Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Photos Over Donner Pass

A small respite from a serious snowstorm.  Here, under breaking blue skies, a downhill UP consist has just cleared the Big Hole and meanders towards the Soda Springs crossing.  The sun smiled down upon me and presented some wonderful lighting conditions.

This is a UP train running downhill on the #1 track, EMD SD-70M on point, in the midst of a rather serious 2004 snowstorm.  At the time I still had a smaller, nimble 4WD vehicle.  The train approaches "American."  Flangers had just, about an hour prior, cleared the downhill track.

This was the head-end of a special consist purposely run up Donner for former UP CEO Dick Davidson's Christmas cards for 1998.  Yes, that is the reason these units are inordinately pristine.  This train stopped just past Shed 41 for the photographs.  Please note the sequential engine numbers: 4526, 4527, 4528.  The engineer is waving.  It's good to be King.

A very unusual consist over Donner: two Norfolk Southern engines.  NS is seldom if ever seen this far west for good reason.  Here a mixed manifest train pulls uphill, eastbound, past a spot UP engineers know as "Rocky Point."  In the mid-1800s Central Pacific named this area "American" and would stop their open-car trains here.  Passengers would step down and gaze west towards Sacramento and down to the north fork of the American River.

GE, EMD, GE, EMD: An autorack with an elderly GE engine on point exits the Big Hole, Tunnel 41, 10,322-feet in length, having summited and now beginning to run down hill on the Number 1 track towards Norden and Soda Springs.  This portal, now concrete, was once comprised of massive timbers, removed in the early 2000s.

The City of San Francisco, a Southern Pacific train, gets trapped in the Winter of 1952:



Anonymous said...

Hey, Homes,

I was going to invite myself train chasing but, er, uh, my cross country skis are being serviced. Yeah, thats it!

Thanks for the bounces on VW's post on global warming! I have still been lurking on the intarwebz. Maybe someday I'll dive in with a moniker or avatar or alias.

I saw the "modification" of a tunnel for the tall consists I think near Newcastle that looked like an arch with big divots on the left and right sides. I was surprised that the thing had not caved in with the interruptions. It reminded me of a square peg that had been dragged through a round hole.

You, your family and our former peer scamps are in my prayers! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Theres one I heard from the pulpit: A church was located next to the police station in a small Austrailian town and the pastor and the chief were on very poor terms. A dead donkey turns up on the steps of the church. (Mike Smith has nothing to do with this.) The priest complains to the chief, "You have to do something about the dead donkey." The chief thinks he has the upper hand asking, "Well, Father, isn't it the responsiblity of the church to bury the dead?" The priest replies, "Indeed it is, however we also are required to notify the next of kin!"


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

DM: when the weather gets a little better, I highly recommend we go a bit of Train Chasing Our Own Selves. With cameras. Whattaya think?


Anonymous said...

birds the word a#1 engineer....see you on the flip side...hi ball eric..

Anonymous said...

birds the word....see you at work on the flip side hi ball eric....