Vista Sand on the FWWR in Cresson and Tolar originates loaded frac sand trains that are handed over to the UP and BNSF in Fort Worth. Often the locomotives and cars and wind up making several round trips between Cresson and the end customer. In the second half of March The Union Pacific’s Western Pacific heritage unit ended up in the equipment pool between Cresson and Monahans, Texas on the UP out west. On Sunday March 18th the UP 1983 was set up to lead a loaded sand train from Cresson to Fort Worth. I went down there at 1:00 pm and found the FWWR crew putting the train together in a 2 x 2 power configuration with around 100 loads in the new sidings east of Cresson.
The UP 1983 had not been washed in a while but was still interesting enough to hang around in the hopes of getting a few pictures of the train stretched out on the way down grade to Mustang Creek. Putting the train together was going to take a while so when I heard the 403 Job arriving in Cresson from Dublin I headed to the west side of town to catch them coming in with five units and one car at 1:30 pm.
Third in the consist was the NREX 4321, a National Railway Equipment “SD40-4” that FWWR is testing. More information can be found in an official You Tube video at this link.
The 403 Job had a fair-sized train to build in the yard, but not before the 503 Job departed for Cleburne. I hastily relocated to the southeast side of Cresson to catch the two units as they left town at 1:42 pm with cars for Cleburne customers.
I drove back over to where the sand load was nearly assembled and got the not so great to me news the train would be waiting here for the Cresson Turn (FWCR) that was just then leaving Hodge. At least the sun was coming out now even though it was behind the lead unit.
At least I had thought to bring reading material with me and I caught up on my magazines until the shot I was set up for with both trains came together at 4:55 pm.
I am an avowed opponent of graffiti on freight cars but even I have to admit the Rug Rats depiction on this hopper on the Cresson Turn is pretty good.
The conductor on the sand train needed to walk the train for an air test which was going to take another hour. Now that it was after 5:00 pm I needed to head home for dinner and with sunset approaching the shots of the train heading down to Mustang Creek were not going to work anyway. I took one more photo of UP 1983 with a large thunderstorm down around Hillsboro in the background.
I may be primarily a train photographer but I cannot ignore a good landscape when I see it on the way home.
A little more than a week later on the afternoon of Monday March 26th I happened to catch this unchanged train set coming back empty eastbound on the UP at Iona on the Baird Sub near the house.
I wonder which heritage unit will turn up in Cresson next?