Author Archives: Ken

NS Heritage in the Rain

It started raining again here at home around 2:00 am and was still raining when I was getting ready to take a shower and get dressed around 9:45 am.  Then things got interesting when I received a text that Rupert Gutierrez had posted to Railspot the NS 8114 Heritage Unit was leaving Fort Worth a few minutes earlier leading a westbound double stack train.  I quickly showered and listened to the radio while I got dressed.  Even though I live less than ten minutes from Iona siding, if the train was running unopposed it was already past me.  I would have to drive to Judd 30 miles west of Weatherford to get ahead of it, a not too pleasant undertaking in the steady rain.

I heard two trains meeting at Iona and even though no engine numbers were exchanged on the radio this was a glimmer of the possibility the prize was still within my grasp.  I jumped in the SUV and headed that way.  When I got to the point I could see the west end of the siding I could see a stack train there with smoke rising from locomotives I could not quite make out.  Instead of turning up that way I continued north on FM 1187 to Aledo.  When I pulled up in front of the Maria Bonita Mexican Restaurant (excellent food with a track side view!) I was prepared to hurriedly set up for my shot, but then I saw the signals were red in both directions.

New radio conversations between the dispatcher, signal maintainer and trains indicated the signals were out at Iona and here at Aledo.  A big headache for them but now clear as the fortunate reason I was able to shower, get dressed and drive here with plenty of time as the westbound train leaving Iona was having to run at restricted speed.  As I am a regular customer the owner of Maria Bonita did not mind as I took shelter on their porch for ten minutes until I heard the rumble of the slow moving train and took up my position for this sequence.

I like using the Bryant elevator as a background to define the location as being distinctly in Aledo.  Since the train was doing all of 5 mph as it passed the red signal just to the left of the photo I decided I had time to jump on ahead to the FM 5 crossing in Annetta.  I arrived with plenty of time to spare and made ready to shoot a long telephoto shot with my second camera.  Then after close to ten minutes the headlight appeared around the curve, but in the process of accelerating to track speed instead of running at a sedate 5 mph.  I quickly dropped the long telephoto idea and went back to my faithful Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-105 lens for this sequence.

The train was up to around 60 mph when the last car passed so I decided to end the chase here and head back home.  I was more than happy with the results and even though the rain was not fun, if it had been a clear morning the train would have been coming out of the sun.  This time for sure taking a chance instead of deciding “better luck next time” was the right decision!

A Busy Afternoon at Cresson

No FWWR road freight to photograph on Sunday afternoon?  As it turned out all I had to do was wait 24 hours to rectify this situation!

Monday morning I got a text from the FWWR dispatcher’s office that the 403 Job would go on duty in Dublin at 9:45 am and take 103 empty frac sand cars to Cresson before returning with 75 frac sand loads to be forwarded to Texas Pacifico at San Angelo Junction over BNSF trackage rights.  What made this even more interesting was since Sunday’s FWCR did not arrive in Cresson until Sunday night as described in yesterday’s post, an extra board crew would go on duty at Cresson at 12:00 pm as a 405 job to take around 60 merchandise cars south to Dublin.

I took care of a few chores at home and left around 11:00 am with the intention of grabbing a bite to eat in Cresson and then heading on west until I intercepted the 403 Job coming east out of Dublin and chase it back to Cresson.  Then I would catch both the 403 and 405 jobs heading west out of Cresson.  I stopped at Subway in Cresson at 11:20 and just as I sat down with my sandwich I got a text from the dispatcher’s office that the 403 job left Dublin at 11:10 am.

I quickly finished off my sandwich and headed west on highway 377 thinking I should be able to make it to Bluffdale west of Granbury for my first photo.  As I crested the hill south of Tolar I called for the train on my truck radio and got a response that they were about five miles south of Bluffdale.  Success!  I zipped over the last two miles into town and set up for a shot of them passing the Bluffdale sign.

I had seen three FWWR SD40-2’s parked in Cresson that I guessed would be the power for the 405 extra job, but until now I had not inquired about the power for either train.  A total of 14,800 horsepower in the form of two SD40-2’s and two lease-to-own CEFX AC4400’s was overkill for 103 empty sand cars but not so much when they would soon be hauling 75 loaded sand cars back west over hilly terrain.  I gave the crew a highball on the radio and followed them back east.

