Saturday, May 31, 2014

Morton Arboretum's Salt Berm

Between IL-53 and Finley Road there are a bunch of office buildings between Warrenville and I-88. I stopped in the parking lots of those building when going from west to east down this segment of Warrenville to take pictures of the Morton Arboretum's salt berm. The berm protects the plants from salt spray in the winter. This berm was built for the arboretum as part of a three-way trade among the arboretum, the Tollway Authority, and the DuPage County Forest Preserve to build I-355. I remember the old I-88 berm was a rather boring 20-foot hill. The new berm has varying heights and some landscaping on the road side of the berm. As part of the trade, the arboretum planed to do research concerning the salt tolerance of various plants. I include I-88 in the foreground of this picture so that you have some context.

20140526 0032

The following three views were taken from the same spot looking towards the west, then north, then towards the east.

When I took these pictures, I tried to wait until there were no trucks in the view. I see I missed avoiding one in my eastern view.

Note the power lines on the right of the eastern view. Below is a better view of the power lines. Another aspect of the I-355 contruction was $30 million dollars spent for utility relocation. These lines are part of the corridor that we have already seen in Hidden Lakes and over the CB&Q tracks. Just past the power lines on the right side of the picture is where I-355 goes under I-88.

The  following was taken from east of the I-88/I-355 intersection looking towards the west.

 I-355 is below grade in this stretch because it goes under I-88. I wrote a lot of words trying to describe where it was in the above view before it occurred to me that I could have my wife drive me on I-355 while I take some pictures. Below is the part of I-355 that is in the above view. In this stretch, it is buried with retaining walls. The bridges carry I-88. If you look at the map, can see that I-355 does most of its curving to the east while south of I-88 and goes under I-88 with a heavy skew angle to minimize the amount of land that Morton Arboretum had to surrender as part of the trade. That made the length of the bridges and the spans significantly longer. Note the tollway authority's microwave tower in the center of the view. That can be used to help correlate this view with the following view.

To put the above in context and to include a "prettier" view I include a view before we get to the above view. I-88 is on the "grassy hill" to the left. So I-355 is beginning to separate from I-88 and is starting to go underground here. On the right we see the berm and power lines. The microwave tower is just to the left of the light post that is closest to the camera. The office building to the left of the microwave tower is the tollroad's headquarters.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

BNSF Color Schemes (Liveries) and Railfanning

(Update: more example of equipment with some older liveries.)

When I saw the second BNSF engine this morning with a color scheme that did not include orange, I decided it was time to learn more about the paint schemes. I had also noticed that the locomotive liveries that included orange had different details.

I soon learned the paint schemes that include orange are four Heritage schemes that are called H1-H4. The first non-orange scheme I saw several days ago was the Warbonnet scheme (below). Today's non-orange scheme was the second locomotive for a unit coal train. It was grey and off-white. As  best as I can tell, it was the Executive paint scheme.

H1 has a thick orange stripe down the middle for the black lettering and just one yellow stripe between the orange stripe and the "dark Pullman Green" that is above and below the orange/yellow area. And it has the SantaFe cross logo on front but with the lettering of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The colors are based on Great Northern Railway's pre-1967 colors of  Omaha Orange and Pullman Green. Another railfan indicated the dark color is "Northern Pacific dark green."

20140521 0085
Dennis DeBruler

Steven J. Brown posted
BNSF GP38 2189 (built 1970 as PC 7867, became LTEX 3829) crossing Salmon Bay at Ballard in Seattle, Washington - April 8, 2001.
Gregory L Weirich: Switcher heading to the Ballard lowline?
Dennis DeBruler: I believe that is the Heritage 1 livery. I don't see too many photos of that paint scheme.

