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Railroaders' Nostalgia > SFe train 403 @ Sears!

Date: 03/05/24 15:54
SFe train 403 @ Sears!
Author: santafe199

No gang, the Santa Fe didn’t have a spur at any Sears, Roebuck & Co that I know of. The train shown here was near a Santa Fe ETT location in Dodge City, KS by the name of ‘Sears’. This was the west end of 2 main tracks coming out of Dodge. And there is a bit of a story surrounding the two images below...

It continues to amaze me how I can forget taking certain slides from 30-40 years ago, while I remember other slides from the same era like I shot them just last week. Here is a pair of U28CG shots I really don’t remember shooting. But I can deduce what was going on because of my years in train service. I shot image #1 in the normal course of regular ol’ railfanning. I can tell by the MP 359 marker behind the semaphore signal that I was a couple of miles west of Sears, which is MP 357.6 in the Colorado Division ETT. I’m actually about halfway between Sears and Howell, the next timetable station to the west. That faint elevator you see in the background is basically Howell, KS.

But my follow-up image #2 was the result of pure luck. Based on its make-up I’m thinking this was train 403, a general manifest train that would often times act like a main line local. Here’s what I think happened: This 403-lookin’ train is approaching the crew’s end-of-the-run terminal of Dodge City with a routine mix of loads & empties. They will have to take the yard in Dodge so the switch crew(s) can go to work on it. But with the train stopped short of entering town I’m guessing there was some kind of yard congestion which forced the crew to pull up short and go into that dreaded waiting mode. They pulled their train onto double track just past Sears and stopped to wait for their arrival track to be cleared out. The headlight being on dim is the giveaway here. Plus the fact I was able to catch the train for a second shot within 2 miles of the first supports my theory.

I’m betting there are a number of rails here on TO who can provide sad tales and other such horror stories of being held out of a home-terminal. We sit there on our train(s) with the ability to tie-up, go off duty and head home just tantalizingly out of reach. It ain’t fun... :^(

1. AT&SF 7905 leads a 403(?) train east toward Dodge City. In the distant background is the huge elevator at Howell. Even though I’m halfway between, I’ve ID-ed this location as Sears instead of Howell to conform with the second slide in the sequence...

2. ...which shows the train stopped with headlight dimmed just inside the west end of ‘2 main tracks’.
Two photos taken near Sears in Dodge City, KS on July 26, 1978.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels

Date: 03/05/24 16:32
Re: SFe train 403 @ Sears!
Author: x6924w

Pocatello was bad at this. It seemed if you were a road crew waiting on a yard crew to make a move was common, but if you were a road crew it was the other way around. But if your train was a little on the hotter side it was sure to happen less as I'm sure you know! Maybe it was just me?

Date: 03/25/24 20:38
Re: SFe train 403 @ Sears!
Author: BigSkyBlue

In the first picture is that a high version of a yellow track flag just beyond the semaphore?

Also interesting is the Colorado Division post in the second shot.  Classic stuff.  BSB

Date: 03/26/24 03:47
Re: SFe train 403 @ Sears!
Author: santafe199

BigSkyBlue Wrote: > ...  is that a high version of a yellow track flag ...

That's a definite possibility. I looked at the full size scan, and there is no lettering on the sign...


Date: 04/22/24 02:34
Re: SFe train 403 @ Sears!
Author: Evan_Werkema

santafe199 Wrote:

> BigSkyBlue Wrote: > ...  is that a high version of a yellow track flag ...
> That's a definite possibility. I looked at the full size scan, and there is no lettering on the sign...

Not sure how I overlooked this thread.  Yes, that's a Santa Fe Standard Sign No.34 "Temporary Slow Signal,"

"To be set at right angles to the track, 7' 6" from the near rail to the side of metal post, on engineman's side of track on single or multiple track territory...not less than one mile in each direction from slow track.  Face of sign to be set facing trains approaching the slow track."

Love that Colorado Division marker as well.  Santa Fe doesn't appear to have had a standard for division boundry signs, so there was a wide variety across the systems as sign crews used whatever signboards and posts from other sign types they had on hand - station signs, no trespassing signs, or in this case, derail signs.

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