Trains of Edmonds, Washington

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#1
My two Edmonds related threads, Mile Post 18 News and Pity Mile Post 17, got lost in the transition to the new software. The MP 18 thread, which I started in 2009, had received over 450,000 hits. I was hoping it would reach a half million hits sometime this year. I am replacing all my Edmonds related railroad threads with a single one that I hope everyone will enjoy.

For those not familiar with the Puget Sound region of western Washington, Edmonds is located on Puget Sound about 13 miles north of Seattle just off I-5. The Scenic Subdivision of BNSF's Seattle-Chicago mainline passes along the waterfront through town. The Bellingham Subdivision branches off the Scenic Sub about 20 miles north of Edmonds at Everett, so trains running between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, pass through Edmonds as well. Both lines were built by the Great Northern Railroad.

Edmonds sees a lot of daily passenger traffic with Amtrak's Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder; two Seattle-Vancouver, BC, Talgo-equipped Cascades; and three Sound Transit Seattle-Everett Sounders. Notable freight traffic includes coal trains, oil tank car trains, Boeing 737 fuselages, and locals powered by older Geeps and SD units that have been bumped from mainline service.

Here are four dramatic shots I took Monday afternoon (4-9-18) at Marina Beach Park while photographing orcas in Puget Sound. The orcas were far out in the Sound, so I attached the 7DII to the 500L telephoto + 1.4x teleconverter for maximum reach. I swung the camera around to photograph the Chicago bound Empire Builder (Amtrak #8) rounding the curve by the off leash dog beach. The Seattle section of the Builder is up to its summer consist of six Superliners.

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Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
#2
My two Edmonds related threads, Mile Post 18 News and Pity Mile Post 17, got lost in the transition to the new software. The MP 18 thread, which I started in 2009, had received over 450,000 hits. I was hoping it would reach a half million hits sometime this year.
Regrettably, some of the early posts didn't transfer over. Typically, the loss of something posted in 2009 wouldn't be much of a big deal. However, Bill has been replying to that one for the last 10 years or so. I was well aware of it, but didn't realize exactly how old it was, or that it was going to be lost in the transition.

My sincere apologies to both him and his loyal readers. (hangs head in shame)
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#3
A southbound (tt/west) freight passed by between the 5:30 and 6:00pm Sounders. I wanted shots of the SD70MAC in the old executive green paint scheme.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#5
I often visit the Edmonds marsh to photograph birds and other wildlife. The mainline passes the marsh on its western end, which gives me the opportunity to photograph passing trains. I try to ignore the telephone poles and trackside clutter that keep the shots from being "picture" perfect.

More about the marsh from the Bird Fest website:
Edmonds Marsh is one of the few urban saltwater estuaries remaining in the Puget Sound area. Before settlement this salt marsh occupied nearly 40 acres of barrier estuary and marsh complex, a rare geologic and biologically rich coastal ecosytem. Development reduced the marsh to its present area of 22.5 acres, which is now being restored and preserved for wildlife habitat, water quality and public enjoyment.

This ecologically unique wildlife sanctuary is habitat for over 225 species of resident and migratory birds. Great Blue Herons foraging are frequently observed from bird-viewing areas on an interpretive walkway along the north side of the marsh. A heron nesting colony is located in the trees bordering the south side of the marsh. Cattails (typha latifolia) provide food and habitat for many marsh animals including blackbirds, ducks, muskrats and wrens.

The marsh is hidden behind the Harbor Square commercial development and many locals are unaware of its existence. A map can be found in the Parks & Rec website for those interested in paying a visit.
http://edmondswa.gov/visit-a-park-text-15/parks-map/edmonds-marsh.html

My photos of train passing the marsh are taken facing west or southwest. Here is the rest of the marsh looking southeast towards Hwy. 104/Sunset Ave. The two tall, poofy topped trees in the distance are on the grounds of the Willow Creek fish hatchery, another good spot for wildlife photography. I take this same photo several times a year to record the changing seasons and changing conditions. It and the two photos of the passing train were taken Thursday afternoon (4-12-18). The trees that surround the marsh are leafing out and new cattail shoots are poking their way up through last year's dead vegetation.

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A short southbound (tt/west) freight bound for the Boeing plant in Renton passes by marsh. The fuselages were produced at a plant in Kansas and shipped across country by rail on those specially equipped flatcars. I assume the two covered cars on the rear hold additional parts for the trains. I have taken to calling these "Boeing bunker cars" because they look like cars on Russian military trains. Periodically a string of empty flatcars pass through town on their way back to Kansas.

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Mile post 17 is ahead of the engine.

