The Arizona Divide was hit with a snow storm last night, larger than expected, that dropped up to a foot of snow along some areas of the railroad. After work and class, I made my way out to Riordan, near the summit of the divide. I hiked in to the tracks as the roads were snowed in. After catching a train in each direction, I hiked out. Once I left, the radio went off with the crew of the Flagstaff local asking for permission to leave Flagstaff to head to Bellemont for work. The dispatcher said he had to let four eastbound trains go by first before letting them out. So, I hiked back to my previous spot.
I got back around 1:30 PM, and began to wait for the four eastbounds go by. Once the fourth one went by, the local asked again for permission to leave and was rejected because dispatcher sent another two eastbounds through as well. Finally, at 3:30 PM, the local got the okay to head west. During that time while waiting for the local, I stood outside while snow was falling and experiencing three white outs, reducing my visibility to about 150 feet or so. During the third white out, I finally hided behind the electrical box next to the signals; using that as a wind breaker. In the end, it was worth it to catch the Flagstaff local as it one of the locals that still uses former Santa Fe Super Fleet locomotives. Even though painted in BNSF colors, it's a reminder of the power that used to haul high priority trains through the southwest on their trips between Los Angeles and Chicago during the 1990s.