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…

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Christmas run in Pecos!

Well, not exactly Christmas but close.

B. Smith was there to capture a run of the Pecos Valley Southern on December 22, 1978.  This is a bit of a follow up to my July 26, 2014 post, “From the depths of the Pecos archives!

Follow along as B. Smith narrates via the captions.

December 22, 1978 00 The quarry run was two Missouri Pacific hoppers and a Frisco boxcar destined for the fertilizer dealer south of the quarry. ©

December 22, 1978 — The quarry run was two Missouri Pacific hoppers and a Frisco boxcar destined for the fertilizer dealer south of the quarry. ©B.Smith photo

The Frisco car is set out at the fertilizer dealer.

First, the Frisco car is set out at the fertilizer dealer. ©B.Smith photo

After setting out the Frisco box, this was the train to the quarry.  There were a number of loads already waiting at the quarry.

After setting out the Frisco box, this was the train to the quarry. There were a number of loads already waiting at the quarry.  Note the caboose! ©B.Smith photo

And we waited while the two empties we brought that day were loaded.  We then returned to Pecos with all the loads.

And we waited while the two empties we brought that day were loaded. We then returned to Pecos with all the loads. ©B.Smith photo

Hope you enjoyed the (almost) Christmas run of the Pecos Valley Southern.  It was simple, but really kind of perfect, being that the engineer and brakeman may have wanted to get back home early to begin their Christmas holiday.  Maybe one of them was going to make a huge pot of Posole for the holidays.

Posole!  My mouth waters just looking at this picture!

Posole! My mouth waters just looking at this picture!

Here are a couple of recipes.  What a fantastic holiday dish!

Recipe #1

Recipe #2

If a reader has a favorite recipe, I’d be happy to post.  I can’t wait for Christmas!  Maybe I’ll just make some now.

Destination — Pecos, Texas, 1970 and 80s…(or to the set of “The Last Picture Show?”) (Part III)

Let’s venture south to finish our visit to Pecos.

PVS #7 south of Pecos, TX ©B. Smith photo

PVS #7 south of Pecos, TX ©B. Smith photo

There was during the 1970 and 80s a lot of commerce on the south end of the line.  These photos were taken between 1977 and 1980 south of the quarry towards Saragosa and a few at the end of the line in Balmorhea.

Bagged manure was loaded here.

Bagged manure was loaded here.  ©B. Smith photo

Fertilizer dealer south of Pecos.

Fertilizer dealer south of Pecos. ©B. Smith photo

Tank cars from the cotton oil plant. ©B. Smith photo

Tank cars from the cotton oil plant just a bit north of the quarry. ©B. Smith photo

Tank cars at cotton oil mill in Pecos.

Tank cars at cotton oil mill in Pecos. ©B. Smith photo

Loaded Missouri Pacific gondola by PVS station at Saragosa, TX ©B. Smith photo

Loaded Missouri Pacific gondola by PVS station at Saragosa, TX ©B. Smith photo

View from loaded MP gon by PVS station at Saragosa, TX

View from loaded MP gondola departing PVS station at Saragosa, TX.  Davis Mountains are in the distance. ©B. Smith photo

Feed distributor served by PVS, also end of the line ©B. Smith photo

Feed distributor served by PVS, also end of the line ©B. Smith photo

Now to the end of the line at Balmorhea, a small town created when an irrigation project allowed area dry lands to be irrigated.  The irrigation got too expensive when natural gas prices increased.  Now it is home to a nice State Park which features a huge, historic swimming pool.

PVS station in Balmorhea.  Photos taken in 1977.  No rail service then, but much of the track was still in place.

PVS station in Balmorhea. Photos taken in 1977. No rail service then, but much of the track was still in place. ©B. Smith photo

Wye switch behind State Park swimming pool, looking towards feed mill at end of track.  Davis Mts in distance. ©B. Smith photo

Wye switch behind State Park swimming pool, looking towards feed mill at end of track. Davis Mts in distance. ©B. Smith photo

The Pecos Valley Southern is still a going concern in 2014.  Much of the line to the south has been abandoned or sits dormant, but these photos remind us of what was once there. Oil, aggregates and cattle feed keep the PVS hopping today.  Check it out if you find yourself near Pecos, Texas.  Don’t forget Balmorhea as well.  It has an “ice” cold swimming pool and some pretty good Mexican food at the Cueva de Oso.

Destination — Pecos, Texas, 1970 and 80s…(or to the set of “The Last Picture Show”) (Part I)

I will finish the Delaware series soon, but I thought it is time to spend a little time out west again.

