A westbound grain train hauls another 110 cars of export grain west to meet up with ships to haul it overseas.
After last photographing the grain train east of Bingen, I drove east to meet up with my friends who’d taken up station at MP 116 east of Maryhill. I figured the fastest way to them was the old highway past the Stonehenge Memorial. I calculated I’d arrive at the crossing and find the grain train rolling past. As I descended the hill I could tell the train hadn’t arrive yetg so I jumped into position to capture it rounding the curve near the east switch.
As soon as I’d fired off a few test shots the grain train’s headlight appeared under the U.S. 97 overpass. After a moment for a breath I captured this image of the train winding around toward the east switch with Wy’east (Mt. Hood) towering above. This location is one of several popular locations between East Wishram and the John Day Dam for railfans to capture a train and Mt. Hood in the same scene.
Railfans in the Northwest sure are lucky! Where else can this sort of scenery be captured so readily?
Back to my mid-April visit to the Gorge. As I mentioned in my previous post I was up early so I’d be in position for sunrise at tunnel 2 east of Cooks. I was there on time and my first train passed at 6:45, literally 2 minutes after the sun popped over the horizon and came up over the only cloud. Too bad it was a westbound. Fortunately there was a train in the Cooks siding waiting to head east so I’d have perfect fodder in just a few minutes.
While waiting for the eastbound to arrive I had a nice conversation with a native who was minding his fishing rig below the hill. He was very curious what I was up to and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to steal his fishing gear. Once he saw the camera gear he realized I was another railfan and we ended up having a nice conversation about railfanning and the number of trains that pass through the gorge. He went to his rig and retrieved a fish before he headed on his way.
At 7am the eastbound was finally out of the siding and popped out of the tunnel into the morning rays. Well worth the effort to get up early.
Next time I’ll have a few photos from around Maryhill which include a snow capped Mt. Hood….
On the 14th I spent an impromptu day in the Columbia River Gorge watching trains and hanging out with some friends. I decided to make a full day of it so I was up at 4 and on the road at 5. My goal was to be at tunnel 2 east of Cooks when the sun came up and my timing was impeccable as I was able to sit on the shore of the mighty Columbia and watch the sun pop over the mountains to the east. It was a beautiful morning…as long as you could stay out of the wind. I fought hard to keep everything on the ground while perched up on the rock just east of the tunnel. Brutal.
I captured three trains there but I’m not quite ready to share those images just yet.
I followed the last eastbound to Bingen where it met a manifest. A 10mph slow order and the slow down for the meet allowed me to get ahead to capture the image above of the train winding around the rocks and across the Locke Lake fill. These guys were in a hurry to get to Lyle to meet the Builder so I let them go about their business and found a place to photograph 27.
More about the day in my next post…
Central Montana has no end to scenery. Despite visiting the area for 6 straight years now I’ve never stopped west of the Hay Creek trestle near Geyser. Why? Who knows. It seems like a prefect location with the tracks nicely in the foreground and the Highwood mountiains and their foothills in the background. It could be I’ve not stopped here because there is no nice place to park. In this part of Montana that’s not an excuse though as there is plenty of room off the highway shoulders.
This time I did stop and I captured the Lost Local on its return to Great Falls passing below the Highwoods. In the morning when the local went south there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground. As the day moved along the clouds cleared and the sun came out. Away went the snow. In fact by 1:30PM when I photographed this location the heat waves coming off the grass were quite strong. It is interesting how things can change so quickly during a Montana spring.
One last thing about the Lost Local. It has always fascinated met that more often than not it will have exclusively BN green locomotives. How do they do that? Someone in Great Falls must have some skill at getting just the right power.