Gheringhap Sightings w/e 25/7/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 18/7/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 20/6/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 11/7/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 2/5/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 16/5/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 23/6/2012
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 3/1/2015
Gheringhap Sightings w/e 13/6/2015
Victoria, 3-10 to 8-10-2004
Although my vacation focus this year was on the Great Northern branch between Wenatchee and Oroville in Washington, I took some time to look at the former Northern Pacific (now BNSF) in Pasco, WA. The yard was completed in 1955, (1958 video), and somewhat surprisingly for a major yard, was not located at a division point. The division between the Idaho and Tacoma Divisions was in Yakima, to the north and west.
The point of interest here was that this is a hump yard: there aren’t all that many in operation, and I’d never seen one. The yard is in the north of town, directly next to the airport, and parallelling US 395. I-182 crosses the southern throat, and there are access roads on both sides of the yard; mostly light industry and supply houses. I was there on a Sunday, but there are plenty of accessible places to park and watch trains. If I was there on a weekday, though, I think I’d throw on a safety vest and a hard hat, so you could kind of look like you belonged. I did take my dSLR, which maybe looks a little more professional than holding up a phone. At no time did I look like I was even going to step on BNSF property. I expect there are cameras everywhere, and security to watch them. At least I hope so, because I saw very few fences around the yard.
Starting on the east side, I had a look at the re-spray shed, where coal trains are sprayed to hold down dust, “at up to 10 mph”, according to the company video. There was no spraying action on the day.
No activity on the hump, either. This is best seen from the east side.
The windsock on the building at left may seem strange; it’s not like a 100-ton freight car needs to take wind into consideration.
Or does it?
When I’d driven down from Okanogan the day prior, from late morning to just after sundown, the wind averaged 15 – 20 mph, with gusts over 30, and those were not uncommon. Everything that could blow around, did. This is open country, and there are days when it’s windy enough to take into consideration for setting the retarders.
The yard tower, which is more impressive than the airport’s. I am assuming the Signal Shop yard in the foreground.
And the yard power:
SD40-2 #1674 was delivered to Burlington Northern as #8024 in March 1978. Half-sister #1942 was delivered to Colorado & Southern as an SD40-2 in April 1979, and later rebuilt as an SD39-2.
I didn’t know that the Colorado & Southern was a railroad in the late 70’s, but it was, as a former part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The latter was absorbed by Burlington Northern in 1970, but Colorado & Southern operated as an independent entity until 1981, when it and it’s subsidiary, the Fort Worth & Denver, were folded into the BN pen. The Borg, uh, Burlington Northern, then assimilated Sante Fe in 1995. So there you go.
The 1674 looks very sharp, like it was on it’s first assignment out of the shop. While there is a sign warning of remote-control locomotives, I do not see the cab lights installed on such units, and the sunshades are up. It seems that BNSF only puts the sunshades up on crewed engines.
The YRC freight house:
And the Helena Chemical spur:
A Burlington Northern hopper full of scrap. From the looks of it, I’d say the original color was Rust, with a coating of Grime. In the background you can see several cars still wearing BN livery. The merger was in 1995.
The railroad bridge over the Columbia River immediately south of Pasco and the southern approach to the yard.
The mainline runs along the west side of the yard, and I found a spot at the southern end.
I couldn’t make out the number, but it looks like a ES44DC on point, followed by C44 9W #4197, and SD70ACe #8566 trailing, with what I assume is a boxcar.
A grain train with ES44DC #7806 leading, followed by C44 9W #4634 and the lead units sister #7614.
SD70ACe #9283 and ES44C4 #6556 in the middle. I didn’t think to count cars, but this train was very long. A lot of grain gets shipped out of central Washington and Oregon. Union Pacific runs similar trains into Portland, where there are several shipping elevators.
ES44C4 #4240 brings up the rear. The train stopped here for a while.
While the train was stopped, I had a chance to compare surface modes of heavy-haul transportation.
A TOFC train came up on the other main. I couldn’t get the camera to focus, and saw that it had inadvertently been switched to Manual Focus. My eyes aren’t good enough for that. I did like this one image, as it looks like it’s 105F outside.
The TOFC train also stopped, but conveniently to where the aft end of the two DPU locomotives could be compared. The DPU on the TOFC train is a ET44C4, and while the trailing unit on the grain train is a ES44C4, the two ends are quite different.
The grain train started moving. No slack action; the train just goes. The only time I heard slack pulled out was in the yard.
And that was it for Pasco yard train watching. My experience was that the hump is best seen from the east side, while the mainline action is on the west side. With some more time, one could easily set-up and spend a few hours watching trains.
This article first appeared on northernpacificproject.wordpress.com
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