Monday, July 24, 2017

New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona - 10, BNSF's Southern Tanscon - 5

Hi, For our final day of the trip we headed east out of Belen. I had 3 objectives: 1) See if there was an obvious way into Abo Canyon without going on BNSF property (there was not), 2) photograph the horseshoe curve at Willard, and 3) photograph at Vaughn where the UP (former SP) passes under the Transcon.

For our first photographs on the Transcon we wound up at the US 60 bridge across the Transcon at the east end of the canyon (above and four below). The track in photos 1, 2, 4 and 5 is the original and is usually used for eastbound trains..

These DPUs are descending the grade westbound on the new track.

We beat the last train up grade to Mountainair, NM., the crest of the grade. At this point the train sped up, quickly attaining track speed, so we let it go.

After lunch in Vaughn at the only restaurant in town we headed back west to where the Transcon crossed the UP (above and below). The bridge in the foreground is new; the result of double tracking the Transcon a few years ago.

Heading west we photograhed at Tejon, NM,

Carnero, NM,

Culebra, NM

Willard, NM

and Mountainair, NM

before ending our photography at Scholle, NM (above and below).

So ended an excellent trip with a great friend.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona - 9, BNSF's Southern Tanscon - 4

Hi, We believed that the Escalante Western would run today as we thought it had not run yesterday, Thursday. So we spent the first couple of hours again on BNSF, this time in the vicinity of CP Baca just east of Prewitt, NM, checking the Escalante Western every 15 minutes or so.

As we arrived we noticed a loaded coal train sitting at CP Baca on the line down from Escalante Junction: the junction with the Escalante Western (above and below).

First up was an eastbound Z train at CP West Baca. These hot intermodal trains only carry trailers and containers on flat cars.

Shortly a westbound Z train showed up shown here at CP East Baca (above and below)

followed by a westbound stack train. This train would wait at CP West Baca

for an east bound auto rack train

and the coal train (above and below).

After the coal train departed there was time for one more photograph of the stopped stack train. The west leg of the Wye at Baca over which the coal train had just passed is in the foreground.

At this point we checked the the Escalante Western again and spotted their empty train headed back to the mine so we broke off from the BNSF to photograph the mine run. This part of our trip is covered in blog #5, Coal Haulers.

The area around Laguna Pueblo was high on our priority list for shots, however, we were aware that the pueblo prohibited photography on their land. Sure enough there was a big sign when we exited I40 stating that photography was not permitted within the pueblo. Therefore, we took a road just north of, and parallel to, I40 and stopped in an area with no houses. Two eastbound stack trains showed up (above and below) before a pueblo animal control officer stopped and told us we were on their land and would have to leave. He further told up that we could photograph from the side of the interstate as that was not pueblo land and that the state police would not bother of us if we were well off the road.

So we relocated to the side of the interstate where we photographed this eastbound coal train

with DPUs. Just as we were about to leave two pueblo police cars stopped and we were informed that we were still on pueblo land. A short discussion ensued in which we explained that we had been told the location was OK (fortunately I remembered the animal control officer's name) and that we were just leaving as they arrived. So they let us go.

Our final stop of the day was at Dalies, NM where the route over Raton Pass and down through Albuquerque joins the Belen Cutoff, the Transcon. Here Amtrak's westbound Southwest Chief is coming off the line from Albuquerque.

A westbound grain train was waiting on the hill coming up from Belen. It continued west as soon as Amtrak cleared.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona - 8, BNSF's Southern Tanscon - 3

Hi, On Thursday, June 8 we spent a good bit of the early morning at the BNSF grade crossing with county Route 19 in Prewitt, NM. From there every 15 minutes or so we went up to the Plains Escalante Generating Station plant to see if there was any sign of activity as the coal train was supposed to run that day. However, when nothing happened by 10:00 AM we gave up and concentrated on the Transcon the remainder of the day.

Here a Citirail unit is one of the DPUs on an eastbound stack train.

When this westbound  auto rack train appeared Dale commented that he had to come all the way to New Mexico to see the NS Southern heritage unit.

Here are four more trains (above and four below) at the grade crossing. Note that the two photos immediately below are of the same train.

Amtrak's train # 4, the Southwest Chief, heads east.

Moving east our next location was North Acomita Village, NM. It was interesting how the contemporary homes were built in the middle of the ruins of the old dwellings.

After a short wait an eastbound work train showed up.

There must have been track work ahead at Casa Blanca, NM because the work train had to wait here until an opposing grain train (DPUs shown in the two photos below) crossed over at the interlocking behind me.

Heading west again we spotted a westbound stack train from I40 near McArtys, NM and had time to take the next exit to this location east of Grants, NM (above and below). We had photographed an east bound stack train and the eastbound Southwest Chief from this location the day before.

Continuing west we stopped east of Prewitt, NM for these views of an eastbound and

a westbound (above and below).

Moving west again we stopped at Coolidge, NM for a few trains - a west bound oil train above,

a west bound stack train (above and below),

the DPUs on another westbound oil train, and

and an eastbound double stack (above and below).

For our final photos we returned to Prewitt where we found stacked up stack trains.

Finally they were cut loose and the lead train started to move.

The last shot of the day was of an eastbound stack train. Thanks for looking.