Railroad Photography By Ken Hulsey

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pacific Harbor Line MP20C-3 Locomotive #61 Wilmington, Ca


Photo By: Ken Hulsey

Pacific Harbor Line MP20C-3 locomotive #61 sits at the ready to be called into action during the Labor Day weekend in Wilmington, Ca. Soon after this photo was taken #61 was indeed called into duty as a crewman boarded the locomotive and started it up.

BNSF Celebrates 'Friends of BNSF' Anniversary with Essay Contest


Source: BNSF
Photo By: Ken Hulsey

BNSF Railway (BNSF) today announced it is celebrating the one year anniversary of the 'Friends of BNSF' website with BNSF model locomotives to be awarded in an essay contest for members. In the year since the launch of this special website for rail advocates and enthusiasts it has gained a following of 33,000 registered members. To celebrate such a successful first year, BNSF is sponsoring an essay contest that will highlight the importance of freight rail.

“The 'Friends of BNSF' site was created to provide a place where people interested in rail, BNSF and its predecessor railroads could access entertaining, educational and historic information about the industry.” said John Ambler, BNSF vice president, Corporate Relations. “We knew there were many people with an interest in this type of content, but we have been very impressed by the response we have received in the website's first year. We look forward to seeing more of that enthusiasm in this essay challenge.”

Entrants are asked to submit an essay between 100 and 300 words in length discussing “the importance of freight rail to my community's future.” The contest is open to United States residents age 18 or older who are new and existing members of 'Friends of BNSF'. New members simply have to join in order to enter the contest.

The top five essays will be posted on the 'Friends of BNSF' site and the top five winners will be awarded BNSF model locomotives. The first place winner will receive a solid BNSF pewter locomotive model. In addition, all qualifying entrants will receive a copy of the 2013 BNSF photo calendar, filled with train photographs taken by BNSF employees.

For full details and contest rules go to www.friendsofbnsf.com. Entries must be received no later than midnight on Monday, Sept. 24. The first, second and third place winners will be announced no later than Oct. 1.

About 'Friends of BNSF'

'Friends of BNSF' is an online community for anyone who has ties to BNSF or a strong interest in the company and the rail industry. Membership is free, but visitors are required to provide a valid e-mail address in order to join the site. The site is continuously updated with new content including company news and treasures from the company's extensive historical archives. Visit www.friendsofbnsf.com to join and spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors!

About BNSF

BNSF Railway is one of North America's leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at http://www.BNSF.com.

MTH HO Scale SD70ACe Locomotive w/PS3, D&RGW/Heritage UP #1989

HO SD70ACe w/PS3, D&RGW/Heritage #1989

Source: MTH Trains


As a model railroader, you've likely heard of M.T.H. Electric Trains before. You might have heard that we produce O, G and HO trains. You might have even read our slogan proclaiming that M.T.H. model trains do more! What you probably didn't know is why our HO model trains do more.

We're the only HO manufacturer to produce HO locomotives with the widest selection of features available today. Period. Digital sound, a built-in DCC decoder, LED lighting, flashing ditch lights, remotely controlled operating couplers and much, much more distinguish M.T.H. HO motive power from everything else.

The M.T.H. HO SD70ACe is the most successful diesel to ever be released by M.T.H.

The SD70ACe features a die-cast chassis and detailed ABS body featuring road-specific details. The chassis features all-wheel drive, detailed ABS trucksides and wealth of operational features like flashing ditch lights and remotely triggered operating couplers.

M.T.H. HO diesels are unlike any you've ever seen or run before. Outfitted with a powerful 12-volt 5-pole precision skew-wound flywheel equipped motor, all of our electrics can operate with any 16 volt DC power supply. Each comes outfitted with the Proto-Sound 3.0 onboard digital package that features a 28-function DCC decoder, cd-quality digital sound and lighting and operational effects unmatched by any other manufacturer.

MTH HO Scale SD70ACe Locomotive w/PS3, Union Pacific/George Bush #4141

HO SD70ACe w/PS3, UP/George Bush #4141

Source: MTH Trains

 As a model railroader, you've likely heard of M.T.H. Electric Trains before. You might have heard that we produce O, G and HO trains. You might have even read our slogan proclaiming that M.T.H. model trains do more! What you probably didn't know is why our HO model trains do more.

