Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I love Wyoming. I love the scenery, the grandeur, the vast open expanses, the people that I get the chance to talk to. Wyoming also has some fantastic railroading, most of which I've only had the chance to read about. Last year I got to spend a bit more than a day in the Powder River Basin and came away awed by the intensity of the railroad action there.

This year Mrs. L4T and I decided to return to Wyoming for a fall vacation. We were able to drive the Beartooth Highway (closed last year due to snow), spend more time in Yellowstone, visit the Grand Tetons and spend a night in Teton Village (which is a strange place-not at all like the rest of Wyoming I've seen). We also have driven the Cheif Joseph Scenic Highway and the Bighorn crossing, both of which are spectacular and rival any National Park for scenery.

Then, this afternoon we arrived in Sheridan. I've wanted to check out the railroad action here for quite a while, partly due to Al Krug's Tales and partly because much of the coal that travels the Staples Sub also travels the Bighorn Sub of the BNSF.

Oh, almost forgot that we came through Greybull on the drive over, where I spotted the first train of the day. Since it was sitting in about the worst light possible, I worked the photo over heavily:

One interesting point (to me, anyway) is the "NSS Greybull" sign. I can't ever recall seeing railroads designate locations as north or south before-always east or west. Probably just ignorance on my part. Anyway, on to Sheridan.

When we came into town, two coal trains were sitting on the north (west?) end of the yard. After we checked into our hotel and ate supper, we went back for a look-see, and they were both gone. I headed north in hot pursuit, knowing that at least one was loaded. Perhaps I could catch him? Around Ranchester (about 15 miles north of Sheridan) I spotted a helper set headed south. The sun was nice and I looked for an exit so I could chase him down. After I finally found a way to access the tracks, it seemed a hopeless task but we carried on-and were surprised by headlights heading north at Ranchester. It was a pair of NS GE's on a manifest train, with two Boeing cars right behind the engines. This train was grinding up the grade to Parkman, working hard and not moving very fast. I shot him in two locations, shown here-the second spot I couldn't resist trying to catch the sun glinting off the train with the Bighorn Mountains as a backdrop.

Tomorrow we head north at a leisurely pace, hoping to get the chance to shoot some more action on the Bighorn Sub.


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