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View Full Version : Railfanning missed opportunites


Ken Carr
03-20-2004, 06:05 PM
Most of my rail fan trips are of short duration of a few hours or may be a day or so at the most. Normally these trips are planned. With UP being short of power in the local subdivisions lately I hadnít done much chasing. Driving by the divisions I see trains with out power. While running some morning errands on Friday, I ran into a fellow rail fan and member of our small local internet group talking to him for a few minutes I decided I might run by Valley mini yard on the north east part of town on my way home, since the chores were piling up and I didnít have much time to give to chasing.
In the mean time my friend driving his Kenworth was heading for St. George Utah to make another delivery. As I drove north on I-15 I passed three trains without power. Reaching Valley mini-yard with not even a switch engine in sight I was about to head for home, when my friend called to tell me, that twenty miles north was a pair of tunnel motors and a SD-70 parked.
Thinking of what's another hour. I drove further north. As I reached the location stated, the tunnel motors were gone and the 70 was sandwiched in between a couple of boxcars. Unable to get a good shot I headed to the next exit to turn around and head for home when my rail fan trucker friend called to say that ahead at another siding some twenty miles further were eight engines parked a Ute. Well in for a penny in for a pound I gave in and headed north wondering why UP would stash power on some siding some sixty miles from Vegas.
Once at UTE I knew why, there was no power just a number of brightly colored rock and grain cars.
Totally fed up and now thinking of driving to St George just to give my buddy a piece of my mind I drove on to Moapa ten miles further north since I was running low on fuel and my stomach having skipped breakfast was ready to cave in on it's self.
As I approached the Hidden Valley cut-off just two miles from my next destination. Of to my right I saw the ditch lights of a westbound stack, hurrying to exit the freeway and get in front of this train for a shot, I took the Hidden Valley exit and found my way blocked by a slow moving truck. Unable to pass on the narrow road I watched at the train left my view. Thinking that I might catch a coal train at the plant at the same location I continued to drive. But nearing the plant I was once again disappointed with no train. Driving behind the plant I caught sight of the tail end of the stack as it stopped in the canyon beyond.
Wondering why it had stopped I drove up behind and above it. As I reached a spot above the engine on a large hill I was surprised to see that it had hit a truck. http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54331

Since the closest crossing was a half mile ahead of the engine, I first thought that it was UP service vehicle. Seeing the crew of the truck walk slowly to the scene I thought there were no injuries but I drove up on the scene to offer assistance. The only true injury was the totaled vehicle and the major loss of time to the UP in having their Los Angeles-Salt Lake line tied up for hours.
Some minutes later the local volunteer fire department arrived plus the two resident sheriff deputies for the area. http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54333
The accident appeared to occur for the following reason. To the south of the scene is a locked railroad crossing. Since this truck crew needed to be on the other side and not too familiar with the area, they found what they thought was good area to cross over the tracks. Right as the tracks went into a curve, if they had driven another mile north a trestle would had allowed them to drive under the tracks. As they when over the tracks they high centered the vehicle. The driver then sent one crew member north to wave off any trains; he didnít get far when the stack with an allowed speed limit of sixty hit the truck at 55. As I watched the fire department and police leave and the work to clear the tracks begin. I thought of the damage not to the truck but to the UP crew and the fear they went through moments before impact. Then the further damage to the other crews as they died on the law waiting sixty to 100 miles from there crew point. Then the hours that the line was tied up. Only because someone could not cross where he wanted to and crossed where he shouldnít. Even these photos actually were because of other missed opportunities. Please see other photos
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54338
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=54334

Save The Wave
03-21-2004, 01:31 AM
Wow, you did pretty good for not being able to find any trains :shock:
Nice (and interesting) set of pictures.