February 29, 2008

Chasing the Daylight Domeliner

Pacing 1996 and train (see mirror) near San Ardo

Ever since Union Pacific unveiled her at Roseville, California last summer, I've been hoping to catch Southern Pacific "Heritage" diesel no. 1996 on the old SP Coast Line. The planets finally aligned last Saturday, Feb. 23, when UP placed her on the point of a business special from Oakland to West Colton. Railroad forces gave the Daylight-painted engine a bath before departure, and the seven-car train cruised down the Salinas Valley under overcast skies (but no rain, thankfully). And what a pretty train -- three domes, and two cars from SP's old business car fleet -- with former "Espee" biz car Sunset bringing up the rear. I'd recovered from a cold just enough that Kat and I headed out that day for an old-fashioned chase. We met the 1996 South at Aromas, then followed her down the valley to Bradley . . . where we finally turned around to head home. It's been months since we chased a train, and we made the most of it. Below are a few images from a fun day:

The first encounter at Aromas . . . 1996's air horn echoing through the Pajaro Valley

The Coast Line was home to the Daylights, but this classy train fits right into the Salinas Valley. (2 views)

Searchlight signals and emerald hills at Bradley . . . our final runby of the day.

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