Thursday, September 04, 2014

Tri-State Chase on Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern; Ginger Blue, Mo.; June 16, 2014
On the same day we chased the Amtrak display train behind Alcos on the Arkansas & Missouri (June 16, 2014), brother Bruce and I headed over to the Kansas City Southern for the afternoon looking for a southbound train to chase. Trains were fairly plentiful, but the hard part about the KCS proved to be finding trains with KCS power -- Union Pacific and BNSF power was predominant. We waited at the grain elevator in Anderson, Mo., looking for a southbound, but the first one had Union Pacific power. The second one had BNSF power, but we chased it south to the bridge over Indian Creek near Ginger Blue.
BNSF Railway (on KCS); Ginger Blue, Mo.; June 16, 2014
Kansas City Southern; Anderson, Mo.; June 14, 2014
The third time was a charm, however, as a southbound appeared with one of KCS's "Retro Belle" (a modified paint scheme used on the old KCS Southern Belle passenger train) SD70ACe units on the point and a second one halfway back in the train as a helper. Of course, the clean one was back in the train; the lead unit was a tad dirty.

The chase started at the elevator in Anderson (right). From there it was a quick drive south (except for the speed trap town of Lanagan) to the turn-off at Ginger Blue, then winding down the hill to Indian Creek at the Eagles Nest Campground. Timing was fortuitous here, as a group of kayakers were just making their way under the bridge as the train crossed (top photo of the post).

We then crossed the state line into Arkansas, setting up for a shot just south of the border at a concrete deck bridge on the outskirts of Sulphur Springs. The sun was starting to swing around, as it was getting late in the day, but it turned out to be a pretty good shot.
Kansas City Southern; Sulphur Springs, Ark.; June 16, 2014
The warm afternoon sun was back on the nose of lead locomotive No. 4037 as it made its way slowly through Gravette. It took so long to get here that we briefly thought we might have missed the train and it was long gone. After several anxious moments it appeared, however.
Kansas City Southern; Gravette, Ark.; June 16, 2014
Northbound rail traffic started to interfere, and while we were waiting at the former KCS F-unit on display in Decatur, Ark., a northbound showed up. By the time it met our train north of town and No. 4037 worked its way south, the shadows were really beginning to creep in.
Kansas City Southern; Decatur, Ark.; June 16, 2014
Getting ahead of the train once more, our next shot was off the overhead bridge at Gentry. While the low sun was making shooting difficult in tight quarters (like at Decatur), it was making for some really sweet light when you had open space to work with and weren't fighting shadows.
Kansas City Southern; Gentry, Ark.; June 16, 2014
We crossed another state line, putting us in Oklahoma as we chased. The shadows were definitely in play as we paused at the large feed mill in Watts. The train crawled through here and came to a stop in the small yard just south of the mill. That should do it for our day.
Kansas City Southern; Watts, Okla.; June 16, 2014
Or so we thought. As we consulted maps to see what the best way was to Van Buren, Ark., so we could grab a motel for the night, the train started moving again. The first few miles to Van Buren stayed with the tracks, so we ducked in at Westville where we found wide open spaces. This allowed for a pan shot of the mid-train helper to finish off a three-state chase.
Kansas City Southern; Westville, Okla.; June 16, 2014
More photos from this day can be found here.

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