Mark Hinsdale posted
Filed under "Local things we just don't see anymore..."
What I presume to be a BNSF Cicero (or Eola) to Glenn Yard transfer job curves off Amtrak's South Branch Bridge and onto the Illinois Central Railroad's Joliet District (the ex Gulf, Mobile & Ohio main line), on a beautiful June, 1998 afternoon. A quarter century later, first generation power and inter-yard transfer moves across the city are long gone from BNSF, as is the brick interlocking tower where operators controlled the once complicated junction at Chicago's 21'st Street.
[And you don't see that H1 livery very often anymore.]
Kevin A. Sadowski: Man that scheme really looked good on everything from high hood geeps to -9s
Mark Hinsdale shared
Mark Hinsdale shared
Steve Kraus: Old power and towers, okay. Why don’t they need transfers anymore?
Daniel Evans: Rationalisation of smaller yards into larger ones, usually further from the city, and direct runthroughs of full manifest trains between them, avoiding congested routes in Chicago if possible.
For BNSF-CN, CN have now centralised everything at Kirk, and BNSF rely on Galesburg to sort out a lot of Chicago transfers. The routing is probably Galesburg - Eola - former EJE - Kirk now.
Walt Del Calle: Daniel Evans exactly. Once in a while, the Galesburg crew will have to do a bit of work at Eola. The train will be tied down on the J main, most often at West Bridge Junction, East Bridge Junction, or 111th St. and a CN crew will come for it.
Walt Del Calle: CN brings the westbound L-595 into Eola and ties it down unless the BNSF crew is there already, which happens once in a while.

There some temporary "H0" schemes.
Michael Matalis posted
Another view of the BNSF 9297 making it's first trip into Ft Worth on 06/13/96, this time just north of Krum TX. At the time it was barnstorming the system for employee input on the new scheme, or actually schemes since the opposite side had double red pin stripes.

This photo caught my eye because the orange truck shows that the Santa Fe Bridge over the Mississippi River has a vehicle deck above the railroad deck. And then I noticed the BNSF loco in the H1 livery.
Ronald Hirsch posted via Dennis DeBruler

John Joseph Walsh III was interested in the bluebonnet (GP60) livery. But the H1s caught my eye. It appears that the orange locomotives are an update of the H1 livery because the BNSF logo uses the "Nike swish."
1:45 video @ 0:29
BNSF had switched to the "swish H1" before 2016.
Michael Matalis posted on May 2, 2016
I went over to the library this morning to drop off a book and picked up three trains along the way including the eastbound local heading for Pepperidge Farm. Trailing unit is a GP39-2R, ex-UP GP30.
Dennis DeBruler: Both Pepperidge Farm rail service and those trees are now gone. This truly is a memory.

HalstEd Pazdzior posted
RCHI476 over the Fox River.  7/7/22
[Note only did he catch a Blue Bonnet, the BNSF loco is H1.]

I count at least five H1 locomoties in this photo.
MP Rail Photography posted
The BNSF Engine Facility in Denver is crowded with a variety of paint schemes and power, including two SD40s still painted in BN green and one Geep painted in the ATSF "freightbonnet" scheme.
May 5, 2024
Denver, CO
Power of Note:
BNSF 1958 - SD40-2 (Former BN 6351) - Lower Center
BNSF 2854 - GP39-2 (Former ATSF 3640 in "Freightbonnet") - Center
BNSF 1656 - SD40-2 (Former BN 7058) - Center
BNSF 522 - B40-8W - Center Left
Dennis DeBruler: There are several H1 locomotives as well. I've never seen that many standard cab locomotives in one place before.


H2 removes the dark color from the bottom and shrinks the dark color band on the top. I think the dark color is still Pullman Green instead of black. And it adds multiple yellow stripes and the BNSF lettering is now yellow instead of black.

Hell Canyon Bridge has a couple of examples of H2.

The following has a Warbonnet scheme as well as H2.

In 2005, the company changed their name from Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway to BNSF Railway. The the BNSF letters are no longer their reporting marks, they are the name. So they created a new logo that motivates the railfan's nickname of "swish." H3 is H2 with the yellow lettering replaced by the black logo and the dark color is supposed to be black instead of Pullman Green. But exposure of a picture seems to make more of a difference in the dark color than the name used to describe it.

Sorry about the exposure in this H3. This is a screen shot from one of my first attempts to use the video feature of the camera, and I learned that it doesn't handle back lighting as well for video as it does for still pictures.

H4 is the same as H1 but with the modifications of green->black, the new logo, and a wider orange band. One source said that H4 was for use on the cab units. Another said that H3 was for wide cabs and H4 was developed when they started repainting SD40-2 units. Some sources call the H2/H3 scheme the Premium Heritage and the H1/H4 scheme the (standard) Heritage.

There are still some of the BN and SantaFe schemes running on the system.