I easily beat the train to the Colony Road Crossing half way down the grade between Tolar and Granbury for my second shot.

 With all the traffic lights in Granbury I was sure the train would beat me to the east side of town but another location check over the radio indicated I had time to pull over for this view of the train coming up grade off of the Lake Granbury / Brazos River bridge.

From here I drove to the highway 171 crossing at the west end of Cresson for one more view of the inbound train as it approached the siding.

Now in restricted limits the east bound train headed up the main and a minute later met the 405 job in the siding as that crew was putting their train together in the siding on the right with the three SD40-2’s I had seen earlier.

After the 403 job cleared here is a view of the 405 job’s power with an identifying landmark.

After putting their train together and walking an air test the 405 job left the siding at Cresson on its way back to Dublin.

I beat the train down to the highway 171 crossing for one final photo as they were preparing to enter TWC territory.

A few minutes later the now loaded frac sand 403 job pulled past me and stopped on the other side of highway 171 so the conductor could walk the train and perform their air test.  This would also give the 405 job time to get down the line and release a few miles back to the dispatcher so the 403 job could get its own warrant to leave town.

It was now after 4:00 pm and while I would have liked to chase both trains back west to Dublin I needed to get home.  I did not feel too bad as looking in the viewfinder at these photos I felt like I had already done well enough for the day and made up for Sunday afternoon’s meager results!

Three at the Trinity

On Sunday April 23rd I headed into Fort Worth in the afternoon with the hopes of catching Fort Worth & Western’s Cresson Turn leaving town, but thing don’t always go as planned.  David Hawkins texted a photo of what was evidently the power (4 SD40-2’s) for the “FWCR” train taking a cut of frac sand cars through Tower 60 and down to Peach Yard which FWWR shares with UP.  I called the FWWR’s MTO and learned that indeed the “FWCR” crew took the frac sand empties to Peach and would be shoving a UP delivery of 60 or so merchandise cars back up the hill to Hodge Yard.  The UP delivery would then need to be switched as some of the cars would go to Cresson so it would be after dark before the Turn would leave town.

With all this in mind I decided to stop at the south end of the Clear Fork Trinity River bridges and catch the “FWCR” power on the UP Duncan Sub ex-Rock Island bridge when they shoved back up the hill.  I heard the BNSF detector at the south end of Saginaw go off and quickly set up for what turned out to be the Z-ALTROB intermodal train from Alliance Yard to Robstown, TX where the train is handed off to the KCS for the rest of its run to Mexico.

Right after the train cleared the park area David Hawkins, Ron Thur and Matt Shell arrived.  We talked about the overall situation and their just missing the “Z” train, but then a Nathan K5LAA horn to the north resulted in our all catching a loaded UP rock train out of Chico coming down the Duncan Sub before switching over to Choctaw Main One.

With nothing else close but the upcoming FWWR shove David, Ron and Matt elected to head north up the BNSF to Metro to intercept a loaded frac sand train coming off the KCS to go to the FWWR before sunset.  I decided to stay here and after 20 minutes was rewarded with this going away photo.  With the headlight and ditch lights on you really can’t tell they are running in reverse.

At this point with no other trains close by I decided these three shots were good enough to call the brief trip a success and headed back home to process the photos.  There will always be more opportunities to catch the “FWCR” on its normal route!

A Buck and an Ace

This morning December 23rd when I looked out the bathroom window this is what I saw.

And then he spoke to me.  Yes, as I get older I hear more voices in my head than before.

And he was right!

 He must get good scanner reception with those antlers even if his nose is not red.

Washington at Night

Shortly before sunset on September 25th around thirty of us boarded a bus at the hotel for a tour of Washington D.C. at night.  Our first stop was at Union Station to pick up a few more people, so I made it there after all!  Traffic and crowds were abundant, so I was glad I did not try to railfan there earlier in the day.

