Rail Memories, Part II

Last post I shared some vignettes where I have done a little modelling to capture poignant rail memories.  This post I will share additional photos I took when I was a teenager of other scenes that evoke special memories that I may seek to at least partially evoke through modelling in the future (somehow).

Frito Lay Plant in Houston c. 1978-80

BN Hopper at Frito-Lay on Griggs Rpad in Houston July 1978 --©photo by C. E. Hunt

BN Hopper at Frito-Lay on Griggs Road in Houston July 1978. (Love the old tank car too) –©photo by C. E. Hunt

I loved riding by the Frito-Lay plant in the late 1970s.  There was almost always a tank car and a covered hopper, and it was frequently switched out.  The covered hoppers were almost BN or predecessor roads.  CB&Q and a variety of NP cars (green and gray) were common.

NP at Frito-Lay Jan 1979--©photo by C. E. Hunt

NP at Frito-Lay Jan 1979–©photo by C. E. Hunt

Wish I had taken many more photos there!

Cabooses!

Caboose on MP freight near Houston, August 1979. --©photo by C. E. Hunt

Caboose on MP freight near Houston, August 1979. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

I loved when cabooses trailed the train.  It was a nice closing to the experience of seeing a freight train.  It gave you closure as a rail fan.  It was a consolation prize of the train ending and gave the closing a human touch–especially as a kid, when a rail employee would wave to you.  It was as though the entire train was saying good bye.

Rock Island caboose in Houston in August of 1979 --©photo by C. E. Hunt

Rock Island caboose in Houston in August of 1979 –©photo by C. E. Hunt

BN caboose in Houston in May of 1980. --©photo by C. E. Hunt

BN caboose in Houston in May of 1980. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

Almost mythical, lonesome branch lines

Prescott and Northwestern at Tokio ARK on the way to the gypsum mine Aug 1978

Prescott and Northwestern at Tokio, ARK on the way to the gypsum mine August 1978 –©photo by C. E. Hunt

There were special places across the landscape that had a mythical quality where you dream of seeing trains but never did.  One such place was near my Uncle Arnold and Aunt Molly’s farm in Arkansas.  Near their farm was a lonesome line that went off to a very small gypsum mine.  I did a post on this mine last year.  I finally found some of the photos I was looking for for that post, but I never found the picture of the Gypsum mine I took.

Prescott and Northwestern, Prescott, AR, August 1979 --©photo by C. E. Hunt

Prescott and Northwestern, Prescott, AR, August 1979 –©photo by C. E. Hunt

PNW in Prescott, AR--©photo by C. E. Hunt

PNW in Prescott, AR–©photo by C. E. Hunt

PNW Caboose in Prescott, AR, 1979--©photo by C. E. Hunt

PNW Caboose in Prescott, AR, 1979–©photo by C. E. Hunt

For many summers I hoped to catch the little train winding its way through the woods and over the hills to the mine.  I only captured it in my imagination.

The Southern Pacific

SP on Griggs Road, August 1978--©photo by C. E. Hunt

SP on Griggs Road, August 1978–©photo by C. E. Hunt

I grew up near a Southern Pacific line.   The line saw a lot of locals and an occasional long freight,  I vividly recall one highlight that took place at night. I remember a Southern (not Southern Pacific) caboose slowly trailing a long freight headed east.  I still remember being able to look inside because it was illuminated.  Funny how certain memories stick with you.  When I would go to bed at night and hear diesel horns from that direction, I would sometimes imagine what kind of train was passing on the line.

Also RS11#2926 on Griggs Road in July of 1978. --©photo by C. E. Hunt

Also RS11#2926 on Griggs Road in July of 1978. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

SP switcher servicing-warehouses on Griggs Road in January of 1979.  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

SP switcher servicing-warehouses on Griggs Road in January of 1979. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

Those were the days.  I have more to share in Part III.

