Escondido, California 1974

By B. Smith

September 24, 1974 when I chased the ATSF local from Oceanside to Escondido.

Below is a photo I took around San Marcos.

 

 

A bit further along a covered hopper was set out below.

My beautiful picture

Editor’s note:  This scene inspired Ponderosa Feeds on the Rails West layout.  Click here to see it.– ©B. Smith photo

Escondido was, and still is, the end of the line.
My beautiful picture

— ©B. Smith photo

I don’t believe the line ever extended beyond Escondido.  I’m standing at the end of track in this photo (below) .  A lumber yard is off to the right and was still served by rail shipments.
My beautiful picture

— ©B. Smith photo

Below, a short spur ran to a ramp, probably to unload farm machinery.  I don’t know why the tank cars are over on that spur.  Today a pool supply company is located next to that spur.  Could these be chlorine cars? They don’t look like chlorine tank cars.

 

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

The local arrived having already run around a car of lumber and put it ahead of the engine.  One of the crew rode the point by sitting on the flat car.

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

Two GP-35s were the power today.

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

Of course, trains still had cabooses in 1974.

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

The load of lumber was spotted first, the covered hoppers were then spotted by the colorful silos and empties pulled, the SP box was left on the stub end track by the station which served as a team track.

My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

The train to return to Oceanside barely fit in the run around track so the engines could get to the head end.
My beautiful picture

– ©B. Smith photo

Today this line still exists.  The area along the entire line has been turned into housing and the line hosts the Sprinter Light Rail system, but amazingly, the business with all the colorful silos is still there, and rail served.  The station is gone as is the ramp spur track.  Many photos over the years by Steve Vincent on railcarphotos.com are taken at this industry. One can enter “Escondido” and “CA” here to see them.

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Seasons Greetings from Rails West

nhhometown

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Seasons Greetings and Happy New Years from Rails West.

When I was growing up, there was something special about seeing trains around Christmas.  On Christmas eve, we would always go to my uncle’s house near a busy line and I’d always run to the tracks with my camera when I heard a diesel horn.  I saw many a BN, ATSF, Rock trains run near his house.  The line was untypically silent on Christmas eve, but I always dreamed of seeing a Christmas eve train at night.  I never did, but I do recall seeing a few trains earlier in the day and that was just fine.

Below is a picture I snapped in 1980 on the line near my uncle’s house.

 

 

atsf-on-claremont-st-houston-tx-may-1980-iii

ATSF in Houston, 1980 -–©photo by C. Hunt

 

 

The connection between Christmas and railroads has always been special for me, and those recollections of chasing trains during the day on Christmas eve are still special to me!

The connection is still there and I wanted to share a recent video from the Union Pacific to illustrate an ongoing connection between railroads and Christmas.

All the best to you and yours over the holidays and into 2017!

Perhaps the finest locomotive paint scheme ever devised?

The first use of railroads in the United States, may have preceded the United States.  Some contend the first railroad in what would become the United States was in 1762 when British military engineers constructed a gravity railroad at the Niagara Portage in Lewiston, NY.  Beginning in the early 1800s, rail became an important part of the transportation scene in America.  Over the years, many methods have been used to create corporate identities.  Since the mid-1950s, railroads have commonly deployed colorful paint schemes on locomotives and rolling stock to foster a brand.

ATSF 2349 in San Bernardino CA on February 14, 1987.  ©photo by Greg Sommers. http://www.locophotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=132150

ATSF 2349 in San Bernardino CA on February 14, 1987. ©photo by Greg Sommers. http://www.locophotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=132150

There have been many classic, attractive schemes employed, such as Santa Fe’s warbonnets (both red and silver and blue and yellow) and Union Pacific’s.

UPY 719 in Rochelle IL July 11 2006. ©photo by Collin Reinhart. Courtesy of RR picture Archives --http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=441139

UPY 719 in Rochelle IL July 11 2006. ©photo by Collin Reinhart. Courtesy of RR picture Archives –http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=441139

The competition is tight, but perhaps my favorite all-time locomotive paint scheme was the one used by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad beginning about 1969.  The DRGW must have liked it too–it was the principal scheme from 1969 to the date it merged into the Union Pacific in 1996, by way of its merger with the Southern Pacific in 1988.  As a result, it was the principal paint scheme for almost 30 years.

Rio Grande 3096 Backman's Crossing,Provo,UT Early Spring 1994. --photo by Quinn Clegg.

Rio Grande 3096 at Backman’s Crossing near Provo,UT in Early Spring 1994. –photo by Quinn Clegg.

Back in the early to mid 1990’s well into the SP era, it was still possible to catch pure sets of Rio Grande power on Southern Pacific trains.  The DRGW continued to use this scheme pretty much throughout the SP era.

DRGW 3095 at Desert, UT on Apr 1 1988. ©photo by Mike Woodruff courtesy of RR Picture Archives.

DRGW 3095 at Desert, UT on Apr 1 1988. ©photo by Mike Woodruff courtesy of RR Picture Archives.

What a great scheme.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that the DRGW operated in some of the most beautiful parts of the United States.

Here the scheme was applied to a GP-30.  Rio Grande train north of Provo,UT in 1994.  --photo by Quinn Clegg

Here the scheme was applied to a GP-30. Rio Grande train north of Provo, UT in 1994. –photo by Quinn Clegg

I really like the above picture.  In a sense, Quinn Clegg has captured the essence of the DRGW–attractive trains passing through often lonely but beautiful scenery.

The DRGW also had great schemes applied to their rolling stock, but that may be the subject of a future post.

