Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lehigh Hanson (Hanson Aggregates) Switcher at Garden Ridge, TX - 2.2.2017

I got lucky on my pass by and found the plant switcher, a big SD40-2, shoving out a cut of loads adn then we catch him pulling back in with a cut of empties.

Here's Hanson Aggregates website and I'm going to repost their header image. Nice one.

In case you are not familiar with the Servtex Quarry.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hey look - It's CEMEX 81 running loose outside their Balcones Plant in N...


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Let's Ease on Down to Italy ...... Texas

In a previous installment I was poking around Forreston, TX and found the long concrete bridge over Chambers Creek flood plain.  Interesting stuff.  Moving on south you come into Italy.  As you arrive at the north end on US-77 a large concrete item catches your eye due to it being right next to the highway on the east side and then nothing but an open field on the west.

The concrete is even more obvious in the winter when the trees have dropped their leaves. Hmm, what could this be and why is it here? Something that large right next to the highway can be considered a safety hazard. A close inspection finds that it is the northern most abutment for a bridge that went over the abandoned MKT right of way that I have been following in from Forreston. As a sidebar, the MKT line here had another concrete bridge over a small creek (Houston Creek). This time the bridge was much shorter and a person can easily miss it.

Ok, back to the bridge abutment. I suppose this may have been a bridge for the International and Great Northern (I&GN) line up from Valley Junction (along the Brazos River near Hearne) to Fort Worth. There's not much here to find today so let's scratch around online for some maps. First up is a link to the Abandoned Rails webpage for the line to get some historical background and then on to this topographic map from 1965.

Break out the topo map

Full size map as an image

Now let's look at an aerial from about the same time.

This map shows the IGN line and its interchange with the MKT line. If you zoom in it appears that there are a few cars on the interchange track near the IGN end.

Given the routing from the topomap, the aerial and some review of a current sat map one can put together the old right of way of the I&GN through Italy. This is where the I&GN would have crossed Main St which is State Highway 24. This view looks north back toward the MKT line. You can swing it around and look south toward Waco.

Next thing to find is the old Texas Electric. A scan of the internet finds a blog with some information. I've gleaned this map from it.  The map shows the Texas Electric Railway in Italy, TX.  The TE became the third railroad offering service in town in 1913 coming behind both the Dallas and Waco (MKT) in late 1890 and the International and Great Northern (IGN) in 1901.

The map appears to indicate an interchange of some sort with the IGN in downtown Italy at the IGN small yard between Harpoid and Ridge Streets.  Nothing railroad remains today on and around this piece of ground.  A sharp eye can follow the tree line south of this area where the IGN right of way was.

The Houston at San Jacinto Street area is where the TE's stop was with that spur over to the IGN yard.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Fredericksburg and Northern Long Wood Trestle

Dennis Hogan posted a link to an old photograph showing a long wooden trestle on the Fredericksburg and Northern Railroad. The line went from about 4 miles east of Comfort, TX to Fredericksburg, TX. The terrain is rugged for the southern third of the line which delayed its construction. This site has an excellent history of the line.

Here is the picture Dennis Hogan referenced. Click for full site view.

Fredericksburg and Northern wood trestle

Dennis asked where might this bridge have been? My guess is below. The topographic terrain map base is used to demonstrate why there would be a long trestle here. The line had to cross a low area and given the rugged conditions loosing altitude was not a good idea.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

That Bridge at Forreston, TX

Time for a new topic. Work took me up to Forreston, TX twice this past week. On the way back from the second mission I decided to drive US-77 back and started at Forreston. The town has a couple of old brick buildings in bad shape but it appears there is a restoration effort underway.

Old building in downtown Forreston, TX
Forreston, TX

Now on to the issue at hand.  Driving south out of Forreston you come upon Chambers Creek which is a small body of water with a large flood plain.  The bridge on IH-35 and US-77 are both long to keep the roadway above that large flood plain.  Heading south I look over to the left and there is a long concrete bridge which was built for railroad use.  Now I know the MKT ran through here but so did the Texas Electric.  Which entity built this bridge?

The concrete bridge shown in the above map crosses the flood plain. The actual watercourse was crossed with this nice big strong steel through truss bridge. Did Texas Electric do steel truss bridges? I know I've seen TE concrete bridges similar to the one across the flood plain.

.... Update with new information ....

A friend provided a Texas Electric map and the answer is the concrete and steel truss bridge were both on the MKT line. Thanks to Tom Marsh and numerous other folks on our regional railroad related email and social media lists. The MKT line is closer to US-77 while the Texas Electric is further to the east. Tom's material showed the Texas Electric serving an industry in Forreston labeled a cotton gin. This building is located very close to where the map showed the gin and it sure looks like it could have been a cotton gin.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Galveston Railroad Museum ATSF painted F units on a run to Brenham, TX -...


Friday, February 17, 2017

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Runbys - 12.2015


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Victoria Texas "Frisco" Depot

Image is undated.

It's actually the Saint Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad (STLB&M) "the Brownie" but at the time the railroad was controlled by the Frisco. Finding images of this station in Victoria is EXTREMELY difficult. Thanks to the Texas Coastal Bend Collection for finally revealing a couple views.

Image labeled at the Flood of 1914.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

CMEX 81 at Home


The Cemex Balcones Quarry and cement plant has a very interesting plant switcher. Some look forward to a day when the locomotive is clean again. For me, the cement dust is just part of the uniform.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BNSF autorack train takes it easy at the south end of Cameron, TX

Ouch my eyes - BNSF autorack train takes it easy at the south end of Cameron, TX

Monday, February 13, 2017

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad trip from Durango to the mid...


Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Southwestern Railroad in Artesia - Carlsbad, NM

The line has had some bad events in the recent past:

  • Freight trains collide near Roswell, one dead

  • Both were employees of Southwestern Railroad, company officials said, but the cause was unclear

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    Friday, February 10, 2017

    Allegheny Valley Railroad (AVR) passing through Union Station Pittsburgh...


    Sunday, February 05, 2017

    New Mexico Copper Country - Moving on to Whitewater from Hurley

    In the first installment we spotted a UP stacker in Deming and then headed out north on US-180 bound for Hurley. Enroute we saw a northbound Southwestern RR train off in the distance (GOOD!) and we arrived in Hurley alongside the local job. The local dropped his train in the yard and then began switching. Time to go out to Whitewater, NM in hopes of finding that northbound SWRR train from Deming.

    Thursday, February 02, 2017

    Lets go railfanning on the old Texas Central


    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Union Pacific Railroad Superbowl passenger special leaving College Stati...


    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Come along on a trip into New Mexico's copper country - 1/2017

    Ride along on a short trip from Deming New Mexico up to Hurley and the copper region of the state. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Southwestern Railway's GP-30s.


    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    Coptering around the SP caboose and old Tower 3 in Flatonia, TX


    Saturday, April 09, 2016

    The Action in Kenney TX


    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Ski Apache Gondola Ride 2 of 2