Rich Mountain, Oklahoma-Arkansas – 29 October 2005

by admin on 2015/10/29

After yesterday’s drive up north to get here and the pictures that I got of Kiamichi Railroad and Kansas City Southern Railway activity, Saturday 29 October 2005 was my first full day on Rich Mountain for the fall 2005 gathering; actually, it was my only full day on Rich Mountain this fall, as I would have to make my way south tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Much of the details of today’s story, including all of the train symbols, come from a trip report that my pal TS wrote and sent a few months after the trip; otherwise, I don’t remember so much!

TS writes of our departure from the hotel in Poteau:

James and I decided to drive separately, figuring we’d have different agendas for the day.  And damn, would that ever be the case.  It was still dark out as we deadheaded to Heavener.

I find his use of the word “deadheaded” here to be interesting!  I’m not sure that it is applicable.  Anyway, his trip report indicates that we shared a hotel room on that trip, which I did not on my own remember.  What I do remember, and what his trip report confirms, is that we made the obligatory stop at the Downtown Café in Heavener for breakfast that morning!

TS continues:

After fueling our stomachs, we proceeded onto The Mountain in search of our first shooting location.  A southbound coal load departed the fuel pad behind us, and a northbound waited for him at Page.  We made a brief stop at Zoe, checked Blue Cut to see that it was still in shadows, and found our way to Page, still not exactly sure what to do.  James and I are the most indecisive pair that could exist.  It causes much consternation in our foaming decision-making.  Suddenly, I realized the northbound looked cool waiting in the siding: the mountain loomed in the background and the sun had not crested the top yet.  It was worth a few moody-looking shots.

Yes, I agree.

It’s shortly after 08:00, but it still seems like dawn, due to the proximity of a mountain to the east.

In some respects, this scene may be my favorite of the day, but a few others, including the second-of-two scenes of this train, can compete for that title.

This train, too, is a bit of a curiosity.  It’s symbol is G-ADIM, indicating that it is a grain (empty) train from Ashdown, Arkansas, to the I&M Rail Link, which was now the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern (and still yet to be acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railway), but notice that the first three (or four) cars are not grain cars.  Why?  I have long wondered if railroads don’t occasionally tack a few carloads of other products onto a unit train that is going in the same general direction.  Any information on this practice would be appreciated.

The locomotives on this train were DME 6084, DME 6366, and MRL 221.

Knowing that our southbound loaded coal train climbing the mountain was not far away, we returned to Blue Cut, and, this time, we found a sunny spot and bagged the C-KCWE accordingly.

I screwed up this shot; ideally, I would have waited until the front of the lead locomotive arrived at the point of tangency, but I popped a shot off too early.

By the way, this is a good time to remind readers that caption information for each image can be found in the filenames of each picture, which can be read by holding one’s mouse arrow over the image.

I really wanted to shoot the G-ADIM again; it had neat spartan-cab power followed by lumber cars, a sharp contrast from the coal train.  Typically, the ‘proper’ thing to do in such situations is to continue to chase the coal load, since it is going into the rising sun, and since the G-ADIM is going in the opposite direction.

TS, who seemed to be agreeing to this reversal only because I wanted to do it even though we had separate vehicles, suggested Stapp.  We arrived there to find “the company of a handful of other foamers.  It wasn’t a long wait, and it wasn’t a bad shot.”

No, it was not a bad shot; actually, it is one of my favorite shots of this entire trip.

Next, we went back up the mountain to find and scoop our coal load, and I got my first shot of this second chase of it not long after entering Arkansas for the first time today.

After this, things get tricky, and I was not able to shoot the train again until Rich Mountain.

This train met two northbound trains at Rich Mountain, but it was now getting to be late morning, the worst time of day to be chasing northbound trains; so, the only logical thing to do was to race to Acorn to get set up to shoot the C-KCWE there.  Something, however, was wrong with this move.  TS showed up after I did; so, now two of us were wrong.

TS writes:

I got out and we discussed split-second reactions of the chasing foamer.   As we waited, we both seemed annoyed.  And the longer we waited, the more annoyed we became.  What was wrong?  It was a beautiful day on Rich Mountain.  What was wrong was the lack of C-KCWE.  It should have been by mere minutes after my arrival.  Did it stop somewhere or was it going really slow?  We had no clue, and now we had a decision to make.  Stay here indefinitely or go back toward Rich Mountain and possibly miss it in the gap?  God save us from having to make a decision while foaming.  We decided to head back up The Mountain.  Turns out it was the right choice.  As we passed the south end of Rich Mountain, there sat the C-KCWE—and the ass-end of the second northbound.  Turns out the first northbound in the siding had died, and the second one didn’t clear the main at the south end.

