Monday, March 27, 2017

March "Train" Madness

March 13, 2017; the LUE46 works the Garfield Yard track while a M.O.W. train rolls by. The Garfield Smelter stands in the distance.

This month has been rather busy for myself. School, work and doing stuff with my family has kept me occupied.. While I have been able to upload to the Desert Empire Project Facebook page, I really have been putting the blog on the backburner. Furthermore, the change of seasons means that many days are so sunny that I would rather be outside chasing trains instead of inside writing about them! The change in weather is such a relief after a long winter season.

It feels like our blog posts are piling up into a massive "to do list" right now too! We are working on a trip report to the Hostler's Train Show earlier this month, and the Echofest event we had at the end of Febuary where Josh, Schon, and I all went to Echo Canyon with several other railfans for a morning of railfanning. Josh is busy working on rendering and editing film segments to form the final footage for Trackside. On top of this, Union Pacific officially announced the steam schedule for 2017 which will include Union Pacific 844 steaming through Idaho and northern Utah at the end of April! I gotta say I am rather excited for this, and hope to grab plenty of photos for use on the blog here! 

So in a way, this post is meant to be a brief "hobby recap" of the month from me, excluding the forthcoming Hostler's write up. To put it simply, the following is what has kept me busy over the last few weeks!

March 13, 2017: Opportune Railfanning at Garfield, Utah

I had a swing shift scheduled at my work later in the afternoon this day, and had to make the drive from Tooele to Salt Lake to make it to work. I left a bit early though, and had the fortune of encountering LUE46 (Warner Local) working the interchange tracks in Garfield, Utah. Garfield is one of my favorite spots to railfan, with the saline Great Salt Lake to the north, the division between the former LA&SL and WP mainlines, and the massive copper smelter forming a backdrop in the distance. While watching LUE46, a PTI crew van delivered crew to a rail train in a distant siding. There has been a lot of M.O.W work on the Lynndyl Subdivision the past few weeks, and it seemed the rail train had been part of those efforts. I waited long enough to see the rail train depart, and enjoyed the sight of four EMD engines split between the two trains.

UP 1616 (SD40N) and UP 4421 (SD70M) were the power for the LUE46 as it was working the yard tracks at Garfield.

Head shots of UP 1616 and UP 4421 reveal how weathering affects the roofs of the locomotives. I was standing on the side of a lightly trafficked bridge to get this aerial perspective of the duo of engines.

I have grown so accustomed to seeing Kennecott's ubiquitous fleet of sulfuric acid cars that I was surprised to see that there were additional reporting marks on the roof of the car! An interesting detail indeed.

Sulfuric acid is created as part of the copper smelting process at Kennecott, and shipped to distant points where it is often processed into fertilizers.

The M.O.W. train had some pleasant surprises riding on it, a DRGW hopper, and an SP two bay hopper. Classic rolling stock from two fallen flags!

The LUE46 drills the yard as the rail train pulls out of the siding.

March 18, 2017: HO Scale Railroad Operations

One of the funnest parts of the railroad hobby is getting together to operate large model railroads to emulate how real railroads run trains. I have been fortunate enough to now join two operating sessions at Gary Peterson's Salt Lake Southern model railroad. The Salt Lake Southern is a freelanced bridge route between the Western Pacific and Chicago North Western, from Utah to Wyoming in a world where neither railroad had merged into Union Pacific. It is interesting to note the Salt Lake Southern was the name of a shortlived railroad operation in Salt Lake City, although Gary's layout predated the "real" Salt Lake Southern by several years! Gary's layout was last really featured in the hobby press in the 1980's, but some recent rebuilds and the installation of DCC means his current set up is a far more evolved version than the version magazine readers might have seen back in the day... As always, I am grateful when I get to join these model railroad sessions and I always have a blast! 

The small town of "Lander" is a favorite area to switch of fellow DEP editor Schon when he visits Gary's layout, and he was switching it while I was running other trains across the aisle.

A brewery rests at the entrance of an industrial lead in "Hudson" while the mainline snakes through in the foreground.

A CNW Operation Lifesaver Special waits at the "Hudson" station, while a neighbooring locomotive has somehow managed to get itself into a grade crossing incident while resting on a spur...

Salt Lake Southern and Western Pacific power mingle together as helper units in "Hudson."

"Sego" is the Western Pacific's main yard in the fictional and miniaturized world that rests in Gary Peterson's basement.

