Old 07-10-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
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Default Kansas & Oklahoma RR sightings 6/27-28/10

Sorry these sightings are a bit tardy, but better late than never. For those interested in the doings of the K&O, I hope you find them interesting.

Arrived in Wichita a few hours late on Sunday 6/27, thanks to a couple of thunderstorms around Chicago (doesn't take much to derail O'Hare!), which pretty much blew fanning on Sunday afternoon.

I did run by the shop in Wichita, and noted quite an extensive deadline of older power. There were three ex NS 4100 series SD40s in various states of scrapping, including one down to the frame. Also of interest were three SKOL GP30s, one still in Conrail blue and two in black and silver SKOL colors. Unfortunately, I was scrambling to try and get a shot or two in around Wichita before sundown, and did not write down numbers of units in the deadline.

Ops pattern in Wichita for the evenings seems to be two jobs coming on at 6 and 7pm. This was the case both Sunday and Monday. Keep in mind it is harvest season, so things are quite busy right now.

Monday morning, I started bright and early in McPherson, KS. There were two sets of power at the depot-- an ex Helm GP38 and GP9 9004, then two GP7Us, 7004 and 7020. The first pair went to work in the yard, and I figured the two old geeps were the Newton local. WRONG! Turns out they were stored, and I could have been out west at Conway shooting them coming east to McPherson. Hindsight is 20-20. For those interested, two jobs come on duty M-F at McPherson-- one at 5am to work the yard and head west to Conway, the other at 7am to head south to the BNSF interchange at Newton, KS.

The Newton local came into town around 10am, with three GP38s. First was WAMX 3805 in CSX colors, and the other two were in Watco black and yellow. He headed south out of McPherson with a respectable 57 cars, plus an added bonus: the two stored geeps were needed elsewhere on the system and were added to the rear of the consist by the Conway local. That made for some nice "fake" train shots of the two veteran geeps "leading" the train at various points along the journey to Newton, and it was made that much better by the "lead" unit having K&O lettering on the long hood since there are not that many units with K&O lettering or logos any more.

I also heard a local leaving from Yaggy to head to Wichita, and found out that he would return west in the afternoon. Turned out to be a monster of a train, with two ex BAR GP38s hauling what I counted to be 135 empty grain hoppers. It was also a bear of a train for the crew, as the GP38s worked their guts out in near 100 degree heat to keep those hoppers moving. I noted as the train passed me in Andale that some of the brakes toward the rear of the train sounded to be dragging just a bit, almost like the retainer valves were set. It wasn't long after that the engineer mentioned to a crewmember following in a truck that he was having some difficulty with the brakes dragging, and that they were on the verge of stalling.

And that they did. The curve coming into Mt. Hope proved to be too much with the added pull of the brakes, and this is where the crew's day would end based on the time left on their shift. They had to cut a couple of crossings, and then secured the train by the elevator at Mt. Hope.

I headed back for Wichita, and the usual pair of locals were getting ready to head to work. Power active around Wichita was a couple of the ex BAR GP38s, two of the ex CN GP40-2Ls, and the unique ex WP GP35 that I believe is deturboed and classed as a GP38, but I am not certain. It is WAMX 3511, and still in UP colors with lettering marked out.

Thanks to all for the help that made these catches possible, and for an enjoyable visit to the K&O! I will share some photos soon after these funny little white plastic things called "slides" come back from a place called the "photo lab." ;-p
Mike Derrick

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