Labor Day weekend on the Marcelline Sub

Usually, Labor Day weekend means that I’m out doing something train related. I decided this year to head out to Camden, Missouri on the Marcelline Sub.

I arrived a little before 10:00 and found that I wasn’t alone – there was another car, and two railfans wearing day-glo orange vests already there waiting on the (late, as is the norm) Amtrak 4. It didn’t take long for the action to kick up.

BNSF ES44C4s 8178 and 6600 lead a westbound intermodal on Main 1 at 1002

Another C4, BNSF 7104, along with Dash-9 4399, bring up the markers on the westbound at 1004.

Amtrak 4 arrives at 1012, led by P42s 151 and 114.

At 1018, another westbound snuck up on main 1 and came to a stop short of the crossing.

We heard the horns of an oncoming eastbound. One of the other railfans predicted that it would be on Main 3 (the NS/Wabash Main). Sure enough, it was an eastbound NS freight on 3 that tripped the crossing gates at 1025.

The charges on this eastbound were NS Dash 9 9823 and a former BN SD60M turned hired gun CBFX 6027.

The tail end of the NS eastbound rolls by the westbound still waiting on Main 1 at 1027. You can certainly see the separation, along with the lower elevation of the NS/Wabash line compared to the BNSF/Santa Fe iron.

The westbound intermodal finally moves west again at 1029. Power consists of two BNSF units and two from NS: BNSF 5479 and 7394; NS 9500 and 9869.After the westbound left, my contemporaries decided to call it a day and/or decided to head to another location. From here on out, I was flying solo. I had a seat in my car and started uploading the first set of pics to social media when…

…my thoughts were interrupted by a westbound “Z” at 1044 with BNSF GEs 5761, 4699, 7974, and 4452 on point.

An ‘away’ shout of the head end of the westbound “Z”

I had just enough time to pick out my shots and updated social media before another westbound intermodal came running ’round the bend

Closeup of BNSF Dash 9 4646

Closeup of BNSF ES44DC 7620

BNSF 4646 and 7620 head ’round the bend at 1103

Coming ‘round on Main 2… It’s gotta be an eastbound “Z” at 1121 led by an ACe.

The eastbound consist contains not 1, but 2 EMDs. BNSF ES44C4 8248 is sandwiched between SD70ACes 8563 and 8521, with C44-9W 4657 on the rear.

Parting shot of the eastbound.

You know that thingamabob you ordered on Amazon? It just might have ridden a “Z” train somewhere along its journey.


Eastbound intermodal number 2 at 1137 with BNSF 7642 and 5113 on point.


Eastbound intermodal number 3 at 1156 with four toasters: 4087, 4413, 6956, and 8091.

The fourth eastbound at 1207 is an appearance by Uncle Pete. UP SD70ACe 8991 and ES44AC 2554 are in charge.

Away shot of the eastbound UP train.

After a parade of four eastbound intermodal trains, it was time for a west man to cleanse the palette at 1214.

Closeup of lead BNSF ES44C4 4279.

27: Norfolk Southern SD70M 2589 trails the two BNSF units on the west man.


I was just about to pack it in and head for beans when the train gods asked at 1224: Think ya got room for one more westbound “Z?” Engines are 7325, 7819, 5173, and 7547.

Grand Total: 13 trains in 2 1/2 hours. Surprisingly, no Tier 4’s showed up.

All photos were taken on Sunday, September 2, 2018.

Writing my Congressman

It’s been a while since I’ve been truly politically active. My political energy has lately been focused on the restoration and preservation of the Amtrak station (originally Santa Fe) in Lawrence.

Recently, the CEO of Amtrak announced a proposal before a congressional delegation to discontinue a portion of the route from western Kansas to Albuquerque and replace it with a bus. Such a move would, needless to say, negatively impact the utilization of the Lawrence station.

In response, I wrote the following to the entire Kansas congressional delegation.

I support maintaining Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on its present route and oppose the proposal by Amtrak’s CEO to replace a segment of the route with bus service.

As a member of Depot Redux, I have supported efforts to preserve and restore the Santa Fe station in Lawrence, which has culminated in the current renovation project now underway. The proposed replacement of train service with buses will leave this asset underutilized.

I am also a railfan and model railroader. It seems that many consider passenger rail to be structurally irrelevant; air and/or auto travel is always advantageous over railroads. I consider it part of my hobby to counter this viewpoint and promote the advantages of passenger rail.

Passenger rail is an underutilized asset that, if properly developed, could be an important part of the nation’s intermodal transportation network. Amtrak’s proposal to replace rail service along part of the Southwest Chief route would hinder this potential.


Richard Kennedy

September 1995, part 1

OK, in scanning my negatives, Started in June, went through to August, then switched and started from the Top in January.  I guess that means I resume in September, right?

August 23, 1995 – Fall Sports Jamboree @ Haskell Stadium


August 29, 1995 – LHS Soccer home opener

September 1, 1995 – LHS Football home opener

September 2, 1995 – Topeka Railroad Days

More to come…

First Sunday of 2016

[All this happened before I broke my foot]

The first Sunday of the month usually means cleaning the BNSF station in Lawrence. But first, I needed to get outside and catch some trains. Because of my ‘appointment,’ I elected to stay close to town and went with the UP Kansas Sub.

I hauled myself over to Laptad’s Corner, and parked myself on the east side of the crossing. At 11:14, the bells started ringing for a westbound autorack led by 7443 and 7247.


Once the first train cleared (with DPU 7633 on the rear) I noticed up by the Midland grain elevators a set of coal cars heading my way. I managed to get a faraway shot of the lead units on the eastbound going by the end of the autorack.


The lights didn’t get a chance to go off, and the gates started coming back down just as soon as they had made their way up. Meanwhile, I set up for the “wedge” shot of the coal drag, led by 6863 and 6211.


Normally, the eastbound coal trains on the Kansas Sub are in a 2×1 configuration. [Two locomotives on the front of the train, one pushing] However, this coal train wound up being 2×2 instead.


After the coal train left, I went to get lunch and take care of a few errands. Around 12:45, I wound up turning around in the Riverfront Park parking area, and noticed an eastbound approaching the nearby crossing (mentioned above by Wes) and caught a eastbound autorack with a UP GEVO and a KCS ACe.


After this autorack train left, I returned home to pick up a critical item…. a rabbit-ears antenna. It, combined with a small TV borrowed from my Uncle Marty, allowed me to keep an eye on the football.


And, of course, while the Chiefs were mopping the floor with the Raiders, we mopped the floor of the depot.


The rabbit-ears at work in the Depot.

And, when I got home, some split-screen action with the Chiefs-Raiders and Broncos-Chargers

Thumbnails of other photos in this set:

Recent Railfan Photography

Okay, it’s been a while, but I have taken a few trips railfanning lately.

May 31: I went south of Paola to catch a Amtrak charter running from Springfield to Kansas City.


June 24: I spent an hour or so on “Don Ball Curve” by the Lawrence Visitor’s Center (AKA the Union Pacific Depot) on my birthday.


July 4: Before shooting off fireworks, I shot some trains down by Ottawa (along with my traditional Saturday morning greeting of Amtrak 4)


Not the usual station

On a normal day, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief stops at the station in Lawrence.


However, it is not this station.

The November 13th edition of the Chief was detoured over the Union Pacific line between Hutchinson and Kansas City due to a derailment. Although the UP line goes through Topeka and Lawrence, the station stops at these locations were cancelled.