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Friday, June 20, 2014

14-06-20 PHOTOS: Omaha! - Part 1

Anyway it is time again to continue my latest transcontinental Amtrak trip featuring my second trip on the California Zephyr. Last time we reached the shining city of Denver and its brand new Union Station. After a refreshing night's sleep I awoke in Nebraska and by the time I had finished with breakfast the train had come to a stop in Omaha, which is located on the Missouri River. This is the home of Berkshire Hathaway, home f Warren Buffet, and Offut Air Force Base, home of the Strategic Air Command.

I don't have much else to explain in the preamble so if you are interested in the full set of photos you can view them here Due to the length of the set I am going to have to once again break things up into two parts.

We begin with a shot of Union Pacific TOWER B, which was installed as part of a large 1930's downtown station project along with two additional Towers, A and C. Of course we are on the former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy route through the city, now operated by BNSF.

The Amplatform is located in front of the old CBQ station.

Of course the majestic station is no longer used for Amtrak trains and sat dormant for decades. However it is currently being rehabilitated, although I believe it is for offices and won't host Amtrak trains.

You can see some of the workers working under the old station canopy.

Amtrak passengers were accomidated by an honest to God Amshack.

Our lead engine was P42DC #22.

Unfortunately our trailing engine, #173, blew a seam on the main air tank. In an effort to cut out the tank the engineer also shut down the engine. Remember this because it not only made us lose much more time, but almost doomed the train.

I only found this out later, but Omaha had both the CBQ station and a Union Station, which was located across the track. Seen here in this photo it had since been turned into a science museum.

While we were waiting a UP train with SD70MAC #4902 and KCS ES44AC #4810.

This was followed by a unit train of powder river coal powered by two AC4400s #5809 and #7218.

View departing the station with the UP connector tracks.

 South of town was the BNSF Omaha intermodal facility.

With a hi-rail truck waiting on the yard lead.

The route gives the train views of the E-4 Nightwatch airborne command posts stationed at Offut AFB. These are known as the Doomsday Planes. 

The CBQ main line actually bypasses Omaha, which is served by its own subdivision. They re-join here at OREAPOLIS.

The CBQ Missouri River bridge was a single track affair ad waiting for us to cross in front was another Powder River coal train with SD70MAC #9949 and brand new SD70ACe #8767.

We find another train waiting for us to pass at WEST RIVER interlocking. BNSF recently built a second river crossing and is in the process of carving out the double track right of way. Seen here is C44-9W #4976.

Here are the two bridges side by side. Guess which one I like :-) They are both better than the parallel US 34 bridge.

Due to lots of track work from the long destructive winter there were a lot of trains waiting in sidings for us to pass. Here at WEST PACIFIC JCT a long string of locomotives including BNSF SD70MACs #9491 and #8898, which was just one away from a magic number.

Grain elevators were a common sight on the Creston Sub.

As were old wooden bridges.

One of many MoW gangs at MP 424.

Passing a train lead by ES44AC #5729 near Prescott, IA.

In 2012 I felt I was lucky to get pictures of the classic searclight signals that were being replaced west of Creston. Two years later those searchlights were still hanging on.

The old Creston signal bridge marks the boundary between CTC territory and Double Track, bi-directional ABS territory with Track Warrant Control. 

I'll finish up Part 1 with the classic CBQ station at Creston, IA.

Tune in next time for Part 2, which will cover the travels of Train 6 through the remainder of Iowa and into Illinois.

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