Advance Scouting for the “Big Boy”

On Saturday August 7th I did some advance scouting for photo locations between Fort Worth and Richland, Texas to prepare for chasing the UP 4014 4-8-8-4 Big Boy’s run the following week. I was contracted by the Houston and Texoma Service Units to photograph the train between McAlester, OK and Houston, TX. The search was on to check sun angles, trees, tall grass and other potential issues that combine to determine the viability of each potential location on the actual chase day.

While scouting out the West Broadway Street crossing in Forest Hill, suddenly the grade crossing protection activated. Luckily I had my camera ready a few seconds later when this local northbound on the Midlothian Sub rolled by with a GP60 / GP38N combo and one car.

When I reached Waxahachie I rode along with friend Brian Tindle for the rest of the trip. We checked out Ennis and then found ourselves in Corsicana as a southbound UP train with a Norfolk Southern leader came around the curve off of the Corsicana Sub. I took one distant sunny photo as the train moved onto the Ennis Sub while passing local power at the yard office before a cloud moved over the sun for the close up shot.

A few minutes later a southbound BNSF train on their DFW Sub called the UP dispatch center to request clearance to pass. Brian and I set up just south of the diamond for this view with a tagged lead unit.

We continued our explorations south of Corsicana and in the process caught one more UP southbound train from the Highway 14 overpass just south of Richland.

After this we headed home and I began final preparations to leave home on August 11th to intercept the UP 4014 at McAlester, OK.

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