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Friday, June 17, 2016

PHOTOS 16-06-17: Sunwet Limited

While not the sort of disaster that took up weeks or months of headlines, East Texas received quite a bit of rain in early June 2016, driving some rivers to record highs and causing rail congestion due to washouts and wet spots. The Sunset Route was no exception and about 10 days before by trip went off, a 50 foot high Brazos river severely undermined one of the supports of a rail bridge in Rosenburg, TX forcing detours for all involved.

While this sort of situation can result in massive delays or outright cancellations, I managed to luck out with a rare mileage detour and, ironically, decreased congestion as competing freight trains were either parked or sent on even longer detours. What delays there were stemmed from Union Pacific's decision to throw all available M of W forces at the temporarily empty Glidden Sub to complete the outstanding track work in the absence of freight traffic.

You can see all the photos I took between Luling, TX and Rosenburg here

While the water level had dropped considerably across the region, vintage truss bridges like this 1902 example over the San Marcos River, are still vulnerable to extreme flood events. On this bridge UP had rebuilt the approach trestles, but the original trusses and supports remain.


A Southern Pacific era cantilever mast lives on at the west end of the Harwood siding located at MP 144 on the Glidden Sub. Mileposts run from Houston. 



A trio of UP SD70M's (#5075, #3973 and #4881) were sitting on the Harwood siding at the head of a merchandise freight trains. 






We passed some BNSF run-through traffic at Waelder, TX with ES44C4 #6724 and C44-9W #4017.


Traffic was stacked up on the siding at Flatonia, TX as UP freight trains transferred to the Cuero Sub to bypass the bridge at Rosenburg. Seen here are two 8000-series SD70ACe's, a 3400-series SD40N and SD70M #4879.



The old Southern Pacific interlocking tower at Flatonia has been preserved downtown.


At Engle, dark storm clouds were looming. Probably the last thing this part of Texas needed.


UP MoW insepction car EC-5 was sound with AC4400 #5817 on the Engle siding.


A trio of excavators prepare to lift a fully assembled palate switch for the Schulenburg, TX team track. Crossings were not working so my train had to proceed slowly, stopping every minute or so for a crewmember to stop highway traffic so the train could proceed.



MoW vehicles at Schulenburg.


1914 bridge over the Navidad River.


 Seemingly endless MoW parade at Weimar, TX.




In Weimar, UP workers were handling flagging duties.


A welded rail train was on hand in Glidden Yard with AC4400's #5891 and #7147 while D70M #5225 looks on in the background.


Evidence of recent flooding at the Colorado River bridge.


In Eagle Lake, TX I caught Cotton Belt painted GP60 #1011 paired up with HLCX SD40-2 #1844 with another welded rail train on the siding.


The rail train itself was powered by Southern Pacific AC4400 #6251 and UP ES44AC #8259.



We next ran into a sand train on the East Barnardo siding with UP AC4400 #5794 and a pair of SD70ACe's, #8681 and #8651.




As we pulled into Rosenburg we passed another MoW parade, this one included a rather stout crane.






Well that's it for this week. Next time join me for a very special detour on the BNSF Galveston and Maywaka subs.

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