BNSF K-ALTALT1-23 Tests CSXT 3419 and 3421
On Tuesday 3-22-16 I noticed that the locomotive on Amtrak train No. 21, the Texas Eagle, was my favorite Amtrak Heritage Unit, the red-nosed No. 156. I put the bug in a few people's ear that maybe we should try to shoot it the next day on No. 22. This would work only if it was a little late. Of course the train was right on time with a scheduled Fort Worth departure 10 minutes before the end of my shift at work. There would be no catching train No. 21.
Ken Fitzgerald had accepted the invite to do some photography on Wednesday afternoon and we decided to meet at Alliance and see what the GE Job has in store for us. I had actually worked my Birmingham desk this day so I was not sure what was in store.
The "GE Job", BNSF K-ALTALT1-23, had spent the first half of the day building train J-ALTMEM1-23 which consisted of a number of new locomotives to operate as a special train to Memphis, TN. This meant that they were just beginning the task of testing the assigned new locomotives for the day. Today that would be brand-new CSXT ET44AC's 3419 and 3421. We arrived in Justin with enough time to set up to photograph this train taking siding to meet southbound intermodal hotshot Z-WSPALT8-22A
Once the Z-Train was out of the way at Justin, the GE Job had a straight shot to Valley View where the crew set the equipment up to test a different locomotive on the return trip. We were able to grab a few great pacing shots along the way! We also set up for a few runbys at Ponder, Krum, Metro, and a crossing between Sanger and Valley View. The light just kept getting better and better!
BNSF DS122, the Fort Worth Terminal Dispatcher, asked the GE Job how much time that would need at Valley View for set-up before they were ready to return south. They responded that it would be about 30 minutes. At this time, the railroad was being set up for the passage of Amtrak train No. 822, the northbound Heartland Flyer. The dispatcher let the GE Job know they would remain there for Amtrak. She also advised them that there was a soutbound train approaching Gainesville that she would flag into the siding at Valley View behind them for the meet with Amtrak. With that information in hand, we located a spot between Gainesville and Valley View to photograph this train. Adding more color to the evenings photographs, this train was 2x1 DP unit sand train U-CPPELT0-03 with all KCS power!
Amtrak engineer Donnie Novak had train No. 822 rolling through Valley View right on time! Cab control car (NPCU) 90222 was leading three Superliner cars and P42DC 115. Our perch was the I-35 embankment just south of the Texas Highway 922 overpass. From here we could see the Martindale Feed Mill elevator as well KCS 4144 on the rear of the sand train. Not a bad location at all.