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erates the 24-mile long Gorman Branch. This line was originally built by the Texas Central in the late 1800s and became known as “the Peanut Line” in reference to the main agricul- tural crop grown in this area. The TC was later leased by the Missouri- Kansas-Texas (The “Katy”) from 1914 to 1967 after which the line was sold and operated as a short line re-using the Texas Central name and utilizing a fleet of three Alco S2 switchers. FWWR took over the line when it purchased the Dublin Sub and continues to serve agricultural customers in the small towns of De Leon and Gorman. The other Dublin-based crew oper-

ates as Job 402 and works customers along the remainder of the main line to- ward the junction at Riker, and occa- sionally forwards interchange traffic to the BNSF yard at Brownwood. A num- ber of industries in the Comanche area keeps the crew busy spotting cars at two large feed mills and a drilling sand transload. This job is also assigned to switch customers at Stephenville as needed.

Operationally the main event is road

train FWDU/DUFW, also known as the Dublin Turn. These trains provide a connection to the outside world for the cars handled by the Cresson and Dublin based crews. Operated Sunday through Friday the Dublin Turn can run upwards of 12,000-tons plus leav- ing Hodge Yard; much of this tonnage is drilling sand destined for the yard at Cresson. FWDU normally departs Hodge Yard in the early afternoon be- hind the roads’ six-axle units and re- turns as DUFW, normally getting back to the Fort Worth area in the early morning hours. When tonnage war- rants an extra turn job to Cresson will be operated as needed. To better concentrate on their ever growing freight business, Fort Worth & Western opted to get out of the tourist passenger train operation in 1999. However the Grapevine Vintage Rail- road based in suburban Grapevine con- tinues to operate passenger trains be- tween the old Cotton Belt depot there and Cowtown behind a vintage former Santa Fe GP7. Normal operations are on weekends throughout the year, with special holiday operations as well. For the latest schedules, check their website at for details.


TOP LEFT: The “Tarantula” name adorns the rear flank of No. 2018. TOP: Switching at the west end of Hodge Yard, snoot-nosed SD40-2 2018 is teamed with the two GenSet locomotives on Job 101 on January 22, 2011. After making up their train this crew will exchange cars with the BNSF at their nearby North Yard. ABOVE: The Everman Job 102 is threading its way through the busy Tower 55 junction in downtown Fort Worth. Union Pacific’s Fort Worth Terminal dispatcher supervises movements through this busy junction that is located under the interchange overpasses of Interstates 35W and 20.

Barnett Shale and Rail

A recent surge in traffic has been provided by hauling in supplies, name- ly sand, needed to support the drilling of natural gas and oil wells in what is known as the Barnett Shale. Some ex- perts have suggested the Barnett Shale may have the largest producible re- serves of any onshore natural gas field in the United States. It consists of sed- imentary rocks and the productive part of the formation is estimated to stretch from the city of Dallas west and south, covering 5000 square miles. The gas of the Barnett Shale is not easily extracted. The shale is very

hard, and it has been virtually impossi- ble to produce gas in commercial quan- tities from this formation until recent years when improvements were made in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology. Hydraulic fractur- ing of the Barnett Shale is done by pumping a mixture of water, sand, and various chemical additives into the well bore at a sufficient pressure to create a fracture in the surrounding rock forma- tion, thus exposing more of the well bore and releasing greater volumes of gas. It is the sand used in this process that is of importance to the FWWR as most of it is brought in by rail from the

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