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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Revisiting one of my favorite spurs in Texas

 

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View of spur from road looking west.

Along the Union Pacific in San Marcos, Texas, there’s an interesting short spur.  The spur was busy June 16, 2014 .  Two cars filled with what appears to be oats were spotted.  I discussed this same spur during the series on derails March 29, 2014.

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CNW 490119 spotted in San Marcos, TX on June 16, 2014

The unloading operation is simple and great for a model railroad–lots of operations, little space required.  All you need is an auger.

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There are no kits of an unloader of this nature.  It is a nice scratch-building opportunity.  Here is a post of one modeller’s efforts.

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The oats unload into this bin.

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Bin into which the oats are unloaded.

Then brought up the auger and put into a truck.

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CGEX 1781 spotted at San Marcos, Texas, June 16, 2014

This time, there was a second car waiting to be unloaded.  It had an aging, but attractive Cargill logo.

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The derail I discussed March 29 is still on the job!

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Here is an aerial of the spur.

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Aerial of spur

Here is a close-up.  Truck to which the oats are unloaded can be seen in this photo.

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Note truck with red cab standing by to receive unloaded oats.

Short spurs like this can add a lot of operational interest to layouts.

 

 

Layout progress report #3

The track crew has been busy! (Well, kind of busy)

The ATSF has now come to the north end of Roswell.

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Track looking north towards Portales. The main line north is to the left.  The spur to the Budweiser distributor goes to the right.

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Aerial of area modelled above. Structure is Budweiser distributor.  Track at top heads north towards Portales.

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Boxcars waiting to be unloaded at distributor.

Photo above shows box cars along what will be the Budweiser spur.  Given the unusual shape of the distributor, it will be a challenge to model.  Only a portion will be modelled given the limited space.

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Close up of BN and ATSF “beer caddies.”

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Boxcars parked at distributor in 1993. –C Hunt photo

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Front of Budweiser distributor, 1993. Rail spur (not visible) is on right side of building. Note trailer with old Budweiser logo to the left. –C. Hunt photo

Well, at least the track crew is making some progress.  The next area to be worked on will be the middle of town near the old depot including the spur to the bakery and team track where flour, lumber, plastic pellets and more come in.

For more on beer shipments in to Roswell in the 1990s, see–How about a cold one? (February 15, 2014), A Dinosaur comes to Roswell (February 20, 2014) and Beer is proof that God loves us…(Series beginning April 27, 2014)

BN 734087 Casper WY June 5 1999 Dave Krumenacker Photo

“Beer Caddie” visiting Casper Wyoming in 1990s, BN 734087 — Dave Krumenacker Photo