Flagstaff To Fort Sumner

Flagstaff To Fort Sumner

I finished my assigned work in Arizona on Friday, so Saturday morning July 30th I started back home to Texas with the intention of staying in Fort Sumner Saturday night. The first photo opportunity of the day came as I approached Winslow and saw a westbound locomotive headlight coming my way. I found a good spot to pull over at the top of an exit ramp and took a sequence starting at 7:27 am of the approaching unit train on Main Two. I intentionally worked the I40 signage on the left into the first photo.

Turning around I saw there was an eastbound train coming into Winslow on Main One and I immediately composed a new sequence of photos depicting the meet.

I stopped briefly in Winslow for gas and got back on I40 East. I overtook an eastbound intermodal leaving the crew change point and decided to exit at Holbrook to catch it passing the depot. As a side note, Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Company is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in a variety of stones.

At 8:10 am the eastbound blew through Holbrook at track speed.

Continuing east on I40 I lost an hour crossing back into New Mexico, and so it was around noon when I exited off the interstate onto Highway 6 to Los Lunas and Belen. I pulled over at the side road where an old overpass crosses the BNSF and took this photo of a ranch gate with a distand thunderstorm to the southwest.

Further on I pulled over at the Rio Puerco crossovers and captured this westbound train at 12:21 pm with the Manzano mountains in the background.

I stopped at Pete’s Cafe in Belen for the always great food before continuing east towards the Manzano Mountains. I passed Abo Canyon and Mountainair before encountering a westbound train at 3:53 pm next to the big curve in Willard.

A few miles east of Willard I pulled over again for this photo looking south at an intense thunderstorm.

I made it all the way to Vaughn before my next train encounter. Over the radio I heard that two UP trains would be meeting at the crew change point here. I parked just south of the Highway 60/285 UP overpass on the shoulder of Highway 54. A few minutes later this northbound from El Paso rolled by with a KCS leader at 5:14 pm.

As the northbound UP pulled into Vaughn I drove over the north shoulder of Highways 6/285 where I could see the BNSF overpasses crossing the UP Carrizozo Subdivision. First a westbound BNSF passed by overhead and a few minutes later the southbound UP train appeared out from under the overpases on its way to El Paso. There was no “over-under” photo in the cards for this trip.

Stopping just south of the ex-Santa Fe depot in downtown Vaughn, withinn a few minutes I photogrpahed this westbound passing the now BNSF maintenance-of-way base.

Covering the final 60 lonely miles to Fort Sumner, I once again checked into the Billy the Kid motel and went to the Daily Grind Cafe for dinner. I had intel that a westbound train leaving Clovis had the Norfolk Southern Monongahela heritage unit number 8025 leading. I drove to the depot so as to work the Fort Sumner signage into the photo. It was well after sunset at 8:07 pm that the train passed by at track speed. Unimaginable in film camera days, I pushed my Canon 5D Mark IV to ISO 16000 using 1/800 of a second at f4.5 for these results with some DeNoise help from Topaz Labs.

With this prize properly recorded it was time to retreat to my room and rest up before the last day of my trip.

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