The Trans-Pecos region of Texas just north of Big Bend National Park offered some great rail operations in the 1970s when the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe served the region. Scenic Alpine, TX where the SP and ATSF met was in particular an interesting locale. B. Smith was there to record some great shots.
The SP (now UP and Amtrak) depot, seen here in June, 1976. There’s a box car spotted down the track to the left at Big Bend Wool & Mohair. It was a regular receiver of rail shipments in the 70’s and 80’s.
Big Bend Wool and Mohair.
Short run-around track allowed cars to be spotted by train traveling either direction on main line. For a brief period in the late 70’s short line box cars were spotted at white building on left to be loaded with lignite that was mined down south. I don’t think many cars were loaded before operation ceased. But I do remember six or seven box cars sitting here, 50 footers. I was lucky a couple of times and saw this siding being switched by a main line freight. There was another spur to the right of the depot that ran to Foxworth lumber yard that saw occasional rail shipments in the 70’s.
Big Bend Wool and Mohair with two cars spotted in August, 1977. Spur track to lumber yard in foreground with switch to another spur that ran west (behind photographer) to a couple of warehouse-like buildings that had long ceased receiving rail shipments. All these spur tracks have been removed in Alpine.
Spotted Big Bend Wool and Mohair, Alpine, TX, December, 1978. Bringing in cattle feed supplement in bags.
The ATSF depot in Alpine (now Texas Pacifico). ATSF had an agent here until about 1978! June 1976 photo.
Dumping ballast near the ATSF depot, July 1977.
Where the ATSF met the SP to get over Paisano Pass. The interchange track is on the left between the ATSF track the photographer is standing on and the SP Sunset Route behind the box car. July 1977 photo.
ATSF train with box cars going to Mexico. August, 1977.
A caboose brings up the rear of the train.
ATSF has trackage rights for almost 12 miles over the SP to Paisano Pass.
An SP freight approaches Alpine from Paisano Pass. December 15, 1978.
Amtrak Train No. 1, the Sunset Limited west bound departs Alpine, December 15, 1978.
Part II, will focus on an obscure customer north of Alpine.