We're the only HO manufacturer to produce HO locomotives with the widest selection of features available today. Period. Digital sound, a built-in DCC decoder, LED lighting, flashing ditch lights, remotely controlled operating couplers and much, much more distinguish M.T.H. HO motive power from everything else.

The M.T.H. HO SD70ACe is the most successful diesel to ever be released by M.T.H.

The SD70ACe features a die-cast chassis and detailed ABS body featuring road-specific details. The chassis features all-wheel drive, detailed ABS trucksides and wealth of operational features like flashing ditch lights and remotely triggered operating couplers.

M.T.H. HO diesels are unlike any you've ever seen or run before. Outfitted with a powerful 12-volt 5-pole precision skew-wound flywheel equipped motor, all of our electrics can operate with any 16 volt DC power supply. Each comes outfitted with the Proto-Sound 3.0 onboard digital package that features a 28-function DCC decoder, cd-quality digital sound and lighting and operational effects unmatched by any other manufacturer.

MTH HO Scale 4500hp Gas Turbine/PS3, Union Pacific #52

HO 4500hp Gas Turbine/PS3, UP #52

 Source: MTH Trains

In the late 1940s, even as it was building diesels in partnership with Alco, General Electric was experimenting with ways to apply its aircraft jet engine technology to railroading. Its gas turbine electric was basically a diesel engine with a large turbine replacing the diesel as the prime mover. Click on the video icon to the left to see the engine in action.

In a turbine, intake air is compressed by spinning turbine blades and fed into combustion chambers, where fuel is added and ignited, as in a jet engine. The hot exhaust gases spin the blades of another turbine that powers one or more generators, which produce electricity to power diesel-type traction motors. Compared with diesels of the period, GE's turbine put three times as much power in one locomotive, had significantly fewer moving parts, and did not vibrate like a diesel. The major drawback was a voracious appetite for fuel.

Union Pacific's president Art Stoddard referred to the locomotives as "jet propulsion on wheels", claiming the turbine gas engines "might well revolutionize American railroading". The Baby's 4500hp turbines demonstrated the locomotives ability to go faster then diesel engines and appeared, at the time, to be the more economical choice.

While not intended for passenger use, on occasion the gas turbine 4500 locomotive pulled in a streamlined passenger train after a diesel engine would break down. Although the locomotive was not designed for multiple unit operation, they were occasionally double loaded, even through long tunnel routes where recalculation of exhaust gasses could pose problems.

After two years of testing GE's prototype, the Union Pacific ordered its first ten GTELs in 1951. The engines were designed to burn Bunker C oil, a byproduct of petroleum distillation that was almost considered waste material. The low cost of Bunker C more than compensated for the turbines' high consumption, although the oil was so thick it had to be heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit to flow though the fuel system.

In 1955 auxiliary fuel tenders were added to the locomotives, this additionally 24,000 gallons of oil allowed the train to make longer runs, increasing monthly mileage.
Averaging around 10,000 miles a month (400 turbine operating hours), the locomotive also contained a 250hp diesel engine, which was used to bring the turbine engine up to its firing speed of 700RPM. This allowed the engine to then run fans, pumps, cooling motors, auxiliaries, and allowed the locomotive to move around terminals when running light.

Unfortunately, by the early 1960s, the turbines' use of Bunker C fuel had changed from an advantage to a problem. The plastics industry had found new uses for the former waste product and its price skyrocketed. At the same time, the corrosive nature of the fuel led many of the turbines to develop engine problems. The Verandas were retired in 1963-64 in favor of newer 8500hp Big Blows, and the UP's entire turbine program was finished by 1970.

Featuring the same detailing fidelity and features of its bigger brother, the Veranda - MTH's first Union Pacific Turbine - the 4500 comes outfitted with variable intensity smoke, operating Mars light, built in DCC decoder plug, die-cast metal construction, twin flywheel-equipped motors, and four traction tires to provide pulling power in a model that rivals the prototype.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BNSF Expands Bakken Oil Transport Capacity to One Million Barrels per day


Source: BNSF Press Release
Photo By: Ken Hulsey

BNSF Railway (BNSF) today announced that it has increased capacity in 2012 to enable the railroad to haul one million barrels per day out of the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana. This increased capacity will allow the energy industry to continue the record expansion of oil production in the Williston Basin and to ship the new production to markets throughout the U.S. It will also benefit shippers of other commodities, including agricultural products.

