Sunday, July 2, 2017

New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona -5, Coal Haulers

Hi, In this post I will cover three rail lines whose only purpose is to haul coal from a mine to a power plant. One uses electric locomotives, one an electric and a diesel locomotive and one is solely diesel.

On June 5th we spent a couple of hours in the morning seeking out the Navajo Mine Railroad. This approximately 10 mile line is located about 13 miles west of Farmington and brings coal to the Four Corners Power Plant. The trains usually have an E60 on one end and an Alco C425 on the other. Regrettably the power plant had been down for about a month and was not expected to reopen for at least another 2 weeks. Also regrettably, the railroad has 2 new General Electric ET44ACs in the process of being delivered and the plan is to replace the E60s.

In late morning we headed west to Kayenta, AZ. After lunch we explored the Black Mesa & Lake Powell hoping to find something moving on this 78 mile long railroad. While the exploration would prove useful later in the day nothing moved until about 5:00 PM.

We waited along Arizona Route 98 for about 1 1/2 hours for the empty train to leave for the mine. We had checked the power plant track, which can be seen from the highway, and could see the train unloading. Finally, a few minutes after 5 we were rewarded (above and below).

We beat the train to Kaibito, AZ where a small cloud blocked the sun at a critical instant.

Our final shots of the Black Mesa & Lake Powell were just off US 160 with the first two of these (above and below) taken near the intersection of Routes 98 and 160.

On June 6 we traveled from Kayenta to BNSF's southern Transcon, former ATSF trackage. About 12:45 PM we caught the Escalante Western train crossing McKinley County Route 19 just east of the Plains Escalante Western Generating Station. This 75 mile long railroad operates on mostly on BNSF's Lee Ranch Sub between the power plant and Peabody Coal Comany's Lee Ranch Mine.

Next we parked just outside the plant in a lot and photographed the train arriving at the power plant (above and below) and

unloading (above and below). It turns out this lot is on power plant property so eventually we were asked to leave. Also, I was told I had to delete my photos taken from the lot. I deleted one photo. That satisfied the guard.

On June 9 we caught the loaded train twice a few miles south of Lee Ranch Junction off New Mexico Route 509 (above and two below).

Thanks for looking.

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