Friday, 11 April 2014

Snapshot - April 2014

UP 4797 was the first train we encountered. She is leading a westbound Stack Train waiting for a meet West of Maricopa.
by Don Janes

     On April 1 Jane and I set out to do some railfanning on the Union Pacific line from LA to New Orleans, The former owner, Southern Pacific’s Sunset Route.  Most days had been a little hot to be in the middle of the desert in the afternoon but on the 1st the temperature dropped to about 75 F and sunny (it’s sunny every day here) so it was a great day for the trip.  The spot I like is about 1 ½ hours southwest from our house in Apache Junction just west of the town of Maricopa at a siding called Shawmut.  As we got closer to Shawmut I noticed that several sidings were full of work trains or fleets of track equipment.  I thought this might be trouble because if there was a work block there would be no train watching today.  My mind was eased when I saw that all the equipment was parked and not a sole around.  They must be on their downtime.  Shortly after we saw a westbound stack train waiting for a meet.  There were no less than six work trains parked along the line including entire trains of concrete ties, welded rail and under cutting equipment.  A major maintenance program indeed, and they were on their day off. 


 UP 4797  again after the meet after we set up at Shawmut
UP 7391 heads up a Westbound auto train at Shawmut

ex CB&Q Silver Horizon Maricopa, AZ

 Within the next three hours we saw no less than 7 freight trains.  Out in the desert in the middle of nowhere 
 is really a peaceful spot to do some rail fanning.  When there are no trains all you can hear is the wind blowing across the desert and a few birds flipping from cactus to cactus.  A very calming place, especially when the sun starts dipping in the west.

This is the DPU on the rear of 7391 snaking downgrade through
UP 7962 an eastbound auto train with the second unit still in SP colours n S curve
Another shot  of the ex SP unit
UP 8340 slugs uphill through the S curve with an eastbound stack train
The DPU on the rear of 8340 still shoving hard
UP 9495 heads up one of several work trains along the line.  This is a train of concrete ties

Another work train with a welded rail related machine still in SP lettering.

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