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Friday, September 9, 2005

Better late than... well... later

Lots of stuff has been getting in the way of these blog entries... here is about 12 days' worth of stuff -- mostly train sightings and a few photos.

Sunday, August 28

I was on my way to Target and caught a northbound light power move on the Choctaw Sub:

1) 1645 - UP n/b EFWRK (Ft Worth to Roanoke for the RRKBUC) at the Corning crossing in Keller:
UP 7567 (AC6000CW)
UP 7546 (AC6000CW)
0 cars

Monday, August 29

M and I had some time to kill while L was at her gymnastics class, so we headed to the tracks in Keller, by the e-unit display. The signal was lit up for a northbound, and we didn't have to wait long...

1) 1735 - UP n/b RBURKC on UP Choctaw Sub at Keller, TX (e-unit display)
UP 7566 (AC6000CW)
UP 8689 (SD40T-2)
UP 2667 (SD40-2M * externally, an SD45)
50 cars

Wednesday, August 31 -- Katy heritage, bike ride, lunch hour

We were on our way to take M to school this morning... we were running early, so we stopped in Keller for a few minutes. The signal lit up for a northbound, and it suddenly occurred to me that the UP's Katy "heritage" locomotive was scheduled to head north this morning on MFWKC. As the train approached, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be a kick in the a$$ if the Katy unit was leading THIS train? (No, I didn't bring my camera!) Well, sure enough, the Katy locomotive rolled right past... the only saving grace being that the Katy unit was trailing! So I guess it wasn't a complete loss...

1) 0850 - UP n/b MFWKC on UP Choctaw Sub at Keller (e-unit display)
UP 4701 (SD70M)
UP 1988 (SD70ACe) (Katy heritage unit)
18 cars mixed freight

Steve G called at 9:07 (just after I had dropped M at school) to report that the train had departed Roanoke. I decided not to chase it, but went out for a bike ride a while later and caught another northbound (a grain empty this time)...

2) 1055 - UP n/b GEBWOS-27 on UP Choctaw Sub at North Tarrant Parkway in Keller / Watauga
UP 9510 (C40-8W) only
119 cars A few hours later, I was scarfing down a burrito at Chipotle (hey, I earned it on that bike ride!) and caught another northbound grain empty

3) 1420 - UP n/b GEBGAC-26 on UP Choctaw Sub, passing Chipotle in Watauga
UP 8524 (SD70ACe)
UP 6557 (AC4400CW)
82 cars

Thursday, September 1 - bike ride in Trinity Park

I hadn't done a bike ride in Trinity Park in a LONG time, so I loaded up and headed to the parking area underneath Northside Dr. First, I headed northeast to the ATSF / BN / UP bridges over the Trinity, and caught a northbound on the Santa Fe:

1) 0935 - BNSF n/b X GATEDI9 28 on BNSF Ft Worth Sub -- Trinity River bridge
BNSF 656 (C44-9W, warbonnet)
BNSF 683 (C44-9W, warbonnet)
96 cars

I turned around here and headed along the River through Trinity Park to University, where I exited the bike path and rode a couple blocks to Rogers Rd to get a look at the ready tracks at UP's Centennial Yard.

2) 1020 - on hand at UP Centennial Yard service tracks
UP 5012 (SD70M)
CSXT 8336 (SD40)

3) 1022 - UP w/b IMNLB - UP Dallas Sub entering east end of Centennial Yard
UP 4042 (SD70M)
UP 4150 (SD70M)
CEFX 2809 (externally an SD45 - ex-UP yellow)

4) 1025 - UP switch move at east end of Centennial
UPY 1360 (MP15)
UPY 1191 (SW1500)
UPY 1376 (MP15)

switch move at Centennial
Switch move at Centennial Yard. September 1, 2005.

Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5) - workin' hard (to get the shot)

Two friends joined me for a short trip out on the UP Baird Sub Monday afternoon. We had received a "tip" of a westbound called at Ft Worth at 1530. We drove to Weatherford and set up at the N. Brazos overpass near the east end of Weatherford siding (a shot I had been wanting to get for a while).

1) 17:44 - UP w/b IMNLC on UP Baird Sub at Weatherford:
UP 5076 (SD70M)
UP 5448 (ES44DC)

IMNLC at Weatherford
IMNLC takes the siding at Weatherford, TX on the UP Baird Subdivision.
September 5, 2005.

