steam train, Wayne the train
Last Friday, one of Union Pacific's steam engines made a brief appearance in north Texas. UP has been running a special train, powered by UP steam locomotive # 844, to help commemorate the Centennial of Oklahoma's statehood. It began in Wichita, KS last week and ran south to a different Oklahoma town (Enid, El Reno, Waurika) each day. On Friday, the train crossed the Red River into Texas en route to Chico, where the railroad planned to turn it on a wye (a triangular arrangement of tracks which allows a train to change direction by making essentially a "3 point turn") and send it back north.
On Friday morning, Stephen and I (with L in tow -- a minor illness had kept her home from school for the day) headed north through Chico and Bowie and intercepted the train south of Stoneburg. We planned to follow the train back to Chico for more photos, and end our chase when it was time for me to come home and get ready for work. Few things on the railroad ever work out exactly as planned, however, and Friday was no exception.
A grain train was running ahead of the steam engine and experienced a train separation when a knuckle broke on the hill south of Bowie. (A knuckle is the part of the coupler that opens and closes to connect the cars.) After putting the train back together, the crew wasn't sure they'd be able to pull up the hill from where they were without either stalling or breaking the train again. The crew on the steam engine offered to shove them up the hill from behind, but the dispatcher had to "talk to Omaha" (UP management) and it was decided instead to have the grain train double their train (take half the cars, then return for the second half) to Chico. This process would take a minimum of two to three hours. Our second shot of the steam engine, rolling to a stop at a crossing south of Bowie, ended up being our last.
Friday night after work, I met some friends at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton for a Wayne Hancock show. Joe and Stephen eventually made it up there; they had been busy shooting pictures out west of Ft. Worth.
Stephen and Joe - front porch Whataburgers at 3:30 am.
We wrapped up our evening (now three hours into Saturday morning) with Joe and Stephen eating Whataburgers on our front porch. They would both be catching their flights home later in the day, so that was the last time I'd see them during their visit.
np: ESPN SportsCenter
nr: Ayn Rand - the Fountainhead