Mail a Letter, Catch a Train

Yesterday on July 6th I was working at home when I happened to notice on social media that a westbound ZAILC train was coming into Fort Worth heading my way with a KCS unit leading and two Progress Rail Tier 4 SD70ACe’s trailing. I remembered I had a letter to mail so a quick trip to the Aledo post office was in order.

I stopped at the location of the old west end of the Iona siding and got ready. Soon the radio came alive with a westbound manifest train calling the signal into the east end of the siding. Now I had time to get to Aledo without missing my target train somewhere behind this manifest so I moved on to my normal parking spot next to the old Iona depot now in Aledo.

Soon the current situation became clear over the radio. The train in the siding was a MEWTU Houston to Tucson freight and Monday’s ZAILC, the “Laser” from Atlanta to Los Angeles was already out of Fort Worth coming up the main behind it. My target train was Sunday’s ZAILC and it was stopped at the west end of Davidson Yard for fuel ands to have a UP unit added to the point. I was less than thrilled with this development since I wanted the KCS leader, but I decided since I was already here with three trains on the way that I would wait it out.

At 2:34pm the UP 6595 leading Monday’s ZAILC rolled past me as the engineer transitioned into dynamic braking.

The radio now indicated the MEWTU was coming out of the siding to follow the “Z” train. UP 7043 came through Aledo at 2:50pm.

This was a very long train and as the rear end approached I could hear the whine of dynamic brakes. I framed up a shot with the west end of the old Iona depot and froze this image of SD70ACe 8909 heading downgrade with afternoon thunderstorms in the background.

I went down the street to the post office and mailed my letter before settling under a shade tree to wait. I considered giving up when I heard the train was having MU problems after adding the UP unit, but finally it left Fort Worth just before 3:30 with the problem resolved. I was in position for this sequence when the train came by at 3:49pm.

I would have been much happier with the KCS or either of the Tier 4 ACe’s leading but as the Rolling Stones song goes “You can’t always get what you want”.

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  1. Ken looks like you got one ripe banana and one rotten one.

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