Tesoro, Anacortes WA unit oil trains

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Oil train in Auburn Yard, now. From up ahead of it with the sun shining through the forest fire smoke it looks kind of evil; all those black cars stretching away into the sun as far as you can see.
It has to do with separation of the hazardous commodity and the locomotives or cabooses. Every oil train requires it per federal law.
If crude oil is a hazardous material, what class is it? Seems like a pretty benign substance to me. Do the cars have a placard on them and if so what number?

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Thursday (9/20) afternoon I photographed this train passing the Edmonds marsh. I initially thought it was the Anacortes oil train when I saw an idler car behind the trailing diesel ahead of a string of tank cars.

I began to have doubts when I saw what appeared to be several idler cars scattered throughout the train. The rear third of the train appeared to be the usual mix of general freight cars headed back north to Canada.

Could this have been an oil train + merchandiser freight which was split up somewhere north of Edmonds?
I am pretty sure this is just a regular manifest. There were plenty of these tankers prior to the new trains that would account for these. Canada also produces a lot of chemical traffic as well.


Too much BNSF orangeade
Alaska production is dropping off rapidly so the opening up of North Dakota fields is happening just in time. I assume these are travelling the Fallbridge Sub? If so, it looks like I will need to be making a few trips to catch them!
Come on Farmer Martin!! I know you are done playing in the fields, where's that shot of these things crossing the swing bridge west of Whitney? !!! Speaking of which, I've got pics of the local parked there waiting for a more convenient time to skip across and switch the town....so what's the dog and pony trick getting these two by each other? I did see a piece in Railway Age about the concrete ties coming out of Spokane for the construction of those tracks...I imagine doing any pics of such construction would have been frowned upon big time...but I sure am curious how they swung the situation...there's NOT a whole lot of working room in Anacortes to begin with!
I hear ya Sledge......have seen a few empties go by the feed mill in the AM....heard a load go out late one night, but that's about it....sadly still irrigating the fields and lots of tractor work still to get done.....

Martin Burwash
If I may be so presumptuous as to step in for the esteemed Mr. Burwash, I caught an oil train on the swing bridge this morning.

Another perfectly lucky catch. I've been doing a route this week and last that has me picking up in Anacortes at 10am.

Today, as I came off I-5 at about 0930 and turned onto Hwy 2, I saw an oil train right beside me. It was moving slow so I knew I could beat it to the Swinomish Channel easily. I parked in the casino lot at about 0935 and waited. No idea if train was coming straight in or would wait down the tracks somewhere until the refinery was ready to take her.

I could only wait about 15 minutes, though, because I had to make my Anacortes pickup right at 1000. At 0950 I had to leave. I did see someone walking up to small building on the east side. I assumed that was the bridge tender shack, so I was hopeful that the train would eventually arrive.

On the way back, as I crested the small hill right before the channel I looked and saw that the swing bridge was closed and I could see headlights about a mile down the tracks. Perfect!

So I whipped into the lot and parked. Waited about 5 or 6 minutes and caught her crossing the bridge. If the sun had popped out that would have made for some really beautiful shots. As it was, it was just overcast.

It's the same set that Tom caught in post #1. 4404 in the lead with 4301 behind, 4521 trailing (Tom's train had 1 more engine on the rear) and the same two idler cars front and rear.

I'll have video, eventually, on my YouTube channel.

1 - Just coming into sight. The boater actually tried to go under the closed bridge. Saw he wouldn't make it and backed off to wait. What a dope!
2 - 4404 in the lead.
3 - Passing the shack.
4 - Almost to the the bridge.


5 - On the bridge proper.
6 - Two tourists watching and taking photos.
7 - A bridge full of tankers.
8 - DPU picking up the rear.


9 - Just a peek of sun on the DPU.
10 - Bridge tender sets and locks the derail, tucks his comfy chair under lever so it doesn't blow away and walks back across the bridge.
11 - A little B&W for Mr. Burwash.
12 - Some Photoshopped "Dramatic Clouds".



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Heads Up

Dateline Seattle 2012/10/03/11:00

There is a presumably loaded train stuffed at the north end of the Military Tracks, Boeing Field, Seattle. Led by BNSF 4301, 4404. It has been there at least 2 hours.
Dateline Seattle 2012/10/03/11:00

There is a presumably loaded train stuffed at the north end of the Military Tracks, Boeing Field, Seattle. Led by BNSF 4301, 4404. It has been there at least 2 hours.
That would be train number ten. Empty train number nine departed Burlington late morning.

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