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Trains for Kids: Blue Trains

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Published on Aug 1, 2012

The second time I encountered an, 'ex-Con,' was also in Jackson. They're rather, "blue-collar units," if you know what i mean (Ha-Ha). As I said previously, all three units (#5346, #5347, and #5273) were all in one place, with a old Conrail Bay Window Caboose. I knew I couldn't let the opportunity to pass me by, so once again I set out to film the trio of Geeps in action, but on various jobs. In the first scene of this video, we watch #5347 (still in blue) switch a grain elevator in Chelsea, Michigan. The train was also rather interesting, a push-pull move on Norfolk Southern! With a Conrail Geep leading! I mean, how much better could things get? Well, apparently much better. After filming the train switching, we set up at the Chelsea Depot. I give a picturesque view of the area, the old clock tower can be seen, the Jiffy Mix plant, and of course, the depot! We pause for a short interlude and watch Amtrak Wolverine #353 pass by the same location on a different occasion, being led by a NPCU, not normally assigned to our area. We cross back to the future where we see the train fly on passed the camera, out of town. We catch the train once more, in Jackson Yard, right along side a former Conrail Bay Window Caboose, still in blue! It was awesome to film the two side-by-side!

Several weeks later, we again ran into #5347, this time, with two other blue Geeps and the Caboose! THREE BLUES IN ONE PLACE?! It just got better. AND, there were two High Hood units in the yard (MY FAVORITE). Also that day, Amtrak #90219, a former F40PH, was leading the Wolverine. This NPCU, is one of two (three counting 406) to still wear the Phase III livery. I was also very fortunate to film this unit. We caught up with the train at Jackson Station. To my delight, Danny Kostrubiec was working as a conductor that day, and let me tell you, he's the best. He's rather animated, and very comical too! As the train arrived, he shouted out his usual saying of , 'Hey buddy! See any cool stuff lately?' We had a short convo as he helped passengers on board. I told him about the Conrail units and how I was excited, yadah-yadah-yadah. The train departs and he shouts out, 'First you film me on the other side, now this side!?' I shout back: 'You're a celebrity man!' With a smile he shouts, 'I try! See yah' buddy!'

Back to the yard and we see #5273 out switching Dawn Foods on the old Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Line (well, what's left of it!). #5273 was the last locomotive on NS (at the time) to have a Juniata Shops paint sticker on the side, dated for September of 1992, which told us that it hadn't been painted since! That's almost 19 years being under the sun! As the train backed into Dawn, the brakeman failed to flag the crossing, which is a PUBLIC ROAD. It is technically, a violation. Anyways, it was neat seeing the train switch cars and slowly creep back to the yard on the rusty rails. After, we saw another NS train with a Geep 38-2 leader at Jackson Station.

Finally, to end the day, I caught up with the crew of 38/39E (whichever the eastbound out of Jackson is called, I always confuse them). They told me that they would be pulling the train with two six axles, #5347 (which was dead and being taken to be repaired and repainted), and the two GP50 High Nose units. Since I don't have a scanner, I had to take their word and hope they'd be out of the yard within the next hour. So, I headed to Leoni, Michigan. It's one of those towns where if you're driving through it and blink, you might miss it! I went to a farm where there was an area to film along a sweet curve. I asked the creepy farmer (who acted all zombie like) if I could film there. He said yes, and continued plowing his field. 30 minutes had past, and just as the crew said, there they were! I filmed them as the sun was starting to set, all capping off an amazing Railfan experience!

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Copyright 2011

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