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Photo of the Month - the Southwest Railfan

Photo of the Month: May 2005

Photo of the Month

On May 24, 1998, BNSF westbound Z CHIPHX1 23 climbs Raton Pass at Gallinas, Colorado. Two dash-9s lead a GP60 on the head end; not visible on the rear of the train are three "helper" units -- a dash-8, a dash-9, and an SF30C.

I've never had much luck at photographing trains on Raton Pass; I spent a full day there in 1994 waiting to see a coal train or a freight come over the pass, but all I got for my efforts were the two scheduled daily Amtrak Southwest Chiefs.

I'm proud to say that I had better luck in May of 1998 when my wife Kelly and I passed through Raton on our way from Texas to Durango. Kelly was tired after being on the road all day, so after we checked into our motel, she laid down for a nap while I drove up over the pass to see if anything was running. I turned off the highway at Gallinas and -- in a textbook example of good timing -- I immediately noticed a clear westbound signal. Just a few minutes later, the train arrived.

So, while most of my memories of Raton are of sitting around for hours without seeing anything, at least I have one memory of "lucking into a train" -- one of my easiest catches of all time!


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