Friday, August 30, 2013

Today's Train of Thought- That Loving Feeling, Aug 30th, 2013

Today's train of thought takes us to the Land of Enchantment [or AMC's Breaking Bad- NANESB!] and features a river that has wound its way through Western lore.

In the 19th century, 'West of the Pecos' became shorthand for the Wild West. The river ran some 900 miles from what is now San Miguel county, New Mexico to Seminole Canyon and the Rio Grande in Val Verde County, TX. Late 19th century saloon-keeper, boxing promoter and justice of the peace Roy Bean at one point deemed himself "the law west of the Pecos". Despite the moniker 'Hanging Judge Roy Bean', its believed that Bean had sentenced only two defendants to be hung- and one of them escaped before the sentence could be carried out.

The Pecos also wends its way through the Permian Basin in southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico, an oil-rich portion of the Mid Continent Oil Field that's seen renewed activity thanks to new drilling techniques. The area also contains substantial potash deposits, particularly in Eddy County, NM.

Two potash mines- one east of Carlsbad, NM and one east of the town of Loving, NM- are served by the 200-mile Carlsbad division of the Southwestern Railroad [just to make things even more confusing, the Southwest has a separate division out of Demming, NM in the southwestern corner of the state- NANESB!]. The Southwest began operation on the 182 mile line between Loving and Clovis, NM that leased from BNSF beginning in October 2004. This also included two twenty mile spurs serving the respective potash mines east of Loving and Carlsbad.

Here, contributor Fotaugrafee caught Southwestern SD50 #5103 crossing the dry riverbed of the Pecos with train R81 in March 2013 just outside of Loving, NM. The two burly six axle EMDs are still painted for WATCo's Austin & Western and started out life on the Chicago & Northwestern. Reportedly, more SD50s from WATCo, CSX and Union Pacific have also arrived on the Southwestern's Carlsbad Division since this photo was taken.

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