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Western Railroad Discussion > Sweeping into Abilene

Date: 04/05/21 15:20
Sweeping into Abilene
Author: santafe199

I remember as a very young grade school kid standing with a couple of older cousins at the Santa Fe tracks in front of the depot in my second home town of Abilene, KS. Up to this watershed moment all I knew of the Santa Fe was (A) what I could see from my Grandma & Grandpa’s front porch/yard on SW 4th St. And (B) what I could absorb in quick eastward glances as the family station wagon rumbled over the Buckeye Avenue crossing on the way over from or back to Manhattan. But on this day, at the very end of the visual tether laid down by our parents, I just happened to be looking to the east as Santa Fe geeps came into sight around a right hand curve. The train was still almost a mile away, but my 6-7 year old eyes were already well-practiced in the art of spotting a train. And the excitement of this train now bearing down on us was off-the-chart!!! My little Santa Fe world had just grown exponentially.

I don’t remember how old I was when I actually travelled over the gravel road pacing that same curve. Probably a bit later in the same 1960s. No doubt on some Saturday afternoon excursion adventure with a herd of us cousins crammed like sardines into the family wagon. We had distant aunts & uncles & second cousins & shirt-tale relatives all over rural Dickinson County.

Fast-forward 6 decades: I’m set up at the BNSF (former ATSF) E 1st St crossing, shooting in various focal lengths as a routine, Nebraska-bound grain empty comes sweeping around at me. Of course I turned and shot a few away images…

1. 2. & 3. BNSF 3729 leads 2 more units + a grain empty around the “sweeping curve” NE of the 1st Street/ 2200 Ave crossing.

Date: 04/05/21 15:22
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: santafe199

One more: A visual taxi-ride back into my memories from the early 1960s…

4. The train will now swing back to a due west heading all the way through town. West of Buckeye Avenue (main drag, KS hwy 15) the tracks will be joined at the hip (intimately parallel) with SW 3rd St for several blocks, ending right at Mud Creek. And dontcha know: right now those 3 orange pumpkins are in the very same airspace that those Santa Fe geeps were rolling through so long ago
(4 photos taken March 2, 2021 in Abilene, KS)

Thanks for the taxi fare!
Lance Garrels

Date: 04/05/21 16:10
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: glcaddis

My Dad's brother lived on SW 4th Street in Abilene. My maternal grandmother and aunt lived on NE 8th street also. About once a month we'd spend a couple of hours at my uncle's house. But since I grew up on the ATSF mainline in Peabody, I didn't get too excited about this branch line. We often took the road out of town by the sweeping curve on out way to Navarre to visit another uncle who farmed and worked at the Navarre elevator. 

Date: 04/05/21 16:41
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: santafe199

glcaddis Wrote: > ... My Dad's brother lived on SW 4th Street ...

Well now...... Howdy, neighbor! I wonder if we ever kinda-sorta bumped into each other's "air space". I'd say the odds are pretty fair... :^)


Date: 04/05/21 20:22
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: SP8595

Nice series!

Date: 04/05/21 23:32
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: Odyssey

Thanks for sharing, Lance ...

Some really nice images and
great light!

Evergreen, CO

Date: 04/06/21 19:37
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: texchief1

Nice shots, Lance!  Great lighting.

RC Lundgren

Date: 04/09/21 06:12
Re: Sweeping into Abilene
Author: jmbreitigan

You did well. They all look great. #1 being my favorite.

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