Snow, Palm Trees, and the Local

Snow, palm trees and a train are not three things you would expect to see in the same picture – but they’re here in Snow, Palm Trees and the Local.

I don’t know how many places that it is possible to capture such an image.

There are certain days that it is possible in La Verne, California – it just takes the convergence of Mother Nature and BNSF to make it happen, as the palm trees are there every day.

The snow is on the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains north of La Verne and San Dimas in the background.

The palm trees are in a yard and on the grounds of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The train is the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local – it covers the Pasadena Subdivision as far west as Irwindale these days.  (From Azusa into Los Angeles Union Station, it’s now the Gold Line light rail passenger line.)

The Local is shoving a tank car of chlorine north on the MWD spur that leads to the F. E. Weymouth Treatment Plant.  This movement happens roughly once a week.

If you consider that there isn’t snow on the mountains on a regular basis and that the train can typically be seen here just once a week, you come to realize that this is a rare shot indeed.

All that said, I really wish that this consist was reversed and the 151, still sporting her red and silver warbonnet paint, was in the lead instead of against the train.

Realizing that there were only 63 GP60M locomotives built, I also think that I should quit my whining and be happy that I got the shot…

Snow, palm trees, and the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local in La Verne, CA.

Snow, palm trees, and the BNSF Pasadena Subdivision Local in La Verne, CA.


Snow, Palm Trees and the Local can be found in the BNSF ex- Santa Fe Pasadena Subdivision gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

BNSF Pasadena Sub Gallery Added

The BNSF Pasadena Sub Gallery has been added to Laughing Frog Images.

The current Pasadena Sub is actually owned by Metrolink – the Los Angeles regional commuter rail system.  The western half of the Pasadena Sub is now part of the Metro Gold Line, a light rail commuter line.  Freight service from San Bernardino to the MillerCoors brewery in Irwindale is provided by BNSF.

Back in The Day, the Pasadena Sub was a prime passenger route for the Santa Fe – all of the name trains that stopped at Pasadena passed over the subdivision.

The Pasadena Sub local freight was handled by two to four GP-30/GP-35 units before they were largely retired. I though it was cool to be photographing some of this action with my 1.2 megapixel digital camera way back when that was the cat’s meow.  And now… I want to smack myself upside the head, because the usable print size of those images is about 4″x6″ on a good day…  I included a few images from the early days of digital to look at, if nothing else.  I do have some slides to find and scan, but for the most part, my quality stuff of the Pasadena Sub doesn’t include the Blondes (Santa Fe’s blue and yellow version of the Warbonnet applied to locomotives in the latter part of the 20th century).

Of late, the power has been ex-Santa Fe GP-60Ms that were children of the reborn Super Fleet and delivered in the classic Warbonnet paint scheme in the early 1990’s.  They were built for speed to handle priority intermodal traffic from Chicago to Los Angeles and Richmond.  And now, most of them are serving out their time on local and regional freights on the former Santa Fe lines.

Pasadena Sub

I decided to break out the Pasadena Sub and give it its’ own gallery owing to the many shots of the GP-60M’s in their Warbonnet paint.  If you get a Santa Fe leader, and work the angles right, it could be 1995, and not 2015…

Despite the fact that I live in close proximity to the Pasadena Sub, I don’t get to photograph it much, as it’s a weekday-only operation for the most part, and I have this thing called work…

Enjoy what I’m able to share with you of the BNSF Pasadena Sub!