I think it’s reasonable to argue that the SD40-2 was the defining example of 2nd generation diesel locomotives in North America. They were purchased in huge numbers by most Class 1 railroads and have developed a reputation for reliability over decades of operation. Today they’re less common on Class 1’s, but many are being rebuilt to extend their lives and quite a few are well into second careers on regional and short lines. It has therefore been rather unfortunate that HO scale modelers have never had a really good plastic model of the SD40-2 (I’d argue that there’s never been a really good brass model either, because, well. Brass.) Many companies have made an attempt at the SD40-2, but most have gotten stuff wrong (Athearn, Intermountain) and no one has made a stab at the huge amount of variations that occurred over the twelve year production run (Kato). Athearn could and should have put an SD40-2 in their Genesis line to go along with the GP models they’ve been releasing but they never did.
Therefore, it was no small thing when I cam home from work about a year ago to find a box from Scale Trains sitting on the stoop. Inside, I hoped, was the SD40-2 so many of us have been waiting for.
A northbound Union Pacific stack train with marine containers from APL, K-Line, Hapag-Lloyd and others rolls through Sunnyside Park on June 07, 2015.
I attended a work conference in Texas last spring and since I was already halfway across the country I decided that I’d might as well just keep heading west and spend some time visiting family and traipsing about the Pacific Northwest.
Union Pacific GE AC44CWCTE leads a loaded coal train downgrade towards Denver
On July 11 I flew to Colorado to spend a few days visiting a friend who lives in Denver. While not strictly a railfan trip, I did manage to spend a day scouting out the eastern side of the Moffat Route. To my surprise I even managed to shoot a few trains.
Union Pacific SD70ACe #8574 leads a southbound K-Line train through Vancouver, WA on July 12, 2011
I went home for a family wedding in July and was able to take some extra time to do a circuit through the state on a railfanning junket. I spent a little time around Steilacoom, then headed south to meet up with my friend Tom in Vancouver. Next we drove east through the gorge for 2 days before booking it north to Leavenworth and spending 2 days on Stevens Pass. Saw lots of trains, and had some pretty terrific weather. The full gallery of images can be found on my new! PBase site: http://www.pbase.com/cslemp/washington_state__july_2011.
BNSF C44-9W #5285 leads a motley assortment of power at Scenic, WA as it approaches the Cascade Tunnel.
Last September, for the first time in nearly two years, I was finally able to make my first trip back home to Washington State. My time was primarily spent visiting friends and relatives, but I did manage to get in a couple of days on Stevens Pass and a few afternoons along the tracks in Steilacoom. The shot above is the only train I managed to catch on the pass, but as trains go, it was a rather impressive one. Continue reading