SOUTH OF THE BORDER

News and photos from our American CRO contributors.

Our CRO AUGUST 2015 COVER PHOTO: Museum of Transport in Kirkwood, MO, received xbackx their Union Pacific DDA40X 6944 back, after a complete cosmetic overhaul at the Norfolk Southern's Juanita shops in Altoona, PA. The massive 6600hp EMD diesel is seen just a couple days after arriving back at the museum on June 27th, 2015 when Mark Mautner took the great photo.

Mark also caught GMTX GP38-2 2699 only one day out of the paint shop at NRE Mt. Vernon, IL. Ex-LLPX 3102, ex-CSXT 9705, and ex-CSXT 6524, built as B&O GP40 3748. The photo was taken with NRE, and GATX permission.

WRIX / Palmetto Railway GP35 3501 and 3503 are temporarily renumbered due to issues with ULMER, and are seen on BNSF train HGALMAD1-19A at Madison IL on July 22nd 2015. The units are both ex-Northern Plains RR, and were overhauled, and repainted at Usk, WA for the South Carolina shortline.

Marks brother, Mike Mautner photographed Illini Terminal Railroad GP7 1604 posing with a classic 1957 Chevy on November 1st, 2011 at Litchfield IL on our short former NYC branch line which sadly now sits dormant after it's only customer moved to Mexico. Engine is a GP10 ex Peabody Coal originally built for Rock Island. The car is of course a 1957 Chevy and Terry Respondek keeps it at the Port where Mike works in inside storage. Terry Respondek owns several shortlines in the area and was a fan of the Fallen Flag "Illinois Terminal" livery. Several locomotives in his fleet are painted up using same colors and appearance.

With the passing of SLR train 394, silence returned to North Stratford. Once I had gathered up the lighting I drove across the tracks to the town green and devoured breakfast, the usual Subway Veggie-Delite preserved in the cooler. I contemplated walking in to an old favorite campsite along the Upper Connecticut River north of town but thought it a better idea to wait until dawn at least. I didn't REALLY need to be walking around in the woods at night alone up here.......... My plan was, after driving two and a half hours over, to not rush back home but wait for the possibility of a second night photo, that of westbound SLR 393 returning with the same crew I had just photographed! The car scanner has picked up the SLR dispatcher giving clearance to the two trains when they met over in Berlin, NH in the past from here, so I could just sit tight and wait to hear. If 393 had a good leader I would continue to wait.

Around two and a half hours later the crew of 394 is calling the dispatcher having boarded 393's leader after exchanging trains. Conductor Dana Lafebrve tells the dispatcher that 393 with the 3805 is ready to head west! This is the best news I could have heard! One of the pair of GP 40X's the SLR owns is leading back west. I looked at the clock as Dana announces they are on the move westbound, enjoy some more tea with Coast to Coast Am on the radio, then drive back over to east of the station and set up the lighting. My estimation of running time back here from Berlin is pretty accurate, so I'm ready and waiting when 393 hits the town limits of North Stratford. Normally 393 is heard along the river below town with the EMDs unique low rumbling sound, but notXtonight. My first warning is when the engineer blows for the first of two crossings below me. Up atop the stepladder, this is a location and view I have not visited that frequently after my hospital stay in fall of 2012. After tonight's opportunities, I am going to have to return more often!

The grade crossing signals start behind me as 3805's headlights start brightening the curve below the station. The engineer goes up thru the notches getting a run on Bloomfield Hill then 3805s cab emerges coming round the curve below the station.............yes! The rare GP 40X ( one of twenty four constructed) passes the station and is upon my mark in seconds! The lighting reflects back to the cameras sensor............SUCCESS! This was well worth the wait! Then the four locomotives roar past followed by the short train. Capturing this second shot, of 3805 no less makes the drive back home much more enjoyable. Shot on June 17, 2015 at 02:16 by Gary Knapp.

Walter Pfefferle arrived in Toledo, Ohio on July 6th, 2015 in time to catch Norfolk Southern OCS "Office Car Special" (business train #952) with NS 4270, NS 4275, and NS 4271 as it rolled through "The Trench". What a beautiful train! The poles, and old factory make the photo look like it could have been taken back in the 1960's!

Here is the video of the NORFOLK SOUTHERN OCS train that Walter shot.

The following day Walter Pfefferle caught W&LE 6989 and 3046 on July 7th, just as a storm was moving into Bellevue, Ohio.