A trip to the Roundhouse…(Part III)

GPs hanging around the service area, January 1979.  –©photo by C.E. Hunt

GPs hanging around the service area, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

Once I hung around the core area of the Hardy Street Shops in Houston, Texas for quite awhile that special day in January 1979, I went to explore the surroundings.  I found some additional treats.

SP SSW Caboose at Milby St Roundhouse Jan 1979 II

SSW Caboose #19 between assignments. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SSW Caboose #19 close up. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SSW Caboose #19 close up. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

I then spied another crummy nearby.

SP Caboose #617 near Hardy Street Street Shops.-–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SP Caboose #617 near Hardy Street Street Shops.-–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SP Caboose at Milby Street Roundhouse Jan 1979

Other side of SP #617. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

Then I saw a lonesome Alco S-6 almost ostracized off in the distance.

SP Alco #1257 sitting all by itself. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SP Alco #1257 sitting all by itself. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

It and a partner were all alone, the door was open and I was a kid.  You know what came next.  In my haste, I forgot to take a picture of the locomotive!

From inside the S-6, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

From inside the S-6, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

My pulse was racing.  I had no business doing what I was doing!

Contrils inside the S-6, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

Controls inside the S-6, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

From inside the S-6, January 1979 looking over the top. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

From inside the S-6, January 1979 looking over the top. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

S-6 couplers, January 1979. Note running boards. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

S-6 couplers, January 1979. Note foot boards. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

Again in my excitement, I failed to snap a good picture of #1257.  The S-6s would soon disappear.  Locomotive #1257 would leave the SP rails in six months.

SP locomotives at Hardy Street Roundhouse Jan 1979.   -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

SP locomotives at Hardy Street Roundhouse Jan 1979. -–©photo by C.E. Hunt

This concludes my series on the Hardy Street Shops.  In the coming months, I will share more Rails West experiences from late 1970s on!

A trip to the Roundhouse…(Part II)

When I was finally able to pull myself away from the turntable, I set out to explore to rest of the Hardy Street Shops.  The diversity of locomotives and cabooses was pretty impressive.  Also impressive, looking back, was the access a 16-year old boy had–just me and my hand-me-down Minolta.

SP locomotives at Milby Street Roundhouse Jan 1979 V

NW2 1310 in between assignments. See roundhouse in the distance. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

Sanding tracks, Hardy Street Shops, January 1979.  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

Sanding tracks, Hardy Street Shops, January 1979. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

The diversity of equipment was staggering.

SP Alco at Milby Street Roundhouse Jan 1979 II

Alco C628 resting, Hardy Street Shops, January 1979. –©photo by C.E. Hunt

SD-45  #9126 in for service.  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

SD-45 #9126 and SW1200 #2268 in for service. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

I had to go peek at the turntable one more time before I left this magical place…

SW1500 #2674 sneaks onto the turntable.  Will her twin fit?  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

SW1500 #2674 sneaks onto the turntable. Will her twin fit? –©photo by C. E. Hunt

In part III, I will share some of the cabooses I shot there as well as my sneaking up into an Alco S-6 (#1257) just a few months before it would leave the SP in July of 1979.

A trip to the Roundhouse…(Part I)

When I was 16 years old, I begged my dad to take me to the Hardy Street shops to take some pictures of the SP.  I am glad he agreed.  It is all gone now.  The Union Pacific moved locomotive servicing to other locations in and around Houston.  The day I visited, the place was covered with locomotives, including many Alcos.  In this day and age, It is amazing to think what access I had to the site–just a 16-year old boy and his all manual Minolta.

SP locomotives at Hardy Street Shops in January of 1979. --©photo by C. Hunt

SP locomotives at Hardy Street Shops in January of 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

I was fascinated watching the turntable work.  Below are a few of the photos I took to capture it in operation.

Almost back inside.  Jan 1979. --©photo by C. Hunt

SP GP leaves roundhouse and enters turntable at Hardy Street Shops in January of 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

Almost there!  Jan 1979. --©photo by C. Hunt

It begins to turn. Jan 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

With the locomotive in place, the operator starts to turn the table.

