Sunday April 18th I had word the UP 1982 – the Missouri Pacific heritage locomotive – was leading a northbound San Antonio to North Platte manifest train that would pass through my area south of Fort Worth sometime in the afternoon. I decided to catch the train passing through Burleson on the UP Fort Worth Sub and left the house around 1:00 pm to head over there. As I approached the tracks in Burselson, I could see the cars of a southbound train that I had just missed passing by. Little did I know at the time that I would catch up to this train later in the afternoon.
At 2:06 pm an empty coal train that had met the southbound freight at Egan rolled through Burleson.
A few minutes later the two DPU’s drifted by as the train headed to Ray Yard for a crew change at the “Back Door”.
I learned from friends the target train was almost 12,000 feet long with three normal UP units behind the 1982 and one more about half way back in the train. It had developed communications problems with the rear end device and had to stop multiple times after leaving Waco. By this time I had been joined in Burleson by fellow railfans Luke Meacham, Jadon Henderson and Erick Escobedo and at 3:20 pm a different merchandise train passed through Burleson northbound.
It was getting late enough in the afternoon now that when I learned the train was stopped in Hillsboro, Jadon and I decided to drive south and intercept the train where we could to assure that we would have good light. As Jadon followed me down I35 I heard on the radio the southbound I had just missed in Burleson around 1:30 pm had been trapped in the siding at Grandview all this time by a defective switch at the south end of the siding. We passed by this train and stopped about two miles north of Itasca when I heard the 1982 north was now out of Hillsboro.
Jadon and I had picked a spot with good light and no obstructions so we were ready and happy when the train finally filled out viewfinders for the first time at 4:40 pm.
Once the head end had passed, we looked back at the rest of this monster train stretching out of sight through Itasca in the distance.
A few minutes later the single DPU just past the middle of the train trundled by our location.
The troublesome switch at the south end of Grandview had now been repaired by a signal maintainer, so as soon as the northbound had cleared it, a few minutes later the southbound train I missed earlier was now moved to the “captured” category. This was a UP Fort Worth to Waco local with a BNSF unit in its engine consist. The scene at 5:20 pm was perfect so it was unfortunate the lead unit’s flag was marred.
Jadon and I headed back to Burleson to catch 1982 again, but quickly moved south once more after learning the Taylor crew had finally run out of time and were “dead on the law” at a county road crossing south of Alvarado. When we first pulled up the headlight was out and the nose door was open, but within a few minutes the situation was rectified so that we and other gathered railfans could catch these views around 7:30 pm just before sunset.
I would have launched the drone too, but the sun went below the horizon just after this last 3/4 view of the 1982. The afternoon ended up being much longer than I had anticipated, but in the end the results were worth the time and effort!