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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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