A trip to the freight yard in the late 1970s, part I

As a kid, I found it thrilling to go to freight yards.  You never knew what you’d see.  I recently purchased these slides because they reminded me of the feeling I had as a kid upon visiting the ol’ freight yard.  Hope you enjoy seeing them too.

NORTHERN PACIFIC 5583 NP 50' DOUBLE DOOR 1977 photog and location unknown bought from J Will July 2016 c

NP 5583 1977 photographer and location unknown, —©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

I love this photo.  Three of my favorite railroads all together. The location is unknown but the date is 1977.  I imagine the location is California, but the seller did not know for sure.  For the purposes of this blog, it doesn’t completely matter.  I just wanted to help readers re-live the old school excitement of visiting the freight yard.

Freight Yard ATSF-Seaboard Boxcar Nov 1977 Bought from JD Gratz Aug 2016 Photog unknown

ATSF-Seaboard Boxcar Nov 1977 photographer and location unknown, —©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

You have to love the variety and the billboard lettering.  For me, the late 1970s and early 1980s is the golden era of railroading.  I recently saw a similar Seaboard boxcar spotted in a late-1970s Rockford Files episode.  I wrote a post on it.  Click here to see it.

SOO Line 85' TTX Flat 5723 Topeka KS Dec 9 1978 John C Benson

SOO Line 85′ TTX Flat 5723 Topeka KS, Dec 9 1978  by John C Benson, –©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

I loved seeing a few piggyback loads in many consists.  Somehow, it was more interesting to have just a few scattered in the consist versus a whole train of piggybacks and containers.  Note the beautiful L&N 40 footer!  (As a kid, about 1977, I also remember the thrill of seeing a lone Rock Island stock car in a consist in Houston.)

Freight Yard GN Boxcar Nov 1977 Bought from JD Gratz Aug 2016 Photog unknown

GN Boxcar Nov 1977 Photographer and location–©photo, C. E. Hunt Collection

To close Part I, enjoy this image of a GN box car in the fading glow of the day.  I can just hear my dad say,  “C’mon, it’s getting too dark.”

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Note:  I have had a few readers ask about the sales component of Rails West (click here).  Over the last year of so, I have sold a number of items from my HO collection.  I do that for four reasons–

  1. To raise funds to purchase the scanner and some slides (including the above slides) to supplement my 1978-1981 slide collection (that I personally shot).
  2. Purchase a few additional era-appropriate cars and engines for my 1981 era Rail West layout.
  3. Sell items that are too new for the layout, and
  4. Have a collection that is more appropriately sized, given the size of my layout.  (In other words, I bought too damn much stuff!)

I am trying to keep Rails West and this site close to “break even.”  

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In part II, I’ll share a few more gems from the late 1970s.

 

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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.

NP Boxcars, one of my favorite schemes…

Towards the end, the Northern Pacific had some beautiful boxcars.  Surprisingly, there has not been many of their cars available from the high-quality manufacturers.  My favorite scheme that I wish to highlight, is their pine tree green scheme.

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978,  Photo by  William Rogerson, courtesy www.rrpicturesarchive.net

NP #1953 in Poughkeepsie, New York May 29, 1978, Photo by William Rogerson, courtesy http://www.rrpicturesarchive.net

NP #2901 in Vidalia,  Georgia on April 29, 1993.  ©photo  F. Will Martin, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

NP #2901 in Vidalia, Georgia on April 29, 1993. ©photo F. Will Martin, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

It is really one of the classic boxcar schemes from the 1960s.  Many of these cars survived well into the BN era.

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins

NP #5304 in Cajon California on March 25 1978 ©photo by Ron Hawkins, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho.  Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/

Once again, NP #2901 in Pocatello, Idaho. Photo by Dave Krumenacker, courtesy http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/

I hope a company like Exactrail or Tangent takes notice of this glaring void.