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Thursday, June 20, 2013

13-06-20 PHOTOS: Arizona ATSF

Well its part two of my third annual Amtrak Epic Cross Country Journey and this time after a refreshing night's sleep in the sleeper I awaken at the crack of dawn to find myself just east of Flagstaff Arizona. My train, the eastbound Southwest Chief, was running about an hour late, which was a good thing since my traveling companion really wanted to have his picture taken in Winslow, Arizona because some song told him to apparently.

Anyway the Southwest Chief follows the route of the former ATSF Super Chief and Regular Chief trains from LA to Chicago. Between LA and Dailes, NM this route is quite unlike the typical western main line with its single track and passing sidings. The ATSF clearly had its shit together when it built a two track main line from mid-west to west.

This set is a long one covering parts of the Seligman and most of the Gallup Subdivisions and those of you who enjoy railroad signals and mesas you can find the entire set of 700 or so photos right here.

Starting things off heading out of East Flagstaff was a double stack intermodal train waiting for us to clear up. Included in the lashup was C44-10W #7329.

Providing yard power for a nearby Purina plant was ATSF painted GP38 #2229.

The intermodals were parked nose to tail on approach to Flagstaff.

 ES44C4 #6958 was assisting the second train on the rear.

Third train in line was headed up by ES44C4 #6885 and C44-10W #7309 with a general consist.

Unfortunately this part of the line had recently been resignaled and lost its classic ATSF searchlights. Despite 2-mile signal blocks 4-block signaling was in effect. The former ATSF main line is FRA track Class 5 enabled for 70mph freight train amd 90mph passenger operations. 

Starting west of EAST DARLING interlocking Intermittent Inductive Automatic Train Stop was in service for eastbound trains allowing them to travel at 90mph. The silver induction shoes can be seen outside of the running rails here at West Diablo Canyon Interlocking located on the edge of its namesake Canyon. Oh East Diablo Canyon, why can't you be more like West Diablo Canyon. 

East of Dennison there was an odd split track arrangement low grade thing going on seen here with a westbound stack train. This is actually only about 10 miles from that famous meteor crater.

Waiting for a highball at Winslow, AZ.

After a quick breakfast in the dining car I was back on the job at about Milepost 250 where I caught another westbound stack train near Holbrook. Passing Winslow we were now traveling on the Gallup Sub.

The stack trains were one after another with this one seen here at about MP 247 with an ATSF warbonnet unit on point.

By now ATS was now in service in one direction in each track resulting in a preference for left hand running for the Chief. Unfortunately dispatchers could not maintain this preference and we were occasionally stuck over on the 80mph track. The reason for the odd ATS arrangements is that when the line was upgraded to bi-directional signaling BNSF did not have to apply ATS to the reverse direction. 

ES44C4 #6957 on the siding at Adamana with an eastbound double stack train.

CN unit running in the #2 slot ahead of C44-9W's #5294 and #4496.

Pushing in the rear was ATSF warbonnet #764.

ES44C4 #6737 helping out with a stack train near Bilbo.

It's worth mentioning that this section of the line travels through the Petrified Forest National Park, so if you're one of those people trying to visit all the National Parks riding the Southwest Chief will check one off.

Coronado Junction provides a route for coal trains to reach a pair of generating stations about 50-100 miles to the south.

 Silo and decommissioned pole line power supply point at Chambers, AZ.

Running parallel to Interstate 40 at Cheto.

Abandoned industry at Houck just before we got crossed over onto track 2 and limited to 80mph due to the lack of ATS.

Wild horses foraging for food trackside at MP 185.5.

Compared to the California Zephyr the Chief does not have the same level of scenery, but as soon as we cross the Arizona-New Mexico Border at Lupton some stratified rock formations showed up.

That erosion is getting rather close to the tracks at the MP 177 automatic signals.

Two warbonnets in a double elephant style configuration on the defiance siding.

UP SD70M #4402 paired with a BNSF C44-9W on the yard lead approaching Gallup.

ATSF painted GP60 #8716 with GP60M #121 doing yard work in Gallup.

MP 157 auto signals in downtown Gallup, NM. ATS is now only in service for westbound movements on both tracks.

Gallup, NM Amtrak station.

Anyway I was originally going to surge through all the way to the turn off at Dalies, but it seems there is just too much to cover so I am going to cut things short here. Turn in next time as we continue west from Gallup on New Mexico's Main Line.

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