So, it would be awhile before anything moved.  We had a traffic jam.  Perhaps we took the opportunity to get snacks at the Rich Mountain Country Store, but I don’t know.

TS continues:

It would be a while before anything moved.  If I remember correctly, the second northbound was getting short on his hours too, and would have to be re-crewed to finally pull clear of the main track.  We headed back to Page where most of the other ‘fans had congregated.  There was another southbound out of Heavener and he had nowhere to go but hold up at Page.  It wasn’t long before it appeared and drifted to a stand, short of the grade crossing.

Yes; this was the M-KCSH (Manifest – Kansas City to Shreveport) stopping short of the crossing at Page.

I like that view, a heavily cropped telephoto view; it’s kind of wicked in a good way.

There were plenty of DM&E hopper cars toward the front of this train.

We surmised that this must be a Shreveport crew, as evidenced by the conductor’s being black.

At least one of the northbound trains stuck at Rich Mountain must have gotten lose and made it into the siding by the time of the below shot, taken nearly three hours after the image of the C-KCWE arriving at Rich Mountain.

The Page siding was being extended at this time, and you can see the tail end of the northbound in the distance.

Well, hey, now we have another train to chase, and, now entering Arkansas for the second time today, we get him at Howard.

Well, that’s nice.  I’m not sure what happened next, but, apparently, I split off from TS and some of the other foamers, and the next thing we know, three hours later, I am alone it Hatfield to get this shot of the G-KCUN (Grain – Kansas City, Mo., to Union, Mississippi.)

As far as I know, this is the only train picture that I have ever taken in Hatfield.

According to TS’s narrative, I just disappeared on some adventure of my own, but I do not recall what.  Maybe this is the trip on which I went back to Poteau just to eat at Braum’s, but that would have happened in the time before the Hatfield picture, meaning that the Hatfield picture might have been the third time that I entered Arkansas on this day.

This could, too, be the time that I decided to drive, for the heck of it, the back way around Rich Mountain, by going west at Cove.

In any case, it was on the return trip from the Hatfield picture that I did something really stupid, something that could have been plenty worse; I’ll spare the details, but we can ascribe it to being young, dumb, and too aggressive.

What we do know is that less than 90 minutes after the Hatfield picture, I am back in Heavener, and dusk is upon us.

White power was quickly becoming a thing of the past on the KCS, and we long were excited to see something like this.

Oh, my arrival at the fuel rack was also my reunion with TS and a few other foamers, all who wondered where on Earth I was and what had happened to me.

So, yes, I am alive, and I am even free, even if I did not, at the time, deserve to be.

This was train I-KCNO, which confuses me, since the intermodal operations to New Orleans supposedly ended after Hurricane Katrina.

Photographically, all that there is left to do today is photograph this parked C-KCTU2, first of the rear end.

Next, we move toward the southern end of the yard, where the long train is taken apart so as to not block the crossing, and I get this image that shows the Waldron Branch trailing off in the distance at left.

Next, we returned to Poteau and to supper at Warehouse Willie’s!

TS wrote:

It was the typical scene at Warehouse Willie’s—a roomful of KCS fans gathered around the table talking trains.  After dinner we went back to the Best Western to watch slides and unwind from the day.

Yes.  I left the slide presentation before it ended because I was having trouble staying awake.  You could say that those old-timers were putting this twenty-something to shame, but then you’d have to consider that TS and I started our foaming early enough to be in Heavener before dusk to reconnoiter the action, and it was always well after dusk before we saw any other foamers.

Stay tuned tomorrow for what might be the best set – and what will be the last set – of photographs from this trip.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Boyko October 29, 2015 at 06:38

“White power was quickly becoming a thing of the past” – heh. Bad for railfans but good in the broader sense of the phrase.

Great photos! I really like that first photo of 2041 that you said you screwed up. It’s interesting how different people like different photos.


2 John Woodlock October 29, 2015 at 07:41

That was an awesome series of images! I haven`t been to Rich mountain in about seven years or so and want to go back. Thanks for the flashback!!


3 Charlie K. October 29, 2015 at 07:44

No. 1 -This is one of the best RR mood shots I’ve seen. … Charlie


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