Well not all the way back to Canada, but as far as Iowa anyway leading an empty grain train from Eagle Pass back north up the BNSF Fort Worth Sub. On the morning of Monday the 17th the CN C40-8 #2101 and C40-8M #2434 were in a mix of northbound trains out of Temple heading to Fort Worth. The ex-BC Rail unit developed an issue and was left behind in Eagle Pass, its horsepower not needed for this train of empty hoppers.
In an instance of perfect timing, as I drove east towards Crowley on FM 1187, I was surprised to see the protection start ahead of me at the Fort Worth & Western crossing. I quickly pulled over and a few seconds later three SD40-2’s slowly passed over the road crossing at full throttle with an obviously heavy train. I quickly made a U-turn and went back to Winscott-Plover Road which I took down to the crossing just west of Mustang Creek. I set up for this view a few minutes later at the entrance to the Bass Ranch headquarters.
Taking this unexpected catch as a good omen, I continued on east to the Chisholm Trail Turnpike then south to the Joshua exit. I set up next to the Fort Worth Sub just south of downtown and soon encountered this southbound loaded coal train with a 2 x 2 locomotive configuration. The conditions could be best described as “cloudy bright”.
I heard on the radio the loaded coal was going to meet one northbound at Cleburne so I made my way south to the north end of the siding where I caught the head end of the northbound passing the DPU’s of the loaded coal.
As the BNSF 7425 continued on north the loaded coal headed south to meet two more northbounds at Rio Vista. As the second of the two northbounds was the empty grain train with the two CN units, I opted to pause east of downtown Cleburne. I tested the long zoom on this photo of the display caboose north of the passenger station.
A few minutes later I used the same 400mm lens to catch the next northbound about to pass the switch at the north leg of the Midlothian wye.
Now it was time for the main event and I set up across from the depot so that I could capture the “Cleburne” sign on the north end of the building to give this photo some reference.
The empty grain was slated to hold the main at Joshua to meet a southbound intermodal and I took advantage of this situation to capture a few closeups of the stopped train. The intermodal was a higher priority train, but it took the siding as this is where it would meet northbound Amtrak 22 that was passing Rio Vista.
The train had started to pull in the photo above, and I followed it up to Crowley where it was lined into the siding to let Amtrak 22 come around. I could not determine a photo angle I liked at Crowley once the train stopped at the north end, and I had only a few minutes as Amtrak 22 was holding the main and about to get a green signal at the south end of the siding. I did not think I had enough time to park and walk back up to the top of the Industrial Boulevard overpass, so I made a beeline for the next grade crossing at North Cleburne-Crowley Road. I parked on the west side and had only seconds to get into place for this photo of the fast moving #22.
About five minutes later the CN units followed in the wake of Amtrak on their way up to Tower 55.
I could not think of a photo angle I wanted around Tower 55, so I decided to leapfrog downtown Fort Worth and take I35 North to Saginaw. I knew there was already a crowd at the depot in Saginaw so I went further north to East Bailey Boswell Road and positioned myself on the west side of the mainline just south of the crossing. I only waited around fifteen minutes for the passing of the train in much better light than earlier in the day. The track heading off to the right is the north leg of the wye leading to the Wichita Falls Sub.
At this point I figured I had covered the northbound run well enough and decided to leave the rest of the chase up into Oklahoma to other dedicated railfans.