Tuesday, December 08, 2020, I spent nearly six hours "railfanning' one of my favorite locations on U.P.'s Roseville Subdivision: Milepost 159.1, between the stations of Baxter and Midas on the timetable. During the course of the day, I managed to "catch" a total of six trains, which make today a "great day" on Donner Pass. If it wasn't for the fading December light, I would have stayed longer...
Photo: Today's first train was an eastbound double stack, led by U.P. #6783, a GE AC4400CW. Casa Loma road crossing, a Placer County road, in the background of the photo, is at milepost 159.8. I actually noticed this train on the way to my location, and I had just set up and was waiting for it to arrive, when it showed up, at 09:46 on this Tuesday morning in early December.
This location, known as "Rawhide," by the non-railfan locals, is one my favorite places to photo on U.P.'s Roseville subdivision. It's hard to get to, it's remote, it's a LONG way from the freeway - you hear trains, not trucks - you get lots of advance warning of either east or west-bound trains, and... very few people know about this amazing location.
Photo: At 10:09, B.N.S.F. #5715, an AC44CW built by GE, leads an eastbound manifest freight out of the morning shadows. This was the only BNSF train that I saw today.
Photo: Nice going away view of the four units heading east.
Photo: Tank cars round up the tail end of this train, which was mostly tank and box cars, with a few grain hopper cars thrown in. For a merchandise train, this one was quite short and fast, with no DPU's or helpers.
Today was an absolutely beautiful day to railfan in the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the 3940-foot level, as the weather was sunny, without a cloud in the sky, with, at times a slight breeze, and dry. It's Tuesday, but weather changes are on the horizon, as a storm is supposed to blow in by the weekend, and leave a foot of snow at this location.
Photo: Just under an hour later, at 11:04, U,P. #8398, an EMD SD70ACe showed up, leading a long, slow drag eastbound. This train was crawling up the .8% grade at about 15 mph, and I was surprised that there weren't any DPUs, as all power was on the head end.
Photo: I love the curve to the east of where I was standing, as you get a great look at the units, as they round the curve while climbing the .8% grade, especially when gondola cars of scrap metal don't block the view.
Photo: The first train of the afternoon is an eastbound, double stack constrainer train led by U.P. #8819, an EMD SD70ACe, a graduate of the locomotive "Class of 2012."
Photo: Closer view of #8819, and her fellow units, illustrates the banking on every curve on the Roseville Subdivision.
Photo: Three D.P.U.s - distributed power units - were helping out in the middle of the train.
Photo: End of the train with a few empty auto racks.
Photo: My only westbound of today was a double stack, led by U.P. #7961, a GE AC45CCTE which I filmed at 12:34 in the afternoon. The units were easing down the grade in full dynamics.
Photo: At 13:05 this westbound highrailer showed up, so I knew there would be a lull in the action. He drove west to the crossing of Casa Loma Road, got off the tracks, and headed east on the side road to check on signals, about a half mile east of my photo location.
Photo: Eastbound Amtrak passenger train #6, with unit #76, a GE P42DC on the point, passes through milepost 159.8, where Placer County Casa Loma road crosses U.P.'s tracks. It's 13:10 in the afternoon, and although I stayed at this photo location until just past 15:00, when the light faded, this would be the last train that I would see today.
In my "photographer's" opinion, this is one of the best locations in the Sierra Nevada mountains to photograph mainline railroad action, due to the amazing scenery, the "serenity," and the lack of company of any kind.
Photo: Tail end of Amtrak #6, as the train heads east, and leaves my location behind, on the way to Chicago.
"Rawhide," as the non-railfans locals call the location, is at milepost 159.1, between the U.P. stations of Baxter and Midas, is one of my favorite locations on the Roseville Subdivision to railfan, as the scenery is great, it's a little-known location, it's hard to get to, and it's a long ways from the freeway, so you'll hear trains, not cars!
When it comes to great scenery, mainline Union Pacific railroad action, you'll find milepost 159.1 to be a "sweet spot" in any railfan's timetable...
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