ATSF (and Burlington Northern) Heritage, Part II (Are there more?)

Yes.  There are more.

BNSF #480654 between Matfield and Aikman KS on Sep 21 2014. ©photo by Dan Rohrback.

BNSF #480654 between Matfield and Aikman KS on Sep 21 2014. ©photo by Dan Rohrback.

Here is at least a partial list of the 26 Heritage Cars of the BNSF.  (There were 27, but sadly one was wrecked.)
477432, Great Northern Heritage
477433, Great Northern Heritage
480539, Frisco Heritage
480654 SP&S Heritage
482111, SP&S Heritage
482554, SP&S Heritage
482825, Colorado and Southern Heritage
483110, Frisco Heritage
484002, Santa Fe Heritage
485059, Burlington Northern Heritage
485171, Santa Fe Heritage
485233, The Denver Road Heritage
485609, Northern Pacific Heritage
485704, Burlington Northern Heritage
485980, Colorado and Southern Heritage
486114, Burlington Route Heritage
486742, Frisco Heritage
486868, Colorado and Southern Heritage—-Destroyed 4/14. Unknown if will be replaced.
487379, The Denver Road Heritage
489368, Great Northern Heritage*
*This information is courtesy of — http://twincitiesrailfan.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2154
BNSF #483110 in Aberdeen, SD on Feb 27 2013.

BNSF #483110 in Aberdeen, SD on Feb 27 2013.  Photo by Nick Smith, courtesy of www.rrpicturearchives.net.

Interestingly, Overland Hobbies announced today that Athearn will produce HO cars in the Colorado and Southern, the Denver Road and Santa Fe heritage schemes.  See —

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=4015dc2e-4540-4e7b-bf6f-bbbd709b115d&c=f62f7350-526b-11e3-b371-d4ae52710c75&ch=f6fcae60-526b-11e3-b3fe-d4ae52710c75
These three cars were featured in part I of this series.
Keep an eye out for these interesting cars!

ATSF (and Burlington Northern) Heritage

A number of railroads are commemorating their heritage through special locomotive paint schemes.  The BNSF, created when the ATSF and Burlington Northern merged in 1996, chose a different method.

BNSF has painted a number of covered hoppers in commemorative schemes.  Unlike the normal boxcar red of most BNSF covered hoppers…

BNSF #   in Brady, Texas    2008.  photo by C. Hunt

BNSF #486489 in Brady, Texas June 20, 2008. –photo by C. Hunt

…these cars are light gray so they really stand out in BNSF consists.

BNSF  485171 Kansas City_MO_John_Rus_2014-09-03_82209

BNSF #485171 in Kansas City, MO September 3, 2014. ©photo by John Rus, courtesy of http://www.railcarphotos.com/ (Opening photo is also a portion of this nice photo by John Rus.)

BNSF 477433 in Fort Worth TX May 8, 2013.  ©photo by Roberto Alaniz, courtesy www.rrpicturearchives.net/

BNSF #477433 in Fort Worth TX May 8, 2013. ©photo by Roberto Alaniz, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

This car honors the Great Northern.  The GN became part of the BN in 1970.

BNSF 485609 Old Monroe MO May 13 2014 Shane Gillam copyright rrpa

BNSF #485609 in Old Monroe, MO on May 13 2014 ©photo Shane Gillam, courtesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

The Northern Pacific became part of the BN at the same time.

What is also great is that the BNSF has chosen to honor its lesser known heritage roads.

BNSF 486868 in Barr Lake,  CO on Dec 30 2013.  http://www.railpictures.net/

BNSF #486868 in Barr Lake, CO on Dec 30 2013. ©photo by John Shine, courtesy of http://www.railpictures.net/

Though formally part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy for decades, the Colorado and Southern was absorbed into the BN in 1981.

BNSF 485233 in Fort Worth, TX on Dec 6 2013. Roberto Alaniz rrpa not copy

BNSF #485233 in Fort Worth, TX on Dec 6 2013. ©photo by Roberto Alaniz, courtesy of http://www.railpictures.net

Though long affiliated with the Colorado and Southern Railway, the Fort Worth and Denver, “The Denver Road,” became part of the BN in 1982.

Thankfully, each of these great photographers captured these cars before any tagging (graffiti) occurred.

I hope this effort on the part of railroads to honor their heritage continues!

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

Readers have asked me to re-post this because some had difficulty seeing some of the photos.

This is an enhanced version with more background…even has a couple of book recommendations!

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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 1970 and 80s.  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.  By the way, Pecos is known for a lot of things, its sweet cantaloupes and being the site of the “world’s first rodeo” on July 4, 1883 among others.

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.

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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

Image

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. Photographer is standing on east leg of ATSF wye. ©B.Smith photo

Image

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.   I almost found myself looking for Sonny’s black pick-up in the background.  Of course, any aficionado of that great movie knows it was mostly filmed in Larry McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, Texas (which is a long ways from Pecos).  It is truly a work of art if you haven’t seen it.  It evokes the “quiet desperation” of humanity like few films do.  McMurtry was the author of the novel upon which the film, very ably directed by Peter Bogdanovich, was based.  I highly recommend a number of McMurtry novels including some of his lesser known works, such as Some Can Whistle and All my Friends Are Going to Be Strangers.

Back to trains…

Obviously, the ATSF traffic to Pecos had become pretty light by 1982 when the above photos were taken.

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

Image

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.

Image

In part II, also due to the fine work of B. Smith, I will highlight the Pecos Valley Southern action during roughly the same period.

Until then.

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.

Image

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.