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Western Railroad Discussion > A few from around Central Texas on Monday....


Date: 09/25/13 08:51
A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

I spent this past weekend in the Austin area, mainly for a sportscar race event at the Circuit of the Americas track a couple miles south of the Austin-Bergstrom airport. The racing was great at the world-class facility that opened for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix less than a year ago.

1) It was nice to meet up with fellow TO member 'SP7615' Mike (who's also a race fan) at the WEC 6-hour race. Here's a picture on Sunday morning from Turn 1 looking back at the grandstands at start-finish.

2) I had all day Monday to do some railfanning, but had been advised by Mike that it would probably be a slow day on the rails in the Lone Star state. I started out from my motel in San Marcos (about 30 miles south of Austin) and figured I'd try for northbound Amtrak Texas Eagle #22 in town. San Marcos can be a bit confusing with all the tracks coming together where the ex-MKT Lockhart Sub joins the Austin Sub - and I never could find the Amtrak depot. After driving around (way too close to train time), I finally found a spot at Patton Avenue, and figured the train would be on the ex-MoPac line. I guessed right as I saw the headlight approaching and ran to get into place.

Here's the Eagle, with solo P42 68 for power. It turns out the San Marcos station was just behind me, which appeared to be a small platform accessed from downtown.

3) My plan was to next catch the Eagle in Taylor, around 60 rail miles to the north. I had been using Texas toll road 130 all weekend to commute from San Marcos to the race track, since my rental car had a transponder as part of the 'Pay by Mail' toll system. So I got on the 130 one more time from I-35 at Buda, and stayed on until Hwy 79 near Hutto. I found the UP yard and Amtrak station in downtown Taylor with plenty of time to spare. I saw a few eastbound UP freights go straight across the diamond towards Hearne, including this coal empty led by AC4400CTE 6001.








Date: 09/25/13 08:52
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

4) One more of the eastbound coal empty.

5) Amtrak Texas Eagle #22 arrives at Taylor, with a few folks waiting to board at the former MKT depot.

6) On the move, and about to take the connector track to go north onto the Waco Sub to continue its journey to Chicago.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/13 08:58 by PasadenaSub.








Date: 09/25/13 08:52
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

7-8) More of the northbound Eagle at Taylor, from the 2nd Street grade crossing. I was a bit leary of crossing the tracks here, since the road seemed to lead into a UP storage yard for maintenance trucks - but didn't see any 'private grade crossing' or 'no trespassings' signage.

9) After Amtrak, I waited around between Taylor and Hutto to see if there might be anything following on the Austin Sub. With no more trains I headed for Elgin and then the former SP at Giddings. I think I may have well have just stayed in Taylor for awhile, since Giddings turned out to be a bust with no trains or radio chatter during my nearly 2 hour stay. I had chosen that town thinking there might be a pipeline of Giddings Sub westbounds heading for West Point to either go straight or turn towards Lockhart on the Smithville Sub.

I heard the dispatcher talking with a local working in Smithville, so I decided to head south paralleling the Giddings Sub on Hwy 448 to Winchester where I would cut over to the former MKT town. I did hear one train at West Point, a UP rock train turning left there to go east to Sealy.

I arrived in Smithville only to hear that the local had gone to work around West Point, some 8 miles to the east. The local did return after about an hour, and began working the coal hopper maintenance facility near the Hwy 95 grade crossings. This small train wound up providing me enough pictures to help make up for a slow day as he worked the lead off of the Lockhart Sub.

Here's UP GP38-2 588 (former SP 4825 still with 'L' window) and leaser LLPX 2270 posing in front of the Smithville Water tower.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/13 16:45 by PasadenaSub.








Date: 09/25/13 08:52
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

10-12) More angles and views of the duo working in Smithville. I had never been happier to have a local to photograph, since it saved me from a near shut-out of an afternoon railfanning.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/13 09:32 by PasadenaSub.








Date: 09/25/13 08:53
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

13-15) And the last of the local in Smithville, including crossing Hwy 95 - which made for a lot of unhappy motorists who didn't seem to appreciate the train as much as I did. Would this local job have been based in Smithville, or come from the west? The 588 did have 'San Antonio Service Unit' lettering on it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/13 09:27 by PasadenaSub.








Date: 09/25/13 09:28
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PasadenaSub

16) One last shot at the Hwy 95 grade crossing, looking west on the Lockhart Sub.

After my time in Smithville (which I would have liked to have seen in the MKT days), it was time to return the rental car to the Austin airport and fly home. This was my first trip to Texas and I look forward to returning.

Thanks for looking,

Rich




Date: 09/25/13 10:05
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: rsanchez

Nice pics, interesting that UP 588 still has its L front window.



Date: 09/25/13 10:35
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: lizzard_45

I like that 2270...and the fact that an L window is still roaming the rails. Nice photos!

Paul Liddiard
Spanish Fork, UT



Date: 09/25/13 11:22
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: WrongWayMurphy

If you didn't come home from the race with a Patrick Dempsey photo, your wife/GF is gonna kill you



Date: 09/25/13 16:34
Re: A few from around Central Texas on Monday....
Author: PALuvR

Nice shots! Glad you made it down. Sorry about the "bust" at Giddings. Frequently hit-or miss on the Giddings Sub. Can often catch BNSF trains using trackage rights between Caldwell and San Antonio. Commonly see FXE units.

Gives you a reason(s) to come back. Hopefully next time I will be in town and we can hook up.

Mike



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