Sunday, October 07, 2007

photos, scrapped locomotives, and beer

a few photos from some of my recent bike rides...
Lucky Lady truck stop - north Fort Worth

a Tuesday morning bike ride on the Trinity River trails

BNSF hoppers pass over me during a ride south of Justin.

This Kroger truck made a brief stop in my neighborhood last week. The kids and I call these "big baby butts".

"the end"
Two of RESCAR's CF7 locomotives headed to that great roundhouse in the sky last week. I remember seeing these locomotives during my earliest visits to Saginaw, 17 or 18 years ago. Longtime fixtures of Saginaw, CF7s 2507 and 2535 were assigned to switch the Horizon flour mill (a former Cargill facility), but had recently been sidelined after a newer locomotive replaced them earlier this year. They were finally scrapped last week. Here's a shot of them meeting their unhappy end.

Nothing left but the cabs... scrappers' torches were hissing as I snapped this photo of the remains of 2507 / 2535 on September 29.

And here's a photo of them back in July...

RESCAR CF7s 2535 / 2507 in Saginaw - July 2007

The story behind the creation of locomotives like RESCAR 2507 and 2535 makes their very existence in Saginaw in 2007 all the more remarkable.

An original F7, and a post-conversion CF7

During the 1970s, Santa Fe's locomotive shops in Cleburne embarked on an ambitious program to rebuild and convert 1950s-era streamlined F7 passenger locomotives to freight locomotives of a more utilitarian design, suitable for yard and road service. Between 1970 and 1978, Cleburne churned out some 233 of the converted locomotives, designating them "CF7" (for "Converted F7"). Bearing little resemblence to the handsome F7, the CF7s were often referred to as "ugly ducklings". Displaying an appearance that was more function than form (and some would question the "function" as well), the locomotives were somewhat similar to EMD's GP-series locomotives, but had slightly larger cabs and oddly-shaped noses. The only parts of the F7 that were even recognizable were the trucks and the front of the frame (and a curved portion of the cab roof on some of the units). The locomotives held down assignments across the Santa Fe system, but always seemed to be commonly found in Texas.

In the 1980s, Santa Fe began to sell off the CF7s to shortlines and regional railroads throughout North America. A large number of them were traded to Amtrak in exchange for a group of troublesome six-axle passenger locomotives which Santa Fe planned to use in freight service. Still others, like the two RESCAR units in Saginaw, found work at grain elevators and other industrial facilities. Units 2507 and 2535 in Saginaw began their careers as F7s 313L and 38L, built in 1953 and 1949, respectively. Rebuilt and converted in 1974, they continued to serve the Santa Fe until 1987, and then lived out their final 20 years on the RESCAR roster, assigned to the Saginaw flour mill.

Parted out for scrap at the age of 58 and 54 (and 33 years after their conversion to CF7s), it's safe to say that the 2507 and 2535 lasted for many years longer than their intended lifespans, both pre- and post-rebuild.
attack of the light beer commercials

So, Coors Light is running new versions of their commercials featuring football coach "interviews". Those are still pretty clever, although the ones last year were funnier. Meanwhile, Bud Light is running the hilarious skit of two guys whose beer bottles are shattered by a high note at the opera. Nothing wrong with that (except for the beer). And Miller Lite is running ads featuring John C. McGinley from "Scrubs" as the "commish" of ... "the More Taste League"? Dude, are you s***ing me? What a bunch of lame crap. If their commercials are supposed to make me want to go out and buy their product, they're failing pretty spectacularly. In fact, I'm tempted to go to the fridge right now, gather up all my bottles of Miller products, and pour them down the damned sink. And I actually consider Miller Lite to be the best tasting of the three! This has to be one of the worst ad campaigns from a beer company in years. How about another round of "Man Law" commercials? Now that was some funny stuff. Hell, how about going "retro" for a year -- bring back Madden and the "Less Filling - Tastes Great" debates. But this "More Taste League" garbage is a waste of my time. And yours, too, since you just finished reading about it...
np: ESPN - SportsCenter
nr: John Steinbeck - Cannery Row

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