Friday Morning “Sucker Hole”

Early this morning I found out a westbound UP intermodal train between Dallas and Fort Worth had the UP’s Missouri Pacific heritage engine number 1982 leading. It was cloudy outside and I already had well lighted roster shots of this unit from years a go, but since I needed to go to the Post Office in Aledo I figured why not one more? I quickly got dressed and drove over to the middle of the siding at Iona where the sun had come out around 8:20 am.

I chose that spot since at this time of the year after sunrise until about 2:00 pm it is impossible to find a spot in this area to get nose light on a westbound train on the UP Baird Sub. At least at this one spot I would be able to get good broadside light. Or so I thought, as now another large bank of clouds stretching to the western horizon blocked the sun and my shadow disappeared just as I heard the train blowing it s horn for the crossing at the east end of the siding.

I prepared to shoot the train in shadow, but as the UP 1982 appeared out of the cut a few hundred yards to the east suddenly a “sucker hole” in the clouds appeared and once again I was bathed in sunshine. I mentally crossed my fingers that it would last long enough to capture the head end of the train, and a few seconds later at 8:41 am I was rewarded.

I managed two shots of the locomotive itself. It looks like it could use a wash and some touch up work after 16 years on the road since 2005 when it was released.

For reference here is what the 1982 looked like back in 2010 when I photographed it for UP at Tower 55.

I took a few steps to the west and the full sun vanished again as I photographed the stacks heading away around the big curve.

A few UPS trailers towards the year indicate this was a “Z” high priority intermodal train.

After what I would guess was around 10,000 feet of train a single DPU rolled by downgrade.

Satisfied with this catch for the day and greatly thankful for the sucker hole in the clouds, I ran my errands in Aledo and headed back home.

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