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Friday, August 11, 2017

Honoring First Responders

Yesterday morning, I got the word that Norfolk Southern 911, the Honoring First Responders special unit, was leading the MAVEW-09 (Manifest Avondale, LA to Englewood Yard, TX, originating on the 9th day of the month). Hoping to be a first responder after I am done with college, I knew I HAD to catch this unit leading. So I headed out and went on a wild goose chase for it. I drove past a few trains on my drive, but I only stopped for one. A BNSF manifest (M-LALDYT?) was stopped with a Canadian Pacific AC44 trailing! With CP being my favorite class I, I absolutely had to snap a picture of it.

After that, I proceeded to Beaumont, and instantly drove in circles around town to no avail of 911. FINALLY, at about 7pm, I saw 911's headlights in the yard while it got a crew change. The first place I caught it was Langham road. I got mediocre pictures of it there, but I got video.

After the head end passed, I hopped in my car to get new batteries for my scanner. In the video from Langham, you can hear the scanner annoyingly beeping repeatedly. I eventually caught up to the train in China, I could not get my still camera out in time for a still photo, but I shot it on video.

The third and final place I caught it is Devers, TX. I managed to get a really good video with a silo in the background there, and this picture:

So here are my videos from this chase:

Oh, and I am leaving for Nebraska on August 24. It will for sure be bittersweet leaving Texas forever! I will be railfanning in Newton, KS and Belle Plaine, KS on the drive up. If you want more info on possibly meeting up with me there, shoot me a message using the contact form on the right! Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Driving Close To Home

Two things, sorry about being bad about posting on here, and sorry about being so behind on uploads.

Anyway, this past Wednesday I did my usual thing of checking ATCS on the UP Beaumont Sub, which is the easiest drive to my home in Kingwood, TX (for those of you who haven't heard, I'm back in Texas for the Summer.) I saqw on ATCS that two EBs were coming on the Beaumont Sub. When I arrived, the first train, the ISLSH, a KCS train from San Luis Potosi to Shreveport, quickly snuck up on me. I got no stills, but I did get video of it which I will upload eventually. I looked at ATCS again on my phone and saw one more train headed my way. I figured once it got dead on the Beaumont Sub, I would drive to Liberty and railfan the Houston Sub for a bit. The next train turned out to be a BNSF crude oil train. I always forget that BNSF has trackage rights here!

After that train, I saw that the typical MoW (seriously, how much maintenance does the Beaumont Sub need?) was starting up, so I drove over to Liberty. I saw two men working on a siding switch there, so my first thought was to get lunch. Well, perfect timing! I brought my scanner inside, and right as I threw my trash away and was leaving, I heard them lifting the track & time. Perfect. About 30 minutes later, I caught another BNSF trackage rights train, the H-SSBDYT rolling past the Liberty SP depot.

The line seemed to be dead for a bit, so I went to sonic and got ice cream. I brought it back trackside, of course. You gotta spend as little time away from the tracks as possible, after all! And that logic worked out, as while I was eating the ice cream, the QDYLI, the only regular EB on this portion of the Houston Sub, blasted through Liberty and its 12 railroad crossings.

After this train, it became clear that they were going to start holding everything for Amtrak's passage in about two hours. Therefore, I headed back over to the Beaumont Sub and they were just lifting track & time there. Perfect! I caught a couple more UP trains and a KCS train (no stills of any of those, but videos of all of them) then headed home. Expect more days like this, as I still have a full Summer left!

Also, I have a few trips scheduled for anybody who would like to meet up with me. In mid-June, I will be in the Pittsburgh, PA area. In late June until mid-July, I will be in Southern California. If anybody wants to meet up with me in any of those places, or in Texas at any other time, comment below and I will PM you with specific dates!

Also, my return to Nebraska is set for early Fall. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more WILD adventures!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Snow Shots (With BC Rail!)

One of the things I have wanted to do since going to school in the Midwest is get snow shots. Sadly, this Winter has been royally awful for snow shots, simply because it has snowed very little. However, I have still managed to railfan with snow on the ground twice. The first time, I drove all the way to Logan, IA to catch the CN L573 in the snow. I have wanted to catch CN in the snow since I was a child, and I finally got a picture and video of it:

Here is an additional photo of a UP Z-Train I took that day, and also a UP manifest train:

Yesterday, Lincoln got a whopping two inches of snow. However, with how awful this Winter has been, beggars really can't be choosers. I had to take advantage of it and get a picture or two. I caught four trains, but I only took still pictures of one. I took videos for all four, so be on the lookout for those, I will likely upload everything from yesterday and today soon.

Today, I went out railfanning again. I went to 1st Street in Lincoln first, which is the spot with the skyline view. Sadly, I did not catch any WBs coming off the Creston Sub. I did catch a SB feed train from the Creston Sub onto the St. Joseph Sub:

After the feed train, I decided to head up to the UP Columbus Sub in North Bend, NE, as there was more snow up there. On the way to there, I saw headlights on the UP Lincoln Sub, which just gets the Lincoln-Valley local, so naturally I had to U-Turn and catch it. I caught it at the Rock Creek crossing near Agnew:

After getting to North Bend, it was 15 minutes before I saw a train. This was the first train I saw, and look at that C44-9W trailing!

