Bethel Drive in Eugene, Oregon has become my favorite train spotting location; it is a two lane asphalt roadway one mile in length flooded with power poles and running parallel to Union Pacific’s rail yard; on the other side of the tracks (no pun intended) civilian living. I will intentionally go out of my way to cruise Bethel just in case and on a recent Sunday morning there was a disturbance in the Force. Expecting the rail yard to be splashed in Union Pacific colors accented in graffiti I spot something on the westside of the yard waiting clearance to go was a BNSF engine coupled to freight cars, painted Grey/Red, I make a recording for possible future use. Thirty seconds south another BNSF engine I come across decked out in traditional colors: Orange/Yellow/Black also coupled to a line of freight waiting to move. What are two BNSF trains doing in Union Pacific territory, I question as I snapped its portrait. The saying that things happen in three’s came true on this chilly, partly sunny day; the oil in the Scion’s engine had barely circulated when I spy a Canadian Pacific engine decked out in faded, soot red it’s white lettering scuffed coupled between two Union Pacific engines one grungy one spit and polish, shining.
Images securely digitalized I leave Bethel Drive not knowing whether I’d ever use these photographs however, not five minutes past then BANG inspiration, the following came to mind:
Grey/Red BNSF engine Horatio: “Hunter are you there, come in Hunter.”
Orange/Yellow/Black BNSF engine Hunter: “Hunter here, is that you Horatio?”
Horatio: “Hey did you hear what happen to Rocket Richard of the Canadian Pacific?”
Hunter: “No I’ve been here on the westside of the yard idling, What’s up?”
Horatio: “Seems Ol’ Rocket was trying to live up to his reputation of being fast. He tried to dash through foreign country, not to mention the Union Pacific yard, undetected.”
Hunter: “Bloody hell why, what was he doing?”
Horatio: “Seems Rocket Richard had some illegal hockey equipment namely goalie pads to unload and got a hot tip on a good price in the states well, he didn’t get far. Rocket intentionally scuffed the Canadian Pacific lettering completing the guise by making his body look unkempt in hopes he would slip through unnoticed as if a ship turning off it’s running lights. However, as he entered the north end of the yard he was quickly surrounded, the load confiscated, then he was hauled off coupled between engine 7132 dingy yet a proven veteran and the spit and polish shine of up and coming engine 4521.”
Hunter: “Cricky what do you suppose will become of the Rocket?”
Horatio: “I suppose the Rocket will get a slap on the traction motor as a warning then sent back to the Great White North minus his load.”
At the time I thought this little tale up I was unaware that BNSF and the Union Pacific shared trackage rights and only discovered this when researching as to why the two BNSF were where they wuz. Now I know.