Last Day Of The Trip

Last Day Of The Trip

Sunday July 31st in 2022 was the last day of my return trip from Arizona and I was eastbound out of Fort Sumner shortly after sunrise. I planned to do some railfanning between there and Clovis, so my first stop was at Tiaban where I let an eastbound train catch up to me at 7:13 am.

I relocated a few miles further east to Tolar where at 7:35 am another eastbound passed me.

Eleven minutes later at 7:46 am I used the long telephoto to catch yet another eastbound passing the signals in the previous photo. and then the short telephoto on my other body to catch the same train closeup.

A westbound unit train came down grade towards me at 7:59 am.

There were two units on the point and one DPU on the rear.

Looking west in the distance I could see this train meeting another eastbound.

I suddenly became aware of a loud screeching noise nearby, and I spotted a hawk perched on a utility pole. It was definitely unhappy with me for some reason. I snapped a few photos with the long telephoto lens and in the second view I managed to catch it with its beak wide open in full screech mode.

All this took place in less than 30 seconds, and I returned my attention to the approaching eastbound for this view stretching back around the curve.

Before moving on towards Clovis I caught one more eastbound at 8:18 am with a NS unit second up in the consist.

I stopped next in Farwell at the Texas and New Mexico border to capture this westbound with two NS units and one BNSF on the point at 10:11 am Central Standard Time. The marker in the foreground represents the state line.

A few minutes later I pulled over at the elevator complex in Lariat to photograph SD40-2 number 32 that was new to me. I was used to just seeing the ex-CN unit here on past trips.

With reporting marks of TSLX, from the nose herald this unit once worked on the Tri-City & Olympia Railroad Company which is a short line in the Richland, Washington area.

As I approached Lubbock around 11:30 am, I head the dispatcher giving a track warrant to a train that was about to leave the yard and head north to Amarillo on the Plainview Subdivision. I checked Canyon Junction where the Plainview Sub splits off from the Slaton Sub but did not find a good photo composition. I ended up locating a few blocks north for this view at 11:54 am.

Earlier I had overtaken an eastbound train out of Clovis on the Slaton Sub but was unable to compose anything that appealed to me. Now that train was calling Lubbock Yard, so I went back down to Canyon Junction and found a good location where I could work the sign into this photo taken at 12:08 pm.

I stopped by Orlando’s Italian restaurant for lunch before continuing towards home. When I came out the radio was busy with talk concerning a long and heavy cottonseed unit train from Cape & Sons in Sweetwater that had just finished changing crews and was departing for Clovis. Wanting photos of this train I drove back to the BNSF and backtracked to Shallowater to get ahead of it. I found a nice open area on the south end of town for this sequence at 1:56 pm. The train had three units up front and two rear DPU’s with a length of what I would guess was 10,000 feet. It was also interesting as every car was a tarped hopper.

Now it was after 2:00 pm and I still had over 300 miles to cover before reaching home. I did not stop again until I reached Roscoe a few miles west of Sweetwater and heard a westbound UP train heading my way after changing crews. I waited and caught it passing the main crossing at 4:24 pm. This was a long intermodal with a 2 x 2 power configuration.

Now I had just 180 miles left to go and I wondered if this had been my last train for the trip as I did not want to make any major detours off of I20 the rest of the way home. As it turned out, one more opportunity presented itself when I was approaching the Judd Siding between Ranger and Weatherford which is right on the north side of the interstate. I heard a westbound leaving Brazos so I exited at the east end of the siding and photographed it at 6:42 pm.

This was my last train for the trip and I arrived home a little over an hour later. As I hope you can gather from the last seven blog entries I had a very successful time!

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