Last Light and First Light

On Wednesday July 12th the UP ran an engineering special from Herrington, KS to Fort Worth.  The original schedule showed it passing  through Saginaw around 5:30 pm and I arrived at the old Kosse depot/chamber of commerce a little after 5:00 pm.  I learned the UP special was running late and then adding to that frustration was the cloud that arrived to block the sun at the same moment that Amtrak 822 passed by.


Four UP units running light northbound towards Chico pulled up to the block signal and BNSF DS122 told them they would have to wait on one southbound BNSF that was already lined through.  It turned out to be a manifest freight.

As soon as the last car passed the UP light units shot over the diamond heading to Hicks with an ex-SP leading.

 BNSF 6976 North called DS112 wanting to leave Saginaw for Alliance Yard but the dispatcher told them they were now stuck for three south bounds.  The first south bound train was a solid autorack with a CSX leader.

There was a brand new KCS articulated car that had not yet fallen victim to the taggers.

The next southbound was a transfer run from Alliance to North Yard with a pair of old SD70MAC’s.

Once the rear of this yard job cleared up in the transfer track a 2 x 2 grain train came down the main.

Finally it was time for the BNSF 6976 to make its run to Alliance Yard.

A few minutes later a work train came out of North Yard into the transfer track with a Georgetown Railroad slot train.

Finally at 7:05 pm the radio came alive with the UP 3032 South calling DS122 to get lined through the diamond at Saginaw and being told to come down looking for a signal.  At 7:14 pm with only minutes left before the sun dropped below the trees, the UP special finally was in my sights.

I panned right for a view of the new Tier 4 SD70ACe UP 3032.  One small access door was open and the two short-haul microwave dishes that transmit the view from the forward looking camera to the rear inspection car Idaho detracted slightly from the clean look of the unit.

A few seconds later I took the well lit but cluttered going away shot of the eight car train as it headed towards Davidson Yard for the night.

I followed the same basic principle and headed home to tie down for the night.

After checking the schedule for this morning I noted the train would be heading west on the Baird Sub past my house.  Departure time from Fort Worth was set for 6:30 am; the same time as the scheduled sunrise.  I decided to get up and head over to Aledo to catch the train passing through town hopefully before the back lit sun came up over the horizon.

I pulled up next to the old Iona depot behind the Aledo city hall at 6:30 am just as I heard the dispatcher tell everyone west of Fort Worth to get in the clear for the special.  I was in place and got exactly the shot I wanted when the train rolled by at 6:46 am just a few minutes before the sun appeared in the immediate background.

Here is the going away shot as the inspection car Idaho passed the defect detector at milepost 264.  Everyone was staring intently at their track profiles and did not notice me.

It would have been nice to follow the train to Sweetwater but I had other things to do today.  Overall I was happy that I had caught it twice already even if the lighting was not ideal.


  1. Steve Boyko July 13, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

    Great photos as always, Ken! I like that patched SP unit.

    I love the sunset view of the engineering train.

  2. Scott Speed July 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    Ditto. Nice shots Ken. Those Tier 4 SD70ACe’s are definitely interesting looking. Not quite sure yet how to describe them. The horn placement is different. I noticed this in your last series. Is that a rear horn imbedded in the end of the rear hood?


  3. Ken July 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm #


    There is indeed a Nathan two-chime horn mounted in a recess on the rear end. One of the Tier 4 demonstrators came onto the FWWR recently on a UP sand train and I took detailed photos. I will post them in a new blog entry today or tomorrow.

  4. Jim July 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    Regarding the two-chime horn: does it sound in tandem with the main horn, or is in only when the unit is running LHF? I can’t find video or audio examples anywhere online that might clarify.

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