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Apache Railway - October 2004

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Apache Railway - October 2004

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I had been somewhat disappointed with the results of my visit to the Arizona's Apache Railway in October 2000, and had been wanting to get back to Snowflake to re-shoot them. I really wanted to shoot them in better light (and with fewer clouds), and also shoot them heading back south out of Holbrook in the afternoon. Nearly four years after my first visit, I finally made it back.

I arrived early on a Tuesday morning, timing my arrival to catch the train just in case the crew made an early departure from the yard west of Snowflake. They didn't. My wait stretched past noon, when a series of tie gang machines rumbled past me, clearing up so that the train could finally depart. The train was out at about 12:30, with FIVE units leading only a dozen cars. Hmmm, they won't need all that power on the northbound trip... they must have a big pickup in Holbrook today. But they had a side trip to make first...

The train had only gone a few miles out of the yard when the crew stopped to switch out a few cars from their train and then head down into the actual town of Snowflake to switch a customer. The side trip took about an hour and a half; after they returned to their train they headed north toward Holbrook.

The train arrived in Holbrook around 15:30, delivered to the BNSF and made their pickup. The 60+ car pickup included the "Blue Looper" coal train -- obviously the reason for all the power on their train out of Snowflake. After doubling their pickup together and running the air, they departed Holbrook by 16:45. The sound and sight of the five Alcos lugging the heavy train upgrade south of Holbrook was phenomenal. Wow, what a show. Unfortunately, the railroad and the highway follow separate paths between here and Snowflake, with no easy routes to intermediate locations, so the photos I took near milepost 5 were my last shots of the train. No problem -- I left the Apache happy that I had gotten much better results than during my visit four years ago.

Click photos below to enlarge.

  Snowflake, AZ - city limits sign   Alco store - Snowflake, AZ
  Apache Railway - track machines   Apache 99 east   Apache Railway - west of Snowflake, AZ
  Apache Railway - west of Snowflake, AZ   Apache Railway - Snowflake, AZ   Apache Railway 84 - Snowflake, AZ
  Snowflake, AZ - Apache Railway   Apache Railway - Snowflake, AZ
  Apache Railway - west of Snowflake, AZ   Apache Railway - slow board   Apache Railway - Holbrook, AZ
  Apache Railway - south of Holbrook, AZ   Apache Railway - south of Holbrook, AZ   Apache Railway - south of Holbrook, AZ

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