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December 31st, 2019
We worked our way through the jungles of Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston Texas on our way to spend New Year in the tourist trap of Galveston.
Carrollton is one of the northern parts of the 11-county country-sized metroplex known as Dallas-Fort Worth, and is home to a chaotic junction of several lines.
On a quiet New Years Eve, most of the activity at the junction in Carrollton was static, but there were regular twin articulated commuters passing over top.
On the southern end of the Dalls-Fort Worth metroplex is Wilmer, with a significant UP intermodal yard using contract switchers.
January 1st, 2020
We started the year in Galveston, took the Bolivar Ferry, which is free and state-run in a place where socialism is anathema, and worked our way into Louisiana on the hunt more for crawfish than trains.
Galveston is a significant industrial port, cruise port, and tourist town on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The island is home to several railways, an enormous single track bridge with its own authority shared by UP and BNSF, and a century-old tram.
We went out to see the bridge and were immediately greeting with a lengthy BNSF coming onto the island as my first train for 2020. Not much in the way of publicly accessible views of the bridge on the island side, but we found a place at the end of a public road surrounded by no trespassing signs -- so clearly others have tried to go a little further.
Immediately after the long southbound arrived at Galveston, a short BNSF took off to head back to the mainland. We went back out to the bridge to watch it sans video, but the bridge failed to lower properly and the train was stopped on the bridge for a while before we left to explore other parts of the island.
Orange is on the Texas-Louisiana border along the Union Pacific and I-10.
After sitting just out of view for nearly an hour as an Amtrak cooled its heels just out of view in the other direction waiting, I told my daughter that the best way to make a train come was to give up and leave. I packed up my tripod, got in the car, and the train finally moved without warning, passing at excruciating slow speed with plenty of brake noise.
After losing at least an hour to a UP parked on the main due to what appeared to be an outlawed crew, this slightly overpowered Amtrak finally got to move on.