March 14, 15, 16 and 17th; fun in Salt Lake City

While I was kept busy with work in the afternoons, I went on many early morning railfan adventures during these few days, checking out the sights in a city known as "The Crossroads of the West." From squashed chickens, to industrial parks, to gleaming streetcar lines, Salt Lake has a bit of everything!

March 14, A few rules I try to follow when shooting train photos; "Don't shoot into the sun casting shadow over the subject." "Avoid obstructions blocking the subject" "Get as close as possible to the subject." Sometimes though, those rules can't be followed, and such was the case when I was watching this duo of Utah Railway GP's switching in the Small Arms Industrial plant area alongside the Jordan River.

A closer look at this rail in the Small Arms Industrial plant near the Maverick gas station reveals an interesting detail; "ILLINOIS G IIIII 1917 USA." Yes, this piece of track has been in use for 100 years now!

March 15, After hearing from follow DEP editor Matt Liverani that he saw Salt Lake Garfield and Western DS. 10 at work the other day, I went out early in the morning to watch the engine switching the SLGW yard near the Gadsby power plant. This unit started life as a SW9 for the Union Pacific, before being rebuilt into a SW10 in 1982. It has been working at the SLGW since the turn of the century. It has recently received some touched up paint work, its red pin-striping being rather appealing. 

One of the most surprising finds as I railfanned the SLGW was seeing a few dead chickens resting inbetween the tracks. Is this a sign of "fowl play?" In truth, sacrificing chickens on railroad tracks is part of the Santaria practices originating from Latin America, and is common in places with a heavy Latin population such as Miami (so much so that modeler Lance Mindheim included a dead chicken in 1/87 scale on his Miami based layouts!) Seeing these chickens in a place such as Salt Lake, is a reminder of the increasing diverse cultural scene in the city. 

March 16th was a reminder of the ever present dominance Union Pacific has over railroading in the state of Utah. I watched a duo of older GE units pull a grain train into North Yard early in the morning.

Union Pacific's downtown track to their station and former mainline is now gone, but their presence remains. The Union Pacific station is part of the Gateway Mall complex and is visible driving westbound on South Temple from several blocks away. It is a dominating structure (much in the same way the DRGW depot is for those driving on 300 S). A bikeshare station in downtown is sponsored by UP, their familiar red and blue shield resting among green bikes, instead of the normal Armour Yellow locomotives it normally associates with!

March 17, UTA's S-Line is a single track streetcar line which runs a set of small white LRV's along the former right of way of the DRGW's Park City branch. It is an interesting case as to how a former freight line can be revitalized and incorporated into a growing modern urban area, with a large portion of the line surrounded by gardens, art displays, and a bordering trail.

Josh mentioned he thinks these white LRV units look like "albino banana slugs." I don't think I can argue with him on that! ;)

My own Railroad? Ongoing from February into March.

The visit to the Hostler's train show and to Gary Peterson's layout, along with diving into local industrial parks is part of my efforts to prepare for building myself my first model railroad. My dad and I are working on the project. It is going to based on the West Deerfield Industrial Park layout plan which was featured in Model Railroader magazine, and it has been a driving force behind some of my recent railfan excursions. 

The shelving for the model railroad shortly after installation in late February.

Insulation foam was installed on 3-25, as a subroadbed base for the layout. I left a lot of tools and boxes on the layout to keep pressure on it as the glue dries to the foam. In a twist of irony, some of the boxes I put on the settling foam as weight contain my childhood toy trains!

I've also been building up a fleet of freight cars and weathering them. This Accurail kit was one of my first experiments using pastels to weather a car, and I felt it was rather successful; other than the realization that pastels capture every fingerprint I left on the car while weathering! 

March 24, 2017; A day of Classic Standard Cab power!

My latest railfanning adventures were around Salt Lake City and Garfield. In a strange way, all the trains I was catching in motion that day were powered by classic EMD locomotives! A fun way to end a week! 

UPY 613 working the southern end of North Yard on remote controlled yard switching duty.

UP 533 arrives with loads from the Chevron Local at North Yard, crossing over the mainline tracks in reverse to reach the yard lead.

UP 1708 and 1831 lead a late running Wendover Local train through Garfield, Utah; approaching the I-80 overpass.

What seems to be an abandoned signal stands guard next to abandoned track grade in Garfield, Utah; with a Loram rail grinder resting in the distance.

Well I hope you enjoyed my little adventures around Utah the past few weeks! From model railroading, street cars, historic structures, to strange sights; it has been a blast!

-Jacob Lyman

March 19th, a westbound stacker departs from Erda, Utah; its rear DPU facing back as the train rolls into the distance.

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