Mike Garza caught the latest in CXS GE-built motive power at the Barr Yard on June 16th, CSX ES44AC-H 3221. Barr Yard is CSX's primary freight yard for the Chicago area, and is located near Blue Island, IL. Referred to by CSX as an ES44AH, CSX began receiving an order of 200 units in December 2007. The "H" stands for "high", which is in reference to internal systems that produce high levels of tractive effort at low speeds, as well as added weight.

Mike also clicked a Chicago Rail Link (CRL) train making deliveries (set offs and Pick-ups) over the Metra Rock Island District. The train is seen at Tinley Park, Illinois led by GMTX 2225 and an ex-HBRY GP40-2W (OMLX 4200). The former CN GP40-2LW (OMLX 9469) will lead the train on the way back July 8th.

ANN ARBOR LIVES! Inside the WATCO-owned Ann Arbor Ottawa Yard near Hallet Tower, James Kirslis photographed WAMX GP38 3879 in fresh Ann Arbor paint June 30th 2015 at the paint shop. This locomotive is Xrestricted to yard duties in Toledo, Ohio.

At Metro East Industries in East St Louis, IL on June 19th, Mark Mautner caught CIT owned CEFX 6057 (ex-IAIS 157) taken with MEI and CIT permission.

UP SD70M 4618 was on its first run out of the paint shop, leading a north bound train held out at Thornton, Illinois on June 28th. This locomotive was built at EMD-London in April 2001. (Mike Garza photo).

A roster shot of brand new BNSF SD70ACE #8416. (Shawn Heller).

On August 1st, brand new Tier 4 BNSF ET44AC's 3911-3920 were spotted at Fort Worth, TX, getting prepared to be released into active service.

On August 2nd another group of 12 new BNSF ET44AC's arrived at Alliance Yard in Haslet, TX. All the units were facing north: BNSF 3928, 3925, 3926, 3922, 3920, 3918, 3931, 3935, 3934, 3938, 3921, 3937. Barry R, Byington clicked one of them, BNSF 3934 sitting on the track near the car shop that leads up to the engine facility.

As well, BNSF has almost 20 GECX 2000-series ES44AC Tier 4's testing system wide in blue paint. These are the same model that have been on CN for several months. BNSF has other leased power as well. CITIRAIL ES44AC's 1201-1215, 1301-1350, 1401-1435 are currently on lease to BNSF and are used system-wide. A BNSF Centralia, IL coal load train is rolling by at 11th Street with a killer consist: SD70MACs 9979 and 8805, plus CitiRail 1345, and tail end DPU was brand new BNSF SD70ACE 8415.

The following BNSF 600-series C44-9W locomotives have been sent to Mexico to be modified into C-4's: BNSF 600, 601, 603, 604, 608, 609, 614 and 618.

BNSF 647 is the only C44-9W 600-series loco still in active road service. Richard Chase photographed BNSF 647 at Lyle, WA in her current patched, and rusting Santa Fe Warbonnet paint scheme on February 18th, 2015.

Three of the four BNSF units that were involved in the wreck at Valley View, Texas in May 2015, have been written off: BNSF 8153, 4372 and 4482. This photo taken on May 20th, 2015 by Christopher Palmieri shows the derailment aftermath during the cleanup at Valley View, TX. On May 8th, 2015 BNSF train Z-WSPALT8-06 derailed just south of Valley View siding due to a washout after having picked up a DOL crew from a train parked in the siding at Valley View. Four employees were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The train consisted of BNSF ES44C4 8123, C44-9W 4372, C44-9W 4482, and ES44C4 8153, 69 loads, and no empties, 4928 tons, 6754 feet with power and ETD BNQ 43639. The first 17 well car platforms and their containers, ended up in a pile on top of, and behind the locomotives, some of which ended up on their side. Three of the locomotives were cannibalized, and scrapped on site. However, the fourth locomotive was able to be moved by rail from the scene, for rebuilding.

J.L. Scott shot NS 3208 leading a coal train through the interlocking as another NS train waits at the red signal, at a terrific looking and busy Diamond in Roanoke, VA in 1996. This location would excite any railfan, and is ideal for a model layout if you had the space!

U.S.A.  VIGNETTES:  (By Herb Iske).

Donald Haskel photographed Boston and Maine GP18 1751 in fresh Bicentennial paint at Mechanicville, NY in 1976.

Donald also photographed a trio of 6-axle Alco C-628's at the engine house at Oneonta, NY in 1964.

Pulling beside the local freight power at Plattsburg, NY, is D&H PA #18. While the photo is a little tipsy, I like the dynamic!

© CRO August 2015