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Soldier Summit Railfanning 5/7/2019

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up at 5:30 AM and checked on Train 6 and Amtrak's status was working today and told me 7:25 AM into Helper. I started putting the corrections in the stories and about 6:45 AM, got Robin up and by 7:00, we had driven out to Castle Gate on a very a cold windy morning. Robin stayed in the car while I walked down the highway to my photo spot and waited. When I saw the train, I let Robin know and he set up for his picture as I did for mine.

The California Zephyr at Castle Gate. I met Robin at the car and we drove into Helper to catch him going under the signal bridge and into the yard.

California Zephyr came into Helper and will make it station side stop out of sight. We returned to the Riverside Motel where I wrote yesterday's story and finished it. While I was doing that, a ten unit Union Pacific loaded coal train left the yards at Helper. After we checked out, we drove Highway 6 and after Guilly, we came upon our UP coal train minus the six helper units that cut off at Soldier Summit. We found a reverse curve with proper lighting and stopped and set up to get the pictures.

Union Pacific 5413 West at our photo spot. We decided to follow him west and went west of the Thistle Tunnels and I put my zoom lens on my camera.

Union Pacific 5413 West came out of the Thistle Tunnels and I felt good about my photos. We continued west and I joked I wanted a BNSF train. A few miles down the road my wish came true.

BNSF 4565 East right before Union Pacific 5413 West blasted him and blocked our view of him. We took off in chase mode and almost beat him to another spot but as I turned off the road, he came up right below us. A quick U-turn and we went to the east side of the Thistle Tunnels and set up there, putting the zoom lens back on and waited less than a minute for him to pop out of the tunnel with plenty of smoke to add to the picture.

BNSF 4565 East exits the Thistle Tunnels putting on a great show for Robin and I. From here, we drove down to Provo and stopped at a Walmart Neighborhood Store for some cold medicine for Robin and more Coca-Cola for me. After that, we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast where I had my usual hotcakes and sausage. From here we drove Interstate 15 North to Utah 85 to Utah 68 to Jordan Narrows Road and parked in Jordan Narrows Park then found the trail that took us to the edge where we waited for the FrontRunner trains to come by.

Northbound FrontRunner train at Jordan Narrows.

Southbound FrontRunner train at Jordan Narrows.

Stormy weather to our north. We drove back to Interstate 15 and hit major rainstorms starting at Murray all the way to Salt Lake City. We made it to the Radisson where we checked in then parked the car in the basement and took the elevator to the lobby then up to the seventh floor and Room 725. We went back down and checked into the convention, met Elizabeth and Bob and later Bob would join Robin and I on a light rail tour of their system which will be the next story.