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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

15-06-09 PHOTOS: Planet Houston

Last we left my 2015 Amtrak Transcontinental Trip, my Sunset Limited trainset was rolling across the West Texas scrub land at a speed comparable with the posted limit on the parallel US Route 90. Upon waking the next morning, I discovered the train to be sitting at San Antonio, where cars had been cut off for the Texas Eagle to Chicago. This is the point where the extra two hours added to the schedule would be made up, so Train 2 departed at it's originally scheduled time towards Houston.

Because of all the single track running there was even less for me to take photos of than the day before where a two track main line allowed for a few somewhat reasonable angles. Still, with the station stops and some aggressive side window action I managed to gather enough content for a photo set, which you can view here.

We begin in Engle, TX, waiting on the main line for a westbound UP intermodal train to finish taking the siding. Leading power was UP SD70ACe #8824. This siding was actually recently constructed to help ease congestion on the line, which was killing the Sunset's OTP.

Historic water tower in Wiemar, TX.

UP C40-8 #9125 sitting in the yard at Gliden, TX. Gliden isn't a huge town, but the yard is what gives this subdivision its name.

Former Southern Pacific station at Eagle Lake, TX.

At the East Barnardo siding we were passed by another westbound intermodal train with UP SD70ACe #8806 in the lead, NS C40-9W #9297 running second and UP AC4400 #6349 running third.

The Gliden Sub was largely equipped with Souther Pacific vintage target signals.

The TOWER 17 museum in Rosenberg, TX. This classic tower was in service until the early 2000's, when it was moved to a nearby railroad museum and preserved. Fun Fact, the Texas railroad commission used to heavily regulate all railroad interlockings. When interlockings were approved they were given a unique sequential number.

From Rosenberg to Houston, a second track was being installed to again, relieve congestion. 

Amtrak P42DC's #85 and #39 standing at the Houston, TX station platform. 

For some reason a swarm of DHS police were swarming around the station area searching travelers. Note the Houston Amshack in the background.

Dan Akroyd's private car was still attached as it was taking the long route to Chigaco, via New Orleans. 

The UP Terminal Sub has a strange split main line configuration through Houston. For reasons unknown our train had to back up several miles to "Dick" Chaney Jct to take the other track. At least I got some searchlight pictures.

BTW, while backing out to Cheney Jct, the lack of zoning in Houston was readily apparent with new townhomes being built next to chemical plants. I guess that's one way to create affordable housing.

Passing by ATSF Warbonnet C40-8W #709 at TOWER 71.

BNSF C44-9W #4599 with three other units at the head of a unit grain train near Houston. 

New signals going up at the Belt Jct diamonds. In addition to one interlocking being turned into 4 or more and a second track being added to the north-south route, the signals are also being replaced.

What kind of signals? The exact same kind of signals. #ThrowawayCulture.

Turning on to the Lafayette Sub at the aptly named Gulf Coast Jct, I bass by one more lashup of UP GE units including UP C44-9W #9682.

Well that's it for this set. Next week we crank up the thermometer as we head to the heart of the South's humidity belt.

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