Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Tale of Two K040s...

(Train sightings on 10-19-13.) 

The title of this email best describes my railfanning along CSX's Trenton Line (TL) on Saturday (October 19). That first K040 coming west over the TL would have a power consist of three BNSF diesels. I envisioned a nice image as it passed by the Belle Mead station on this sunny morning. Watching the Internet posts, I learned it had passed CP Townley at 10:44. That would allow me sufficient time to drive down to Belle Mead. Traffic was horrendous on Route 206 but I eventually arrived around 11:15. I made it, or so I thought I did. Off in the distance, I heard an eastbound train blowing for a grade crossing. It would be CSX's intermodal train Q190 (Philadelphia, PA to Kearny, NJ) coming east. Motive power would be CSX 779 and CSX 567. 

Shortly after Q190 passed, a second eastbound CSX train's headlight would appear. The next train was CSX Q418, a Camden, NJ to Selkirk, NY mixed freight. Motive power would be CSX 7855 and CSX 7778. 

Ahhh.. so perhaps K040 is waiting at Port Reading Junction waiting for those two trains in order to continue its westward journey to the oil refineries in Philadelphia. After a prolonged wait, I finally grew tired of not knowing where the BNSF powered K040 was and decided to head home and research the web to find out its location. To my dismay, I learned that K040 had passed through Belle Mead prior to my arrival.

So what was so special about the second K040 that was scheduled to come west over the TL? This train's leader would be the NS heritage unit Virginian with NS 1054 and NS 1034 also in the power consist! With a late afternoon run down the TL, my concern would be the sun. Clouds were forecasted to roll in later that afternoon. At 3:55, this K040 was reported heading past NK Tower in Newark. That was my cue to head down once again to Belle Mead and wait. As the afternoon went by, sunny skies still gave me hope that those predicted clouds would hold off. Such was not the case as soon thereafter the clouds slowly blotted out what sun remained. That was when the headlight of K040 appeared around 5 PM. I did manage to get my photo of the Virginian passing by the Belle Mead station. Even though this image isn't the best, it is definitely better than nothing, eh?