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Monday, December 04, 2017, I was in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains, and I had a couple of extra hours of time on hand, so I decided to take a trip to MP 143.50, a couple miles east of Colfax, CA, to photo some Union Pacific railroad action.  I was on-site for about an hour and managed to catch two trains - a freight and a regular Amtrak passenger train - although it wasn't spectacular, it made for a fun hour or so.

Photo:  Union Pacific #7495, a GE AC45CCTE, leads the westbound hot stack train, "Expedited Z" on the banked curve at Mile Post 143.50, Carpenter Road, just a couple miles east of Colfax.  The train has just finished crossing the infamous Cape Horn, on the Donner Pass route across the Sierra Nevada mountains.  

Mile Post 143.50 is a great place to wait for a train, as it has crossing gates, block signals, which give ample warning for approaching trains if you don't have your scanner handy.  For westbound trains, you can her them blow their horn as they cross Cape Horn Road East, which will give you a 10-minute warning and ample time to scramble up the small hill, from your parked vehicle, to take a great photo.  Winter is especially great at this location for westbound trains, as the nose it lit up for most of the day.

Photo:  If you catch a westbound train, you'll get ample warning, as the train blows it's horn at the Cape Horn Road East crossing, which will give you about 10 minutes of warning.  If you look past the cab of #7495, you'll see my parked truck, so I've had ample to climb this small hill in order to get an elevated shot.  If you catch an eastbound train, you don't need to climb the hill, as there is a great grade-level shot available.  I only railfanned for about an hour today, so I only photographed two trains, which is pretty good for Donner Pass railfanning.

Photo:  Amtrak #92, a GE P42DC, leads westbound train #5 at Mile Post 143.50.  At this location, Amtrak trains #5 and #6, are about an hour apart, so you can usually catch them both.  I was lazy today, as I "passed" on #6.

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