September 19, 2013 | StateImpact.npr.org | Robert King remembers the very first time he saw an oil train.
“It was April 14, 2013.”
King, a 17-year-old Philadelphian, is a “railfan,” the name for members of a worldwide community of passionate, or some might say obsessive, train buffs.
On that day, King and railfans from the Midwest to the East Coast were busily tracking the inaugural run of a brand new train: the CSX K040, an oil train more than one-mile long hauling raw crude from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota bound for South Philadelphia.
With his camera bag slung over his shoulder, King pedaled his blue-and-white mountain bike to Schuylkill River Park in Center City and up the ramp to a foot bridge overlooking the CSX tracks. Then he settled in to wait. As he stood there, he recalls, “There’s some worry on my mind.”