Some of the best weather we have in the Pacific Northwest happens in September. The sun starts down after 7pm but with the warm days the temperatures are still comfortable enough to be outside after sunset. Early September usually remains dry so the skies are clear and the bugs are few. All this adds up to some great September nights outside!
Amtrak Cascades train 509 has a clear indication on the cantilever signal at Vader, WA on
a beautiful September evening. 509 was the last of 14 trains passing this spot in a 4 hour period on September 12th 2013.
Long time dogcaught.com followers remember contributor Adron Hall. Adron runs a wonderful transit related blog on which he shares transit history, the economics behind transit, transit politics, and so much more. He recently started what he’s calling ‘Transit Sleuth TV’. Adron tells me that the show will be “…a multi-segment look at Portland Transit + Bike + Food + whatever other cultural bits seem to fit into it.” If you like transit subjects and/or Portland topics this will be fun to follow.
The first episode includes some interesting discussion from one of the transit related (and possibly beer drinking) meet ups Adron hosts in Portland. I thought the discussion was interesting and told Adron I would look forward to more of others thoughts on transit in Portland. Adron also showed in the first episode that sometimes using your bike to get around town can have issues! He has a great solution though that gets him where he needs to go.
If you are interested head on over transitsleuth.com and take a look at the first episode and choose your favorite subscription method.
Thursday last week I visited Vader, WA with the idea that the cantilever signals there won’t be there much longer. The nationwide PTC mandate has BNSF replacing signals and upgrading the signal system at quick pace. While work to stand up replacements hasn’t begun in Vader I’m certain the plans are in place and it will just be a matter of time before it does.
From 4pm to 8:20pm 14 trains passed! Daytime maintenance held the train traffic up a bit so the early evening time turned quite busy. At one point the UP local was switching Napavine while 3 northbound trains stacked up from Vader to Napavine South. Soundbound trains kept rolling but only so the dispatcher could clear a path for Amtrak Cascades trains 508 and 509 could meet more conveniently.
It was a good night to be hanging out with friends and enjoying the activity.
I ran across a set of UP locomotives in Vancouver last Sunday. The first thing which caught my eye was the little red signs hanging on the trucks. With the signs being clean and the trucks coated with years of road grime the signs stood out. It seems Union Pacific wants only tread conditioning brake shoes applied to this locomotive and they need a sign as a reminder. I wonder what the little red sign will look like after a few years of time on the road?
While Central Montana Railway’s bridges are unusable and under repair the CMR is storing cars where they can. About half of the track from Moccasin to the former GN Judith River trestle is filled with coal cars of various ownership. These long strings of cars stand out on the open prairie and are quite a contrast to the wheat fields that dominate this particular area. Kristi from the CMR told me last month they have over 240 cars stored currently. Nice bit of income for a shut down railroad.
At one of the grade crossings near Kolin I stopped when I noticed how the moon lit the sides of the stored hoppers. I spent 10 minutes or so photographing this spot until the moon moved around to where it wasn’t shining on the car sides any more.
Coal cars stored near Kolin, MT shimmer in the moonlight.