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Western Railroad Discussion > Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)


Date: 03/12/23 19:56
Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

I attended Orange Empire Railway Museum's (a.k.a. Southern California Railway Museum) swap meet couple of Saturdays ago, which was the reason why I was in SoCal documenting trains. I wandered over to San Timoteo Canyon after I left the swap meet, and was promptly greeted by an eastbound Z train (symbol unknown).

I made the decision to catch it running fast, so I drove out of San Timoteo Canyon, past Beaumont, and past Cabazon. I figured the engineer would lay off the brakes going down the grade and start speeding near the Amtrak Palm Spring Depot, so I picked that as the location for the intercept.

Severe winds were kicking up sand (and dust) there, so I abandoned it right away. Years ago, I got an eastbound at a nearby elevated angle and wind knocked me down, so I wasn't going to do that again... besides, visibility was very bad.

I found a location 3 freeway exits east near Thousand Palms. Long 4x2x0 Z train, with a GE Tier 4 leader (UP 2587) and an EMD Tier 4 mid-train DPU (UP 3085).
 

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Date: 03/12/23 20:21
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

"UP Detector Milepost 594.0, Track 1..."

While on my way to Thousand Palms, a westbound was seen through the Tamarisk trees, speeding by. Must be a ZAILC-ish train (Atlanta Intermodal to LATC), because of the NS engines in the consist.

I say ZAILC-ish because the actual symbol is unknown, and things have changed around (ZBRLC --> IBRLC --> IBRLA --> ???, ZLCBR --> ZLCTM, and so forth) in the PSR era.

I didn't worry about missing it, even though I had yet to intercept the eastbound Z I was chasing, and I had to wait several minutes for it to show up. I knew from experience that the train would crawl up to Beaumont regardless of how much power it had (5 engines, no DPU).

I emphasize experience because as I get older, I've learned that experience often trumps "intelligence" in life.

ZAILC had to deal with the long climb from Palm Springs to Beaumont, and I got ahead of it before Cabazon. I was so confident that I went to the nearby Del Taco to grab a meal before I walked over to the elevated location to document the entire ZAILC. Classic K5HL horn is heard on the NS GE leader.

It was getting dark, so I called it a day and headed to the hotel.

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Date: 03/12/23 20:43
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

I chased the eastbound ZCIG4 (symbol mentioned in radio chatter) the next morning, on Sunday, which I reported on few days ago in my first "Trains Galore" thread. I returned to West Colton Yard to chase the UP 3076 (EMD Tier 4 leader), then went up San Timoteo Canyon again to chase the eastbound MRVEP.

In middle of chasing the MRVEP, a westbound Z train (symbol unknown) showed up, so I briefly backtracked west to document it before resuming the MRVEP chase. This is just past the crossing between El Casco and Hinda. 5x0, no DPU.

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Date: 03/12/23 20:58
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

After I finished chasing the MRVEP, I ran into another westbound Z train, 4x0 (no DPU) with a GE Tier 4 leader (UP 2686). There's an SD70M as well as a CSX in the consist. I went to Rancho (west end of the Colton Flyover) to document the Z.

There was actually an over/under with an eastbound BNSF manifest about a minute into the video (not shown). I zoom in to the flyover at the end after the Z went by, as proof.

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Date: 03/12/23 21:15
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

I chased the MWCTU the next day, Monday, as reported in the first Trains Galore thread. When I saw that signals on both mains were lit green for eastbounds at Hinda, I anticipated this Z showing up sooner or later.

It showed up later than I wanted, where I wasn't able to document the eastbound Z passing the MWCTU just west of the crossover at Banning. That location is near Old Town Banning, not near any I-10 exits. I drove ahead east on I-10 past Old Town Banning and documented the Z there. It's not visible in the video, but the Z just crossed over from Main 1 to Main 2, so it's running somewhat slower than expected.

The headlights of the stopped MWCTU is visible far in the distance at end of the video.

5x0 Z train, no DPU, has the exact same consist as the westbound Z train I caught Sunday, in reverse order (3rd Z in this report). So it must have turned right back around to head east.

That's it for the report.

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Date: 03/13/23 14:55
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: bradleymckay

Charles, the ZAILC is now the ZAILA. Eastbound is the ZLAAI. More UPS has been showing up on this train so its been getting up to 6 units on the headend.


Allen

Posted from Android



Date: 03/13/23 15:09
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: TheNavigator

Nicely done videos as always, Charles.  I know what you mean about the wind around Beaumont/Cabazon/West Palm Springs.  I shot a UP passenger train last year from the Hwy 111 overpass and could barely keep my footing account the wind gusts.
GK



Date: 03/13/23 15:20
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: ns1000

I enjoyed the videos.



Date: 03/14/23 09:59
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: cchan006

bradleymckay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Charles, the ZAILC is now the ZAILA. Eastbound is
> the ZLAAI. More UPS has been showing up on this
> train so its been getting up to 6 units on the
> headend.
>
> Allen

Thanks for the actual symbols.

My recent railfan outings in NorCal and SoCal imply the Vena era is ending, with lots of power on the Z trains at least. Lower priority trains could use more help... or run shorter trains for a return to the Jim Young era?



Date: 03/14/23 16:13
Re: Z Trains Galore (SoCal, UP Yuma Sub)
Author: ProAmtrak

Nice videos Charles!

Posted from Android



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