 3 views are looking west from MP 22.5. Note the old Imperial Sugar mill in the background of the first image.




Since it’s a Sunday morning, traffic on US 59 should be fairly light, so I relocated to the US 59 overpass.

The next train was the MKBHO-25 with a sight-for-sore-eyes lead unit, C40-8 9303.


When UP stored its older power in 2009, I didn’t think these 25+ year-old GE’s would ever run again, much less on the main line.



Wanting another bite at the UP 9303 apple, I drove the 8 miles to West Junction. If anything merits a chase these days, this train does.



That was nice. It would sure be nice to see standard-cab power more often, but it’s unlikely with hundreds of new fuel-efficient units coming to the UP in 2015.

The last train of the morning, KCS 4844, was just leaving Rosenberg when I got back to the car. The light was nice where I was at West Junction, but it was nicer at the US 59 overpass, so I headed back. I got there about 5 minutes before the train did.



There’s not a better looking non-heritage fleet unit these days than a clean Retro-Belle. You may disagree with me, but you would be wrong.



With no other traffic imminent and clouds moving my way, heading home for some breakfast was just the ticket.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Raymond Oshman permalink
    December 4, 2014 3:26 pm

    I thought the eastbound was Amtrak #1; what is the tall structure behind the sugar plant?; I moved from the area a couple of years ago.

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