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Coal Action by DragonWolfACe Coal Action by DragonWolfACe
The joint BNSF-UP Orin sub of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming has very little dull moments. Case in point is this three way meet between an empty coal drag, a loaded coal drag, and a rail train. The rail train is actually coming towards me. This is also the only freight only mainline that is 4 tracks for any amount of distance.

Despite all that, I was actually a little disappointed with my time in the basin. It was fairly busy but wasnt as busy as I thought. There was a few times where I sat waiting for over an hour on something! Which is hard to believe railfanning UPs and BNSFs lines that fed into the basin and it being a constant flow of traffic. I was fairly impressed with the Gillette end of the basin but I was busy chasing BNSF trains back and forth.

Either way, its a railfans gold mine, even if traffic is a little down.
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eyepilot13 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I remember checking this area out in '89. CNW Zito Yellow SD50s and 60s, BNSF Sd40-2s and C30-7s, saw my first UP SD60M then as well. I hear coal is down, but now I see all these NS-BNSF oil trains from Bakken.
DragonWolfACe Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, coal is down, oil is WAY UP. A fairly decent trade off. Just the bad part is if a oil train derails, big mess and potential fire. At least with coal, you just have a mess.
eyepilot13 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I know! I've heard about some of the derailments, especially the Firestorm in Quebec! From what I understand there was only one crewman on the train and if you are tired and overworked you are liable to make more mistakes, and with an oil  train...That's not good at all! I still think BNSF/NS probably handle this traffic better but there's always the  problem of human error, all in all energy is a big, dangerous, volatile business. The reason why HydroCarbons make such good energy also makes them go boom. From what I've been reading pipelines are pretty shoddily put together and have caused some massive leaks... What can you do? The power density of fossil fuels makes our society possible (good or bad thing? nothing is a clear-cut black or white issue, too many grey areas! So-called clean energy... batteries, wind-generators, solar-cells all take rare-earth materials or toxic compounds that need to be mined and you sill need fossil fuels to power their production and transportation process.  If hydrogen could be efficiently separated from water and a hydrogen economy formed...that intrigues me the most, but I've read about the issues with that to, whether corporate or economic or practical... I know lets develop fusion power! :lol:
bagera3005 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
i got iidea to get shot like this but Norfolk southern will not like me up on there signal to get it   
eyepilot13 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I usually get shots from overpasses!
factorone33 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional Photographer
Sounds like the KC area on any given day. Except we don't have quadruple mains. ;P
DragonWolfACe Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ive been to KC three times now. I could so move there! First day back to SF Jct on the hill overlooking it and at one point there was 7 trains all moving. Finally got onto the WW1 memorial overlook also...
factorone33 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Professional Photographer
Shoot, I've had to add to my railfanning map because I keep finding new places to hit up, and I still haven't even covered half of it all. It's getting obscene, really.
DounutCereal Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Still sounds busier than some 'busy' insterstate lines here when you can be waiting for 3 hours and still see nothing.
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Submitted on
December 2, 2013
Image Size
441 KB


36 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon EOS 7D
Shutter Speed
1/395 second
Focal Length
24 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 24, 2013, 10:58:30 AM
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0 Windows
Sensor Size