Union Pacific 844 - South Central Express Heritage Tour part one

UP 844 leads the SCEHT at Oologa, OK.

  In 2006 Union Pacific (UP) Railroad ran the South Central Express Heritage Tour (SCEHT) featuring steam locomotive UP 844. Over thirty-six days, the tour spanned nine states from April 27, 2006, to June 1, 2006. I departed St. Louis, Missouri, and went to Claremore, Oklahoma, to chase UP 844 from Claremore north to Kansas City, Missouri.  

UP 844 on display at Claremore, OK.

The SCEHT left Cheyenne, Wyoming, on April 27, 2006. I caught up with the train after it had traveled through the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and Arkansas before passing back through Oklahoma on the return leg of its trip. In the early evening of May 27, 2006, I arrived in Claremore and found UP 844 parked along UP's Wagoner Subdivision, just south of West Blue Star Drive (milepost (MP) 610.43). The siding that the SCEHT is sitting on is just north of the diamond crossing of the Wagoner Subdivision and BNSF's Cherokee Subdivision. 

UP 844 sits along UP's Wagnor Subdivision
In the early evening light, UP 844 sits along UP's Wagnor Subdivision.

A closeup of the front of UP 844 at Claremore, OK
A closeup of the front of UP 844 at Claremore, OK.

The SCEHT waits in the early morning of May 28, to depart Claremore, Ok
The SCEHT waits in the early morning of May 28, to depart Claremore, OK., and head to KC.

Chasing UP 844 to KC, Part 1

UP 844 leads the SCEHT north at MP 622.98 of the Wagoner Sub., along US 169 at Oologa, OK.
UP 844 leads the SCEHT north at MP 622.98 of the Wagoner Sub., along US 169 at Oologa, OK. 

On the morning of May 28, 2006, UP 844 and the SCEHT train would depart Claremore and travel to Kansas City, Missouri, by way of Coffeyville, Kansas. Between Claremore and Coffeyville the train would travel on UP's Wagnor Subdivision. I first caught the train at Oologa, Oklahoma, as the train steamed north along US 169.

Just south of W. 14th St., UP 844 is stopped at Coffeyville, KS., next to UP 5156 and CEFX 2791
Just south of W. 14th St., UP 844 is stopped at Coffeyville, KS., next to UP 5156 and CEFX 2791.

The train wasn't wasting any time. I wouldn't get ahead of it again until it stopped at Coffeyville, Kansas, for a short whistle-stop. During the stop, the public got to view the locomotive, and the steam crew did a quick inspection of UP 844.

UP 5156, CP, 5776, and UP 2707 are northbound at Altoona, KS.
UP 5156, CP 5776, and UP 2707 are northbound on the Coffeyville Subdivision, at Altoona, KS.

At the 1st Street crossing in Altoona, Kansas, I caught UP 5156's train heading north on the Coffeyville Subdivision. It turned out to be a nice catch because the second locomotive was Canadian Pacific (CP) 5776 (an EMD SD40-2), and the third locomotive was UP 2707, an ex-Southern Pacific (SP) locomotive. In 2003, I photographed CP 5776 in Southern Illinois

UP 844 leads the SCEHT train north on the Coffeyville Subdivision at Altoona, KS.

Twenty minutes later UP 5156's train cleared out, UP 844 appeared. The 4-8-4 Northern wasn't letting any grass grow under its wheels as it came charging north through town. This was my second time catching a steam locomotive in Altoona. I caught UP 844's sibling, UP 3985 here in 2003.

UP 844 leads the SCEHT north on the Coffeyville Subdivision at Altoona, KS
UP 844 at 1st Street in Altoona, KS.

From Altoona, the race was on. I made it to the US 75 overpass at Buffalo, Kansas, to capture my next photograph. The highway overpass is about two miles north of the town. 

UP 844 approaches the US 75 overpass just north of Buffalo, KS
UP 844 approaches the US 75 overpass just north of Buffalo, KS.

The next stop was at Garnett, Kansas. Here, the Coffeyville Subdivision has a tight curve between South Pine Street and South Cedar Street, along East 5th Street. UP 844 slowed down as it came through town and led the train slowly around the curve.

UP 844 rounds the curve on the Coffeyville Sub, along E. 5th St. at S. Cedar St.
UP 844 rounds the curve on the Coffeyville Sub, along E. 5th St. at S. Cedar St.

After departing Claremore, Oklahoma, over seven hours earlier, UP 844 and the SCEHT made it to Paola, Kansas. Below, the train is approaching North Mulberry Street. Mulberry Street is just over half of a mile north of the UP and BNSF diamond crossing in town. This was my last catch of the train before it arrived at Kansas City Union Station.

The SCEHT train enters the curve at North Mulberry St. in Paola, KS
The SCEHT train enters the curve at North Mulberry St. in Paola, KS.

A note about UP's bi-directional traffic

The Coffeyville Subdivision, like the Wagoner Subdivision is single tracked with sidings. UP uses the two subdivisions together for its northbound traffic in Oklahoma and Kansas. Southbound traffic uses the Parsons Subdivision and Cherokee Subdivision. Some trains, such as coal trains and local trains run opposite to the normal flow of traffic on the lines. Paola, Kansas is the northern meeting point of the bi-directional traffic flow. Just south of the UP-BNSF diamond, the Parson Subdivision diverges from the Coffeyville Subdivision.

Comments

  1. Wonderful images and memories. I think it came through my town that trip. I know I saw it during that trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shelly! On the return trip, after it left KC, it traveled via Topeka, KS., and Marysville, KS., on its way to Fairbury, NE. Not sure what the initial eastbound/southbound routing was off the top of my head.

      Delete
    2. OK So I most definitely went to Topeka to see it.

      Delete
    3. Well, we passed each other and didn't even know it.

      Delete

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