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Friday, June 21, 2013

13-06-21 PHOTOS: Kansas City

It's time for part eight of my third annual Cross Country Amtrak trip this time involving the Southwest Chief. One can't take pictures at night so after a good sleep and a hearty breakfast our journey fast forwards to the Kansas City Bi-State Operating Area. I got to the back of the train as we were departing from the large BNSF Argentine Yard complex west of the city and this set will cover the trip through Kansas City and all the way until my train crosses the Missouri River.

You can find the full set of photos here

We start as our train finishes up at the fast fuel pad which I believe is the second refueling stop on the trip, the first being at Albuquerque. As this is an actual fuel pad and not just a truck the operation is completed in far less time.

BNSF C44-9W #1051 leading a train on one of the departure tracks.

A trio of Webb Asset Management geeps including aan ex-CN GP40-2W.

Freshly painted BNSF GP39E #2742 next to ATSF painted GP39-2 #2784 sitting at the Argentine yard engine terminal. #2742 is a rebuilt GP30 that involved an engine upgrade from 567 to 645 power assemblies and removal of the turbocharger in exchange for a roots blower. 

Pair of SD40-2s #'s 1721 and 1891 with #1721 in ATSF paint. The reason for so many freshly painted locomotives is that the yard is possibly due to the nearby ATSF/BNSF heavy overhaul facility in Topeka.

More engines sitting around at Argentine including Canadian Cabbed SD60M #8131, BN painted GP39E (rebuilt GP35) #2766 and NS C40-8W #8346.

UP SD70M #3792 at the east end of Argentine yard.

ATSF Warbonnet #636 also departing Argentine yard eastbound.

A few hundred yards down the track is a warbonnet sandwich with BNSF C44-9W #1105 as the meat. Unfortunately this 4-track trunk line is in the process of being resignaled.

SANTA FE JUNCTION is actually under the jurisdiction of the Kansas City Terminal railroad which knits together the many yards and main lines that make KC the third major rail hub in the center of the country. Along with Chicago and St Louis this is where trains are handed off between lines east (NS) and west (UP, BNSF). As a quasi independent operating unit the KCT has retained a number of old school features in its core interlocking complexes like pneumatic switch machines and searchlight signals. While the classic brick interlocking towers have been closed. this tower is located just a few feet to the west of the Kansas-Missouri state line.

The Highline Bridge, built in 1917, was the first attempt to simply the mess of crossing at grade that defined the Kansas City terminal area with a mile long system of ramps and flyovers with the the two-level drawbridge over the Kansas River as its centerpiece. Here a train moves onto the lower level of the bridge with one of SANTA FE JCT's two 2x2 diamond crossings is in the foreground.

The second set of 2x2 diamonds with the a more modern curved ramp addition to the Highline bridge that allowed traffic from the south to access it.

Here we see the east end of the two flyovers that allow trains to bypass Santa Fe Junction. To the left we have the 1917 Highline Bridge and to the right we have the ~2003 Argentine flyover which was built at a cost of $120 million. The Argentine flyover allows east-west BNSF trains to completely the diamond crossings of SANTA FE JCT.

Arriving at Kansas City Union Station my train, which was about an hour late, pulled in next to Missouri River Runner train 314.

Attached to T314 were a pair of private cars belonging to Patrick Henry Creative promotions

Amtrak P42DC #52 at the head of T314.

The sole remaining platform at Kansas City Union Station with Trains 4 and 314 as seen from above. Today the once grand Union Station is now a science museum. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to go into the station and look around for the famed Kansas City Grits n' Gravy.

Here is a track ballast cleaner passing by the searchlight signals west of the station on the way to go suck up stuff.

The station as seen from the east. Train 314 departed a few minutes before our two and split off to take the Union Pacific line to St Louis.

Blasting out of KC on the depressed three track main line.

UP AC4400 heading westbound toward KC on the head of a general manifest train.

BNSF C44-9W #1100 at the head of its own track on the remaining track.

The Sheffield Flyover was completed in 2000 and allowed east-west BNSF trains to bypass a total of three at-grade crossings in a valley east of Kansas City proper. The flyover is 3 miles long and help deconflict the movements of 250 train per day.

The flyover line re-joins the "low road" at CONGO interlocking. Recently a third track was installed between here and EATON. CONGO marks the end of KCT territory and the beginning of the BNSF Marceline Sub. Here BNSF C44-9W #4628, part of a 1231 unit order, waits for a signal at CONGO as part of a three locomotive lashup at the head of a westbound intermodal train.

Our train had caused a bit of a conga line at CONGO interlocking. Here C44-9W #5317 waits with some friends near the old BNSF Independence, MO station. The final tally of tied up trains was four.

Another westbound train with UP ES44AC #7805 and NS C40-9W #9573.

CTC and coded track circuits won't save these classic ATSF searchlights :-(

Station at Sibley, MO.

At WEST SIBLEY interlocking the ATSF main line shrinks to a single track to cross the Missouri River. This is one of the few single track sections of the former ATSF transcontinental route via Amarillo. The high car detector is to protect cars from the truss structure of the Sibley Bridge.

Inside and outside views of the three through trusses of the Sibley Railroad Bridge.


Viaduct portion of the bridge over the Missouri River floodplain showing the Sibley coal fired power plant and its 757 foot tall smoke stack.

Westbound view of the bridge showing some of the viaduct structure and the westbound high car detector.

Well its back to Double Track and the end of this segment. Next time I travel on to Ft Madison and then Galesburg, IL at speeds upwards of 90mph.

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