The second unit on the video I took today:

 The picture above for the H1 scheme was the second in a consist that had a patched BN engine:

20140521 0084c

These units were switching a string of covered hoppers and crossed the road more than once without letting the gates up so I had more opportunities to take pictures than I wanted. I assume they are old units which is why they have old paint schemes and are assigned to switching duties.

And while I was by the CB&Q tracks trying to get pictures of freight trains, there were commuter trains...

...and Amtrak trains.

This Amtrak train was rather long for a passenger train. The Zephyr line to San Fransisco has used this route since its inception. The Southwest now switches from the old SantaFe route to this route at Galesburg, IL, because Amtrak did not want to pay 100,000 dollars for a stretch of track in Chicago that is being abandoned by the parent railroad. It is the same abandonment that is threatening the continued existance of the St. Charles Air Line Bridge. The overpass in the background is I-355. The electric power lines are in the same corridor that goes by the Hidden Lake Forest Preserve.

Of note was a tank-car unit train. Not only was it being pulled by two NS engines, it did not have all black tank cars like the BNSF trains do. It did have the buffer covered hopper cars at the beginning and the end that I see on this route but not on the SantaFe route.

These cars have at least some of the improvements that are needed to avoid fires when they derail--- the shield plate at the ends and the shield around the valves on top so that they don't snap off if the car rolls over.

The details for the container train of which I took a video:

TTAX 654376 – 5-unit trailer
FEC 72368 – 1-unit container
TTAX 653921 – 5-unit trailer
TTAX 355140 – 5-unit trailer
TTAX 554364 – 5-unit trailer
FEC 72383 – 1-unit container
CTTX 656350 – 1-unit container
DTTX 470301 – 1-unit container
SMW 210251 – 5-unit trailer
TTAX 553421 – 5-unit trailer
? - 3-unit trailer
CTTX ?23194, DTTX 723194 – 3-unit container
DTTX 787538 – 3-unit container
DTTX 723278 – 3-unit container
DTTX 732167 – 3-unit container
BNSF 211550 – 3-unit container
AOK 55147 – 3-unit container
? – 3-unit container
? – 5-unit trailer
BNSF 253586 – 3-unit container
DTTX 646825 – 1-unit container
DTTX 765590 – 3-unit container
? - 1-unit container
TTX – 3-unit container
?(green) – 5-unit trailer
TTAX 367085 – 3-unit trailer
TTAX 370458 – 3-unit trailer
TTAX 355059 – 3-unit trailer

All of the trailer flat cars were flat cars. I didn't see any of the type where there is metal just where the wheels would be. And several of the flats were carrying a single-high container instead of a trailer. And several of the flats had two short UPS trailers. Including a few that had just one short trailer on the front of the flat. This train was much more"rural" than the typical container train on the SantaFe route. SantaFe tends to have just one double-high container well after another.

William Wozniak posted in Facebook
Update: William Wozniak posted someones speculation of what heritage units might look like.
Matthew Albert posted
BNSF 3013 all repainted with brand new PTC equipment
KC, MO 5/27/2017
Robert Foster H4 is the intermediate and H3 is high horsepower.
I uploaded this a while back...
Will G Benson posted
Drone shot? Nah. Ballast pile! Here's the local manifest M-CHIGAL as it takes a string of empty centerbeams out of Joliet on 4/22/18
Jacob Metzger posted four photos with the comment:
"Santa Fe Sunday"
A day of the year I always seem to hit the jackpot with vintage Santa Fe equipment is April 22nd, for seemingly no reason. Today was no exception, as I caught the HNTWBRC at Long Common Road on the Racetrack in Riverside, and again at Nerska on the BRC... and on the other half of BNSF's massive Chicago terminal, the BNSF2846, a Bluebonnet GP38 led the YHOD303 from Clearing into Hodgkins around 8am this morning, turning into the MCHIGAL and heading west around three this afternoon..
What. A. Day!!!

the HNTWBRC at Long Common Road on the Racetrack in Riverside

the HNTWBRC at Nerska on the BRC

a Bluebonnet GP38 led the YHOD303 from Clearing into Hodgkins [here, facing towards Chicago]...

...turning into the MCHIGAL and heading west
The paint schemes of the merger partners continue to survive. It is not too unusual to still see BN green covered hoppers. But BN painted engines are getting rare.

