Saturday, December 7, 2013

"I'm an Idiot"

I know that there are people who would agree with the post title, or at least say it's true about me sometimes. And they would likely be right, but that's not where the quote came from today. But more about that later. 

This week's big snowstorm went on without me. In Michigan for work, I dreamed dreams of shooting trains in the snow. Dan Mackey even texted me to find out if I was willing to venture into the teeth of the blizzard with him when work got out early one day. When I told him I was out of town he mentioned heading out over the weekend to take in the fresh blanket of white and predicted code blue skies. Sounded like a winner to me, so Friday evening I texted him and finally, with Scott Carney's assistance, was able to goad him into heading out. So after a hearty breakfast at Big Daddy's we headed to Superior to meet Scott, where we promptly came to the conclusion that the confluence of sun, snow, Saturday, and free time led every area railroad to take the day off. 

After some fancy driving, fancier planning, and world class scanner interpretation, we found ourselves in the path of a CN stacker climbing Steelton Hill. With poor sun angles for a wedgie, we settled on this broadside as the train climbed out of the St. Louis River valley. 

FYI-there is a lot of snow out there. Feet and feet of it, as a matter of fact. And the temperature was in deficit territory, likely double digits at the time this was shot. The clothes required combined with the snow depth and a short jog darn near gave me a heart attack.

With a set of GE's in the bag, we were alerted to traffic on the Hinckley when a detector announced the arrival of something with 500 plus axles approaching Boyleston. Turned out to be an all rail empty headed for Allouez. Oddly, when I looked at ATCS, the train was lined into 28th Street while we headed east for the intercept. Shortly after I announced this to the gang, the train crew piped up and asked the dispatcher if they weren't supposed to be headed to Allouez. His response has to be an all time great, "I'm an Idiot". Sure enough he had them lined wrong. 

The delay gave us a chance to hike in and get this as he crossed Sawyer Creek. Lots of nice creaking and groaning as the power crossed the trestle. 

I widened up a whole bunch to get him once more. Gotta say there is still something special about them MAC's to me.

After that we headed back to town, and Dan headed home for a day of domestic chores. Scott agreed to give me a lift home, and on the way over the bridge we decided to stop and check on the paper mill switch, which luckily enough was just coming out of the plant while we watched. Sort of like crossing the tracks and seeing a headlight. It's a bonus BNSF shot.

Really was good to get back out and do some semi-serious railfanning. Weather was spectacular, there were a few trains, and best of all, the company was great. Thanks, guys, lets do it again soon!

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