Photos railroad

Trio of Late Amtrak trains

June 27

On June 26th, one of the locomotives on Amtrak train number 4, the eastbound Southwest Chief, failed in New Mexico. They pulled an engine off of its westbound counterpart, train 3; however, they lost around 6 hours in the process.

Saturday Morning, June 27, I was track-side on the BNSF Topeka Sub in Eudora to catch the late passenger train. Because it was overcast, I set my camera speed up to 400, and kept an ear to my newly-acquired scanner, hoping to catch 4 calling the BNSF dispatcher to report their station times after they left Lawrence. I also had a computer program that receives signaling information, and I noticed that 4 had gone past the siding at Lawrence without me hearing the Dispatcher call.

I did hear something on AAR Channel 69 that I had not heard when monitoring the railroad radio with my previous scanner: “B-N-S-F Detector, Milepost two-one-point-eight. No Defects. Repeat: No Defects. Total axles: four-zero. Out.” From where I parked my Subaru, I saw a sign along the tracks reading one-nine, so I’d best be getting myself into position.

Amtrak 94 leads the Chief through Eudora.
Closeup of the three P42s. Presumably, the engine they pulled of #3 is the trailing unit, which is facing the passenger equipment.
Obligatory rolling away shot of the Chief crossing Eudora’s Main Street.

July 1

On June 30, I heard that Amtrak 4 suffered another engine failure and required another engine off of 3. This time, there was something a little different. The privately-owned car Tioga Pass was on this edition of the Southwest Chief.

Amtrak 148 leads the Chief past the E 1900 Road Crossing between Lawrence and Eudora.
Parting shot of Amtrak 4 with Tioga Pass on the tail end.
My feeble attempt to zoom in on the PV.

July 7

The July 7th edition of Amtrak 4 was very late. This time, however, it wasn’t due to engine failure. A BNSF freight train derailed in front of Amtrak, and there was no way to detour around the train.

Because I was helping out my cousin in Perry, I would up hopping across to Lecompton to catch the late 4.

A pair of Amtrak P42s lead Amtrak 4 in the late-afternoon sun at Lecompton
Close-up of Amtrak locomotives 137 and 10.
One last rolling-away shot of Amtrak 4.

More Photos from these train-watching outings.


KDOT Contract Lettings: July, 2020

There are 13 projects up for bids in July, including signage replacement along US 50 and K-61 in Reno County.


435-46 KA-5632-01: Mill, HMA overlay, and concrete patching from Shawnee Mission Parkway to the Johnson/Wyandotte County Line.

81 U 2361-01: Reconstruction of a culvert over Dry Branch on 12th Street in Ogden.

70-21 KA 3954-01: Replacement of the I-70 bridges over Chapman Creek just east of the Chapman (Rain Road) interchange.

4-59 KA-5648-01: Bridge Deck mill and overlay near Lindsborg

84 C 4933-01: Major Collector signage upgrade on the major collector roads south of I-70.

59-50 KA 5154-01: Reconstruction of 16th Street near the Labette Hospital on the south end of Parsons

8 N 0685-01: New sidewalk on the east side of Andover Road from Kellogg to Central in Andover.

106 KA 4748-03: Signage upgrade on US 50 in Reno County and K-61 from K-11 to the Reno/McPherson County Line.

Federal-Aid, Local Project:

3 C 4959-01: Replacement of this bridge on Graham Road southeast of Effingham

Non-Federal Aid:

106 KA 5620-01: Sidewalk Ramp upgrades in various locations in north-central and northeast Kansas.

106 KA-5778-01: RAP sample milling at various locations in KDOT District 2.

24-71 KA-5539-01: Grade improvements about 1 1/2 miles north of Osborne.

106 KA-5773-01: RAP sample milling at various locations in KDOT District 4.


Makin’ my way to Newton

Following up from my trip to Wedel Acres a couple of weeks ago… after leaving Wedel Acres, I pointed my Subaru west on US 50 and headed toward Newton.

While in Newton, I went browsing through the local antique dealerships (mask on, of course). The first one happened to be trackside, and just as I was entering the first store, I heard the familiar sound of a crossing signal activating. I turned back outside to catch a westbound manifest with a little bit of color within the power..

63673 – BNSF 5053 leads the west man.
63675 – BNSF 5053 crosses Main Street.
63676 – I saw 3925 earlier that morning, now I draw 3929.
63677 – BNSF 1446 – Still in Burlington Northern Green, but the engine has been renumbered twice. Note that with this renumbering, the shop applied black numbers to the side of the engine. Previously, the numbers have been white.

After browsing the Antique shops, I stopped to get a Gatorade and walked back to where I parked my car. However, before I left, I took a few shots around the Newton engine facility.

63685 – I’m honestly surprised that the Newton locomotive facility still has the turntable.

On the south side of the engine facility, there is a “no tresspassing” sign where Poplar Street Dead-ends. This sign is no longer on railroad property, and the general public is welcome onto this piece of ground. The railroad relinquished a sliver on the south side of the engine house to the city, which turned the ground into a linear park. A fence separates the park from the railroad. The park is landscaped in such a way that one can shoot over the fence.

