An eastbound empty grain train rolls through downtown The Dalles, OR.  E 1st street parallels Union Pacific’s track #2 through about 1/2 mile of this part of town and makes for a great place to sit and enjoy the action.

Last weekend I attended the annual GorgeRail railroad slideshow in The Dalles, OR.  I took Friday off with plans of railfanning a bit prior to the show on Saturday.  BNSF and UP had other ideas with both railroads shutting down by 9:30am for maintenance.  BNSF worked projects at Cooks and Bates while UP just seemed to run out of trains.  By mid-afternoon trains began to move again which would set me up for the photos I planned around dark (more on that in a later post).

I found myself in downtown The Dalles as the sun began to sink.  I stationed myself on E 1st. street waiting for a westbound M-HKFI to finish their work at The Dalles yard.  While I waited an eastbound grain train approached and I captured this image as it overtook me on the city street.   What a fun place to sit and watch the trains roll by!  I ended up seeing 4 in a matter of a couple of hours at this location.

Saturday’s shows were engaging, entertaining, and very enjoyable.  I particularly enjoyed David Lange’s Up Close and Personal show which featured his unique perspective on railroad photography.   His show focused on images from his viewpoint and I will say he doesn’t shoot wedgies!  I found each of the shows contained a photographic gem. I saw several in the Rob and Austin Jacox show and a couple in Steve Carter’s review of the Spokane area.  Steve’s show particularly struck me for how he added drama to a couple of images by making the appear to move by revealing more and more of the lit area of the photograph.  Very engaging presentation.  Aaron Hockley’s presentation on train porn was a wonderful after lunch reflection on railfan photography garnering many laughs for the parallels to adult themes.  Scott O’Dell presented some very unique perspectives from the Seattle Sub including many photo locations I’d never been too before.  Martin Burwash and Charles Lange provided shows which gave a wonderful historical perspective to their subjects.  I believe the highlight though was Stathi Pappas’ talk on the world of tourist railroads.  After listening to him you really have to respect the successful tourist railroads which continue to operate.  It is a tough business and I think Stathi has a great insight on where the industry is at and what a railroad has to do to be in the game long term.

Look for more images and updates from the GorgeRail weekend in future dogcaught posts.

Autumn Leaf Weekend

Last weekend was the 8th Annual Autumn Leaf Slide Show at McMenamin’s Olympic Club in Centralia, Wa.  Part of the slide show weekend tradition is getting out and railfanning with friends in the Gorge, on the Seattle Sub or where ever the whim may take us.  So that’s what I did despite the fact the weather forecast for the weekend included lots of rain.

Friday I headed to the Gorge and met up with a railfan visiting us from Atlanta.  It was a productive day and I was able to show Boras a few locations he’d seen photographs of but didn’t know how to get to.  Saturday I intended to take it easy with the railfanning as I’d have a full evening of slide show work ahead of me.  The result was I just hung out with friends at Winlock and Vader and only snapped one photo the entire day.  Sunday started out up in the air plans wise.  As it ended up I had Ryan and Scott riding with me and it turned into quite a productive day.  Over the next few days I plan to post photos from the weekend.

Friday, 8:00 am, Stevenson, Wa.  Standing on the corner of 1st and Russell in downtown I came to the conclusion Stevenson is much like many small towns in our country.  People were moving around and going about their Friday morning.  Many were headed to the post office to get an early jump on the mail.  One was staying at the Riverside Lodge and was headed up town in search of a coffee.  Another was headed down to the park to walk her dog while others drove to their jobs in town.

While everyone went about their business BNSF did too.  Approaching town were two train which were set up for a meet at the siding in town.   With some businesses across the tracks a mis-timed meet in town can tie up things up for some time.  Today the Pasco West dispatcher had the timing down just right and executed a nearly perfect rolling meet.   The result?  Most people going about their business in town probably never noticed.

Friday, 9:00 am, North Bonneville, Wa.  At just over 35 years old tunnel 1.5 is the newest tunnel on BNSF’s Fallbridge subdivision.  Constructed in 1974 as part of a project to build a second powerhouse in the dam, this tunnel is located at the east end of a long S curve which takes the railroad around the new river channel.  Despite its diminutive 1,503 foot length the tunnel serves an important purpose getting the railroad out of the way of the river and the highway without disturbing the hillside above.  Friday’s M-VAWPAS (Vancouver, Wa to Pasco, Wa) slips easily through the curve and through the tunnel just like the Army Corps of Engineers intended.