032-9k5c0756

How did the rest of the tour go?  I will let you decide based on the following photos.  All were hand-held thanks to the low light capabilities of the Canon 5D Mark III.  As always clicking on any photo will bring up the large version and then use the back arrow to return to the blog post.

035-9k5c0768

047-9k5c0799

048-9k5c0803

050-9k5c0807

052-9k5c0819

054-9k5c0828

Ours was not the only tour out there as these seem to be very popular and I highly recommend taking one if you are in our nation’s capitol.

My plan for Monday was to railfan south of Washington D.C. while my wife was at her conference, and I will cover that in the next installment of our trip!

A Trip to the East Coast

Back in late September my wife was scheduled to attend a work-related conference in Washington D.C.  We decided to fly to Washington and then add a few vacation days after the conference to drive back to Texas through Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.  The conference did not start until Monday September 26th but we flew from Love Field via Southwest to Reagan National early on Saturday morning.  When we arrived we rented a Chevy Tahoe and had lunch in Alexandria before checking in at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel on the Potomac River south of Washington.

Sunday was check in day at the conference and afterwards my wife planned on visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate with some of her coworkers.  I had Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to railfan before the conference wrapped up Wednesday morning.  Before leaving home I had researched meticulously with Google Earth and maps and timetables.  I wanted to avoid Washington highway traffic and high security areas such as Union Station so as to have a more pleasant experience.  As a result my plan was to spend time east of Washington on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and south of Washington on the ex-RF&P now used by CSX, Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak.

Sunday was forecast to be clear, and in terms of reduced traffic on I95 and empty commuter rail station parking lots I decided this would be the best day to spend a few hours on the Northeast Corridor.  I planned to hang out at the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) station in Seabrook, Maryland about twelve miles east of Washington as it is unmanned and in a quiet suburban area with no MARC or Amtrak trains stopping on a Sunday.  I left the hotel at 10:00 am and with light traffic made it to the Seabrook station by 10:45 just as an eastbound Acela flashed by with a quickly fading roar.

The parking lots and platforms were empty, and I counted over a dozen security cameras and loud speakers on each platform monitoring every angle.  The pedestrian tunnel connecting the platforms under the three track mainline that separated a residential area from local businesses was in fairly constant use by locals, so I decided to situate myself on the eastbound platform with the light behind me and my camera plainly visible.  If the security cameras were monitored on a Sunday and someone objected to my presence I figured I would either hear about it through a speaker or get a visit from law enforcement.

Within a few minutes another eastbound Acela zipped by.  I was set at ISO 400, 1/2000 of a second at f5.6 to freeze the motion as the train was moving in excess of 100 mph.

001-9k5c0716

I had to look it up later that these Acela train sets built by Bombardier and Alstom were introduced in 2000 and are composed of two 6200 horsepower units with either six or eight coaches in between. Ten minutes later I caught my first westbound led by a 8600 horsepower Siemens ACS-64.

004-9k5c0719

Not long after an eastbound on the center track.

005-9k5c0720 

After a meet somewhere to the east here is a westbound Acela on the middle track.

009-9k5c0724

Next a westbound led by another ACS-64 coming and going.

010-9k5c0725

011-9k5c0726

Next for a bit of variety was a westbound MARC train led by a cab car and with two MPI MP36PH-3C locomotives pushing.

012-9k5c0727

013-9k5c0729

Later on an eastbound with a ACS-64 pulling.

014-9k5c0730

A westbound Acela seen from the end of the eastbound platform.

016-9k5c0732

Not far behind another westbound led by a ACS-64.

019-9k5c0736

And a final going-away photo of another westbound MARC looking nearly identical to the earlier train.

021-9k5c0738

This sign shows they take trespassing seriously here.  I noted two individuals cross the tracks on foot at a distance during my stay.

024-9k5c0741

In total I stayed on the platform for three and one-half hours and actually photographed twice as many trains as I shared here, but saw no reason to show more Acelas and ACS-64’s and MARC trains that all look alike.  If I had more time I would have sought out more locations with different backgrounds.  While I was on the platform no one ever came to check me out or ask me to leave which was refreshing.

