A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

As requested, here’s a freight on the main line

Written October 28th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

A northbound Union Pacific freight approaches the Pine Street crossing in Albany on Oct. 22, 2022.

It’s impressive to see and hear a Union Pacific freight roaring toward a crossing where you are standing, holding up your phone, just a few feet off the track. Here, see for yourself:

What, you ask, another train? Already?

Well, yes. A week ago, on Oct. 20, this site featured a slow freight of the Portland & Western as it headed for the Albany yard.

That effort prompted a response from H. R. Richner, who wrote: “It’s so relaxing, making one feel that things are working after all. How about for next time a whole freight train on the main line?”

Well, as it happened, on a bike ride a couple of days later I found myself on the 300 block of Southeast Pine Street in Albany.

There’s a footpath there where you can walk, or ride, across the double set of tracks. And when I did, I heard a train coming from the south.

Not just a whole train on the main line, this time, but one of the Union Pacific’s intermodal trains, going through Albany at full speed with its load of truck trailers and containers.

Actually, I could not tell how fast it was going, even though when I was standing there I guessed its speed to be around 45-50 mph.

This was mid-afternoon, and as I say on the video, I was expecting Amtrak’s Coast Starlight to come zipping through there. But I gave it up and left before that came about.

In any case, no one needs reminding of the power of a modern diesel-electric freight locomotive, especially when it thunders past you at the head of a long train with its air horn blasting away. (hh)

9 responses to “As requested, here’s a freight on the main line”

  1. MarK says:

    Beautiful (except for the graffiti)! I’m deaf, but still love the feeling my body gets when these behemoths rumble by.

  2. Jennifer Stuart says:

    When I moved to Albany in 2016 I had no idea it was a train town. We moved into a house around the corner from
    my daughter and her family, who had recently come to Albany for a new work opportunity. I bought that house which is on a block bordering the tracks on Water Ave near the Calapooia Brewery. Those tracks are only used twice daily, and that is late at night, though I seldom notice it anymore. I can also hear trains as they cross the Willamette River (a different track from Water Ave) not quite 2 blocks away, if I happen to be awake. Otherwise I sleep right through it. I have always loved trains. They remind me of how we are connected to other communities and destinations as well as to our collective past.

  3. Bob Zybach says:

    WordPress wouldn’t let me post this link to Dylan’s “Freight Train Blues” — which I first heard in a Portland Reedie house in the 1960s and made me a lifelong fan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZarlcH3p28

  4. Dick Olsen says:

    Thanks Hasso, Love your trains.

  5. Dala Rouse says:

    Hope the diesel shortage coming soon won’t effect your love of trains.

  6. Adam says:

    Freight trains (especially containerized cargo) get high priority track usage. In other words, passenger service can wait (and usually does unless it can go faster). With a looming rail strike, freight trains are running full and fast to load up warehouses.

    As I have mentioned before, if you really want to feel the power, go up to the Cascades and catch a train going up the grade…. WOW

  7. Bob Woods says:

    10 points!

  8. H. R. Richner says:

    Thank you very much, Hasso. and also Ray Kopczynski for the report from the country I grew up in.


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