Almost complete. Jan 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

SP GP eases onto the turntable, Jan 1979.  --©photo by C. Hunt

SP GP eases off the turntable, Jan 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

SP GP-9 leaves roundhouse and enters turntable at Hardy Street Shops in January of 1979

SP GP waits partially back inside Roundhouse January of 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

The GP then eased back into the roundhouse.  Jan 1979. --©photo by C. Hunt

Here comes another one. Jan 1979. –©photo by C. Hunt

In part II, I will share what I encountered exploring around the facility.

My first time…

When I was 15, my uncle Kenneth gave me a Minolta 35 mm camera, totally manual–even the f-stop.  He loves photography and taught me to love it as well.

The first thing I wanted to do was shoot pictures of trains.  So when my mom said she needed to go to Fed-Mart on Mykawa road across from a mouth into the Mykawa freight yard and near the crossover of the Southern Pacific right there as well, I was ALL in.

Here are some pictures of the first train I shot in 1978.

(Note:  This is a little break from wiring on my layout plus I finally broke down and got a slide scanner!  Expect a number of posts in the future of my rail adventures from 1978-1981.  Lot’s of MP, ATSF, SP, Rock and many other goodies to come.)

The first train I shot, an MP freight easing across Griggs road and making up a larger train. In Houston on Mykawa Road in  July 1978 --©photo by C. Hunt

The first train I shot, an MP freight easing across Griggs road and making up a larger train. In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 --©photo by C. Hunt

In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

Check out the newish BN cars and CB&Q hopper. In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 --©photo by C. Hunt

Check out the new and already dirty BN cars and CB&Q hopper. In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

MP my first train I shot, Houston, Mykawa Road July 1978 IV

The engines went into reverse so I got another crack at the train. In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

MP my first train I shot, Houston, Mykawa Road July 1978 V

Here’s some old MP hoppers. In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

MP my first train I shot, Houston, Mykawa Road July 1978 VI

The sun came out and I got another shot of the BN cars and a better shot of the CB&Q hopper. Note gravel cars! In Houston on Mykawa Road in July 1978 –©photo by C. Hunt

Much, much more to come.  I love the new scanner!  We are going to have some fun with it!  Meanwhile, back to wiring…

The new layout

The ATSF in Roswell layout has been heavily revised.  I love the Santa Fe and hope to occasionally run a little ATSF action, but I recently had an epiphany.

SP-DRGW action near Trinchera Ranch Road, Colorado 2003  –©photo by James Griffin.

SP-DRGW action near Trinchera Ranch Road, Colorado 2003 –©photo by James Griffin.

This epiphany led to a significant change in the layout.

There are five and a half reasons (actually many more as well)–

1. See this post. (Selecting an era)

2.  See this post. (Perlite and scoria post)

3. See this post.  (The half reason — The beauty of the DRGW scheme)

4. The Union Railway of Oregon

5. Life experiences (Probably the biggest)

6. Pursuit of a less complex but more diverse operating scenarios.

Here it is—

The new layout

The new layout

I guess I had signaled the change in recent blog posts.  Here are some iconic photos (to me) prompting the shift.

Scoria loading into open hoppers south of Antonito.  Locally mined scoria was added to the traffic mix after B. Smith’s visit in 1984.  Scoria is volcanic rock primarily used for landscaping.–©photo by James Griffin.

Scoria loading into open hoppers south of Antonito, Colorado. Note SP (SSW) and DRGW locmotives. –©photo by James Griffin.

Union Railroad of Oregon in Oregon. Note tiny locomotive on train. This was the inspiration for there being a shortline on the new layout design. Photo by Dan Schwanz

Union Railroad of Oregon in Oregon. Note tiny locomotive on train. This was the inspiration for there being a shortline on the new layout design. Photo by Dan Schwanz

Denver Rio Grande & Western DRGW 3103_West Colton CA_Randy Keller_1989-01-22_66599

Denver Rio Grande & Western DRGW 3103 in West Colton, CA January 22, 1989.  –@photo by Randy Keller, Locophotos.com

SP 4837 Mesa AZ Jan 25 2000

SP 4837 Mesa AZ Jan 25 2000 –photo by Tom Fassett, RRPictureArchives.com

SSW 67667 Corvallis OR Feb 2 2007

SSW 67667 in Corvallis, OR Febuary 2 2007. –©photo by Charles Bonville, RRPictureArchives.com

 

Below is why these images are iconic to me.

