November 9th, 2014


Any Day Now...

I have written many times here about the long-delayed appearance of a Big R Ranch & Home store here in Fernley. While driving to Fallon for supplies has been something of a change of pace for us, we'd be happier to (for instance) not have to drag the utility trailer so far afield to buy firewood. It's astonishing that it's taken the better part of two years to get this store open. The owners of Big R West must really think they've got a winner here in Fernley; less-committed people would have thrown up their hands in frustration and walked away from the project.

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It will be very nice to have a hardware store within walking distance again.
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To Trains

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.

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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.