UP 4404 West Inspection Special

Yesterday March 17th I got word the Union Pacific would be running one of its Engineering Specials from Texarkana through DFW and west on the Baird Sub to Sweetwater. I kept track of it during the day through friends and it looked like the train would depart Fort Worth after 3:00 pm. Since I needed to go to the Post Office in Aledo anyway I decided to take some reading material and be in position with time to spare.

Winds in the area were gusting as high as 50 mph, and I learned a westbound intermodal was tied down in the siding at Iona due to high wind warnings. This did not stop the dispatcher from bringing eastbound trains towards Fort Worth, and at 3:05 PM the first of four trains in the form of a Big Spring to Little Rock Manifest passed by.

Twenty-five minutes later at 3:30 a Santa Teresa, NM to Dallas Intermodal train came blasting up the hill through Aledo.

This was a long intermodal and two DPU’s were embedded two-thirds of the way back in the train.

The third eastbound at 4:12 pm was a Los Angeles to Mesquite Intermodal with quite a few UPS trailers.

The last of the four eastbounds was a Los Angles to Memphis intermodal at 4:26 pm.

Now there was a period of quiet except for the unceasingly unpleasant and increasingly colder wind until the Engineering Special came by at 5:56 pm with a nice clean flag unit up front.

I ran back across the street for the going away shot of inspection car Fox River bringing up the rear.

The ZAILC “Laser” intermodal was close behind the Inspection Train at 6:17 pm and offered the extra treat of a pair of KCS units. I made two exposures with slightly different backgrounds as the train passed by.

I considered this the second good catch after the passenger train for the afternoon and headed for home now that the sun was rapidly obscured by thick clouds. As I passed near the west end of Iona where the Dallas to Santa Teresa intermodal was tied down, the sun popped out for a few final minutes and I captured one more image for the day at 6:26 pm of this interesting lashup.

These days six trains – let alone one of them being a passenger train – in under four hours on the Baird Sub is a real treat!

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