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Amtrak Sunset Limited Goes Around the World – While In Houston

June 19, 2017

This past Saturday, 6/17/2017, Amtrak #1 took a circuitous route into the Houston depot. Instead of the normal straight shot via the Lafayette and Houston subs, the train made a hard right turn at Tower 87 on to the East Belt sub. The train made a left turn at Belt Junction on to the West Belt sub. It then traveled south to CP LF365 where it re-joined the Houston sub, but on the freight main . To reach the depot, the train had to go  west to Chaney Jct where the freight main and passenger main converge. The train then backed in, about 2 miles, to the depot.

I know all of this information is gibberish unless you’re a Houston-area railfan, but the bottom line is I was able to catch #1 at several unusual locations in the Houston terminal.

I had received word earlier in the day that heritage painted P42DC 822 was leading #1 so I timed some family duties on the east side of Houston to coincide with its arrival to the east side of Houston.

Shots #1 and #2 show the train in the east yard of Englewood. I pulled up literally seconds before the train arrived at 6:01 PM, actually having to sprint the 15 yards to get to the right spot on the I-610 overpass.

You might recall that the 822 led #1 10 days prior. Remember the “Monster Sunset Limited” video? During the 10 days since, it was on an inspection train between OKC and KC. It then went to Chicago where it got assigned to the City of New Orleans to New Orleans. And then right back on the Sunset Limited.

Shortly after getting back in the car, I heard the engineer on #1 call out a diverging signal at Tower 87, cluing me in on the unusual routing. I never learned the reason for the different routing, but either trackwork or congestion at Englewood Yard are likely suspects.

Clouds arrived at CP EB034, Homestead Jct. shortly before #1 did, but a quick ISO adjustment saved the day.

We’re at Tower 210 along a segment of triple track. The train had to be lined on main 1 in order to get to the depot, so I wasn’t too annoyed at about the tight angle for the shot.

The next two views are near MP 362, about a mile north of downtown. Note the Houston Metro light rail flyover in the second shot.

The final view shows the train at the Silver St. grade crossing as it’s making the reverse move into the depot. The time is 6:49 PM.

It ended up taking 50 minutes for the train to travel the 7 miles from Englewood to the depot. Of course that’s 7 miles via the normal routing. Having to use “great circle” routing and mixing in a 2 mile reverse move, I guess 50 minutes ain’t too shabby.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2017 11:51 pm

    I have to admit that the Heritage paint scheme on the lead unit is much snazzier and eye catching than the Amtrak turquoise right-of-way swoosh emblem scheme.

  2. texasandlouisiana permalink
    June 19, 2017 11:53 pm

    I have to admit that the Heritage scheme on the lead unit is snazzier and more eye catching than the turquoise right-of-way swoosh scheme.

  3. Pete permalink
    June 20, 2017 5:14 am

    Great pictures Bro!! That was a very long move for Amtrak to yard his train!! You’re probably correct on Englewood being the reasons for the long detour!! Take care!!

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