Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Katy Coming Through!

A train coming into Fernley sounding its horn in repeated short bursts is not a good thing; it means there may be something (or worse, someone) on the tracks. Given that I'd just heard people on motorcycles whizzing by along the tracks, I feared the worst and rushed outside. There, slowing, was an eastbound Union Pacific train with a one-of-a-kind locomotive bearing a "heritage" paint scheme.

Katy Coming Through
I got my phone unlimbered as fast as I could, but unfortunately, the shots I managed to get were not that great. Bracketed by a pair of "regular" locomotives here is Union Pacific 1988, wearing the paint scheme of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, or "Katy" as it was known. The MKT vanished in 1988 when it was merged into Missouri Pacific, which in turn is now part of Union Pacific.

Katy Coming Through
Union Pacific repainted a series of "heritage scheme" locomotives in liveries evocative of the various railroads that have over time become part of UP. By the associative property of railroads, "Union Pacific" + anything = "Union Pacific." I've from time to time spotted other heritage-scheme locomotives coming through town, but this is the first time I managed to capture a picture of one.

Besides these UP locomotives, trains lately have had a veritable rainbow fleet as UP scrambles to hire locomotives to handle surging traffic. In the past few days I've seen locomotives painted for Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, and Southern Pacific, the last being a "patch job" unit with a UP unit number painted over the ex-SP number while the rest of the unit remains in a now-badly-faded version of the fallen flag's "bloody nose" paint scheme with "Southern Pacific" in Rio Grande-style "speed lettering" from the days after the D&RGW merger and before the sale to UP.

Some say that modern mega-mergers and increasing containerization have taken all of the variety out of railroading, but you couldn't tell that from watching from our front porch. Even better, there's nobody who can tell us, "You're not allowed to take photos here!" because it's our own property.

Fortunately, whatever had prompted this train to sound the warning and stop apparently didn't lead to another tragedy, as a few minutes later they started back up and continued east.
Tags: fernley, southern pacific, trains, union pacific

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