Welcome to Day 2.
Friday morning 6-24-11 was bright and sunny. A good start to a day of chasing trains. My sister left before me for a van tour of the Grand Canyon and I was out the door by 09:00 to await the departure of the train to the Grand Canyon. I had some time do do a bit of scouting first and liked the area at the wye where the line turns north.
At 09:30 a few toots and the train was on its way. Leading were F40's 237/239 and they looked good in their flashy paint scheme. Trailing the motive power were the ex-RDC coaches. And second car from the rear was the Coconino.
I followed the train up the line aways but was not able to get ahead of the train. I did find a grade crossing a few miles out that had a pretty good sun angle on it. Might be worth coming back here Sunday morning before heading back to Phoenix.
I then turned back towards Williams and started east on I-40 to see what was running on the BNSF. I got off the freeway and checked out Chalender where I noticed one track was out of service with MOW working on it just to the west. Down to a one track main line. I did not care for the sun angle here so I continued east to the summit at Maine and exited there. To the east I could see a westbound doublestack train just starting my way after getting a signal. The sun angle was really bad so I watched the orange GE's on the head end pass by. On the rear of the very long train was a pair of GE's working as DPU, the trailing one BNSF 7323. Once over the grade crossing the train slowed and came to a stop. I figured there must be an eastbound coming and sure enough a soon heard an eastbound working up the grade. It was a Z-train with BNSF 4903/5342/4774/7536 and it was by at 10:48 AM. The 7323 stayed put so it stood to reason there was another eastbound coming my way. One shot here was enough so I got back on the freeway and headed towards Flagstaff. The sun angle was really bad through town so I continued east out Route 66 to the overpass east of town. It had been rebuilt since my last time here in the 1990's. Much wider now. Soon a train came around the curve to the west and I photographed another Z-train with BNSF 6637/7837/6708/6617 up front at 11:46 AM.
I started to follow this train east on the freeway when I spotted a slow moving westbound with the BNSF 936 leading, a reactivated ex-ATSF C40-8W. Worthy of a photo so I took the next exit and headed back to the overpass to wait for it. The sun angle was awful, but even backlit and all I wanted a photo of this westbound. At 11:59 AM the BNSF 936/750 passed under the overpass slowly working its way towards Flagstaff. I went back to the freeway and headed to town for gas and lunch. Then I headed west on I-40 again to try and catch up to the BNSF 936 West. I got to Maine well ahead of it and photographed the westbound approaching the grade crossing. There used to be a pair of signal bridges in this shot years ago which were good photo props. As can be seen the sun angle was still really bad.
I tried to find a location with better light but got all the way to Williams and could not find anything better for the 936. However crossing over the GCRY shops I was surprised to find a pair of full length domes. Seeing a good opportunity here I pulled over and took some quick photos.
The two domes were once used on the American Orient Express before they went out of business. They are now on the Grand Canyon for future possible use on the passenger trains. The dome in white/primer is the former AOE Copper Canyon, built as GN (CBQ) 1395 and named River View. The green/creme dome is the former AOE New Orleans built as GN 1392 Mountain View. The car with the white/primer dome is a former NKP sleeping car purchased for parts.
I then headed back to Chalender where the MOW crew was just putting their equipment away for the night onto a spur track. The trains started to use both mains again. First was an eastbound GM train behind BNSF 1042/4872/9441/4386/5024 at 14:10. I had seen that 9441 working as a DPU on a westbound grain train on Providence Hill in Eastern WA on 5-1-11. The signals were also set green for a westbound which showed up at 14:42 behind BNSF GE's 7320/667/7495/4048/7403/7805/7241. Quite a bit of power for this Z-train. Shortly after it had passed the signals went yellow telling me another westbound was coming. It was an hour later at 16:00 when that train came by behind BNSF C44-9W's 4754/4536/4589, another Z-train.
At 16:11 another eastbound came by behind BNSF 5313/4573/5429/685/2212. It seemed fitting the last photo I'd take along the former Santa Fe transcon would be of an ex-ATSF Yellowbonnet, with a Warbonnet ahead of it!
I then headed back to Williams to meet up with my sister to head out to Winslow, AZ for dinner and then a look at the Meteor Crater.
Saturday is the train ride out to the Grand Canyon and a hoped for ride on the Coconino.