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View Full Version : A morning off, 13 miles, and a Class III Revisited!


Ween
08-04-2006, 12:26 AM
Before I launch into this, let me take you back a year and nine months ago to the original report that occurred under almost similar circumstances:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1065

Now that we're caught up and trembling with anticipation after such a long wait between reports (Caleb and E.M.), here we go:

Unlike 8 Nov 04, 6 Jul 06's forecast called for abundant sunshine with temperatures that could only be labled as 'Friggin' Hot.' I had the morning off with a simulator scheduled later in the afternoon, so I woke up and headed west toward Duke in a car that had an air conditioner that recently went tango uniform. Timing couldn't have been better as the Hollis & Eastern was just backing onto its cut of cars loaded with wallboard when I showed up just east of the American Gypsum plant that the H&E calls home. A few minutes later, the lights came on and the little blue Geep was starting its 13 mile trek east toward Altus.

The first time I was in Altus, I was armed only with my old Nikon CoolPix 2100. It did its job okay, but I wanted to do this shortline justice with a higher-quality camera some day, and today was the day. So as the 5-to-6-times-per-week move started out on this sunny morning, I was able to catch:
[photoid=153089]

I hopped back in the A/C-less car and drove to the east side of Duke, near the Hwy 62 grade crossing, but on the other side of the wood trestle I caught in '04 to get more of a profile-type shot:
[photoid=153095]

The H&E manually flags the Hwy 62 grade crossing, and after I took the shot, the flagman named Danny came over to me to exchange pleasantries. This is why I love the shortlines: they have a personality and the employees go out of their way to acknowledge you. In the midst of our chat, Danny asked me, "Do you want to come back to the plant and see 'The Little Indian?'" While I wanted to chase the HE 8170, I could not pass up the opportunity to see H&E's often-not-seen SW1 which hides deep within the bowels of the plant's property!!

I followed Danny back to the plant and drove around the backside past all the trucks that were milling around and strapping down their loads and past the signs that said 'No Trespassing: Employees Only.' There in the sun sat HE 39, H&E's old road unit that no rarely ever leaves the property and is well outside the range of any zoom lens on public property:
[photoid=153097]

I thanked Danny for the opporuntiy, exchanged info, and got on my way back to chase the blue Geep.

I headed for Victory and the old grain silo there. Much like '04, I had to deal with some foliage along the right of way. This time I didn't do any landscaping, and since it's summer, the shot was on the other side of the tracks:
[photoid=153148]

Back in the car and toward Martha. The right of way was again lined with growth, but a quick jump up in my trunk gave me enough elevation to render them a problem no more:
[photoid=153390]

Altus was next, so I out-paced the 8170 and got him right before he hit the switch to make the bug turn to the south to run through the yard on the west side of Altus:
[photoid=153425]

I wanted one last shot, so I headed to the rundown Katy station and shot the 8170 as it came out of the brush before it's 13 mile journey came to end:
[photoid=153482]

So that was my day chasing my favorite shortline, this time in High-Def! And as far as I know, this was my last time in Altus (unless I get stationed there). And as bittersweet it is to never see the H&E again, I think I can do without the heat! Thanks for reading!

dodi4200
08-04-2006, 05:25 PM
Great trip report Chris.I noticed that its the same loco in the 2 reports is this unit the only one that used in this short line beside the little indian (SW1) :D ?

CG_F45
08-04-2006, 11:58 PM
Great shots and report, Ween! And going out in a car with no AC on such a day....Wow!

LAHDPOP
08-06-2006, 02:58 PM
Nice report, Chris, and excellent pictures.

I can't believe you said it out loud...."unless I get stationed there." You may as well put it #1 on your dream sheet, now. It's a done deal.

Ween
08-06-2006, 03:24 PM
I can't believe you said it out loud...."unless I get stationed there." You may as well put it #1 on your dream sheet, now. It's a done deal.

By the time my next assignment comes up:

a) My committment will be up
b) I'll volunteer to stay at Grand Forks (not exactly an assignment on people's dream sheet, even though it is great up here)
c) I'll have been Force Shaped out (they are actually paying people to walk away, no strings attached right now...next step is getting the RIP saying "we don't need you anymore")
d) I'll 7-day opt out

Options are good. Although, and I'm saying this out loud too, the Instructor hours you rack up at Altus would be nice. The only problem is, I don't think I could find any news ways to shoot the H&E for three years unless they get new trackage or new power!

LAHDPOP
08-06-2006, 06:43 PM
Yep, sounds like it's time for you to Go Guard! Or Reserve,.... Just think: If you were Reserve at Grissom, you'd be within easy railfanning distance of Ft Wayne, Chicago, Kankakee, Terre Haute, Lafayette, Indy, etc....

The only problem is, I don't think I could find any news ways to shoot the H&E for three years unless they get new trackage or new power!
Yeah, thirteen miles of trackage would get pretty old after a year or so...

Ween
08-07-2006, 12:34 AM
Yeah, thirteen miles of trackage would get pretty old after a year or so...

Or two trips to Altus!