Saturday, June 16, 2007

More of the same

Bike rides and unfavorable weather have prevented me from shooting much in the way of train photos lately. But I've managed to get out a few times; here are a few recent shots.
Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Genset 141 switching at Carrollton on June 1.

BNSF 738 crosses a bridge south of Justin on June 10.

Ferromex 3121 was part of a colorful consist at Saginaw on Monday, June 11.

One of the reasons I like dispatching a line close to home is that some of the trains and locomotives I've seen here in north Texas will occasionally end up on my dispatching territory. I photographed Ferromex 3121 (above) at Saginaw on Monday; it was on its way from Houston to Alliance. By Wednesday it was on my dispatching territory as the middle unit on a train from Alliance to Tulsa. Then on Thursday, it headed west from Tulsa to Amarillo. Having actually seen some of the trains that I'm dispatching helps add a touch of reality to a job that is usually very far removed from the trains and equipment I'm helping to move. I mean, I sit in front of three keyboards and seven computer screens in a cavernous, windowless "cubicle farm" -- a place where you could spend their whole career and never even know what a train looks like. It's nice to get out and actually see the stuff I'm working with once in a while!

BNSF 4367 leads a westbound train at Judd (on the UP Baird Sub about 30 miles west of Weatherford) on June 11.

On June 12, three former BN units powered a southbound near Haslet.

Look what turned up in Roanoke on Thursday...

In defense of north Texas

My past two entries have contained a fair amount of criticism directed toward north Texas, so I thought I'd turn things around and share something I do like about living here. I like being able to hop on my bike, pedal 15 or 20 miles and feel like I'm out in the country. During recent rides to Rhome and Justin, I've done just that. Once I hit the side roads and get away from the main highways, it's nice to be able to hear nothing other than the gentle whir of my bike as I cruise along the blacktop at 20 mph. Sometimes I'll stop for a minute to snap a photo or take a drink of water ... and I'll enjoy the sounds of birds singing, the rustle of the grass in the gentle breeze, and sometimes just listen to the quiet. And I think it wouldn't be half bad to live out there... at least until some petroleum company decides put up a Barnett shale drilling rig a thousand feet from our house...

A scene from a recent bike ride - Old Justin Road between Justin and Argyle.

Housing market headed for oblivion? Not here (not yet)...

One of the few blogs I try to read every week is Clusterf*ck Nation, written by author Jim Kunstler. I don't believe everything Kunstler writes, but he does produce some interesting, thought-provoking commentary and theories about the future of our nation and the American way of life. Among other things, he predicts that rogue mortgages and loan defaults will lead to a massive collapse of the housing market. Coupled with the end of "peak oil", the effects will devastate the US economy, leading to what he terms "the long emergency", essentially the end of America as we know it. It's a fascinating premise, and certainly a plausible one, but like I said, I don't believe it all...

Here in north Texas, new home construction doesn't seem to have slowed down too much. During my bike ride on Thursday, workers were building the framework for the roof of a new house just off Heritage Trace Parkway...

How'd you like to have these guys' jobs?

When I passed by again two hours later, they'd made lots of progress.

Plenty of visitors...
My cousin from Ohio and his family are visiting Texas for a week. I haven't seen much of them yet; they're staying with Mom and they've been busy with various activities during the week while I've been riding my bike and working. Meanwhile, K's sister and brother-in-law are staying with us for the weekend. We're planning a Fathers' Day get-together with K's side of the family on Sunday. And my friend Matt will be coming down for a visit from KC. We'll see what kind of trouble we can get into early next week.
I guess that's all for now. Check back in a day or two for some comments on Fathers' Day. Until then...
np: Ralph Stanley - Worried Man Blues

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