My favorite spur (at least one of them) one more time…

On the outskirts of Marfa, Texas, there is a lonely little spur that services a very small operation that transloads molasses for cattle.  I had earlier done a series on molasses dealers along the rails in Texas and New Mexico. I wanted to come back to this one because, I guess, it is really special.  One, Marfa is a really interesting town.  It is a place where traditional ranching and Hispanic communities merge with arts and entertainment.   It has countless art-related entities including the famous Judd Foundation.  The foundation is closely associated with the minimalism school.

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art that bask beneath vast desert skies. In the years since, Marfa has emerged as a hot spot for art tourism.

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art that bask beneath vast desert skies. In the years since, Marfa has emerged as a hot spot for art tourism.

Two, it has a lot of interesting restaurants and businesses that one might not expect in a small, remote West Texas town.

Paisano Hotel, where the cast of Giant stayed during filming for the epic film in 1956.

Paisano Hotel, where the cast of Giant stayed during filming for the epic film in 1956. –photo by C. Hunt 

Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa, TX --photo by C. Hunt

Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa, TX –photo by C. Hunt

A warehouse in Marfa (featured in the novel, Marfa, France as the Galería Del Sol). ©photo by C. Hunt

A warehouse in Marfa (featured in the novel, Marfa, France, as Steve’s Galería Del Sol). ©photo by C. Hunt

All in all, it is kind of a quirky place.  (A site that inspired me to write a novel scheduled to be published in 2015.)

Enough on that, now back to my favorite spur…Third, it has this desolate little spur that captures my imagination.  Somehow, single car deliveries persist despite the fact that it is the only Union Pacific shipper for miles around.  It has to be serviced by through freights.  There are no locals this far out.  I have been here on beautiful sunny summer days and cold winter, wind swept days.  It is always special–just me, a tank car or two, the smell of creosote and molasses, mountains in the backdrop and the solitude (and sometimes a tumbleweed or two bouncing around).

Molasses dealer as seen across town.  --photo by C. Hunt

Molasses dealer as seen across town. –photo by C. Hunt

Fowlkes Cattle Company. It is a small operation on the east side of town.  It is located adjacent to Union Pacific’s mainline to El Paso, Texas.  It normally receives a few shipments each year and normally just one car.  Occasionally, two cars will be spotted there.

Lonely tankcar awaits unloading after being dropped off by the Union Pacific November 10, 2007.  --photo by C. Hunt

Lonely tank car awaits unloading after being dropped off by the Union Pacific November 10, 2007. –photo by C. Hunt

Pump that gets the molasses moving.  --photo by C. Hunt

Pump that gets the molasses moving.  Note stock pens in background. 

It can get messy.

It can get messy.

Other side of pump.

Close up and other side of pump.

One of the more interesting tanks car spotted there, March 25, 2008.

One of the more interesting tanks car spotted there, March 25, 2008.

Sometimes, two tank cars will be spotted.

Sometimes, two tank cars will be spotted.  Note tumble weeds–this is real West Texas.

Fowlkes Cattle Company from the air. The green dot denotes the unloading facility. Note tank car to the left. It was likely waiting to be spotted or retrieved by the Union Pacific.  The little rectangles above the unloading facility are cattle pens.

Fowlkes Cattle Company from the air. The green dot denotes the unloading facility. Note tank car to the left. It was likely waiting to be spotted or retrieved by the Union Pacific. The little rectangles above the unloading facility are cattle pens.

PLCX 221142 brought in a load March 8, 2014.

PLCX #221142 brought in a load March 8, 2014.

There you have it, my favorite spur (or at least in the top 10!)

Note: Marfa, France is a novel by the author of this blog scheduled to be published in 2015.

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One thought on “My favorite spur (at least one of them) one more time…

  1. Pingback: Rail Memories, Part III | Rails West

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