I headed back to the hotel as my wife and I had signed up for a tour of Washington at night with other conference attendees.

Ribbon Cutting And Fun On The Trip Home

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.

img_9223

As could be seen in the distance in the first photo, here is new GE ET44C4 #3816 positioned as a backdrop for the ceremony.

9k5c0483

Here is a view of part of the audience as Tracye McDaniel, President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation addresses the group.

9k5c0523

To wrap up here are two shots of the actual ribbon cutting.

9k5c0525

9k5c0537

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.

9k5c0554

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.

9k5c0555

9k5c0556

9k5c0557

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.

9k5c0559

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.

img_9270

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.

img_9271

img_9272

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.

On The Road To San Antonio

One of my recent assignments for BNSF was to photograph the dedication event for their new Cadet Yard in San Antonio on September 15th.  Construction started last year on ten yard tracks, one departure track and a siding that can hold up to 350 cars in Van Ormy beside the UP Sunset Route just southwest of UP’s Sosan Yard.  Cadet Yard (so named to honor the cadets at nearby Lackland Air Force base) is intended to increase efficiency of operations over Union Pacific trackage rights between the Mexican border crossing at Eagle Pass and other points in south Texas.

BNSF has two tracks at their disposal in the UP yard at Eagle Pass for inbound and outbound traffic.  This meant that before Cadet Yard trains of unblocked cars from Mexico had to travel to Temple and other BNSF yards before they could be switched.  BNSF crew changes between Eagle Pass and Temple had to take place somewhere on the busy UP main line with minimal delay.

With the dedication ceremony starting at 10:00 am on the 15th I drove down from Benbrook on the 14th with the idea photographing a few trains along the way.  Driving east through Crowley towards I35, I witnessed the tail end of a BNSF northbound empty coal train on the Fort Worth Sub main as it passed what looked like a southbound sand train in the siding.  I could not see the power on the sand train nor had I checked the BNSF computer before I left the house, so on an impulse I turned south and stopped about a mile south ahead of the train as it came out of the siding.  This turned out to be a good choice as the lead unit turned out to be a new locally built CSX ET44AH #3423.

001-9k5c0456

As the cars monotonously streamed by I quickly checked the computer and saw this was a 115-car, 16,000-ton train with a 2 x 2 power configuration.  In another minute the two DPU’s roared by heading towards Cleburne.

003-9k5c0458

Nothing else was close here so I took I35 south to Waco and then Highway 77 south to Cameron on the BNSF Galveston Sub.  A quick check of the computer showed no trains nearby so I drove on to Rockdale on the UP Austin Sub.  Luck was against me this time as I arrived at the restored depot 30 seconds too late to shoot a northbound UP train passing the structure.  I drove on southwest a few miles to the Rockdale, Sandow and Southern, now a Genesee & Wyoming property.  Indeed just as I drove up to their entrance I saw an orange and black MP15 switcher pulling into the shop and the door instantly closed as if they knew I was coming.  Oh well!

I drove back to Rockdale and since I was not on a strict schedule decided to wait a bit to see if I could catch another train passing the depot.  I read several back issues of Railfan & Railroad and Trains, and then was rewarded with this northbound UP intermodal with two KCS units for power.

006-9k5c0462

Continuing on south, as I drove through Giddings I could see the UP Giddings Sub signals were set for a northbound to enter the siding. I did not see a shot I liked in town so I headed on south.  Between Giddings and Winchester I caught the BNSF 7320 north in a farm setting on its way from San Antonio to Temple.

008-9k5c0464

With no highway bridge paralleling the railroad over the Colorado River between Winchester and West Point, I detoured the long way around to the east through La Grange where I stopped to photograph the old M-K-T depot.  One day I hope to catch a train here!

010-9k5c0467

011-9k5c0469

On the radio I heard the northbound BNSF train I had photographed take the siding at Giddings and be advised by the dispatcher they would be there for three southbound UP’s.  A second northbound BNSF out of Flatonia was passing West Point and going to Winchester to clear up as I left La Grange.  I arrived in West Point a few minutes ahead of the first southbound UP as it curved around the wye from Giddings towards Smithville and on to San Antonio.  La Grange is to the right across the diamond and Flatonia is behind me.