“Historically, oil and gas producers have used pipelines to transport crude from production to refineries and ultimately on to end users,” said John Lanigan, BNSF executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Because this shale development growth came about so quickly, there has been a shortage of pipeline capacity to deliver production from new unconventional sources to coastal refiners. BNSF has responded quickly to enable producers to move crude to the most attractive markets and secure the best prices.”

Today, through direct and interline service, 'BNSF's network reaches all major coastal and inland markets, and it directly serves 30 percent of U.S. refineries in 14 states. BNSF currently has 1,000 miles of rail line in the Williston Basin area and serves eight originating terminals with two more scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012. BNSF connects to 16 of the top 19 oil producing counties in Central and Western North Dakota, and five of the six oil producing counties in Eastern Montana.

“BNSF has been hauling Bakken crude out of the Williston Basin area for over five years. In that time, we have seen the volume increase nearly 7,000 percent, from 1.3 million barrels in 2008 to 88.9 million in 2012,” said Dave Garin, BNSF group vice president, Industrial Products. “We see this trend continuing and we are committed to serving this growing market now and in the future.”
BNSF has been able to achieve this increase in capacity due to increased investment, maintenance and hiring efforts.

BNSF is investing $197 million in 2012 on projects in North Dakota and Montana. Some of those projects include 2,188 miles of track surfacing, two new inspection tracks, raising track at Devil's Lake, replacement of 121 miles of rail and about 332,000 rail ties, as well as signal upgrades and equipment acquisitions.

Since 2011, BNSF has hired more than 560 new employees to fill existing and newly created positions in North Dakota and Montana. These employees include crews to help deliver the inbound freight that supports drilling efforts and the outbound crude to destination markets throughout the U.S.

In addition to hiring new employees in the field, BNSF has also formed a dedicated Unit Energy Desk that works directly with our customers to help coordinate and plan unit train movements to and from the Williston Basin. With an expanded team, the Unit Energy Desk provides customers a single-source point of contact for their rail operations planning needs.

BNSF has also employed numerous efficiency enhancements to increase capacity on routes into and out of the Williston Basin. These include working with our customers to increase train sizes from 100 to 104 tank cars and in some cases up to 118 tank cars, adding signalization and sidings along key routes, and identifying and developing the most efficient routes.

About BNSF

BNSF Railway is one of North America's leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at http://www.BNSF.com.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Union Pacific Railroad Reminds Drivers to Use Caution at Railroad Crossings while Traveling this Labor Day Weekend


Source: UP Press Release
Photo By: Ken Hulsey

Union Pacific Railroad reminds drivers to use caution at railroad crossings while traveling in their vehicles this Labor Day weekend.

"With the Labor Day weekend being one of the busiest vehicle travel days during the year, we want drivers to use caution when they cross railroad tracks, always expect a train and safely arrive at their destinations," said Robert Morrison, Union Pacific Chief of Police.

"Because of its size, a train is actually moving faster than it appears, and, by the time a locomotive engineer sees a vehicle on the crossing, it is too late to stop," said Dale Bray, Union Pacific director – public safety.

Union Pacific has reduced grade crossing incidents by 37 percent across its rail network since 2001.  The railroad is committed to public safety through various outreach channels such as community events, media, Union Pacific Railroad police, employee resource groups and Operation Lifesaver.  The UP CARES (Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety) public safety initiative brings together communities in a collaborative and caring effort to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety.

UP CARES activities include:
  • Grade crossing enforcement with local, county and state law enforcement agencies;
  • Safety trains that provide local officials a firsthand look at what locomotive engineers see daily while they operate trains through a community; and
  • Communication blitzes that educate the community at events or media outreach.
Although the rail industry has reduced crossing collisions by more than 84 percent since 1972, tragically, 266 people died and 991 were injured in 2011 as a result of a grade crossing collisions throughout the United States, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

For more information about grade crossing safety visit ibrakefortrains.com.

About Union Pacific

It was 150 years ago that Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, creating the original Union Pacific. One of America's iconic companies, today, Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP), linking 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail and providing freight solutions and logistics expertise to the global supply chain. From 2000 through 2011, Union Pacific spent more than $31 billion on its network and operations, making needed investments in America's infrastructure and enhancing its ability to provide safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and emphasizes excellent customer service. Union Pacific operates competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways.