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Out & About – October 13, 2015

November 11, 2015

No overarching narrative in this episode, just a beautiful Tuesday in October and a few trains through my neck of the woods. The day had an inauspicious start, though. Plenty of westbound traffic in the morning for which there wasn’t a decent shot. Thanks, Obama.

My prospects improved when eastbound traffic started after lunch. The only decent light for eastbounds in the early afternoon is the tangent between MP 19 and MP 21, so there I went.

First up at 12:54 PM is the eastbound Sunset Limited, running almost 2 hours behind schedule as it passes the intermediate signal at MP 20.5. This is just west of the Promenade Blvd grade crossing in Stafford.

Amtrak P42DC 25 on Sunset Limited at Stafford TX

Amtrak P42DC 25 and 76 on Sunset Limited at Stafford TX

I’ve never concerned myself with baggage cars, but since Amtrak has started taking delivery of 55 new baggage cars, bazillion mile veterans like 1714 are on short time. The 1714 is a 1953 Budd product, originally ATSF 2850.

Amtrak baggage car 1714 at Stafford TX

Amtrak Sunset Limited at Stafford TX

Following Amtrak was an eastbound KCS manifest at 1:17 PM. This shot is about 200 yards west of the Amtrak view. Note the new intermediate signals. They’ll be cut in once the second main track goes into service.


It’s not common to see a KCS through freight with only one unit. SD70ACe 4102 was working hard as it passed me, at least run 6, to maintain it’s 30mph pace.



A few boxcars seemed notable because they were really clean.

10-13-15-8_WEB 10-13-15-9_WEB 10-13-15-10_WEB

Next up was UP 7420 East with the ILBEW (intermodal Long Beach-Englewood) at 1:45 PM.

It’s typically an early morning train into Englewood, but I didn’t dwell on its tardiness because it had colorful trailing motors, a KCS SD70ACe and a CSXT SD40-2 re-build.


If the UP could re-build it’s SD40-2 fleet without ruining the lines of the classic spartan cab, why couldn’t CSX? I think the technical term for the looks of the CSX SD40-2 re-builds is fugly.



Auto racks up front followed by international containers is SOP for the ILBEW.


Right behind the ILBEW was a KCS empty grain train led by AC4400CW KCS 4624 at 2:01 PM.

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The days of complete trainsets of black hoppers is over. You should have gotten your pictures when you could…


Is there a better looking covered hopper paint scheme out there?


This is the paint scheme, loosely speaking, that KCS chose for its newest covered hoppers. At least they kept the large logo…



That was it for traffic for a while. I went home and piddled around as I’m prone to do. A glimpse at ATCS around 4:00 PM showed a westbound line-up from Heacker to Sugar Land. A quick drive to MP 21 yielded the QEWWC, a late afternoon regular through here, with a fine power consist.



Still lookin’ good after all the years…



Your typical QEWWC is heavy on steel, chemicals, covered hoppers, and loaded boxcars.


Bringing up the rear was the perfect bookend for the train, a DPU set with another SP patch trailing.


Like I said, still lookin’ good after all the years.



A not too shabby way to end the day…

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