For all of the times that I’ve gone elsewhere to railfan and grab pictures of trains, I haven’t actually had the chance to railfan the rail line practically in my backyard.

The Union Pacific’s Midlothian Sub runs right through Mansfield just north of downtown, and for all of the times I’ve heard a train horn from my home a couple of miles away, I’ve rarely gotten out to railfan it.

So one day in January I ventured out for a bit to downtown Mansfield with my brother. This came after an afternoon basketball game, so the light was fading quick. No trains came by, but the trestle bridge was more than enough of an interesting subject in the dimming light.


A couple of days later, with the house mostly empty, I went back to downtown, much earlier in the afternoon this time around. While my primary goal was to catch a train photo or two, I actually stayed up in the downtown area for a while after arriving. Unfortunately, the tracks are down a hill from downtown and it’s not too great of a place to hang around waiting for a train.

To my misfortune, a train came right as I got back into my car to head down to the tracks. As I turned down the road to get to the crossing, I saw the train already passing through. So I turned around and headed out of town and down 287 to Midlothian to catch it there.


I arrived in Midlothian about five minutes ahead of the train and had plenty of time to setup and wait for it. Sure enough, a BNSF tanker train came rolling through, which was interesting considering it was Union Pacific trackage.

Whatever the case, that was enough for me. I headed back home. Hopefully this becomes more of a regular thing.


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