Thursday August 13th dawned clear and relatively cool as I prepared for a purely railfan adventure. A loaded grain train from Iowa to the Mexican border crossing at Eagle Pass was coming down the BNSF Red Rock Sub south out of Oklahoma City. What made this train unique for us “foamers” was the Canadian National power that was far from their newest. The lead unit was ex-C&NW C40-8 now CN 2101 with C40-8 CN 2434 second and ex-BC Rail C44-9W now CN 4654; all three far from CN’s newest units constructed recently just down the road at the Wabtec/GE factory.
Studying the running times and the sun angle calculator for early afternoon, I determined the best location was at the south end of Metro siding northwest of Denton where even though the sun would be a bit high there would be 3/4 light on the locomotives. This turned out to be a good prediction as the train rolled by at 2:11pm.
I should mention that as train time approached I was joined here by Troy Minnick in the foreground, Edward Miller with his back to the camera and someone who looked a lot like Jimmy Barlow standing in the bed of his pickup.
I started south on FM 156 in the train’s wake with no clear goals in mind, but managed to get ahead of it at Ponder and pulled over just north of Justin for these two grab shots of the engineer’s side of the older power.
By the time I made it through the traffic lights in Justin and caught up to the train again, the locomotives had already passed over FM 156 and out of sight to the west. The crew had been told to take the train to CP Beth in Alliance Yard and to tie it down there. Not thinking I had even a small chance of catching the head end one more time, I turned west on US 114 and proceeded to the overpass over the north end of the yard.
I was surprised to see the train had slowed down considerably, and quickly joined Travis Berryman and Steve Grabman on the overpass for this final sequence of photos.
Ironically Steve Grabman had just gotten off duty from dispatching this train from Gainesville to Alliance! We were all hoping the train would be quickly recrewed thereby allowing for more photos at points south of the yard. In retrospect I am glad I decided to make the effort to catch the train north of the yard as it ended up not leaving for Temple until after dark. By that time I was home in my recliner.