Bluffs, Bridge, C30-7, ShiloFirst we have another picture along the Yellowstone River. This time westbound and just east of Lockwood. We are doing every bit of the 50 mph track speed permitted through the S curves along the river.
Next is another shot of the MRL/BN/NP 3 span truss bridge at East Billings. This time we are running on the wrong ABS maain, going westbound on the Eastward Main. You are on SD70MAC BNSF 9769 on the C-WDMBLC0-06. We have to run against the current of traffic now to get from CTC East Billings to the Westward Auxillary Track at Billings where we set out the Billings Coal train for Montana Power. This spring the MRL removed the hand throw crossover between mains that we used to use at MP 224.6
We are now stopped in the Westward Auxillary Track at Billings. I snapped this pic of the Billings former Northern Pacific depot while the conductor was tying hand brakes and cutting our power off the train. We will cross back over to the Westward Main and run light 13 miles to Laurel. The depot now has a model RR club in it. The "Beanery" building, at the far end of the depot, where the three old wooden cabooses are, now has an upscale restaurant/bar in it. Several years ago "Opie" Ron Howard made a movie here staring Tom Cruise. "Far and Away" I think the title was. The depot was supposed to be some "Social Club". We came by on a westbound train one morning between scenes. There were about a dozen wild west type "dance hall girls" in skimpy western costumes standing on the depot platform. (The fence was not there then). As we approached and passed the depot they all linked arms and started doing the Can-Can for us on the platform. We smiled big grins, waved, and I tooted the whistle for them. They were laughing and looked like they were having a great time. I know I was. You never know what your are going to see along the RR.
A few months ago someone asked why GE C30-7s had that jog in the hood sides. Ask and ye shall recieve. I just happened to have a C30-7 in my consist last trip. The former BN, now AGTX, 5539. This shot shows the water tank and oil filter housing that occupy that jog. Not seen in the photo but behind the near hood door is the turbocharger intercooler which also fills all the available width of the wider hood.
That same query asked if the jog in the hood continued all the way across the top of the hood. I think I said no it did not at the time but here is the proof. I got up on the C30s nose and snapped this shot along the roof. You can see the jog simply feathers into the normal roofline. An eastbound Forsyth train departs Laurel ahead of us out of the westbound yard.
This shot was almost the demise of the Today's Photos series. To get down from my perch I put the Nikon 950 digital camera in my jacket pocket. When I bent over to start down off the top of the nose it fell out of my pocket. I watched in horror as the camera plunged to the ground from C30-7 roof level. I swear I could hear that whistling noise Wiley Coyote makes as he falls off a cliff. Luckily it did not hit any part of the loco on its way down. It crashed into the ballast. I expected to find pieces rattling around inside the camera. It was protected only by the thin cloth case that comes with the cam. But no rattles and not a sign of a dent. I turned it on and could see the images on the LCD screen. The lens appeared to be OK also. What a miracle.
Finally we get to go. This shot is at CTC Shilo, the new CTC point installed in 1998. A westbound is approaching the yard. We have a green signal on the far right track which is an extension of the switching lead for the bottom of the westbound yard at Laurel. The next two tracks to the left are the Eastward and Westward Mains. The track at the far left is the east leg of the wye to the BNSF's Laurel Sub to Great Falls, Montana. Most loaded grain trains and all CEC coal loads go that way and we change crews on the loads at the crossing in the distance. We change crews on the empties on the wye just out of sight at the left edge of this pic. Our lead loco is SD60M BN 9247. Trailing it I also have the AGTX 5539 (C30-7), the CSX 8427 (SD40), and the BNSF 3607 (SW1000) on this H-PASKCK. The switch engine is D.I.C. (Dead In Consist).
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