Springtime in Texas. Tremont & Gulf Mikado #30 runs eastbound on the Texas State Railroad with a photo freight, bound for Maydelle and eventually Rusk. This 1917 Baldwin product has a long, lean look to her and when combined with the cylindrical, Vanderbilt Tender, she's one of the most unique-looking Mikados in the world of preservation railroading today. Over the years, she's also had a few other unique looks. When she ran on the Magma Arizona Railroad in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she sported a copper-colored smokebox and a centered headlight, looking for all the world like a rolling Mallory Duracell Battery....LOL! If you think I'm kidding, just Google "Magma Arizona #7" and enjoy.
Although I've been to a lot of steam railroads all over the US, the Texas State Railroad was the first place I had ever visited where "critters" were a real concern. This region of Texas is home to pretty much all of the venomous snake species that live in the US, and in this particular photo location, the big threat was Fire Ants. The field in front of you in this view was littered with mounds of sand that one dare not disturb, lest one be viciously attacked by these venomous, biting critters. Fortunately, everyone on our charter was forewarned and all of us were watching every step as we trotted out to our camera positions, and then back to the train.