On the morning of September 15th I arrived at Cadet Yard an hour before the 10:00 am scheduled start of the dedication ceremony. While I cannot share my photos of BNSF engineering projects, since this was a news event with my photos being released to the media I can share a few here.
First up is a view from the shoulder of I410 looking west at the yard. The UP sunset route is just out of the picture to the right.
As could be seen in the distance in the first photo, here is new GE ET44C4 #3816 positioned as a backdrop for the ceremony.
Here is a view of part of the audience as Tracye McDaniel, President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation addresses the group.
To wrap up here are two shots of the actual ribbon cutting.
Left to right are Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Judge; Trayce McDaniel, President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation; Dave Garlin, BNSF Group VP of Industrial Products; Trina Reyes, Mayor of Van Ormy; Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President of San Antonio Economic Development Foundation; Colonel Jonathan Wright; Commander of the 502nd Installation Support Group Keesler Air Force Base; and Aaron Petersen, BNSF Superintendent of Operations Red River Division.
Following the event I took a seat in the conference room in the new yard office and processed all the photos from RAW to JPG. I delivered the 78 best photos electronically back to Fort Worth for review and release before heading back home. I decided to take the back road up Highway 281, and just north of Marble Falls I pulled over at one of the quarries for this view of Oldcastle Materials SD40-2 PRLX 3757 building a loaded sand train.
The LCRA radio system that Austin Western uses for dispatcher communications can only be monitored with a software defined radio dongle and a laptop with specific software, but for local switching they use AAR channel 94 that I was monitoring in my Explorer. One of the voices I heard sounded a lot like old friend William Balzen who works for Austin Western as an engineer. I have known William for many years since he worked as an engineer and fireman on the 2248 back when it was owned by the FWWR.
The radio transmission was very strong and close by as I was driving north through Burnet, so on a whim I turned east on Highway 29 two miles to the grade crossing where the Austin Western is climbing up the hill to Summit Yard. I could see all the way back to the bottom of the grade from this spot, and decided to wait ten minutes and see what developed. After only three minutes, five GP50’s pouring out exhaust as they accelerated up the grade with a string of loaded sand cars came into view. I set up and scored these three photos in sequence.
The engineer gave me a few extra toots on the horn as the train passed, and I bet it was William at the throttle. I would have liked to follow the train but it was after 6:00 pm and I needed to get home. Sure enough after the train had tied up at Summit Yard and I was approaching Lampasas my phone rang and it was indeed William who had spotted me at the crossing. As I hit the city limits of Lampasas I heard the BNSF dispatcher talking to an eastbound train that gave their location as coming down the long grade into town. I cut over to the tracks and in less than five minutes photographed the BNSF 3855 East leading a unit grain train as the sun dropped below the tree tops.
As the train passed by I moved east towards the east end of the siding for a better lit going away shot. While waiting I took this view of the hoppers streaming through the tall grass.
Finally the two DPU’s rumbled by and on down towards the east switch at Lampasas. I liked the wide scene with the signals, trees, clouds and dirt road, but since I could not read the sign at the switch so I took advantage of the zoom lens and took a tighter view a few seconds later.
This was the finish to a good trip of both event and train photography, and I rolled up to the house shortly after 9:00 pm.