Alliance, TX Photos - 3-25-2015
While working the day shift Fort Worth Terminal Dispatcher position, I noticed in the cameras that the lead unit on the Southbound Amtrak Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City was the red-nosed heritage unit No. 156. It had been a while since I had photographed trains. In fact, I have not taken a train picture since last summer. With the impending relocation of Main 2 between South Haslet and Lambert two miles to the west, motivation struck me and I decided it was time to dust off the cameras and get back into the sport!
The day was sunny and perfect for photography. I thought I would go for a shot of the heritage unit rolling over the bridge just south of Highway 114 with classic "Santa Fe" lettering painted in white on the black steel girder.
At train time, a line of clouds had rolled in and the brilliantly lit shot I had in mind was not so brilliant. So I did a little exploring and decided to photograph the northbound Heartland Flyer, train No. 822, in the curve at North Haslet just north of the Intermodal Parkway grade crossing.
By the end of the summer the rails on main two will be cut forever to allow expansion of the runway at Alliance Airport. The new main currently under construction is located about two miles to the west of this location...on the other side of Alliance Yard.
Leading the train was the gutted carcass of what was formerly Amtrak F40PH 222. Reincarnated as NPCU (Non-Powered Control Unit) No. 90222, the little cab-control car sure made plenty of noise at the grade crossing announcing the train's passage!
As was anticipated, Amtrak P42DC No. 156 wearing the "Phase I" heritage paint scheme was powering the train from the rear. Today's train had the standard three-car Superliner consist between the NPCU and the locomotive. For more information about the Amtrak heritage units, visit the Amtrak History Page on their website.
While scouting for a location to photograph Amtrak No. 822, I noticed three brand new BNSF ES44C4 locomotives at the gate by the switch to Main Two. Earlier in the day I had dispatched the BNSF GE test job K-ALTALT1-25 from GE to Valley View and back with two new C4's. They had made the trip with enough time to make an evening delivery of new locomotives from GE to the BNSF Alliance Yard and the three units at the gate looked like they were poised for action after the passage of Amtrak.
Once train No. 822 had passed by my lens, I headed up to the GE Texas plant to see if they were coming out. Not seeing any evidence of movement right away, I circled the plant to see a few C4's randomly littering the facility. One more crossing of Main 2 at Eagle Parkway revealed a BNSF employee walking out to the Main 2 switch. Bingo! New GE's were going to be delivered from the factory and I would get the shot...
I had failed to get the shot of Amtrak 156 next to the large American Airlines logo on the side of the hangar. The shot still being in my mind, I decided to get ahead of this slow moving consist and try again. Back at the Intermodal Parkway grade crossing at North Haslet, I got the following sequence of photos of the three new GE's heading home. Once this main is severed at the new runway, new GE deliveries will have to run north from the GE plant to Lambert and then back towards Alliance on Main 1 or the new main from there.
There was still enough light for one more sequence. The power would continue south to South Haslet where it would then travel northward into Alliance Yard on Main 1 which is on a completely different alignment. There is a small park with a jogging trail and a disk frisbee course next to the tracks just south of the small town of Haslet, TX. The below scenes were taken from this location.