California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

   Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
Site search Web search
Model Train Help EBook

Chasing the Swift RoadRailer Train
over 'the Loop'
October 5th 1996

During my 1996 Research trip to the US, read 'chasing trains', one of the highlights was seeing (and photographing) the Swift RoadRailer train. We spent two full and two half days, chasing trains from Walong (the Loop) to Caliente and back.
Our local contact, who lives in the town of Tehachapi, had said the Swift RoadRailer train only ran westbound on Saturday mornings, and has been seen any time between first light and 0930. It returned back eastbound on Sunday. (This was early October 1996) Our only chance to catch it, would be Saturday, as we had to be in San Diego by Sunday.
Saturday the 5th October, we rose early and made our way to Walong, arriving 0700. A Santa Fe stack train, was just coming to a stop at the east switch of Walong as we arrived, and was too long for the siding. Next thing (0705) the Swift RoadRailer came barreling out of Tunnel 10, with 2 GP60's and a Tunnel Motor for power. Westbound Swift RoadRailer train, having just exited Tunnel 10.
The Swift train passed the Santa Fe stack train, stopped in the siding just short of the west switch, allowing the Santa Fe stack train to clear the main. Swift RoadRailer passing Santa Fe stack train.
In their Ad for the RoadRailer models, Bowser say you only need one CouplerMate per train. All photo's I've seen of Norfolk Southern RoadRailer's this seems to be the case. We (in Australia) on the other hand, use a special CouplerMate on the rear of our RoadRailers, that is slightly different to the one used on the front. So I was eager to see if this practice (of using only a CouplerMate on the front) was universal.
As it turned out, Southern Pacific also uses a rear CouplerMate, naturally following Bowser's Ad, I only bought one...
Image of the Swift RoadRailer showing the rear CouplerMate.
Close-up shot of the rear CouplerMate.
As the RoadRailer had stopped just short of the west switch at Walong, this allowed us to make a run for the east switch at Woodford, where we caught the train snaking through the curves and over the bridge, at the 4th crossing the line makes over Tehachapi Creek. Image of the Swift RoadRailer snaking the curves approaching the east switch at Woodford.
Another Santa Fe stack train was waiting at Woodford for the RoadRailer, so we hustled over to Bealville, to catch it again. The Sun position that early in the morning didn't leave us much option, but to shoot it going away. Image of the Swift RoadRailer westbound through Bealville.
Once the train had cleared Bealville we hot-footed it to Caliente, positioning ourselves at the river bridge, to photograph the train both coming and going. My photo's didn't turn out too well here. So Jesse Koski has graciously allowed the use of one of his shots. Image of the Swift RoadRailer westbound across the Caliente Creek bridge at Caliente.
We then made a dash for a pull-off we had found earlier, just a ways up the Cal-Bodfish Road, and our last shots were of the train through these curves west of Caliente. Image of the Swift RoadRailer snaking the curves west of Caliente.

SP Freight Index

Home Steam Loco Index SP MoW Index Diesel Loco Index Diesel Roster Index
Freight Car Index Passenger Car Index Structure Index Depot Index
Feed Back Caboose Index DRGW Index Miscellaneous Freight Car Spec Sheets
Data Index PicIndex Diesel Model Info
website logo for use in banner exchange [185 x 50] (5k) This document prepared and maintained by Richard.A.Percy.
All Corrections, Additions and Flames should be aimed at Richard Percy
This document © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. Richard.A.Percy

Thursday, January 01, 1998 00:00:00 AM