IMNLC took the siding to meet two eastbounds. We stuck around to see the first one:

2) 17:53 - UP e/b ILAMN passing the old T&P depot at Weatherford:
UP 4332 (SD70M)
UP 4136 (SD70M)
We knew of some traffic expected to be in the area of Hicks on the UP Duncan Sub, so we headed back to Ft. Worth and then drove north of Saginaw to Hicks. Nope, nothing here yet... it turned out that the northbound was stopped for track work near Ft Worth's Tower 60, and the southbound was stopped near Bridgeport for track work near Paradise. (Maintenance of Way obviously failed to observe the Labor Day holiday!) We eventually called it quits due to darkness before either UP train showed up. But we managed to catch a couple of BNSF trains:

3) +/- 18:35 - seen, but not photographed on the BNSF Ft Worth Sub as we arrived back in Saginaw... n/b BNSF 110 job:
BNSF 3168 (GP50 - ATSF blue/yellow)
BNSF 3035 (GP40X - H1)
BNSF 3174 (GP50 - ATSF blue / yellow)
31 cars mixed freight

4) 18:50 - seen, but not photographed on the BNSF Ft Worth Sub at Saginaw interlocker -- BNSF n/b double stacks, unknown symbol* :
BNSF 7800 (SD40-2, BN green) - long hood forward
BNSF 1368 (GP7, ATSF blue/yellow)

* This appeared to be a yard job, moving intermodal cars set out at Saginaw from V PEACHC to Alliance Yard.

5) 18:55 - BNSF e/b C EBMDOL0 79 on BNSF Wichita Falls Sub at Saginaw interlocker:
BN 9698 (SD70MAC, Grinstein)
BNSF 8866 (SD70MAC, H2)
BNSF 9722 (SD70MAC, Grinstein) - DP
122 UFIX rotary gons + 1 BNSF double rotary hopper

BN 9698 at Saginaw
BN 9698 leads C EBMDOL0 79 past a boxcar with some obvious problems.
Saginaw, TX. September 5, 2005.

You know the drill... coulda been better, but it coulda been worse. Better luck next time! On our way home, we stopped at the Saginaw Albertson's for a few groceries... I inadvertently selected the "Espanol" option on the automatic checkout, and had to trial-and-error my way through my purchase, punching in the number codes for red seedless grapes, etc... and not knowing exactly what the damn computer was asking for! I'm not sure who came out on the losing end of this deal... me or the store. One of these years, I'm gonna order up some foreign language cassettes or cd's and learn me some Spanish!

Tuesday, September 6

Seen on Tuesday morning, on our way to take M school...

1) 0848 - UP s/b M KCEW on UP Choctaw Sub, Keller TX, e-unit display
UP 5527 (ES44DC)
CEFX 1019 (AC4400CW)
73 cars mixed freight

Wednesday, September 7

Wednesday morning, M and I were on our way to school. Once again we stopped for a few minutes at the e-unit display and caught a train:

1) 0852 - UP n/b MHONP on UP Choctaw Sub, passing E-unit display in Keller:
UP 4592 (SD70M)
UP 9096 (C40-8)
UP 3700 (SD40-2)
118 cars mixed freight

M in Keller
Waiting for MHNOP at Keller
September 7, 2005.

MHONP at Keller
MHONP rolls through Keller, Tx
UP Choctaw Subdivision. September 7, 2005.

Later, I met dispatcher Matt (no longer a trainee; he passed his final exam last week -- Congrats, dude!) for lunch at Saginaw's Texas Pit Bar-B-Q. The restaurant had posted signs saying that they will once again be open on Sundays this year during football season. (During non-football season, they take Sundays off). It's hard to think of a better place to watch football, and catch a glimpse of a few passing trains, than the bar at the front of the restaurant! Anyway, back to the matter at hand... from the front window, we observed...

