Tag Archives: GE

More Borrowed Power — NS 3675

Ein Besucher aus Osten in schwarz und weiß ist diese ET44AC im Pueblobahnbetriebswerk. Ich mag die große Radiatoren und die absolute Absicht der Gestaltung. Norfolk Southern Eisenbahn hat auch eine schöne Beschriftung, zweite nur zu BNSF.
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A visitor from the east in black and white, this ET44AC is in the Pueblo rail yard. I like the big radiators and the absolute purpose of the design. Norfolk Southern railway also has a pretty livery, second only to BNSF’s.

ES44C4 — BNSF 7013

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Though I refuse to get involved with the whole EMD vs GE arguments, I have admitted that I like the way GE engines look better. I don’t really understand why or what it is about them; but from among the GE ES44-Family of engines, I’ve really come to like the ES44C4s.

So a recent trip to the Pueblo rail yard that included a GE ET44C4 and a Norfolk Southern visitor was even more cool with BNSF 7013, a GE ES44C4.

Outwardly similar (the C4s use different trucks than their AC siblings), the ES44C4 (and the ET44C4s as well, for that matter) have only 4 driven axles per truck. The middle axle doesn’t have a traction motor on it.

Visitor From The East — NS 8043

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I have to admit, I had a hard time deciding which engine I was more excited about: the BNSF GE ET44C4 or the Norfolk Souther GE ES44AC, NS 8043.

My daughter liked this one better: it has a horse in the logo.

I certainly think the horse logo is cool, but the relative rarity of seeing Norfolk Southern engines out here in Colorado beats their logo.

GE ES44AC — BNSF 6286

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There is only one mainline along the Joint Line through north Colorado Springs. There are sidings about five miles in either direction from where I usually spot trains; but through here, it’s just the one set of tracks. Which means trains rarely stop and pose for photos. So when they do…

There’s an inherit beauty in functional design. I doubt the engineers at GE Transportation set out to design a beautiful locomotive; I would think, among all the considerations that go into the design, that aesthetics are not too high on the list. Certainly not above performance considerations. And yet, the final product is beautiful anyway.

BNSF 6286 sits at the end of a stopped train, coupled to and EMD SD70ACe, BNSF 9391. Since I rarely get the opportunity to get a lot of detail shots, I decided to take advantage of this rare stopped coal train and get as many photos as I could.

I like the back end of the ES44AC. In fact, I was using one of these photos as my phone’s lock screen.

I admit I don’t know everything about locomotives and what goes into their design. Their trucks are fascinating to me. GE ES44ACs engines produce 4400 horsepower, and that horsepower is delivered to the wheels on the trucks which have a very tiny contact patch. The trucks may be one of the most interesting elements to a train locomotive.

The heat plume from the exhaust distorts Pulpit Rock:

Strataca Salt Mine

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Up the road from the wind turbine factory in Hutchinson, Kansas, just before going up over the rail yard, Wendi and I came across the Strataca Salt Mine Museum. I had seen signs for it in McPherson, but it didn’t actually register until I saw the old switcher engine in front of the building (go figure). We looked into going on a mine tour — it’s apparently the only operational salt mine in the US open to the public — but the timing just didn’t work out for us this trip. We’ve added it to our list of places we want to visit.

It was drizzly and wet, and I could taste the salt in the air when I was taking pictures of the engine. I’m sure a lot of it was psychosomatic, but it seemed I could taste salt almost all day afterward.

Intermodal Freight – Union Pacific 2607

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For the July 4th holiday weekend, my family gathered in McPherson, Kansas at my brother’s house. Wendi and I sneaked off to Hutchinson, about 20 miles south of McPherson, a few times for some alone time in the guise of trips to Starbucks. We drove around Hutch a little bit one morning, and as we were headed back toward McPherson, I saw the distinctive radiator grills of a new GE Tier IV, ET45AH pulling an intermodal freight train. We gave chase.

I was not prepared for how quickly this train got up to speed, nor was I prepared for how fast he was going. At home in the mountains of Colorado, trains are heavy and slow, going around 45 or 50 mph. There are inclines and curves to deal with. Not in Kansas. Out of Hutchinson, this train shot up to around 70 mph, an it’s a relatively straight shot for most of the run. To see a train moving that fast was impressive, awe inspiring. It also threw off my timing a little bit.

I pulled off the highway at a random exit, telling Wendi it was a shot in the dark. As I was saying to her “I don’t know how long we’ll have to wait”, she said “There’s the signal”. With barely enough time to set up my shots, the train was there.

We got back on the highway, and overtook him again, this time much(!) closer to McPherson. I knew I couldn’t beat him across town, so I sort of stayed put on the side of the road and took as many photos as I could.

We don’t see a lot of intermodal traffic on the Joint Line, so this was a little bit of a treat. Bringing up the rear of this speeding mass was Union Pacific 6689, a GE AC4400CW

I don’t typically chase trains; I usually sit in one spot and wait for them to come by. Given the speed of this train, that’s the tactic we took the rest of the weekend.

Coal Train – BNSF 5925

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BNSF 5925, a GE ES44AC engine, leads an empty coal train through Colorado Springs. It’s followed by sister ES44AC, BNSF 5752.

Incidentally, these hoppers will be transporting coal to an Xcel Energy power plant. This sign on the hopper caught my eye as the train passed, and I had to laugh. Health and Safety departments just don’t have enough to do, I guess:

Operating as distributed power units at the end of this train was another pair of GE ES44ACs: BNSF 5883 (I think — I didn’t get the number clear enough), and BNSF 5865.