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Friday, June 20, 2014

14-06-20a PHOTOS: Chicago Twilight

The three track "Chicago Raceway" extending from Aurora to Union Station on the old Chicago, Burlington and Quincy main line is one of the more exciting stretches of railroad in the entire Chicago area with plenty of action from BNSF freights to express commuter runs and hotshot Amtrak trains. However over the past few years photographing this line from the back of various Amtrak trains has proven problematic due to the rather intense backlighting that prevails in the late afternoon when Amtrak Trains 4 and 6 are scheduled to arrive.

Well this year the backlighting wasn't a problem because with our train north of four hours late the sun was in the process of dropping below the horizon, plunging my train into the world of Twilight.

Now these aren't the greatest photos, but given the near darkness in which I found myself by the end of the run I think they turned out alright and I figure I should share instead of just 86ing them. You can find the full set here, which also includes some later photos from the Conrail Chicago Line that were ruined by a massive rail squall.

We start off with the classic CB&Q signal gantry at AURORA interlocking. One of the few left on the line after a massive BNSF resignaling project :-(

Unfortunately this interlocking is in the crosshairs as well. The Clear signals are for an outbound Amtrak Train 383, the Illinois Zephyr.

BNSF freight waiting for Train 6 to pass at WEST EOLA interlocking. METRA Aurora Line trains diverge onto their own right of way at this point to head down to the commuter terminal and yard.

More CBQ searchlights at EAST EOLA.

The approach signal on track 1 at EAST EOLA was for a westbound BNSF empty coal train that passed by while Train 6 was making its station stop at Napperville. Visible is BNSF SD70MAC #9973.

Waiting for us to pass with a full train of coal in tow was BNSF SD70ACe #9117 at Lisle.

Evidence of the most recent re-signaling efforts at the Milepost 22 automatic (near Belmont) with a doublestack intermodal train on Track 3.

At the head of the stack train was a new BNSF ES44C4.

The Downers Grove METRA station was partly torn up for reconstruction.

Outbound METRA commuter train about to stop at Downers Grove, which was in the middle of having some sort of summer fun faire.

Western Springs was also having some sort of downtown event.

Cool cloud and signal action at Berwyn.

BNSF SD70ACe #92512 on track 2 at Cicero Yard.

BN painted BNSF SD70MAC #9530 leading CSX ES44AC #3011 and a unit oil train near Western Ave.

UNION AVE searchlight signalss as the sun vanishes.

Passing another outbound METRA commuter train as we enter the Chicago Union Station complex.

Well that's it for now. Tune in next time for Chicago photos as I take a trip to Tower B-12 in Franklin Park.

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