Monday, June 29, 2009

side tracked in Waterman

On our way out west to Rochelle, I spotted a sign advertising Sunday afternoon train rides at a park in the small town of Waterman. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of the car, stretch our legs, and enjoy something different -- the kind of spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment activity that makes a loosely-scheduled vacation road trip so enjoyable.

Waiting to take a ride on the Waterman & Western park train: Waterman, IL

a curious logo

At the station, M tried out the engineer's seat...

... but he had to ride "coach".

"Action shot".

"Roster shot" - Waterman & Western Railroad - Waterman, IL

Leaving the station.

Best of all, we made it back to the BNSF tracks before we missed any trains. Coming next... a special locomotive display at the Railroad Days celebration in Rochelle. Stay tuned...


np: Hank Williams - "I'd still want you"

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Road to Rochelle

By early afternoon, we were trackside on the BNSF Aurora Subdivision, part of my current dispatching territory (I work 2nd shift on the C&I desk). I always enjoy getting a first-hand look at rail ops on lines I have dispatched. Within an hour, a westbound Z-train showed up...

Running hot for Portland, the Z CHCPTL races through Big Rock

We took our time driving to Rochelle, stopping for photo ops at towns along the way.

Looking west at Hinckley.

Ghost signs at Shabbona. Dig that Schlitz logo!

We're not in Texas anymore...

Steward, Illinois is Old Style country.

Steward depot

Rochelle, IL: "a hub city"

The city of Rochelle features a busy railroad crossing where BNSF's Aurora Sub (former CB&Q between Chicago and the Twin Cities) intersects with Union Pacific's east-west main (former C&NW) running west from Chicago. There's also some local industry and warehousing, along with UP's recently constructed "Global 3" intermodal facility.

Westbound UP freight crosses the Rochelle diamonds. UP traffic outnumbered BNSF moves by a sizeable margin during our visit.

"No clearance" sign near an old industry spur in Rochelle.

Stay tuned for more, coming soon...


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chicago trip - 1.1

M and I embarked on our summer vacation trip on the first Sunday in June. L was attending a summer camp program at Texas Tech in Lubbock. We had scheduled a 9-day visit to Chicago, Indiana, Ohio, and back to Chicago. Along the way, we'd be visiting with family and friends, catching a couple of baseball games, and of course watching and photographing some trains. I hadn't visited Chicago since 1999, and hadn't railfanned in the city since 1991!

On June 7, we caught a morning flight from D-FW to Chicago...

Not much to see outside...

... until we arrived in Chicago and executed a turn above Lake Michigan near downtown before approaching O'Hare from the east.

Wrigleyville! We had tickets for a game there the following Sunday.

What's the story here?

After claiming our luggage and obtaining our rental vehicle, we headed west toward Rochelle. We'd return later in the week to Chicago to actually see the city.

Sweet! We're on the road to Sugar Grove -- the first time I would see first-hand part of the territory I am currently dispatching (BNSF Aurora Subdivision west of Aurora, IL).

We discovered this item on the floor of our rental van. Our realization that we could change the name and purpose of the item simply by covering up two of the letters, provided a near-constant source of amusement during the trip.

Coming next: BNSF Aurora Sub, Rochelle Railroad Days, and a train ride at Waterman. Stay tuned...


np: Cubs vs Tigers on WGN

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

No time for the blog... 8

... just the photos. Thanks to everyone who emailed, asking when the next update was going to be. This "lightning round" edition should get things caught up, just in time for me to start with another trip report series. Here's what's been happening in Whiskey, Texas.

Mayfest was cancelled due to the Swine Flu scare.

M finally got the hang of riding his 2-wheeler. We have enjoyed several rides together, including a beautiful Sunday afternoon along the Trinity River.

Riding to school. The school year was almost over when I snapped this pic.

Self portrait - high sun along the tracks in Roanoke.

Six Flags visit - L takes a spin on the teacups.

My cousin Marc has a new critter: Luke, age 0. Congrats, cuz!

Mom got a dog. Meet Sprocket.

A-Kon 2009. M cosplayed as Near from "Deathnote" (seen in 4 of the 8 photos above). I'll plead the fifth as to whether or not I cosplayed...

lunch with Miss C.

M and I just returned from a week-long visit to the midwest; stay tuned and I'll have some trip reports posted soon.


np: Grateful Dead - "China Cat Sunflower"

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