I grew up in Houston, TX in the 1970s and 80s.  There were Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail lines near my house.  I would hear their horns whenever I was outside playing baseball, football or yard golf, which was most of the time! (It was before computers.)  I would visit a number of places around town that featured Santa Fe, Rock Island, Burlington Northern and Houston, Belt and Terminal action.  I had a GREAT railroad childhood.   Later in life in New Mexico and other parts of Texas I would frequently see Southern Pacific and Santa Fe action in the 1990s.

SP 2900 Southern Pacific Railroad Alco RS-11 at Houston, Texas by Gary Morris

SP 2900 Southern Pacific Railroad Alco RS-11 at Houston, Texas. I distinctly recall seeing one of these working the SP line along Griggs Road in Houston in the mid-1970s. –©photo by Gary Morris, RailPictures.net

 

sp-3141-southern-pacific-railroad-alco-c630-at-houston-texas-©by-george-w-hamlin.jpg

SP 3141 Alco C630 in Houston, TX. I would frequently visit the Milby Street Roundhouse in Houston and saw Alcos being serviced into the late-1970s –©photo by George W. Hamlin, RailPictures.net

I saw the tail end of the Alcos in Houston as a kid.  I distinctly recall seeing an RS-11 servicing the line near my house about 1975.  The Southern Pacific was almost always near most of my life.

The Denver and Rio Grande, Frisco and Illinois Central were my mystical lines that I only saw occasionally while on vacation.  Of the three, the Rio Grande was the most mystical.  I still vivedly recall seeing Rio Grande action as a 12 year old.  For a kid growing up in flat Houston, mountains and trains were almost too good to be true!  Especially, with an exotic name like “Denver and Rio Grande Western!”

Lastly, my experiences in Arkansas gave my an appreciation of short lines as I poked around the Prescott and Northwestern and actually rode on the Graysonia, Nashville and Ashdown.  There was something very appealing about the simplicity of these operations. See this post about the “Mystical Mine.”

Graysonia Nashville & Ashdown #80 awaiting its next work at Ashdown, AR in December 1981. Tom Sink©

Graysonia Nashville & Ashdown #80 awaiting its next work at Ashdown, AR in December 1981. I rode this locomotive from Nashville, AR to Ashdown, AR and back in the late 1970s. –©photo by Tom Sink, RailPictures.net

As I looked at photos to help design the ATSF in Roswell layout, I stumbled upon a few photos of the SP, DRGW and Union Railway of Oregon.  I realized that if I modeled a generic western setting in the late 1990s, I could pull many of these special railroads and even a shortline operation onto my layout.  For many years, upon their merger in 1986, the SP and DRGW railroads used each others equipment throughout their respective systems.  By modelling the late 1990s (after the Union Pacific acquisition), you could have the bonus of “home road” freight cars from the Union Pacific, Western Pacific, Cotton Belt, Missouri Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas and Chicago and Northwestern.  That means it is entirely plausible for empties to be spotted with any of the above reporting marks plus SP and DRGW!  You still see many of these reporting marks on Union Pacific trains across the country.

Along with the addition of a short line which will also likely switch the scoria and perlite operations (as well as serving a number of industries off the layout), I wanted to insert a few turnouts to simplify operations and avoid a few painful bottlenecks.  The off layout industries give you the option of running occasional “oddball” loads, such as scrap metal, sand or anything you’d see at a team track.  I see wood products as the primary loads–wood chip cars, loaded flats and lumber boxcars.

The track is now in place along with an extension that will serve as the “off-stage” staging track.

In Part II of this post, I will share photos of the new track configuration on the layout.