012-img_9206

I had my UP PPE on and was checking the wye for future photo angles as the second southbound, a ballast train, came around the curve also on its way to Smithville.

015-img_9216

The third southbound train was further back so I decided to head on south to Flatonia as it was now after 4:00 pm.  As I arrived in Flatonia I heard a detector go off about ten miles to the west and a quick check of the signals showed an eastbound was lined through town.  I worked with the afternoon sun and composed this view of the passing train to include relocated Tower 3,  an SP caboose, a park bench naming the town, and a building built in 1898 just in front of the moving locomotive.

017-9k5c0471

A few seconds later I captured more of the power before the view of the lead unit was blocked by the caboose.

019-9k5c0473

A much better view in my opinion than the back lit approach shot taken right before these two photos although the clouds do help it a bit.

016-9k5c0470

Now it was just after 5:00 pm and I had at least a 90-minute drive ahead of me to reach San Antonio and attend a pre-event dinner at 7:00 pm.  I really had wanted to stop and visit with “Sidetrack” Tommy Shults but I had taken too long to get here so that would have to wait for another trip.  Next time Tommy!

 

 

Slaton, Texas – A Railroad Town

In 1907 the Santa Fe opened a new branch off of the Amarillo line south from Canyon to Plainview, Texas and in 1910 the tracks were extended further south to Lubbock.  What became known as the “Coleman Cutoff” to Brownwood opened in 1911.  Lubbock citizens were outraged when the new Santa Fe division point was established 15 miles to the southeast at Slaton, named by the railroad after a prominent local citizen.  One hundred and fifteen years later the situation has reversed to a degree as Slaton is still a division point, but all crews and the local yard switcher are now based out of Lubbock.

I have made four round trips this year to Fort Sumner, New Mexico to photograph the building of a new second bridge over the Pecos River to eliminate the final single track section on the Southwest Division’s part of the “Southern Transcon”.  On July 24th while driving to Fort Sumner from home I stopped in Slaton for a short while to rest and see the local sights.

9K5C9355

Nothing was moving on either the BNSF or local switching line South Plains Railroad, so I turned my camera elsewhere.  On the north side of the city square I took these two photos of Santa Fe 2-6-2 Prairie type #1809.

9K5C9337

9K5C9340

Turning 180 degrees from the previous photo I could not miss the “Slaton Model Railroad Studio”.

9K5C9343

The storefront was deserted and no hours posted, so I peeked through the windows.  I could see an HO scale layout that appeared to be in a state of disrepair, and in front of that was the old Santa Fe CTC machine for Slaton to Texico.

9K5C9341

On the west side of the square is this beautiful mural painted by Bill “Tex” Wilson in 1998 that decorates the external wall of a local CPA.

9K5C9347

Two inmates from the John T. Montford Psychiatric/Medical Unit assisted in the work.

9K5C9349

Here is the “lowdown” on the aged brick streets that radiate from the square, adding character to this small town.

9K5C9362

Next I drove about 1/4 mile north to the restored Harvey House next to the BNSF main line.  Once again no one was around but I suppose you could call the number on the door if you wanted to stay in one of their rooms overlooking the tracks.

9K5C9344

The Harvey House is on the list of Texas Historic Landmarks and this close up of the sign tells the complete story.

9K5C9345

Unfortunately it is true that a majority of the good shots I take these days are the property of BNSF, UP or FWWR and thus cannot be shared here.  I still take enough that are my own property so I will try to do a better job of updating these blog entries more often!

A Trip Back in Time to Riverside

With the Cajon Pass assignment for BNSF finished, Friday January 29th was my travel day back home to Texas.  My flight was scheduled to leave Ontario International Airport around 11:am, but instead of sleeping in I set my alarm for 5:00 am.  I checked out drove from San Bernardino a few miles west to Riverside, California.  The last time I had visited Riverside was during a family vacation back in February 1971 at age 16 and I was curious to see what had changed over the intervening 45 years.