63686 – A pair of GP39-2s sit on the east end of the fuel pad.
63689 – BNSF SD40-2 1648 shows off its ‘Thomas Brow’ modifications.
63691 – BNSF 2760 and 3122
63695 – BNSF GP50 3122, derated to 2500 HP and fitted with a “Thomas Brow” and a fresh coat of orange paint.

As I was making way back to my car, I heard another eastbound entering the scene.

63697 – BNSF ES44C4 8137 leads a pack of engines on an eastbound autorack train.
63703 – In the midst of all of the GE-built locomotives is this EMD-built product – BNSF SD40-2 1800. Judging by the exhaust being emitted from the engine, it is either working or is in need of major service.

Photos railroad

Saturday Morning at Wedel Acres

This past weekend, after seeing pictures and discussion on Facebook about Wedel Acres in Peabody, I finally decided to check it out.

Peabody is located just northeast of Newton in Marion County just off of US 50. It is also where the BNSF La Junta Sub crosses the UP [née Rock Island] Lost Springs Sub.

A fellow railfan named Dwight Wedel was able to acquire a small tract of land on the southeast side of the BNSF/UP crossing and has constructed a replica train station.

Looking at a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Kennedy Compound, I headed out at about 6:00. I knew that fellow railfans would be welcome on his property; however, while I was at a ‘service stop’ in Emporia, I sent Dwight a courtesy message letting him know I was going to be out there. I arrived at Wedel Acres at 830

0848: Dwight’s new “Railfan Cave.”
0855: BNSF 5897 prepares to cross the diamond on the point of an eastbound “Q.”
One locomotive across, two more locomotives and an entire “Q” train to go.
Parting shot of the power as it crosses Olive Street
Two more BNSF GEs drew DPU duty. They cleared the diamond at 0900

Even after the first train had gone by, my ears were sensing the presence of another train right behind.

At 0915, BNSF 8098 touches down on the diamond.
Closeup of BNSF 8098
Older BNSF ES44DC 7397

Around 0935, I spotted a Grey Toyota Sienna with a bunch of reflective stripes lurking about the diamond.  Apparently, the next train was about to experience a RGE (Railcrew Xpress Generating Event)

The Railcrew van parked on the northwest side of the diamond inside the interchange track between the two lines.
 BNSF 8348 pulls up to the Railcrew van on the interchange track. Someone (presumably the conductor) de-trains and gets in the van.
BNSF 8348 prepares to enter the UP line with a rolling pipeline in tow. The BNSF has trackage rights on the UP from Peabody to a connection with the BNSF Strong City sub at Lost Springs.
I was trying to get one last broadside of 8348. Unfortunately, I mis-timed it and got a little bit of tree blocking the shot.

(Based on comments I received when I posted these stories to another forum, the switches on this interchange track must be operated manually. The Conductor must line the switches in order to get on to the interchange track and line them back once the train has cleared them. The crew van is there to shuttle the conductor to the switches, then back to the locomotive.)

0946: One of the many tank cars on this rolling pipeline

While watching the tank cars proceed throught the interchange track, I heard the sound of another train coming.

0950: BNSF 6522 hits the diamond with the third “Q” train of the morning. The unit tank train is still rolling through the interchange track.
The three GEVOs hit the Olive Street Crossing.

I didn’t get a shot of the DPU power on the tank train, but I did catch the DPUs on the intermodal.

BNSF 8196
BNSF 4215
Pushing containers and pulling trailers. There was about 5-10 trailers behind the DPU power.
1009: BNSF 6685 leads a eastbound intermodal across the diamond. Your Amazon delivery may have been aboard this train.
Closeup of BNSF 6685
I like the number of this engine because it’s also my sister’s birthday. 
BNSF 3925

At 11:00, I decided it was time to head on down towards Newton. More on this later.

All photos taken June 6, 2020.

Photos railroad

A new view of an old train-watching site

Although “Outdoor recreational activity” was allowed here in Kansas under the state’s “Stay at Home” order, I didn’t really feel a reason to get out of the house until last Saturday, when I headed out to Pomona to check out an old spot that has changed quite a bit since the last time I was there.

Recently, BNSF replaced the truss bridges over the Marais des Cynges River between Pomona and Quenemo. The eastern bridge at MP 69 is right next to the Arkansas Terrace crossing.


KDOT Lettings: June, 2020

Here’s what’s up for bids at the June monthly letting.


KDOT Lettings: May 2020

Here are the projects up for bids at KDOT’s may letting


KDOT Lettings: April, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the ability of KDOT to put projects up for bids. However, KDOT did post the following note with the list of projects for the April letting:

The Kansas Department of Transportation April 22, 2020 Letting WILL remain as scheduled with possible procedural changes to accommodate public building restrictions due to the COVID-19 emergency. We will be in contact and keep you updated as details become available. Thanks.

Most likely, this means that the bids will be opened on a conference call. The March bids were read in this manner.


KDOT lettings: March 2020

Technically, there were two KDOT lettings in the month of March. The first one, on March 10, was the delayed February lettings. The projects in this list were put up for bids on March 25.


KDOT Lettings: February, 2020

KDOT had a little issue with this letting… due to the US department of Labor changing the prevailing wage rates, the all of the bids for this letting had to be discarded and a special letting called for March 10th.