Engineering Department Special

I cannot claim to be housebound and looking for an excuse to get out with recent business related road trips to Arizona and Kansas under my belt. However with the cancellation of the majority of railfan events this year, I decided to make a relatively short drive yesterday to get the best possible photos of a Union Pacific Engineering Department train.

Yesterday the nine-car passenger train drawn from UP’s heritage fleet ran from Kansas City to Fort Worth. A friend on the crew let me know the train would be leaving McAlester, OK around 2:00pm, so I decided to try for a first photo of it in the big open curve at the north end of the old Katy Ray Yard in Denison, Texas. Next considering the proximity to major highways, I tentatively decided to catch the train in Sadler, then Argyle and finally Fort Worth.

I figured to be safe I should be in position for the Denison photo no later than 4:30pm with the special expected around 5:00pm. I left home at 1:00pm and in the process of taking the Chisholm Trail Turnpike northbound I lucked into my first train of the day while passing over UP Davidson Yard. I saw a UP intermodal train westbound coming down main one and pulled over on the shoulder of the turnpike for this grab shot at 1:23pm in an otherwise hard to reach spot.

Taking this chance meeting as a good omen, I drove up I35 and then east on US 82 to Sherman where once again I was fortunate and caught this grab shot out the car window of BNSF GP50 3100 before it ducked out of sight in the yard.

Heading north into downtown Denison I drove by the old MKT offices and depot hoping to find any Texas & Northeastern locomotives, but only the static museum display was baking in the afternoon sun.

As it was now close to 3:30pm I decided to head over to the photo location and read some of the railroad magazines I had brought with me. At 4:15pm a Nathan K5LAA horn blowing for the crossing about 1/2 mile to the north caused me to jump but then leisurely move into position for this sequence of an SD70ACe pulling a special load just as a single cloud moved overhead.

I went back to my reading but that did not last for long as at 4:35pm a K5LAH horn preceded the arrival of a southbound manifest with a GEVO leading and no impairing cloud.

The timing of the special was impeccable as I heard the UP 8174’s horn at exactly 5:00pm and one minute later captured this view as planned.

As the lighting was perfect and the train pulling by slowly I decided to roster shoot the whole consist starting with GE ES44AH 8174.

Power car 2066 provides electricity to the rest of the train.

Sleeper car “Powder River”.

Business car “Feather River”.

Museum car “Western Star”.

Sleeper car “Lake Forest”. I had a room in this car on one business car trip many moons ago.

Crew Sleeper car “Little Rock”.

Dome Lounge car “Walter Dean.”

Dining car “”City of Denver”.

Track Inspection car “Idaho”.

And the going away view.

I got on nearby US 75 South and then turned west on US 82 West towards Gainesville. On the way up I had checked out Sadler where the UP Choctaw Sub goes under US 82 and could not find a desirable photo location; so now I skipped it on the way back in order to stay ahead of the train. My next planned location was the curve in downtown Argyle just south of Denton.

Knowing from experience if I used US 377 South from Whitesboro to Argyle that I would have no chance of staying ahead of the train, I opted to take US 82 to Gainesville and then south on I35 to the FM 407 exit for Argyle. This and skipping Sadler were good decisions as I arrived in Argyle only ten minutes ahead of the train. Afternoon thunderstorms to the west had started to obscure the sun as I framed up this view at 6:46pm with the old Missouri Pacific railroad section house (now a real estate business) in the background.

As I got back on I35 South the sun was now completely behind clouds, but since wherever they would park the train in Fort Worth was on my way home, I decided to stick with it. Coming into town I heard on the radio the plan was to park the train in the ex-Katy Ney Yard south of Tower 55. I parked on the east side of the Allen Avenue overpass where I met up with fellow railfan Jason Burke. I happily framed up this view with the Fort Worth skyline as the train curved into the yard lead.

Crossing over I took this looking down view of the Track Inspection car “Idaho”

One final view of the train coming to a stop for the night at 7:49pm.

With the chase done I was anxious to get home for a late supper, but then the sun started to separate itself from the thunderstorms in the west and mix with some Sahara sand. I pulled over next to the UP in Iona for these two trainless views to end the day.

Obviously supper was delayed even more but it was worth it.

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