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The Southwest Railfan: Rockdale, Sandow & Southern

RSS 15 - south of Marjorie, TX the Southwest Railfan - Rockdale, Sandow and Southern RSS 14 approaches Alcoa smelter near Sandow, TX

Rockdale, Sandow, & Southern

This 6-mile central Texas line is owned by Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America) and is based in the small town of Marjorie, where it branches away from UP's Austin Subdivision and runs south to the Alcoa smelter near Sandow.

Principal traffic consists of alumina ore, aluminum, and chemicals travelling to and from the smelter near Sandow. In addition to RSS's colorful MP15 locomotives which power the daily trains from Marjorie to Sandow, watch for RSS's sister road Point Comfort & Northern's (PCN) blue and white GP40s which power trains of alumina ore between Lolita (near Port Lavaca) and Marjorie, operating over UP trackage and average of two times per week.

Following are five photographs of the Rockdale, Sandow & Southern taken in April 2000. When I visited, the RSS crew assembled their train at Marjorie in the early morning, and then headed south toward the smelter. I found that photography was possible from state highway 1766, which runs parallel to the tracks between Marjorie and Sandow, although it's best to stay off Alcoa propery, particularly in the smelter area.

Please click any of the following pictures to see a larger image:

  RSS MP15 locomotive - Marjorie, TX Here's a side view of RS&S's colorful MP15 locomotive # 14. Photographed at Marjorie, TX on April 25, 2000 as the crew assembled a southbound train for the Alcoa plant near Sandow.
  RSS 14 - Marjorie, TX Rockdale, Sandow & Southern MP15 # 14 assembles a southbound train at Marjorie, Texas on April 25, 2000.
  Rockdale, Sandow and Southern southbound train Rockdale, Sandow, & Southern MP15 # 14 leads a southbound train toward the Alcoa plant south of Marjorie, Texas in April 2000. Out of sight on the train's rear end is another MP15, RS&S # 15, providing a shove to get the train over a hill.
  RSS southbound, south of Marjorie, TX Rockdale, Sandow, & Southern MP15 # 15 is on the rear end of a southbound train south of Marjorie, Texas in April 2000. The # 15 will shove the long train over a hill, and will then cut off short of the Alcoa smelter and return light to Marjorie.
  RSS train approaching Alcoa smelter Rockdale, Sandow, & Southern MP15 # 14 leads a southbound train approaching the Alcoa smelter near Sandow, TX in April 2000.

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