Touring Fort Worth with Ethan

On Friday July 23rd my young friend Ethan Whetstone was down from Norman to spend the weekend railfanning with his Grandmother, but as she had to work on Friday I offered to take Ethan out for the day to see what we could find. We left her house that morning and first drove to Davidson Yard to see what might be sitting there. Our first photo for the day was the UP 7102 freshly rebuilt at the nearby Wabco/GE plant.

From there we drove over to UP Ney Yard to see if we could spot the UP 1111 Employee Unit that was reported to be in town. The locomotive was indeed there, but no in a good spot for photography, so we drove on up to Arizona Street on the southeast side of Tower 55. Before long a southbound BNSF loaded coal train showed up.

While the coal train was passing on the dedicated BNSF main the UP dispatcher brought a southbound BNSF grain train down the shared BNSF/UP main on the east side.

The lead GE unit had obviously suffered a fire at some point.

There were many new AOK hoppers scattered throughout the grain train.

The grain train blocked the view of the coal train’s DPU’s when they passed so we settled for the grain train’s single DPU when it finally came by.

No other trains appeared to be close so we drove up to the street side of BNSF’s North Yard. There we spotted an old warbonnet in telephoto range.

Locomotives rebuilt for UP and NS were parked out in front of the yard office.

To the north a few interesting units were parked in a dead line. Genset 1280 is definitely scrap material!

On the radio we heard Amtrak 821 leaving Haslet and we pulled over at the south end of the Wichita Falls Sub wye where I captured this view with Ethan.

Our next stop was at the Wabtec/GE factory where we took these photos of a few of the locomotives waiting to be rebuilt.

A finished unit for UP was visible inside the fence next to the plant.

Ethan wanted to catch Amtrak 21 and 22 at the Fort Worth Central Station so we took I35 back south and arrived just after 21 had pulled in from Dallas. Ethan’s grandmother texted to see how we were doing and I sent her this phone grab shot.

You can see the rear end of Amtrak 21 in the distance as an eastbound TRE navigates the crossover to the middle platform.

We thought about walking down to Amtrak 21 but then the train left the station to meet 22 on BNSF just south of Tower 55. We held our position as a westbound TEXRail train came to a stop.

A few minutes later an eastbound TEXRail arrived from the T&P building so I framed it up with Amtrak 821 on the left and the now UTA building on the right.

The next action shot was of Amtrak 22 passing 821 as it pulled up to the east platform. The handbrakes are set so we know there is more than the broom holding 821 in place.

Passengers disembarking from Amtrak 21 are moving up the platform towards the crosswalk as the eastbound TEXRail prepares to depart the station.

I walked up to the crosswalk at just the right moment to freeze this view of TEXRail departing with TRE arriving as passengers wait for the trains to clear.

Two more photos of Amtrak 22 taking fuel and posing with an eastbound TRE train finished up our visit here.

Ethan and I had information that the UP’s westbound ZAILC “Laser” would be led by a NS unit this day, so we decided to drive out west of Fort Worth on the Baird Sub to Aledo. Our first catch there was a westbound merchandise train with new drill stem for the Permian Basin.

We parked under a shade tree and waited for the “Laser” to race through town.

At this point Ethan wanted to see if Fort Worth & Western was busy in Cresson and then try to catch a BNSF train in Cleburne. We were fortunate enough that only a few minutes after arriving in Cresson we caught one of the switch jobs at the west end of town coming back to the yard led by two SD40-2’s.

We followed the ex-Santa Fe now FWWR to Cleburne and were once again rewarded as another switch job with a GP38-2 leading two SD40-2’s was starting to work at the extreme west end of the line as it exists now.

I positioned myself for this “artistic” view as the train pulled forward.

The three units separated from their cars in order to run around them.

Heading on to the Cleburne Amtrak depot our luck held as only a few minutes later a southbound BNSF train came by. I framed it up with the display caboose and tree along with the station sign.

It was starting to get late so we started back towards Ethan’s grandmother’s house in Fort Worth with hopes of catching maybe one more train. BNSF provided that for us in the form of a southbound loaded coal train passing Crowley, and we did not have long to wait by the baseball diamonds at the north end of Joshua.

The side light here was perfect for the early evening. The rest of our return trip was uneventful as the UP 1111 was still blocked in, but overall Ethan and I had a very good day around Fort Worth with plenty of variety!

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