We will visit Pecos, Texas in the 1970s.  The first part will focus on the operations of the ATSF.  The ATSF ventured south of Carlsbad all the way down to Pecos in the 1970s.

The second part will feature the operations of Pecos Valley Southern (PVS) RR.  The Pecos Valley Southern is still operating 23 miles of track south of Pecos.

Thanks to some great photography from a friend, we will visit both as they operated in the 1970 and 80s.

August 1982.  ATSF station sign, Missouri Pacific RR (MP) mainline from El paso to Dallas on left, then PVS interchange track with MP. Switch stand just visible down track is to ATSF line to Carlsbad. ©B.Smith photo

August 1982. ATSF track to Carlsbad from Pecos. Track to left is other leg of wye.  ©B.Smith photo

Switch where west leg of ATSF wye joins interchange track. Carlsbad would be down track that curves to the left here. ©B.Smith photo

Switch where west leg of ATSF wye joins interchange track to MP whose main track is visible on left, with PVS interchange track to MP visible beyond MP main, where cars are spotted. String of hoppers loaded with gravel visible in the distance on right center. These hoppers were loaded at gravel quarry on PVS and await pick up by MP. More cars off PVS on left await pick up by MP. ©B.Smith photo

Looking other way down ATSF/MP interchange track, ATSF Pecos station sign just visible beyond and to left of switch stand. Signaled MP main on right. All ATSF tracks in Pecos removed in late 80’s. Photographer is standing on east leg of ATSF wye.  ©B.Smith photo

Loaded hopper string on PVS/MP interchange track, MP main track to left. ATSF tracks in Pecos are on far side of MP main track but are not visible. ©B.Smith photo

Looks like images out of the The Last Picture Show, I’d say.

The traffic to Pecos had become pretty light by 1982 when these photos were taken.

Our photographer did catch some action on the ATSF, in 1978.  The ATSF interchanged with the Pecos Valley Southern and Missouri Pacific in Pecos.

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June 5, 1978. The only time the photographer caught cars being interchanged between MP and ATSF in Pecos. The car on the very left mostly out of the photo was a DRGW box. The string of cars on the right are on the other side of the MP main line and are the cars PVS left for MP to pick up after the days run. ©B.Smith photo

Just like the Last Picture Show, all good things come to an end.  The ATSF line to Pecos (everything south of Pecos Jct.) was abandoned in September, 1990. The line to Rustler Springs in Texas and all trackage south of Loving, NM was abandoned in 2002.

You can still see where the ATSF wye was in this modern aerial photograph.

 

The “ghost” of the old ATSF wye in Pecos, Texas.

In a future post, also due to the fine work of B. Smith, I will highlight the Pecos Valley Southern action during the same period.

The Sanderson Turn, March 23, 1990 (Part I)

The LCN has invited us back to accompany a run down to Sanderson.  It is a brilliant 75 degree day.  The H.W. Green grocer distributor, Budweiser Distributor, scoria loader and Lazy W Ranch Operation all need service.  It promises to be busy but easily manageable run.

(Note: this series is detailed, but an excellent overview of prototypical operations.  All too often, modellers just race around dumping and picking up cars without slowing down and really emulating prototype operations–thinking about dropping off the brakeman, walking to open turnouts, attaching brake lines, opening derails, etc.  If you really think about what is involved in operations, you won’t need a such big, maintenance intensive layout to have rewarding operating sessions.)

Here we go…(The captions will explain what is going on.)

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The Sanderson Turn has arrived in Sanderson with two loads of beer, an insulated box for the grocery distributor, and two empty open top hoppers for scoria loading, being cut off on the main here.

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The beer and grocery cars are pulled further down the main. Two loads of scoria on the right await being picked up on today’s out bound train.

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The beer and grocery cars are cut off.

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The light engine proceeds into the beer siding to pull an unloaded beer car.

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The empty beer car is out of the siding now and the engine shoves just it through the switch.

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With the beer car in tow the engine proceeds down the passing siding…

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…and into the Lazy W Ranch track to couple into a tank car of liquid cattle feed. It’s not empty yet and will have to be re-spotted.

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Two loads of bagged manure and an empty covered hopper are coupled into next.

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Having grabbed everything from the track, the train pulls out of the Lazy W track and puts the cars on the passing track.

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The tank car is re-spotted.

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The empty covered hopper and two loads of manure are shoved down the passing track. The conductor flags the road crossing.

Well there are some additional movements to perform here in Sanderson on this beautiful afternoon (scoria, beer and groceries), but they’ll come after lunch.

Hope you brought some lunch. If not, Jiménez Cafe just across the tracks serves some pretty good enchiladas.  See you after lunch…(Part II)