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How dirt moves (a photo essay).

Over the scanners, I heard the crackling voices that crews have filled up the South S.F. yard with the "dirty dirt" special and the train needs to clear out before the evening rush of commuter trains.  I decided to seize the moment, be a little crazy and drive 40 minutes  - risking getting stuck in traffic on the way back.   A potential run down the peninsula during daylight hours is a rare bird, but seeing a freight train being made up is rarer for me.  Normally, this train has been a nocturnal only operation.  So for your enjoyment, this is 'how dirt moves' on 30th of August from the old U.S. Naval Hunters Point Ship Yard to South City and then onward to a hazard landfill site somewhere east hopefully not near you in another state.


Eighty-four hundred horsepower (or about 6300 KW for my metrics friends) being applied by EMD SD-70M 3876 and GE C44AC 6553 pushing hard to bring the loaded train out from the yard trackage over to the main track, and then clearing the crossover switch point.  

Quickly, UP Extra 6553 East gets the go ahead and 53 loads of dirty dirt departs on Caltrain's main track no. 1. What's surprising for me?  The locomotives starting up were quiet soft in contrast to the days of second generation diesel locomotives such as the roar from the SD45s.  Last picture is one of S.F. State Belt's ancient ALCo S-2 used at the Hunters Point dirt loading operations taken a couple of years back.  Enjoy.  Happy Labor Day!

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