Old 09-08-2007, 07:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Default Kansas City Railfanning - Sept. 1-3 - PRB Coal, KCS Retro-Belles, etc

I made my way up to Kansas City during the Labor Day weekend to enjoy a mini-vacation of railfanning in an area of the country that I had never been to. I found an old Railfan & Railroad from a couple of years ago that detailed KC railfanning and with information from members of this group, I was able to have a great trip. Here's my report with pictures:

Saturday, Sept. 1:
I arrived into KC about 10:30 AM after flying up from San Antonio through Houston (surprisingly painless experience) on Continental. I got my bags and my rental car and headed due south from the airport via I-29 and MO Rte. 9 to Parkville, MO. Parkville, MO is located along BNSF's St. Joe Sub. The St. Joe sub angles NW out of KC toward St. Joe, MO and serves as a conduit for Powder River Basin (PRB) coal trains (loads and empties) to/from the South and SE parts of BNSF's system. There is some other traffic along the line as well, but it is definitely the minority when compared with coal. Anyways, back to the trains, the sun was still in a good angle for an EB loaded coal train, so I set up in Parkville on a hill and waited Before too long, my wish was granted and a loaded coal train showed up behind a pair of BNSF BN-greenstein 70MACs.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199657
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

I decided to start moving up the St. Joe Sub from KC. Before too long, I intercepted a BNSF loaded grain train EB at the town of Farley with a Dash 9 on the lead. I shot him under an old grain elevator.


I kept going NW and found a loaded PRB train behind one BNSF H2 70MAC and another in DPU mode on the rear. I shot him at the town of Waldron across a field of crops.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199655
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

Here's the DPU, same field as previous shot, different angle.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199822
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

I kept moving NW, but quickly intercepted another EB BNSF train. This time it was older BNSF hoppers, but empty, behind a faded Dash 9 Warbonnet.


I finally had some down time, so I grabbed lunch in Leavenworth, KS (home of the military prison) and then headed back out on the BNSF St. Joe Sub. I eventually made my way to Iatan where the signals were set up for a WB and I intercepted a mixed freight behind some GEVOs and a train of coal empties with a 70MAC leader. I followed the BNSF line to Rushville, MO where I detoured across the MO River to Atchison, KS. The BNSF crosses into Atchison on a nice bridge, and the UP is also in town with a line that follows the KS side of the MO River. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything moving, though I found some UP yard/local power including this LLPX GP.


Back into MO, I soon saw a SB headlight of yet another loaded PRB drag, so I set up on a hill near Rushville, MO and got this cool shot. Listening to radio chatter, I missed two other trains (1 EB and 1 WB) while in Atchison.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199656
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

Got another shot about a half mile down the highway, still in Rushville:

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199970
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

It was getting late, so I headed back to KC, KS to get my hotel, but I did intercept this same coal train once more at Beverly, MO where he met PRB empties.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199658
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

Sunday, Sept. 2:
Sunday dawned clear, much like Saturday. I decided that I was going to spend Sunday morning out on the UP Kansas Sub and BNSF Transcon. However, before I got out of the city, I made my way to BNSF's very busy Argentine Yard. I got numerous shots of trains from a bridge that crosses over the yard including some 4-axles under the yard tower:


and BNSF road trains at the mainline fueling pad:


I made my way out of town and onto the UP Kansas Sub. Much like the BNSF St. Joe Sub, this line serves as a coal conduit for UP, though there is some other traffic mixed in. This first UP train I found was a mixed freight behind a pair of 4-axles, led by LLPX 2260.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 200561
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

Right behind were some 2 trains of UP coal loads.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199817
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

I made my way to Bonner Springs, KS, where I found a UP mixed freight and 2 more trains of coal loads.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199815
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

I kept heading west to Loring where I found a UP local, WB autoracks, and, surprise, more coal loads.


Moving west still, I found, guess what, more UP coal at the town of Lenape.


At this point, I was getting tired of coal trains, so I moved over to the BNSF Transcon at Holliday, KS where there is a junction between the Transcon and the BNSF Topeka Sub. I intercepted 4 WB and 3 EB BNSF trains on the Transcon in about an hours worth of railfanning. The best catch of that group was a WB BNSF stack train behind 5 4-axles, with the lead unit being a blue/yellow ex-ATSF GP30u.


I then headed back into downtown KC toward the restored Union Station. Here's a nice shot of the Grand Hall at the station.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199818
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

However, the real reason for coming to this location was to shoot WB trains passing under the classic "Western Auto" sign on a nearby building. I got several trains for this shot from a variety of angles from an old KCS bridge that has been turned into a pedestrian walkway. Here is a couple of shots:

Coal empties:
Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199813
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

A KCS Yard Transfer:
Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 200560
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

UP Grain Empties: http://members.trainorders.com/train...on_station.jpg

I finished Sunday near a maze of flyovers catching a couple BNSF & UP trains, including a BNSF Georgia Power Plant Scherer empty.

Monday, Sept. 3:
My return flight to San Antonio was at 3 PM, so I figured that I had all morning to railfan around KC, KS and KC, MO.

I noticed a great morning angle Union Station from another bridge, so I headed back to that location for about an hour where I was rewarded with this shot.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199966
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

I worked some back city streets and found this neat angle of the BNSF main where a GA Power Plant Scherer train was meeting a freight led by a NS Catfish. There are some neat angles in downtown KC with all of the classic red-brick buildings.

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199967
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

Coal train DPU:
Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199968
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

At this point, I saw a pair of KCS Retro-Belle SD70ACes on an empty grain train and grabbed a quick poorly-lit shot:


I then set up for the best it shot I could find near the approach to BNSF's Hannibal Bridge:

Image © Patrick Phelan
PhotoID: 199965
Photograph © Patrick Phelan

By that time, it was time to head for the airport. It was a great way to end an awesome weekend.

Thanks for reading,
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:52 AM   #2
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What a fabulous weekend!
My RP pix are here.
My Flickr pix are here.

My commentaries on rail pictures are in my blog.

RP Photo Albums:
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:11 AM   #3
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Nice shots Patrick. I lived a couple hours west of there until a couple months ago. Sad thing is, you did a better job of documenting Kansas City in one weekend than I ever did. I just never made it over there very often, favoring other locations closer to home.
My Railpictures Shots http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=2561
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