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South of Kyle, Texas, Amtrak's Train N0. 21, the southbound Texas Eagle glides over the Blanco River bridge at 7:55 pm on June 2nd, 2019.

It's near 100 degrees in San Marcos, TX at 1:47 on the gorgeous late-summer afternoon of September 9th, 2019 and the photographer is fully immersed in the cool 72-degree waters of the San Marcos River as he makes this water level portrait along Main Track 2 of Union Pacific's Austin Subdivision. Trackage-rights tenant BNSF is bringing a long 6-engine freight off of the Lockhart Sub and heading south towards San Antonio.

It's 12:25 on August 22nd, 2019 as SD40Ns 1842 and 1714 bring the LEF28 local into San Marcos, Texas, rolling past Bobcat Stadium and across Charles Austin Street at MP208.85 on Main Track 1 of Union Pacific's Austin Subdivision. They've got a 20-car mix of loads and empties on the drawbar which they will set out in the tiny yard at Jama, just south of town near MP212.

Amtrak's Train No.22, the northbound Texas Eagle soars over the Blanco River at 8:49 on the spectacular morning of September 3rd, 2019 as it rolls up Union Pacific's Austin Subdivision between San Marcos and Kyle, Texas.

Years have passed since we foolishly scoffed at their sheer numbers and at the ho-hum nature of their parade on the high iron. Now we pine for the days, longing for a glimpse of nostalgia as surely as 1959 cried out for a Big Boy at Hermosa. 

The once-ubiquitous has become secretive, elusive.

They are the reclusive goats, toiling away in branchline and local service, and shepherding their charges up and down the ladder tracks. And those curvaceous HT-C trucks are still the sexiest thing on rails, casting scoff at the figureless radial which surely lacks the necessary form to properly display summer beach attire.

They are hard to find, yet Union Pacific still rosters a large fleet of the Greatest Of All Time diesels:

Electro-Motive Division’s SD40-2.

Rebuilt and upgraded into SD40Ns at the Jenks complex in North Little Rock, their numbers fill the slots from UP 1550 to UP 2049.

Here, 43-year old 1714, built in July of 1976 as number 3510, and April 1973-graduate 3213 renumbered as 1842, roll north on the Austin Subdivision near MP201 at Kyle, Texas.

It’s 9:06 am on August 22nd, 2019 and the good-looking units  have two cars of lumber for a customer up in Mountain City, which they will switch out for a mix of two-bay loads of cement powder and empty open hoppers and return south to their home in the small yard at Jama, south of San Marcos.

Rick Malo©2019

At 10:57 on August 22nd, 2019, AC4400CWs 6850 and 6565 roll a long string of coal empties up out of the Blanco River valley as they head north at MP201.25 on the Austin Subdivision near Kyle, Texas.

Water revelers hardly notice as C44ACCTE 5978 and FerroMex SD70ACe 4029 rumble across the San Marcos river on Main Track 1 of Union Pacific's Austin Sub with northbound merchandise at 5:11 on the afternoon of August 19th, 2019.

"In a world that knows no troubled waters, and Krispy Kreme donuts float to every shore on placid flows crossed by bridges with trains a-plenty..."---Don LaFontaine.         ES44C4 8219 and  C44-9W 5068 lead a southbound BNSF unit ethanol train coming off the Lockhart Sub as it glides across the San Marcos river at 2:00 pm sharp as the sun plays hide-and-seek in the skies over San Marcos, Texas on August, 19th, 2019.

"Twilight Eagle." We're in San Marcos, Texas as Amtrak's No. 21, the Southbound Texas Eagle led by Heritage unit No. 822, slides across the San Marcos River at 8:10 om on August 14th, 2019

"Highball the roll-by!" Amtrak's southbound Texas Eagle slams past a waiting northbound empty unit frac sand train at MP200.75 in Kyle, Texas at 7:21 pm on August 16th, 2019. 

Union Pacific's M-K-T "Katy" Heritage unit, SD70ACe No. 1988 rolls northbound tonnage at track speed through Kyle, Texas near MP201 at 5:27 pm on August 6th, 2019.

Miss Katy rolls northbound tonnage into Kyle, Texas near MP201.25 at 4:39 pm on July 19th, 2019. 

7962 and siblings roll a heavy northbound rock train across the Blanco River bridge at 1:58 pm on August 3rd, 2019.  

Amtrak's Train No. 22, the daily northbound Texas Eagle rolls into Kyle, Texas near MP201.25 at 9:01 am on July 31st, 2019.

At 7:24 pm on July 29th, 2019 a  late-running southbound Texas Eagle slides down the main while a freight rolls north through the siding at MP201 in Kyle, Texas 

Perfectly Articulated.

Sunset near MP222, May 17th, 2019.

Children of the corn. BNSF units in the Goodwin siding near MP222, north of New Braunfels, TX, May  17th, 2019

In anticipation of  the scheduled 7:12 pm station stop of the southbound Texas Eagle, the dispatcher has held a northbound double-stack train on Main Track 2 in Hunter, Texas at 6:50 pm on May 17th, 2019.

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