Hurricane Laura Version of Amtrak 21

Early Saturday morning August 29th I headed out for a friend’s house north of Aledo to help him learn how to fly his new drone. On the way into Aledo I noticed I was pacing a westbound UP train on the Baird Sub that turned out to be the IDISI from Dallas to the Santa Teresa facility just west of El Paso. In true PSR fashion, what used to be a pure intermodal train had about forty varied freight cars ahead of the stacks.

I had my camera in the seat next to me, and just as I crossed the tracks in Aledo the crossing protection started. Westbounds in the morning are severely backlit, but the timing here was too good to pass up so with only seconds to spare I got into position for this view.

Even though the DPU would have better lighting going away, with all the traffic piling up on the other side of the long train I decided to move on while I had an open road ahead of me. As the morning progressed I noticed in social media that Amtrak 21 was coming south this day with three locomotives and 14 cars rather than the normal one unit and seven cars. After reaching San Antonio, the additional two units and seven cars would become Sunday’s westbound Sunset Limited to Los Angeles as Amtrak recovers from Hurricane Laura’s cancellations.

I decided to head over to Crowley on the BNSF Fort Worth Sub for a well lit afternoon view of Amtrak 21 going south. Even though northbound Amtrak 22 had the veteran’s engine number 42 leading I decided not to race to catch it due to heavy backlighting for afternoon northbound trains. I already have good shots of Amtrak 42, but in retrospect maybe I should have captured it again. Later last night the train hit a downed tree near Hope, Arkansas on the UP and number 42 was damaged.

Amtrak 21 was in the Fort Worth station with Amtrak 22 holding at Birds for a good while as I waited in the sweltering heat in Crowley. Finally the BNSF dispatcher sent a loaded coal train south with the instructions that the train would be taking the siding at Rio Vista south of Cleburne for Amtrak 21 to go around it. When it passed me in Crowley at 3:57 pm, the loaded coal was doing the 55 mph track speed and all four units were in Run 8.

About 20 minutes later Amtrak 21 left the station in Fort Worth and at 4:33 pm it raced past me doing every bit of 79 mph. I had carefully chosen this spot as I knew I would be able to get the oversized train in one photo.

I barely had time to compose a going away shot with the Crowley water tower before the train disappeared from view.

With the car thermometer showing 106 degrees I decided it was time to head home with the intended catch in the bag so to speak. Saturday night into Sunday morning we got just under one inch of much welcome rain. Two hundred miles east people received way more than they needed or wanted. A speedy recovery to all my friends who were in the path of the storm!

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