One big difference was the overwhelming presence of the Metrolink commuter rail.  At 7:00 am with the moon still high in the sky and sunrise around 45 minutes away I took these two photos of a train laying over in their maintenance area.  The old Santa Fe depot can be seen in the background on the right on the other side of the double track main line.

9K5C4711

9K5C4712

I walked down to the Metrolink station and took this photo as the light improved.  The train on the right is about to leave for Los Angeles while the train on the left is laying over.

9K5C4720

I drove over to the street side of the presently unoccupied Santa Fe passenger depot for these two shots.

9K5C4732

9K5C4736

I started to move in closer for more detailed views, but then saw to the right what I thought was just a pile of tarps start to move and half a dozen or so homeless people began to emerge from their night shrouds.  I did not have time to deal with them so I quickly left and drove over to what had been the Union Pacific passenger station.  The UP main line used to run down the middle of this street, but now the UP uses the BNSF tracks a block to the left and the building has been re-purposed.  With the tree growth this was the only decent shot I could manage.

9K5C4739

There is not a single marker left today to indicate this was once the UP depot in Riverside, but back in 1971 that was not the case.

2016-02-06-0004

The tracks were definitely busy and this is where a moment later I got my only decent photo of a real “in regular freight service” DD40AX westbound towards Los Angeles.  Another DD40AX and a SD24B were trailing.

2016-02-06-0003

It was now 11:30 am, and the westbound City of Los Angeles was due in 31 minutes.

2016-02-06-0005

My parents obliged my wish to stay and I took this view of the long train pulling into the station.

2016-02-06-0001

Here is what this spot looks like today.

9K5C4741

The sun was up enough now for good action photos so I drove over to the east side of the current main lines and set up a few blocks west of the Metrolink depot where the BNSF and UP main lines split.  One benefit of my work is having mobile access to BNSF’s dispatch system on my smartphone, and I could see westbound BNSF and UP intermodals heading for my location along with several Metrolink trains.

First up was this westbound commuter train heading for Los Angeles.  I understand that many of these Metroling commuter rail trains are running with a leased BNSF unit ahead of the cab car while the safety of push-pull operation is debated, but I did not see any on this day.

9K5C4743

The going away view with Pachappa Hill in the background.

9K5C4744

A few minutes behind was this westbound BNSF intermodal with a 2 x 2 power configuration.

9K5C4749

9K5C4750

9K5C4752

Next up was a westbound UP intermodal moving onto their own tracks for the rest of the journey into Los Angeles.

9K5C4753

As the intermodal was passing in the background another Metrolink train rolled by on the way to Los Angeles.

9K5C4756

9K5C4757

A few minutes later a single DPU pushing on the rear of the UP intermodal came by.

9K5C4760

Looking at the dispatcher display on my phone I could see several BNSF and UP freight trains converging on Riverside, so I moved to the Mission Inn Avenue grade crossing just east of the old Santa Fe station.  It was here I took this photo back in 1971 of a westbound Santa Fe freight train led by EMD SD24 #4539 in the pinstripe paint scheme with a SD45 and a F45 trailing.

ATSF 4539 West Riverside CA 02-71 Print

Here is as close as I could get to the original location with a westbound UP train doing the honors 46 years later.

9K5C4761

As the westbound passed by the Santa Fe depot, the headlights of an eastbound UP were visible in the distance coming through the Metrolink station.

9K5C4762

9K5C4763

It turned out to be an autorack train.

9K5C4766

Ten minutes later a meet here was repeated except this time with two BNSF trains doing the honors.

9K5C4778

9K5C4780

9K5C4781

9K5C4783

It was time to leave for the airport, and I walked the half block to where I had parked the rental pickup.  I took this last photo of the morning looking east up Commerce Street paralleling the tracks.

9K5C4784

Forty-five years earlier I took my last photos of that day at this same spot of two refrigerator cars at the now closed National Orange Company that were having large ice blocks crushed and conveyed into their bunkers.  A common sight in 1971 and for many years before, but now a part of history replaced by the modern technology of self-contained diesel-powered refrigeration units.

2016-02-06-0006

2016-02-06-0007

Many thanks to BNSF for providing the opportunity to revisit my past!