Four-axles and boosters


 The ATSF (former) mainline from Chicago races south and then turns west to meet the southwesterly running former CBQ at Galesburg, IL.  Not far west of its crossing of the Illinois River, the 'transcon' attacks Edelstein Hill, a continuous ~1% rise of about five miles in an otherwise flat Illinois countryside.  Up on top of the plains again, an afternoon hotshot from the early 2000s races west out of Chicago showing the era's mix of power and paint.  

These were interesting days to watch the afternoon parade of containers and piggy-backs rolling west from Chicago.  Power varied from unpatched BN Cascade Green units to newer BN 'Executive Paint' MACs and these unique Santa Fe GP60s.  In this set, even a b-unit is helping to pull the tonnage west.  One of the early 'war pumpkins' is present on the point, showing the earlier green, orange and silver resplendent(?) with Santa Fe cigar band striping in Heritage II paint.  Many of these quickly faded to a bleak shade of pinkish-sand.

Today, the GP60s have found homes with other four axle units handling local jobs around the BNSF system and those GEs have soldiered on.  Some have found new life with a variety of rebuilds or even new homes for a few that have headed to CN.  But on this day 20 years ago, spring is just pushing winter off the Illinois plains again and super cabs are still a relatively new thing.  One can even find a booster or two if you're lucky.

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