Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunshine in the Powder River Basin

If your electric utility burns coal to generate electricity, I am tempted to advise you to buy a generator. It seems likely the BNSF and UP will haul all the coal in creation away by next week.

Just Kidding!!!!!

The thought did cross my mind at one point this afternoon, though, as I stood on the Wyoming Highway 450 overpass at Black Thunder Junction in gale-force winds and counted 8 (EIGHT!) trains. Those are trains I could see from where I was standing. Five of them moved during the less than 10 minutes I stood there.

If you look closely, you can see 5 of the trains in these two photos. There was one out of view to my right, loads coming from the Black Thunder Mine, and two more behind me and to my left, empties for further up the line.

From now on, three things will come to mind when the words "Powder River Basin" are uttered-LOTS of coal trains, lots of antelope, and lots of wind. The common theme is "lots". I had always heard about the volume of trains in this area, but until you visit and see it with your own eyes it's hard to really appreciate what is going on. The description on this sign sums it up pretty well.

I've got more shots that I will be processing after I get home, and I expect at least a couple of more posts with a PRB theme, but being excited about the trip I wanted to share some information right away. Here's one backlit shot I managed to squeeze out on this computer.

Until I make it home for long enough to sit down at the computer, that's all I got. I encourage every railfan to venture out to the PRB at least once and see big time railroading at its absolute peak!


1 comment:

BB-Idaho said...

RE: PRB touring
One late summer day we overnighted at Gillette. I drove down to the
rr yard, which was fairly busy. But one of those prairie thunderstorms came in. Bigtime wind, dark and sideways rain. So I hightailed it through downtown, thinking to swing back north on the west side. Visibility was so poor I pulled over in a residential neighborhood; there under a hedge an antelope was lying, waiting out the storm as well! We also overnighted at Douglas on the south end and they have a nice little RR museum. Nice
people, they directed me to a tire place since my van spare was dragging beneath. Guys crawed over and under and got it cranked back up in place-no charge...