Well, I thought the Dash 9 was the most significant thing. Then the mid-train DPUs passed, and there was a BCOL barn C40-8M trailing! After getting pressured by my friends to chase it, I chased it to Valley. While waiting for it at Valley on the Omaha Sub, a manifest with two SD70Ms passed:

Well an hour and a half afterwards, it FINALLY passed!

After catching it at Valley, I unsuccessfully attempted to chase it to Elkhorn, After I gave up at Elkhorn, I decided to head back towards Lincoln. On the drive back to Lincoln on US 6, I saw a flashing yellow on the BNSF Omaha Sub. As the Omaha Sub isn't necessarily the busiest line in the world, of course I had to pull over. I pulled over at the 252nd Street crossing and the train ended up being the return trip of the M-LINLIN, featuring an H2 SD70MAC:

I chased it to Greenwood and only got video of it.

After heading back home, there was a parade of stopped coal emties. One of them had a CitiRail unit leading! I pulled over and snapped a couple of shots of it.

 I will upload all of my videos soon, so be sure to watch out on my YouTube channel for those!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Triple Track Trip

On Saturday, I railfanned from sunrise until after dark on UP's Kearney Sub, a portion of which is the famous "triple track mainline," known to be the busiest freight-only mainline in the entire continent. It was a bit dead for a couple hours (I ONLY caught 6 trains in 2 hours at one point), but overall, the action did not disappoint. Here are a few pictures and all of the videos I shot. Among my most notable catches were the CN sand train with a UP engine slapped in front due to cab signals, 3 patched CNWs (only caught 2), an intermodal with a Ferromex GEVO and 2 CSX DPUs, and UP 7400, the breat cancer awareness unit.

The following pictures are just a few of the many I took this day.

And to close out this post, here is the famous tourist trap in Kearney, NE. The Great Platte River Archway Monument.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Unplanned Railfanning 1/9/2017

What I have done recently is have my scanner up on my desk and going while I am not busy doing anything school-related. Today was one of those days, as this was the first day of classes and I only had one class today. At about 3pm, I heard dispatch give a local a speed restriction on the BNSF Ravenna Sub at milepost 20.4. The closest possible railfan spot to me on the Ravenna Sub is MP 8.1, which is Emerald, NE. I figured I could beat this thing to Emerald, so I got in the car and rushed my way down to Emerald. I paced an empty coal train all the way there and got out of the car with 20 seconds to spare at the 91st Street crossing near Emerald:

It did not take long for a manifest stopped in the distance to get moving, with a coal train having just stopped on the other main. I decided to stay put at 91st Street and not go any farther West away from Lincoln, as it is a Monday after all. It was also nice to see an executive schemed SD70MAC trailing, as these are on very borrowed time.

I decided to ditch the stopped coal train in the distance and head back East towards Lincoln, as I needed gas anyway. After filling up my car, I heard the UP Lincoln-Valley local call something out on the radio, so I figured I may as well go to the 1st Street crossing in Lincoln, as I had a slight chance of catching it. Spoiler alert, I did not catch it. I did, however, snap a LOT of photos of an empty coal train heading West into Carling Yard in Lincoln:

And I ended my day off with a light engine movement going down the St. Joe Sub, which I had heard at a detector back when I was at 91st Street. I did not catch the milepost, but I heard 12 axles:

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you want to see more, be sure to follow the blog and subscribe to me on YouTube. Thanks for reading!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Railfanning on 10/23/2016

Yesterday, I took a road trip to the UP Columbus Sub, about an hour away from where I reside in Lincoln. I went there mainly to hunt down 1996, as it was set to pass by in the afternoon, peak time for taking pictures of it as it was a WB. I got to a spot just West of North Bend at about 12:30 and spent most of my day there. It was dead for a bit, then I caught two Westbounds, a coal train and a grain train, both of which I took videos of but no still pictures. After another brief dead period, a light engine movement rushed by me with 3 SD70Ms:

After a brief pause, a WB autorack train that normally passes at about this time of day flew by:

About 15 minutes later a WB manifest passed by...

... With a patched SP DPU! And right when this train ended, an EB came:

Followed by yet another WB manifest:

After that manifest, there was an unusually long lull that lasted about 50 minutes. After a while, I figured that the IG4TA (which 1996 was on) had to be next, and she came with two CSX units trailing too! It is very hard to catch a train on this line without any armor yellow.

After 1996 passed, I took a quick break to use the restroom and get some food. When I came back, I saw EB headlights. I did not bother taking any still pictures of it, because the sun was getting lower and would have resulted in a ton of backlight. It turned out to be a wonderful QNPPR with a UP SD70ACe leader, CSX SD40-3, NS SD60E, and NS SD70ACU.

After a brief dead period of about 30 minutes, I decided I would leave after the next train. The next train did not disappoint, as it was a Herzog ballast train:

After this, I packed up and headed to North Bend to see if I could get any backlit grain elevator shots. I got one of the OMAX coal train there, but that didn't turn out so well.