Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kansas City - Day 2

Sunday, October 25

My second day in Kansas City allowed me the opportunity for some additional sightseeing, and catching some of the railroad stuff I had missed on Saturday. The skies were mostly cloudy, and darkened as the day progressed. By the time I headed back to Andy's house to meet him after work, rain had began to fall.

Holsum Food Products - Kansas City West Bottoms (viewed from underneath 12th Street Viaduct)

BNSF geeps under the 12th Street Viaduct - KC West Bottoms

Dumpster Diver - KC West Bottoms

I hadn't been over to the east side of town yet, so after a stop through the West Bottoms, I headed over toward Knoche Yard. A freshly painted Iowa Interstate GE had just left the paint shop at Mid-America Car, and awaited movement east. Meanwhile, an eastbound IC&E train was departing, so I drove out to Birmingham to set up for a photo.

Iowa Interstate 512, just out of the Mid-America Car paint shop.

Powered by SEVEN SD40-2s, an IC&E eastbound drags through Birmingham, MO.

Hobo markings under the Hwy 210 bridge - Birmingham, MO

UP eastbound and more fall color - Birmingham, MO

Back at Mid-America Car, I found a dozen stored locomotives, including several former C&NW C40-8s.

UP 9053 - stored at Mid-America Car.

When the rain moved in, I headed home.... it was time to meet Andy after work and watch some football. We enjoyed seeing the Cowboys smack the Falcons around, and then headed out to the local B-dubs for some dinner.

Monday morning dawned with sunny skies (wouldn't you know it) but it was time for me to head home. Vacation over, back to work, and over 500 miles of highway ahead of me...

Andy and his "Love Bunker". He had a lot of leaves to rake. Wish I could've stayed around to help, but I had to be getting on back to Texas...

So it has only taken 5 months to post everything, and now the KC trip report is complete. A little bit of closure: upon my return to Ft Worth, I called off my relationship with Miss C (trouble had been building for a while, and reached a breaking point during and immediately after my travels). I spent November and December enjoying the single life, began dating again in January, and have met a new special someone who I will be introducing soon. Life moves on...

Still have some loose ends to tie up... a Gourds show from December, Whiskey's movie reviews, Tim Barry in Deep Ellum, and my recently completed trip to New Mexico. Check back soon for some new stuff.


np: Hagfish - "Herve"

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kansas City - Day 1

Saturday, October 24

Kansas City is one of my favorite places to take photographs, and one of the few places outside of Texas or New Mexico that I'd consider moving to. I spent three months there in 1995 during my dispatcher training, and fell head-over-heels with the city and its dynamic railroad scene. I've been back a handful of times since -- a wedding here, a family weekend trip there -- but it had been about 7 years since my last visit.

A grab shot from the freeway of something I hadn't seen since Tuesday. (That would be the sun.) I'd have to work fast... clouds would be moving back into the area by early afternoon.

Andy was working 1st shift over the weekend, which would give me time to get out and shoot photos in the morning and early afternoon. We'd meet up later in the day for some train watching and Kansas City barbecue...

UP eastbound coal at Bonner Springs, KS.

I managed to hit most of my favorite KC spots during the day: Bonner Springs, the West Bottoms, Santa Fe Junction, KC Union Station. And what I didn't catch on Saturday, I'd see on Sunday...

Unmistakably KC: The red brick warehouses of the West Bottoms district dominate the background behind BNSF 9845, which has paused briefly to await clearance into Murray Yard.

More Bottoms - UP 7400 leads an eastbound.

I had lunch out in Lenexa, where I found a boxcar displaying this old Frisco logo...

After lunch, I headed to Santa Fe Junction, where I'd get my first look at the recently constructed "flyover" bridges. Built and placed in service within the past 5 years, the bridges allow through trains on the BNSF Transcon to avoid delay from cross traffic on the BNSF Fort Scott line and the UP. The railroad was getting its money's worth on Saturday as Z trains in opposite directions "flew over" three other trains on the lower levels.

Big-time action at Santa Fe Junction: five trains on three levels, and all were moving when I snapped this photo. Never seen anything like it!

Andy met me at Kansas City Union Station after work. He's not a foamer, but he patiently waited while I watched and photographed a few more trains before we headed out for some barbecue...

Foamer simulation - Andy at KC Union Station

A westbound UP train passes another of my favorite KC landmarks -- the Western Auto Building.

KCS 34 lurks in the shadows at KC Union Station.

On Sunday, I'd have time for more photography (under mostly cloudy skies) before meeting up with Andy after he finished work.

