I looked at this year’s A Day In North America more as an excuse to get out of the house and do some railfanning than to take the ultimate photo from the day. My motivation was further reduced by the weather forecast which called for clouds and showers all day long. I decided to make a go of it anyway and headed for BNSF’s Seattle sub in hopes that the showers would be limited and might provide some interesting clouds through the day.
At Kalama radio chatter told me I had two south coming at me. I pulled off and searched for something that depicted the fact it was spring. I was all set up for my first photo of the day and the rain started to pick up. I decided that I’d put the camera bag back in the Yukon for protection. Just as I shut the door I said to myself “Self, that sounds like a train”. Sure enough there goes the M-EVEABN and I’m 150′ from the camera. The result is this:
Cars In The Morning
I knew I was a bit sleepy but I guess I was way off my game. My second photo of the Z-SEMN at this same location turned out much better.
After a few more photos in the same vicinity I heard the Portland & Western’s Linnton turn get a work between warrant from Gasco to MP 33. With things slowing down on the mainline I made a trip across the river and caught the train east of Scappoose. Spring was in full bloom so I couldn’t resist a photo in the park like setting in downtown Scappoose.
By now the showers had become quite scattered and it was easy to see when an area would get clobbered with a down pour. The weather continued to be nice on the Oregon side so I grabbed a few more photos of the Linnton turn then headed back across the river in hopes some of the clearing between the showers would give me some sucker holes to get some photos in.
The timing worked out and a sucker hole did appear about the same time as the M SEAPAS at Kalama. This photo pretty much sums up the day, mostly cloudy with some sun breaks and pretty good train traffic made up of the usual power these days.
I ended up seeing eight trains in Kalama. Out of that two hit the sun breaks just right. The rest, well, they look like a normal Northwest day.
The weather was changing though and the sky was clearing rapidly. I moved down to one of my favorite places on BNSF’s Seattle sub, the Lewis River bridge. I don’t know what it is about the rusting hulk of a bridge across the Lewis but I really like being there at sunset and having all the intricate details of the structure lit by the warm sun. Maybe I’m just fascinated by how 1910 technology has held up so well over a hundred years? Or, maybe it’s the incessant goose honking? What ever it is I enjoy taking photos there.
With the clouds mostly gone Amtrak 508 went north and I took the photograph I wanted. Right behind 508 was an M VAWEVE which had gone into emergency south of Ridgefield (air hose separation, supposedly not engineer induced). About a minute before the VAWEVE arrived the last cloud in the sky covered the sun. Why’d they have to go into emergency? So much for a second shot and with no train traffic on the horizon I figured that was it for the daylight part of the day.
I chose to leave the camera set up just in case. Sure enough just a few minutes before the sun actually dropped behind the coast range I heard the 113.5 detector go off. The bridge is at 119.1. Will it get here in time? My mind told me probably not but I kept turning around and looking at the sun and trying to determine how much time I had anyway. Next I hear horns at the grade crossing in Woodland. Hmm, two miles away now and the sun hasn’t fallen behind the mountains yet. I still have hope.
Last Light at the Lewis
The sun held out for me and I did get one last photo with the falling sun shining right on the train. By the time the end of the train passed the sun was gone. I took a few photos after dark of an all warbonnet U EVEROO and Amtrak 509 but by 8:30 I was tired and it was time to end my Day in North America adventure.