Friday, March 18, 2011

Train Meet: Dutch Flat

Train meets are rare.

Further, they are rarer when actually captured by photos or video.

Monday, March 14th, I had occasion to document a completely unanticipated meet that was, in truth, quite historic in nature for both directions: eastbound and westbound.

I was driving back to the cabin via the old US Highway 40 (the Lincoln Highway) between Gold Run and Dutch Flat (just north of current I-80) when I chanced to see the green signal for eastbound traffic at milepost 153.6.

I stopped, extricated my Flip HD with image stabilization from its LowePro camera bag, wiped the lens and waited for eastbound traffic. Instead, I was greeted by the oncoming horns of westbound (downhill) Amtrak #6 cruising through lower Dutch Flat.

But there was a major surprise coming, as the video indicates here:

This video is too good to pass up.

My blog, due to its inherent structure, can't physically accommodate the actual original letterbox content through the Flip HD; I have to trim it horizontally, each time, to fit my chosen blog template. On the other hand, you can click on the full link here and watch the video in true HD.

If you choose to do this, please enlarge the video and, further, plug your Denon headphones into the audio output of your confuser. Trust me: you will NOT be disappointed. Turn up the volume.

That written, some details for the purists amongst you:

Amtrak #86 on point, a GE Dash9-P42B DC unit making 4,200 hp, manufactured in 1997. Next, Amtrak # 194, a GE Dash9-P42-B DC unit, 4,200 hp, manufactured in 2001. Third, Amtrak # 41, another Genesis GE Dash9-P42B DC unit with 4,200 hp manufactured in 1997. From there, eight common Amtrak cars pass by.

The final two passenger cars are "private varnish," which means they are privately owned and paid for Amtrak to carry. They are, in order, the Creative Charters cars "Evelyn Henry" and then the "Warren R. Henry," with two persons waving to me on the veranda.

These two final cars are owned by Patrick Henry Creative Promotions and, on their website, indicate that prices for these cars "start at $8,500 per day."

Good luck with that fee.

Sufficiently unique for you, perhaps?

On the other hand, I hadn't even remotely thought of archiving SIX elder EMD GP engines in line as they hauled ass uphill at, minimally, track speed.

In order, these B-B trucked EMD GP38-2 units, of 2,000 hp each, manufactured between 1973 and 1981, were #600, #587, #604, #589, # 566, #590.

They carried solitary UP flanger SPMW 331. Though painted in armour yellow, the numbering is a tribute to the original Southern Pacific Maintenance of Way #331 flanger car.

And a tip of the hat to the flanger's Winter Professionals over Union Pacific's Donner Pass and to Jim "The Bear" Mahon of the late, great Southern Pacific.

God bless The Bear, for whom many SP Snowfighters wished to work!

Finally, check out Donner Pass snowfighting here.



Well Seasoned Fool said...

With the DST change and longer days, hope to get some sunrise shots of the Westbound California Zephyr this coming week.

Something of interest about 15 miles from my place.

Milepost 154 said...

WSF, good luck with that. It's snowing like crazy at my cabin, high winds, raining like crazy in Sacramento. I'll go check out the link, sir. Thanks.


Michael said...

Hey BZ/MP154:

Thanks for the posts. Very cool memories for me given previous residence in Dutch Flat in '96-97. Who knows, we may have even met at the Monte Vista.

Also great to see that there's actually another common-sense conservative in CA. Great stuff on the BZ blog too.

-- Mike

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Mike: thanks most kindly for the kudos. Please return and comment and/or view!


dominic hetherington said...

hi there
greetings from the u.k.could you please tell me what jim"the bear"mahon is up to now i never tire watching him on the d.v.d."battle for donnar pass"what a guy!!!!!!!!!!if your in touch give him regards on behalf of all us espee fans world wide.
regards dominic