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LORAM Rail Grinder – Euro Styling

April 20, 2017

Last Saturday, 4/15/2017, I’d received word that a LORAM rail grinder was approaching the Houston area, southbound on the BNSF Galveston sub. Because rail grinders aren’t the best looking traffic on the rails, I didn’t worry much about chasing it down.

As it was a mostly cloudy day, I hadn’t gotten out until mid-afternoon to do some errands. We were driving west on Hwy 90-A after shooting a few images of a KCS grain train at the east end of Harlem (CP SA029-UP Glidden sub).

ATCSMon showed an eastbound approaching, but I didn’t worry about it because of the clouds. When the headlight came into view, it seemed odd. As the train passed us, I could have sworn I was looking at a European passenger train!

No time to ponder what I had just seen, I made a quick u-turn in order to attempt a shot of this odd train. I managed to get ahead of the rail grinder right before the Hwy 99 interchange. It wasn’t the best of locations, but there was a bit of sun at the moment and something is better than nothing.

BNSF symbol UCBLHOU-13 near the east switch of Harlem, TX:

That’s the best looking rail grinder ever, the polar opposite of the grungy ones I’ve seen previously. It appears to be brand-new, travelling from LORAM’s manufacturing plant in Hamel, MN to the Port of Houston for shipment to Network Rail in the UK. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the rail network in England.

Views of some of the components of the rail grinder:


The decision to shoot this at a less than perfect location proved to be a wise one as a 2 minute wait at the traffic signals at Hwy 99 allowed the train to get so far ahead of us that chasing it into Houston would be a futile endeavor.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Tibbetts permalink
    April 20, 2017 11:45 am

    Great timing. Is that where the 99 Toll Road and US 90 cross near Sugarland?
    Been there many times.

  2. Bob C permalink
    April 20, 2017 12:56 pm

    Really enjoy your posts, thanks.

  3. Marc Montray permalink
    April 27, 2017 8:59 am

    Good catch. Interesting. A very “clean” look. Also typical European, hide all the works. They treated steam locos the same way, no external piping or appliances unlike ours with everything exposed and hanging off the boiler. Having worked on a few of these I can imagine having to do service under the “hood” is tight and uncomfortable.

    • April 27, 2017 9:08 am

      I wonder if some of the exterior panels are removable to expose the innards for service/repair.

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