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Nostalgia & History > UP Test Train on the KCS

Date: 09/10/19 08:15
UP Test Train on the KCS
Author: Vicksburg_Route

Almost 13 years ago, on December 9, 2006, I received a call from a friend of mine who lived on the KCS Shreveport, Louisiana to Meridian, Mississippi mainline, roughly 50 miles to my east.  "I just saw something odd.  A westbound double stack train just passed, and it had a lot of K-Line containers."  

He was right.  It was odd.  He never saw the power, but shortly after seeing the containers, he heard the KCS Dispatcher talking to UP 4575 as it approached the crossing with CN in downtown Jackson, Mississippi and referred to it as "M-MESH", a symbol that hadn't been used in at least 8 years by KCS.  

UP units were especially rare on the KCS at that time.  NS and BNSF units were quite common, since BNSF used KCS and NS to reach Atlanta from the Dallas area, but UP units were rare.  Not knowing what was going on, I grabbed my gear and rushed to a location that I had not previously used.  It was on private property, but a call to the owner and a short conversation secured access to the location.  

The skies were pristine, but to the west clouds were quickly building.  I was able to shoot a KCS westbound meeting an eastbound at the shooting location, and I briefly worried that the eastbound would block the shot, but the train moved as soon as the meet occurred and left my spot unobstructed.  Shortly thereafter, a short local appeared and entered the siding, but pulled to the east end leaving the view clear.  

Within a few minutes, the UP Doublestack Train appeared, along with heavy cloud cover, and I got a shot as it crested Bowen's Hill between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Jackson, Mississippi.  Later that day, I learned that the movement was a UP-NS Test Train to determine optimum travel time between Marshall, Texas and Meridian, Mississippi via Shreveport, Louisiana.  

Within a few weeks, BNSF would depart the KCS-NS routing to Atlanta in favor of a Birmingham-Atlanta routing via CSX.  Within 6 months, UP would re-route their hot eastbound double stack train, Z-LCAI (NS 226), to the Shreveport gateway.  A few months later, the westbound counterpart, Z-AILC (NS 225) would appear.  Both trains continue to use the KCS-NS routing to this day.

Date: 09/10/19 18:06
Re: UP Test Train on the KCS
Author: millerdc

I am sure somewhere on TO is the back story on how all this came about, but can't find it.  Anybody have the link?

Date: 09/11/19 04:52
Re: UP Test Train on the KCS
Author: tuxedorailfan

millerdc Wrote:
> I am sure somewhere on TO is the back story on how
> all this came about, but can't find it.  Anybody
> have the link?

Back story to what? Why UP chose this routing?

Date: 09/12/19 08:44
Re: UP Test Train on the KCS
Author: millerdc

Why BNSF dropped the routing.

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