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Edition #234  November 15, 2014

A Celebrity Goes to Work

Photographer: Gordon Glattenberg

                                                                                   Photo by Gordon Glattenberg

A Celebrity Goes to Work

In the summer of 1957, I visited Weber and Echo Canyons, where UP was using 3700-series Challengers as pushers on freights from Ogden to Wahsatch, Utah. The engine would be ahead of the caboose, and on arrival it would cut off from the train, back up, and then do a flying switch to reattach the caboose to the train.

Four years later, around Memorial Day of 1961, I was back in that area at the start of a driving vacation. UP 4-8-4 no. 844 was scheduled to operate an excursion from Cheyenne to Ogden, and I chased the last portion of it, west from Evanston.

I stayed around Ogden for a couple of days, watching to see when the engine would return east. It was finally called for 2:00 AM on May 31, and was set up as a pusher on a freight, just like the 4-6-6-4's four years earlier. It left town at 4:00 AM and passed the red cliffs at Echo about 5:00 AM, just when it was getting light enough for ASA 10 Kodachrome. On arrival at Wahsatch, the Northern performed the familiar flying switch maneuver, then moved to the head end where, it was coupled on behind three SD-24's. (I've never understood why it was moved from one end of the train to the other, unless it was "We've always done it this way!)

I continued chasing the train as far as Altamont, WY, where it did some local work, loading three stock cars. It then continued through the long tunnel there, where I gave up the chase.

My chase was over by 8:30 AM. In the 100 miles from Ogden to Altamont, no one else stopped to look at the train!

Gordon Glattenberg

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