Sometimes things just come together. That hasn't been true for me lately, for reasons as diverse as the weather, work, and interference from darned model trains. As a result my railfanning has been essentially non-existent for more than two weeks.
Today changed that. After spending my working hours in Tyler, I headed back to Marshall for the evening. I always take the longer way back instead of the back road just in case there is some action along the Marshall Sub or on the DME. It was a pleasant late afternoon so it seemed only appropriate to sit a bit at the Florence interchange, just north of the namesake town.
Less than 10 minutes after arriving, sure enough, a headlight appeared to the east. A DME train was working its way into the sun.
A quick text to Jer told me what had to be done. My message about a land barge bound for Lake Benton brough the almost instantaneous response of "WHAT!? SHOOT IT!". Off I went, trying to track the progress of the train with an occasional brief glimpse between the hills as the track twisted through the countryside.
With a lead on reaching Tyler, I looked for a likely shot. The sight that greeted me was horrifying, as an eastbound rolled into view. Now what? Not knowing the area, I had no idea where the meet would be made or how long it would take. Heck, I've even seen DME trains tied down near Florence and for all I knew they wouldn't proceed. It was time for a u-turn and some exploring. I flew down the blacktop, then gravel, roads at top speed and overtook the eastbound. Sure enough, the first train spotted was slowing for a meet at what turned out to be the Florence siding. Here are the two trains as they approach-both are moving.
I had to fire off one more. After all, how often can you get 10 active SD40-2's (OK, yellow unit on the westbound looks like a 45, sorry) in one frame in this day and age?
Thankfully, the westbound quickly switched his lights back on and got underway, accelerating quickly with all that power at hand. In this shot the tail end of the eastbound is just about out of sight, the switch has been lined, and the 6200 is ready to roll.
The sun was going away fast, and despair was rising as the glowing orb fell, but I continued on in hopes they would make good time between the Florence siding and Lake Benton. I wasn't going to put all my eggs in that basket, though. Just a couple of miles west is a crossing I had shot once before, so a quick stop was in order.
One more quick stop along 14 yielded a sad "across the field" shot, something I just can't seem to get right. Then it was off to the races again.
Having only fanned the Lake Benton area once before, I was hoping to remember how to get to the spot that many others have featured. It seemed further out of town that I remembered, but finally I was climbing the hill on the sunny side of the train as it approached. I fired off a few shots, including this one:
And with that, the chase was over. The valley was in shadow in just a few minutes, so on this day the railfan spirits smile on me and allowed the opportunity for a shot. Thanks for that.
Thanks, Jer, for the inspiration!