In our second visit to Texas, the Lone Star state, this edition of American Railway focuses on the High Plains region in the Texas panhandle.
We begin our journey around the high plains at Fruitland, east of Wichita Falls, and head west on the gradual climb of about 3,000 ft into the Texas panhandle. Travelling along the BNSF towards Amarillo, we visit Bellevue, Bowie (where the Union Pacific crosses the BNSF), Dickworsham, Wichita Falls, Vernon, Chillicothe and Childress. Leaving the BNSF Red River Valley sub there, we focus on the Union Pacific Pratt and Tucumcari sub-divisions running through Dalhart and King, northwest of Amarillo, and the BNSF Dalhart sub that crosses the UP at Dalhart. Due south from Dalhart, we reach the BNSF Slaton sub, with operations filmed at Slaton, Sudan, Mill and Shallowater. Returning northwards, trains passing Maintenance of Way are filmed at Bovina, in the BNSF Hereford sub, part of the BNSF Southern Transcon. A Loram Shoulder Ballast Cleaner, two model 6700 tampers and a ballast regulator are seen hard at work. Also, a trio of Norfolk Southern locomotives are seen reversing their train through the grain loading loop at Friona. The final section of this program filmed in extremely blustery conditions, is again part of the Southern Transcon, featuring locations at Panhandle and Pampa in the BNSF Panhandle sub, before a final view of a manifest crossing the Canadian River in the BNSF Boise City sub, north of Amarillo.
As expected, motive power in the region was a mix of General Electric and General Motors Electro-Motive Division locomotives. In most cases, we have provided the locomotives types. In the remainder of cases, the model can be identified from the loco number. GE locos include Evolution Series models with both AC and DC traction, and the ubiquitous Dash-9. Designators specific to Union Pacific are used for their locos, including suffixes such as ‘CTE’ for those utilising computerised tractive effort. EMD power was mainly SD70 variants M, MAC and ACe. “Small power” includes GP7, GP10, GP16, GP38, GP39 and GP50 models, although four were either static exhibits or temporarily stored out-of-use, awaiting an end to the severe drought in the region and consequent upturn in grain traffic. Several Kansas City Southern locos were in the lash-ups, in both grey and Southern Belle liveries. Visitors to the region included three Norfolk Southern locos loading grain, and a Canadian Pacific GEVO third at the head of a BNSF manifest at Dalhart.
At most locations, two cameras were used, in positions up to a mile apart. We hope that the additional views of the passing trains will enhance your enjoyment of this program. (Features Narration On/Off)