Southwest Chief in Daylight

Southwest Chief in Daylight

My photo work for my client was scheduled to take place on Tuesday May 31st, so on Monday May 30th, I did on-site preliminary work and set up some equipment in advance. For the rest of the day, I decided to follow the BNSF northeast from El Dorado to Ellinor just west of Emporia where a second main line is being constructed. My first photo of the day was from the shoulder of Kansas 177 near Aikman not long after sun rise at 6:22 am of a westbound intermodal train.

Arriving at Cassoday I caught a westbound at 6:52 am.

The next train was an eastbound at 7:07 am.

At 7:20 am the sun came out as another westbound rolled through town.

I composed an artistic view as the train passed the crossing where I was standing.

I moved back east to the signal bridge at West Cassoday for this photo of another westbound at 7:48 am.

One more westbound came by at 8:29 am with a nice warbonnet in the consist.

As I headed north out of Cassoday, I encountered two local natives crossing the highway several miles apart. Traffic was light so I was able to stop for a close up of each. The box turtle was annoyed and quickly scurried into the grass.

The second encounter was different as this snapping turtle settled in and dared me to get too close

At aptly named Matfield Green I encountered a westbound stack train with pure foreign power.

A few miles further down the road I stopped for this view across a field of another westbound.

Getting closer to Bazaar I drove up a side road for this westbound train with a 2 x 2 locomotive configuration. I had the drone with me but the wind this day was gusting up to 50 mph and it was hard enough just to stand up let alone launch the drone.

At Bazaar one of the new bridges for the second main track is visible to the right of this westbound.

At the east end of Bazaar an eastbound loaded ballast train headed to Emporia caught up with me.

A few miles further on a train was tied down at the west end of Ellinor.

Winding along the dirt roads I found this view looking south over the La Junta Subdivision main line to Newton and further west to its namesake. In the background is the head end of a train tied down on the diverging Emporia Sub heading west.

Listening to the Emporia and La Junta Sub dispatchers on the radio, I was aware that several westbound trains were coming out of Emporia while eastbound freights and an over 12-hour late Amtrak number 4 the Southwest Chief would be passing by off the La Junta Sub. Amtrak number 4 was a little less than 3 hours away and I decided to catch it passing the old Santa Fe depot at Strong City on the La Junta Sub after waiting here at CP ICE in Ellinor for the freight action to come to me. My first train here at CP ICE from the south side of the tracks was a westbound with an H1 painted leader at 1:05 pm.

The second unit was an old warbonnet in good condition.

The next train at 1:13 pm was an eastbound on the right off the La Junta Sub from the Transcon via Wichita and Newton. The locomotives on the left were the DPU’s of the train see earlier tied down on the Emporia Sub.

A westbound ballast train for the Emporia Sub rolled by at 1:52 pm.

Nine minutes after that at 2:03 pm an extremely long stack train with a 2 x 3 locomotive configuration followed the ballast train west down the Emporia Sub.

At 2:29 pm another eastbound manifest came off the La Junta Sub onto the Emporia Sub.

An eastbound “Z” train followed off the La Junta Sub at 2:40 pm.

One more eastbound intermodal was due off the La Junta Sub ahead of Amtrak number 4, so I moved to the north side of the track to catch it passing CP ICE ant 2:58 pm.

It only took me around 15 minutes to drive west to Strong City paralleling the La Junta Sub all the way. I found a good spot on the south side of the tracks east of the depot and waited until 3:41 pm to record this sequence of Number 4 passing by in a relatively rare daylight movement.

With this special sequence on the memory card and nothing else close on the La Junta Sub, I headed south out of Strong City on Kansas 177 and was soon alongside the Emporia Sub at Bazaar. I pulled over as a northbound intermodal appeared in the distance. The grade for the second main track is visible in the foreground.

This northbound met a southbound at the Bazaar siding behind me and in a few minutes the southbound rolled through this bucolic scene in perfect afternoon light.

I would have liked to launch the drone at east Matfield Green for this train, but the wind was still blowing too hard. Instead, I caught it at the west end of the siding.

I paused one more time for my last photo of the day at the scenic overlook for the Flint Hills north of Cassoday.

Now it was time for a good supper and early to bed before my work assignment on Tuesday.

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