Posted by: facetothewind | November 12, 2011

Tucson foamers come out

OK, I admit it, I’m a “foamer.” It’s a derogatory term for someone who loves trains. No not just loves trains, they foam at the mouth at the sight of a classic old beauty like this one that rolled into Tucson today: Union Pacific 844…

Jeez, a million people came out to give this train a giant Tucson hug. I was astonished how many other foamers there are. I was also astonished to learn how heavy that hunk of iron is: locomotive and tender weigh in at 908,000 pounds! Imagine how much energy it would take to push even itself up a hill. And it’s only 2 cylinders. It was designed to run at maximum speed of 120 mph but typically pulled a full passenger load at 100 mph.

America has really gone back in time with regard to rail travel. Now you’d be hard-pressed to ride any Amtrak train 100 mph. Usually Amtrak produces speeds you could top with a riding mower. You can take America’s fastest train, the Acela Express between DC and Boston and be lucky if it goes over 100 mph. Kind of sad to think how the US train system  derailed with the advent of the automobile and the freeway. Sigh.

So for me, seeing the UP 844 come steaming in with its thunderous steam horn moaning throughout the valley is a special treat, a glimpse back to a time when we were more advanced.

Here’s a little video someone else made of the train speeding along at 79 mph, a spectacular display of engineering…

One more…

And now if you’re foaming and want to hear that horn ad infinitum, enjoy this video…

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