Although I did have my GoPro with me on my 2015 Cross Country trip, this would be the first year where I would get to make proper use of it. Still, I didn't have unlimited battery or memory card capacity so I had to make some careful choices about what I would film from the rear of the train using my trusty suction cup mount. First of all, most of the trip is pretty dull consisting of single track railroad through the middle of nowhere or annoyingly slow speed running through urban areas. Second, there was no way in hell that I would fail to film the rare mileage detour portion of the trip. With these two constraints I decided to capture the run in and out of El Paso to the rare mileage as it offered an exciting route at somewhat reasonable speeds with no pesky backing up.
This first video shows the Sunset Limited's descent down the escarpment west of El Paso, into the Big River valley. There is a brief, edited stop at LIZARD interlocking where we wait for the westbound Amtrak Train 1 to pass, before we cross over and continue along the Mexican Border before crossing the Big River on an impressive viaduct. The video ends with our train pulling into the El Past Union Station.
The second video shows Amtrak Train 2, the Sunset Limited, as it departs El Past Union Station, past the now demolished Tower 96, through the downtown grade separation trench and then out into the old El Paso yard. The train passes by a wye junction and the site of the now demolished Tower 47 before passing the Union Pacific engine terminal and continuing to the Alfalfa merchandise freight yard.
Jumping ahead a day, the third video shows the first part of the detour on the BNSF Galveston Sub between the towns of Rosenberg, TX and Alvin, TX. This is normally a freight only line with a maximum speed of 50mph. The line is also in the process of being re-signaled with the 1980's vintage ATSF searchlights being replaced well before their time.
After squealing around the 10mph wye track at Alvin, my Train #2 enters the BNSF Mykawa Sub and proceeds from Alvin to T&NO Jct. Again the speed is 50mph, but upon approaching T&NO Jct, we begin to hit some congestion and speed restrictions and along with this route being generally bland and boring I cut out a few additional segments near the end.
Well that's it for this video post. Next week we continue on the cross country trip, heading from Houston to Beaumont, TX.