I had hoped to finish the KC trip reports BEFORE my next vacation started, but the clock has run out. I'm heading to New Mexico for a week with the kids while they're on Spring Break. So check back sometime after the 22nd for a Kansas City finale. By then, I'll have another week's worth of vacation photos and trip reports to share. So we'll see how much success I have at posting more timely blog reports after that. Until then, take care of yourselves... and each other.


np: David Grisman & Jerry Garcia - "Jack-a-roe"

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alcos, Ozarks, and overcast skies

Friday, October 23

It had been 14 years since I'd photographed the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad and its fleet of Alco locomotives. Almost every year, I've hoped to get up to the Fayetteville area for a return trip, only to have other plans or priorities take precedence.

So I was a little disappointed that my first visit in a decade and a half was beset by such undesirable weather: cold, breezy, and heavily overcast. At least the fall colors looked nice...
And the good news is that I managed to catch both of the A&M's Friday trains, beginning with the passenger train from Springdale to Van Buren.

Caboose brings up the rear of the southbound passenger train to Van Buren, photographed at Winslow.

Scenic highlights: Arkansas & Missouri passenger train rolls through a bucolic landscape near Mountainburg, Arkansas.

Vibrant fall colors made the trip worthwhile...

As the passenger train approached the Van Buren / Fort Smith area, I gave up the chase and headed north, planning to intercept the Monett Turn on its return to Springdale from Monett, Missouri. I found a nice location about 20 miles north of the Arkansas - Missouri state line to sit and wait. Overcast skies dampened the visual scene, but those 5 Alcos -- with about 50 cars in tow -- SOUNDED great.

Southbound Monett turn at Exeter, MO

In your face: A&M # 60 leads the southbound Monett Turn at Avoca, AR

It was my least productive day of the trip in terms of photography, but still nice to see the A&M again. I had a few hours of driving ahead of me... I'd be meeting my friend Andy in Kansas City that night. Wouldn't you know it... the skies began to clear up around Carthage, a harbinger of improved photographic potential the following day in KC.

Stay tuned...


np: New Order - "Love Vigilantes"

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rich Mountain in the rain - 2nd section

more from Thursday, October 22, 2009 ...

rainy Arkansas roads

KCS switching at the south end of DeQueen yard. Viewed from the front porch of an abandoned house.

UP 5908 bangs across the DeQueen & Eastern diamond: DeQueen, Ark.

This LED signal protects the KCS / DQ&E crossing in DeQueen.

Miller's Garage: Hatfield, Ark.

A good thing for a railfan to know.

Coming next: More clouds on the A&M, and on to KC...


np: Canned Heat & John Lee Hooker - "Boogie Chillen No. 2"

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Rich Mountain in the rain

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I last visited Rich Mountain two years ago, following my California trip in October 2007. (See trip report here: ) I enjoyed gorgeous weather on that trip, so I guess it was only fitting that this year's visit would feature less-than-ideal conditions (gray skies and scattered showers). I don't often venture out to shoot in that kind of weather, but I would certainly feel more experienced with it by the end of the day. And there wouldn't be much concern about beating trains to the next spot for "ideal sun"...

Southbound in the rain near Gilham, Ark.

KCS northbound with UP locomotives south of Wickes, Ark.

I stuck around DeQueen to photograph a couple of northbound coal empties, then followed them north toward Heavener. The railroad was busy; southbound trains were waiting for the northbounds at Gilham, Wickes, Rich Mountain, and Heavener.

It's hard to tell this is KCS... BNSF locomotives power coal loads and empties meeting at Wickes, Arkansas.

The first northbound - coal empties with BNSF power at Eagleton

The second northbound - coal empties with UP power.

A colorful trio of locomotives powers a southbound between Heavener and Page.

These weren't exactly the weather conditions I had hoped for, but the overcast skies made the fall colors appear even more dynamic. And the low clouds obscuring the hillsides around Page contributed a somber mood and surreal atmosphere. What a great day to be a photographer!

Mood lighting - a northbound KCS train departs Page, Oklahoma.

Two things in short supply in north Texas -- fall color and misty hillsides -- are represented here. It was worth the trip!

Graffiti by "Theory". One of the most interesting pieces I saw during the trip.

Held out of Heavener - KCS 4601 cools its heels, waiting for a spot to open up in Heavener yard.

After it got too dark to shoot anymore, I headed north to tie up for the night in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Friday's objective would be to photograph two trains on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. Stay tuned for that report... but coming next you'll see a second section of photos from Rich Mountain. Stay tuned...


np: Ray Wylie Hubbard - "The Lovers in your Dreams"

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