This morning while checking out ATCS first thing I saw was an eastbound going through Toppenish. Easton to Ellensburg was also lined up but I had no clue of where that train was as I wasn’t getting anything for Lester. About 15 minutes later Kanaskat lit up with greens so I knew there was something happening. The approach to Kanaskat soon went red and I got ready to leave for Easton seeing greens all the way to Ellensburg now. The Cle Elum DOT cameras showed clear blue skies.
I was soon on I-90 and over Snoqualmie Pass. Around the Stampede pass exit I heard the North Branch call the BNSF 793 East for a rollup, they were just past Bristol. That really had me confused at first until I realized there were two eastbounds on Stampede at the same time when I checked this morning. The 793 was between Lester and Easton. The dispatcher also told the 793 they’d be getting a warrant to head past Ellensburg shortly. Iron Triangle train. After the 793 rolled up the North Branch called the BNSF 5659 East to move them up from West Easton to West Bristol.
I easily got up to Cabin Creek and the sun was in and out of the clouds as usual.
I knew I had some time before the train was going to arrive so I looked through the Easton OS books from July 1968 and 1969 to see what NP GP9′s came through Easton those two months. Reason being Athearn is coming out with 4 NP GP9′s in HO scale with road numbers 285, 304, 332 and 333. I thought the 332 and 333 had a better chance of leading a train at Easton as both were assigned to Auburn at the time. The 304 was assigned to the Idaho division at Pasco so I thought it had a chance to stray over to Auburn as well. The 285 I kind of doubted as it was assigned to the Rocky Mountain division at Livingston. So imagine my surprise to find that the 285 was the only one of the four to lead a train through Easton in July of 1968/1969. It left Easton eastbound at 7:20 PM on 7-3-69.
July 3, 1968 was also an interesting day itself at Easton as it hosted an eastbound GN Empire Builder detour, the GN 330 East at 7:14 pm. Westbound early the morning of 7-4-68 had the GN 324 West at 1:37 AM. There were also two sections of #2 and #25 on 7-4-68, possibly more GN passenger detours?
The detector up on the hill brings me back to the present. The BNSF 5659 East is approaching. I get out and wait for it by the pond and as it comes around the curve a cloud naturally comes over but clears as the train rolls through the scene at 11:21 AM.
My sixth attempt here for a properly lit photo and again failure for a good shot with the trains reflection in the pond. I just can’t get this shot the way I want!
I then head back to Easton and as the train came down the straight stretch here cloud shadows drifted across the tracks but cleared just in time.
My next goal was just east of Cle Elum as I’d wanted a shot on the curve west of the highway overpass. I have not photographed anything here before so today was the day. Getting there the sun angle was pretty high but it would be a different shot. Train arrives, I focus and the camera dies, “battery empty” it tells me. I watched the train pass by and then headed for home. Luck was just not with me today.
As for the train, power was BNSF 5659/5617 up front and no DPU. Axle count was 436. The train tied up at Ellensburg and after I got home and looked at ATCS noticed it had left Ellensburg and another eastbound was coming into Bristol. This was the BNSF 5654 East and it passed the 20.5 detector at 3:42 pm with 448 axles and a temperature of 72.
That’s 4 eastbounds! Busy day up on Stampede.