Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowy Saturday

First, no, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I have been fairly busy with work related tasks over the past couple of months, as well as challenged by some of the most miserable photography weather I have encountered in a long time. Thus, the lack of posting in October and November.

The recent snow has rekindled my railfanning bug, though. Some of the photos I have seen have inspired me to go out and try my hand in the snow, and this Saturday morning dawned with a couple of inches already on the ground and more coming steadily. With no other pressing demands, I thought, why not? And off I went.

My first location was the reliable old curve just west of Wadena. I set up in a heavy snow shower and waited. I expected to be surprised as I didn't trust my scanner to pick up the detector to the west, and had no hope of any radio heads-up from the east. Sure enough, I spied a headlight approaching from the west and jumped out to shoot him.

I didn't have to wait too long for another intermodal train to pass by. This one I had notice on as I had plugged in my external antenna and heard the 174 detector go off. I was on the other side of the tracks as this old warbonnet Dash 9 blew by.

As the snow seemed to be getting stronger and there had been some trains tied up in Staples the previous afternoon, I decided to run over there and see what I could see. As I came into town the same two DPU motors as the day before were still resting on coal loads.

Next, here came a short merchandise train accelerating past the Dower Lake station sign. I decided to grab a shot.

A trip to the east end of the yard revealed that one of the loaded coal trains was preparing to leave for Superior. I walked down the north side of the yard to attempt a shot with a railroader out cleaning switches and throwing the derail.

Back in my truck, I heard the coal train ask the Staples dispatcher for permission to head for the Brainerd. The dispatcher told him he would have to wait for Amtrak. That perked me up some, and I called Mrs. L4T and told her I would be a little late getting home.

I parked at the 6th St crossing and walked back toward the depot. I could see the headlights of #8 as he drifted through the heavy snow. A couple of shots as he passed the depot:

I shot one more of the passengers loading, then set off at as close to a dead sprint as I could manage in the deep snow and my poor physical condition. My hundred yard time is probably longer than Ian's 800 meter time. I still made it just in time for:

You can see the coal loads waiting on the yard lead to head for Superior. The strange 3rd unit on the Builder is also evident. I shot him again as he passed by. This is the first time I have seen one of these units in a Builder consist, and I don't think it was on line, but I'm not sure.

That was all for the day as I needed to get back to Wadena. All in all a great morning, with a fair amount of traffic and something unexpected. I don't expect to have frequent chances to fan in the winter, given the short days and frequent clouds (not to mention the cold) but I have a few shots from the autumn that I may share, and still have the shots from our last day in Glacier I haven't posted. Hope you enjoyed this little sojurn.

Jim, out.

1 comment:

John said...

Real nice winter action Jim, glad to see you out shooting again and posting on your blog.