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A word about the directions of trains passing through Edmonds. The Scenic Subdivision is an east-west mainline in BNSF timetables. The Bellingham Subdivision, which branches off at Everett, is north-south on BNSF timetables. For the benefit of those not familiar with this area, I list the geographic direction of trains passing through Edmonds followed by the timetable direction in parenthesis for those who may follow the area's rail activity via scanners or the internet.
 
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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#6
The most famous location from which to watch trains in Edmonds is Sunset Ave. above mile post 18. I say "famous" because it was on the cover of the first edition of Hot Spots, a Kalmbach publication listing the best train watching spots in the US.
https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/special-issue/vt-tr05180101-c

On a clear day (a premium up here) you can take photographs of passing trains with Puget Sound, the Olympic Mts, Mt. Baker, and the Edmonds-Kingston ferry in the background. If you are real lucky, you can get an eagle, osprey, or whale in the shot as well.

It was not clear Friday evening (4-13-18) when I took photos of the 6:00pm Seattle-Everett Sounder. This Sounder is unusual in that it has five cars, not the usual two or three. I'm sure this is in preparation for Sunday afternoon's Mariners Special when the Seattle Mariners play the Oakland A's at SafeCo Field, a short walk from King Street Station.

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Look closely and you can identify two extra control cars in the combined consist by their head and tail lights, MU cables, and F over A lettering on the cab ends of the cars.
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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#7
The unmanned power unit on the south (tt/west) end of the train will lead Sunday's Mariners Special back to Seattle, as Sounders are not wyed in Everett.

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The iconic MP 18 marker in the foreground.
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The Sounder was followed by a container freight with GE diesels in all three paint BNSF paint schemes (H1, H2, and H3 or "the swoop") plus a Canadian National EMD unit.

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Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
#8
I didn't realize how short the typical consists are. Last summer I went out to take some photos and was disjointed to find it was a two car train.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#11
This year is starting to resemble last year with a very wet spring. Cabin fever was setting in Saturday afternoon (4-14-18), so I drove down to Sunset Ave. even though it was dark and raining. A yellow light was on the north facing signal of the outside mainline, which told me that I had just missed a southbound (tt/west) but another one was on its tail.

I stayed dry in my pickup and waited until the last moment to exit and photograph the train.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see a BNSF Warbonnet trailing a three digit H1 unit.

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While some mainlines host nothing but intermodal and unit trains, this section of the Scenic Sub sees a lot of merchandise trains that would look at home in the 70's if they had cabooses.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#12
The signal went from red to yellow after the train passed, which told me another southbound would soon arrive. Behind the power were three Boeing 737 fuselages from Kansas bound for final assembly in Renton.

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The 737 program has been a very lucrative for Boeing.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#14
My son and I went down to Brackett's Landing North Sunday afternoon (4-15-18) after the Mariners game to photograph the Sounder Special returning to Everett. The wind was too much along the waterfront, so we retreated to the marsh.

The five car Sounder Special passing the marsh. It was full of disappointed Mariner fans as Oakland beat Seattle 2-1.

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My son took a more scenic shot with the 7DII + 16-35L wide angle zoom.

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The Chicago bound Empire Builder (Amtrak #8) came by a little later.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#17
A southbound (tt/west) rolled through town on a dark and dreary Monday afternoon (4-16-18) while I was photographing birds at the marsh. The head end power was rather ordinary and my first inclination was not to take any photos. I took some anyway, as I thought there might be something else on the train worth photographing.

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My hunch paid off, as the trailing rear DPU was Kansas City Southern 4534 in the colorful Southern Belle paint scheme, one of my favorites.

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#18
I made a trip to Sunset Ave. Tuesday morning (4-17-18) while my son was bowling. My 7DII is out of commission, so I pulled out my 7D + new/used 4.0/16-35L wide angle zoom. This old (in camera years) equipment still works fine under good lighting conditions.

A southbound (tt/west) freight rolled by with a Northfolk Southern, a BNSF Warbonnet, and a CREX unit in the consist.
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The BNSF Warbonnet is what I call the a "Boeing diesel." Members of this series have numbers similar to Boeing models of commercial jet liners.
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The train rolled through town without stopping.
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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
#19
The next two trains were not so lucky as an MoW crew began working on the MP 18 switch. This switch has been troublesome in the past with crews having to work on it 2-4 times a year.

A garbage train was held at MP 18 while a second southbound was held somewhere behind it. I tried some Itsed65 super telephoto shots with the tripod mounted 5DIII+ 500L telephoto lens + 1.4x teleconverter I was using to photograph birds.

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I don't know how long the trains were held as I had to leave to pick up my son.

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