2) 1250 - BNSF s/b H KCKTPL1 06 on BNSF Ft Worth Sub at Saginaw interlocker:
BNSF 2584 (GP35, ATSF blue/yellow)
BNSF 3144 (GP50, H1)
BNSF 4244 (B23-7, ATSF blue/yellow)
BNSF 2909 (GP39E, BN green)
BNSF 4218 (B23-7, ATSF blue/yellow)
BNSF 4234 (B23-7, ATSF blue/yellow)
73 cars mixed freight

3) 1300 - BNSF n/b H DYTGAL9 06 on BNSF Ft Worth Sub, Saginaw interlocker
BNSF 8008 (SD40-2, BN green)
FURX 7925 (SD40-2, ex-BN green)
CSXT 8766 (SD60M)
BNSF 8703 (GP60, ATSF blue/yellow)
73 cars mixed freight

On my way back to Keller to pick up M at school, I got stopped for a westbound on the Trinity Connection:

4) 1320 - BNSF w/b M ALTAMA1 07 at CP10, on Trinity Connection between BNSF Ft Worth Sub and Wichita Falls Sub:
BNSF 4931 (C44-9W, H2)
EMD 9057 (SD60)
BNSF 9472 (SD70MAC, H2)
56 cars mixed freight

* * *

A rare political diatribe

One of the things that delayed this blog entry was the media's coverage of Hurricane Katrina... I was glued to CNN and MSNBC for multiple hours every day last week. Katrina, the flooding of New Orleans, and the city's subsequent descent into total chaos, is easily our country's biggest news story since 9/11... I can't imagine being in that situation, and my heart goes out to all the law-abiding citizens who were stranded for days in New Orleans, especially those who were victimized by their fellow citizens or by the government's lack of a timely response. I hope there's a special place in Hell reserved for the looters, robbers, murderers and rapists who took advantage of the situation for their personal gain. It just goes to show how much of a need our society has for effective law enforcement, and just how bad things can get in its absence.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy the claims of racism that some folks are spouting, regarding the government's slow response at helping to evacuate the city. Although Mayor Nagin (an African American, the last time I checked) called for evacuations 24 hours before Katrina hit, did he oversee arrangements for the transportation of the thousands of people who were unable or unwilling to leave on their own, as outlined in the city's Emergency Preparedness plan? Press photos of dozens of partially submerged school buses ( ) provide the answer to that question.

After the levees broke and the city filled with water, I agree that it took an unacceptably long time for the federal government to respond. The scenes at the Superdome and at the New Orleans convention center were beyond belief, something I never expected to see happen in America and hope to never see again. But the claim that racism contributed to the slow response? Ludicrous. Hello!? There were white folks in that crowd, too! The timeliness of the government's response would have been much the same if a similar tragedy had unfolded in San Antonio, Seattle, or Salt Lake City. And what about people of all colors in southern Mississippi, a region where, by many accounts, government help took even longer to arrive than it did in New Orleans?

Shame on you, Jesse Jackson, shame on you, Al Sharpton, and shame on anyone else haphazardly throwing around the "R" word. The problem is not racism; the problem is the failure of our elected officials (on all levels -- local, state, and national) to get things done quickly, whether it's due to complacency, lack of foresight, or just sheer incompetence. Let's leave it at this: it's a horrible tragedy, and many people have needlessly lost their lives. Let's learn from it.

Life is cruel

The early morning weather was beautiful on August 31 (the day that M and I caught the northbound Katy unit in Keller). But that same day, while I was enjoying the north Texas weather and taking a leisurely bike ride, the city of New Orleans was filling with water. Can you imagine how many people have lost things of irreplaceable value in that flood? Photos, family herilooms, pets... and of course, the members of their families who lost their lives. While I was enjoying life here in Texas, folks holed up at the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center were entering their third day of an unimaginable ordeal that would end amidst conditions that could only be described as "third world" and "squalid".

And that afternoon at work, I learned that one of my fellow dispatchers -- one of the nicest and friendliest young ladies you could ever hope to meet -- had lost her husband in a motorcycle accident over the weekend. He was 31.

One last note...

These blog entries take a certain amount of time to write and produce, and they've been getting in the way of some other stuff I need to be doing. For the forseeable future, I'm going to scale them down to mainly just train sightings and occasional commentary. I won't be posting as many photos or posting reports as frequently, but will still post when I get a chance.

the author at work
The author at "work". I'm noticing an
egregious dress code violation here...


NP: KHYI 95.3 FM - the Greencards - "Life's a Freeway"
NR: Jack Skiles - Judge Roy Bean Country; October 2005 Trains Magazine

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