GE ES44AC BNSF 5681 leads a pair of EMD SD70 variants: BNSF 8751 (ACe) and BNSF 9653 (MAC) against the beautiful backdrop of the Palmer Lake/Spruce/Greenland Open Space area.
The SD70MAC in the Executive paint scheme (which seems to be a fan favorite). FPPX, the rail code on the hoppers, indicate this train’s getting a load of coal for Fayette Power Project in La Grange, TX.
A pair of EMD SD70ACes (BNSF 9104 and BNSF 9149) bring up the rear:
Just north of Palmer Lake, Colorado is the Greenland Open Space. It sits between Colorado Highway 53 on the west and I-25 (on the east), County Line Road to the South and Greenland Road to the north. The Colorado Joint Line runs along the western edge of the Open Space.
When I was commuting between Colorado Springs and Lakewood, I used to drive along Highway 53 in hopes of catching trains to photograph. Since we’ve moved to the Springs, however, I’ve rarely come up to the area for railfanning (it’s more difficult to get to than it should be). But I decided I’d scope the area out, so I grabbed my camera and headed up there. Of course, I was looking for a spot with a good vantage point of the railroad tracks; but as is often the case, there was plenty of other stuff to take pictures of while I waited for the trains.
I started down the trail, which is really more of a worn track:
But didn’t get very far before this thistle caught my eye:
Looking back to the south and west, you can see the red rocks and ground are pervasive, providing great contrast with the evergreens growing on it:
And when I did pick a spot that overlooked the tracks, I found this plant. I have no idea what it is, but it looked cool.