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Western Railroad Discussion > Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona

Date: 06/14/19 23:31
Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: z-trains

Today didn't start off promising. Amtrak 3 had an SD70ACe leader but by the time it hit the basin it was coming into thick fog in Cajon as well as high light in the high desert, so my dad and I pressed onwards for an afternoon that we thought would be spent out along the Needles subdivision. We quickly changed our minds when weather indicated that the subdivision would be less than ideal to railfan, so we turned northwards to the Trona. We hadn't been out here since last September and in the meantime I had written an entire article on the railroad so I figured that we had shot most of it to the point of boredom. Not so! We arrived at Pinnacles at 2:30 and immediately were greeted by the southbound turn, operating quite early as compared to normal, not that we were complaining! Unfortunately at this time the sky was mostly cloudy and by the time the turn charged upgrade at Garden City with a healthy cut of loaded hoppers, the sun was partially obscured.

Not to worry, as with the early arrival it was only a matter of time before the northbound run made a trip back to Argus in sweet late afternoon light! When the train dropped off one of its tunnel motors for as-yet unknown reasons at the yard at Seales (it was still there when we drove by the yard at around 8pm, so we're not sure why it was left there) we rushed back to Pinnacles and within a half hour it was coming around the bend. We thought the chase was over after it passed us, but it turns out the northbound run had multiple pickups to do at Oxy and Westend, allowing for a multitide of new shots to be taken of it as it headed back to Argus. With this I basically have one thing left to get on this railroad, that being the Kodachrome unit leased to Searles Valley Minerals as a plant switcher, and I can safely say that I've covered every aspect of this road.

-Shortly after the sun obscured the tracks, TRC 2004 and company haul a long string of loaded hoppers up the grade at Garden City as its train approaches the junction with UP at Searles. Shortly after the train passed the sun came back, such is railfanning sometimes!
-About two hours later, 2007 leads the consist minus the 2004, which had been dropped off at the yard at Searles, down the grade at Pinnacles. In the background are a few of the Tufa spires that make this location so special.
-We figured that this was going to be the end of our chase, but the train stopped at Oxy to pick up a set of ballast hoppers and some more loaded cars that had been stored there. With perfect evening light the 6 SD40 variants bask in the warm light as they begin to pull towards Westend.

Date: 06/14/19 23:34
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: z-trains

-California State Highway 178 provides a nice contrast to the TRC road job as it slowly accelerates towards Westend.
-Once at Westend, the train had another pickup to make, and the 6 units pull a cut of cars out of the plant as the sun begins to set.
-The massive cut of hoppers put together now, the train pulls foward in the last minute of sunlight as a plume of diesel exhaust exits the SD40s.

And that's all folks! Got a birthday to celebrate tomorrow (turning 22, woo!) and a house to watch next week so I doubt I'll be out for a bit, but with finals finished and a bit of time before my job starts this summer I'll definitely be going out more to take pictures. Thanks for looking!


Date: 06/15/19 01:01
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: exhaustED

Great shots, it'll be interesting if anyone can shed any light on why that tunnel motor was left up at Searles... A very minor reason... or are they getting rid of it for good and the UP are taking it away... or is it going for major work that the Trona railway can't perform? 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/19 01:10 by exhaustED.

Date: 06/15/19 01:24
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: Fizzboy7

Very enjoyable photos!   Thanks for sharing.

Date: 06/15/19 06:31
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: 3rdswitch

Really nice.

Date: 06/15/19 09:36
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: bobk

Nice shots!

Date: 06/15/19 09:56
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: mojaveflyer

Looks like it was a good chase and a great series of photos! Thanks for sharing...

James Nelson
Thornton, CO

Date: 06/15/19 11:18
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: coach

Look at that cyclone fench in the last 2 photos--you gotta wonder what knocked it over?  A cyclone??

Date: 06/15/19 20:44
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: HH

You are a master at your craft, sir!  Beautiful photos (as always).

Hopmere Hank

Date: 06/16/19 16:20
Re: Multiplying Opportunities on the Trona
Author: ns1000

Great pics!!  Thanks for posting.

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