Kevin Piper posted

Watching a video reminded me that I forgot to discuss BN's Executive Paint Scheme that uses Greinstien green. I've seen a lot of trains on The Racetrack in Downers Grove, IL. But this is the first time I've seen one in person. In fact, I saw two of them --- the second and fourth units of four units on a Sept. 14, 2018, westbound mixed freight.
Even in a bright sun, the green is not very green. I looked at it on three different monitors, and it looks more blue than green to me.
Photo by Doug Wertman, License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, CC BY
BNSF is getting some new rebuilds, so railfan  photos of the H4 livery are showing up on Facebook.

Robert Learmont posted
“Brand new” B40-8Ws, freshly out of rebuild and delivered to the diesel shop in Galesburg, Illinois. They look so good, and hopefully they perform well with their new electronic fuel injection and cooling system upgrades they received during rebuild. Some are being sent off again before returning to service to be outfitted to work as RCL units.
Jamie-Matthew Chambers That doesn't look like the H3 paint, is this a new variation with larger black and smaller yellow stripes?Mark Gillings BNSF calls it H4. Black underframe and single yellow striping.

William Brown posted
A freshly rebuilt B40-8, BNSF 517, serves as the background for today's Safety Message at BNSF's North Yard in Fort Worth Texas this afternoon. As always has been the case "Safety starts with you".
From H4, we go back to an example of  H1: two SD40-2s.

Old EMDs with the narrow nose are becoming rare outside of yard and local use. That is why railfans will make a special effort to photograph them if they are put on road jobs. Because they are old, they have the H1 livery.

Adam Elias posted
A pair of H1 GP38’s lead a M-CHIGAL towards Mazon on the Chillicothe Sub this evening.

An H4 on a standard cab:
Jay Brown posted
An H4 GP30 carbody, paired with an HLCX GP38, work the Greif Packaging Plant in Lockport, IL
Tom Kesterson 2816 is a GP39-3, sorry to burst your bubble.
Jay Brown Tom Kesterson GP30 carbody though.
[Several more comments including Tom calling Chicago railfans dull tools.]
Robert Learmont Tom Kesterson She’s not a GP39-3. She’s a GP39-2R. It’s all about the internals and electrical control system, and she is equipped with Dash 2 cards and relay logic. No microprocessor system like EM2K, QES, or N-force installed on her that bumps her up to a -3, and she is indeed blue carded as a GP39-2R. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Greif Packaging explains this long spur I saw at 9th Street Crossing in Lockport.
20190702 8512, looking North

Looking South
200mm looking North shows some undulations in the east mainline and makes the spur look like a roller coaster.

Robert Learmont posted
An A-B-B-A set of geeps hustles west on the Ottumwa Sub just outside of Galesburg, Illinois with the 104 local in tow. 5-19-2020.
Dave Gahlbeck First 60B I have seen in H3 that paint. NOT a fan.....
Dave Gahlbeck commented on Robert's post
Yes-- a treat to see indeed. Ask me how I know.....

You know some locomotives are special when two different railfans post photos of the same train.
Grant Hansen posted
BNSF 1592 takes the R-CHI476 east near Chana Il on the BNSF Aurora sub on 2/3/21. 1592 still wears the heritage 1 paint scheme, which is a good looking scheme in my opinion.
Patrick Seidl: SD40-2 leading a SD60M its like 1995 all over again very rare to see a lash up like that now days!

Garrett Logan posted
BNSF 1592 and 1404 lead R-CHI476 eastbound on the BNSF Aurora Subdivision near milepost 83 in Rochelle, IL on a sunny Wednesday afternoon
February 3, 2021
2:06pm CST

Jon Bentz posted
BNSF C44-9W 5093on the point of an eastbound stack train crossing the Columbia River at Rock Island, WA. The bridge over the river is unusual in that it is a bridge within a bridge. The original 1898 structure is on the inside while a second truss built around the first is on the outside. Strengthened in the early 1920's to handle the increased loads of newer locomotives. 2012
Larry Simon: I don’t see H1 painted ES44s much. The photo looks like a very well done model railroad. It’s perfect.

A video that is a "parade" of older paint liveries working the east end of the Eola Yard.
Chuck Guzik Sounded like he went into emergency.
Daniel Metzger I shot the video while he was still working the yard, probably about a half hour before he actually departed.