Modoc Northern B23-7 1011 leads a big cut of loaded covered hoppers towards Klamath Falls, OR for interchange to the UP. This trip originally started as a trip to the UP over the Cascades in Oregon, but changed into a MNRR trip account of the snow. On our way home, on Oregon 58, we were greeted by a line of stopped cars. Not wanting to be stopped on an icy road on a curve I pulled over and Kyle walked down to see what the problem was... A Swift tractor trailer was traveling too fast and jack-knifed in the middle of the road, blocking all traffic. Needless to say we were very late getting home that day.
Once a common sight on BNSF's Fallbridge Subdivison and the Northwest Division in general, are now almost completely unheard of. Due to the slumping economy many of the SD40-2s on BNSF's roster, including the FURX leasers have been placed into storage or returned. In happier times, three green warriors lead the M-PASTAC1-13A westboaund through the Gorge.
May was sort of the biginning of things to come. M-PASTAC1-23A is seen crusing westward along BNSF's Fallbridge Sub with a trio of Oakway SD60s for power. Rumors were abound that this was the last stand for the Oakways. Half believing it, I set out, usually with Kyle in tow, to shoot as many Oakways as possible. Many of you know I shoot video, and this was the last trip my old DVD camcorder made, as I upgraded to a High Definition camcorder...
If it werent for the fact this was in a 2008 gallery and the BNSF patches, this shot could have easily been done 15 years ago. Three former BN units, including the rebuilt GP30 leader, sandwhich a former ATSF GP30u, on the U-ROOINB1-26A, one of the empty Garbage train that loads in the Seattle area. The crew discovered that the speedometer in the 2807 was not working and they had to wye the train's power at Wishram, making this shot well worth the effort.
What we have here is the St. Maries River Railroad's Plummer Turn heading westbound over the Lake Benewah trestle on the former Milwaukee Road's Pacific Coast Extension mainline. The two STMA units, 102 and 101, powering the train are graduates of the MILW themselves, being former MILW 301 and MILW 292 respectively.
Well, wouldn't you know it, more Oakways! Here we have BNSF train H-NTWPAS9-12A pulling into the siding at Sprague, Wa for a meet with a auto train on BNSF's former NP mainline, the Lakeside Subdivision. Kyla and I drove all the way from Portland to Scribner, Wa to meet up with this train, a total of 350 miles one way!
In September I made a third trip into the Treasure State for MRL trains. Originally my plan was to camp in my truck at Blossburg, so I could spend as much time as possible on Mullan Pass, but I found out that a major tie replacement project was going on over the Pass and it was shutting things down for most of the daylight hours. This was unfortunate for me but it allowed me to refocus my energy towards the Local jobs that operate west of Missoula, MT. My first morning, also a Monday, I was greeting by this sight of the Paradise Local heading towards St. Regis with a decent sized train.
After my big tip to Montana in September, I didn't go out much in October, but a daylight run of a BNSF G-HASPSA grain train over the Puget Sound & Pacific to Gray's Harbor, Wa prompted me and Kyle to head north. While we were scouting locations to get the grainer, we heard that PSAP's Harbor Turn was leaving Elma westbound. We dropped the grain train and raced after the Harbor Turn, following it out to Hoquiam and back. Here the train is on its eastbounbd journey towards Elma crossing Bridge 68 - one of three swing bridges in the area.
December was also quiet until towards the end of the month, thanks to the Jet Stream. Cold Artic air brought record snowfalls to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, turning practically everything into a "winter wonderland." Due to the rare occurance of such weather events, the UP and BNSF were caught somewhat off-guard - largely due to the lack of switch heaters - which caused massive dealys for freight and Amtrak trains. During the week of Christmas, enough snow fell, and continued to fall, that forced BNSF to call out a snow plow on the 23rd, 24th and then the 26th. BNSF W-VAWVAW1-26A is seen at the "No Name" crossing at North Dalles, Wa after having plowed through the North Dalles siding. They continued west, after refueling the spreader here, to Wishram where they parked it for the night. A few days later, the two units took the plow back to Auburn, Wa near Seattle. Hopefully they have a spare in Vancouver!