National Train Day 2011

Having a daughter who loves trains means attending National Train Day is a “no brainer” for me.  It is not so much am I going but rather when.  To make our NTD more of an adventure we decided to use Max to get down to the station.  With the yellow line stopping a mere block from the depot that seemed much more fun than fighting traffic.  As we were leaving traffic around the depot was really heavy so I’m very happy I chose to take Max.

National Train Day is about getting people out to learn about trains.  Judging from the crowds around Portland Union Station this morning there was a lot of success with this.  Amtrak put on a great show in Portland this year having a couple of Superliners open for viewing in addition to the historic equipment.  Later in the day one of the Cascades Talgo set was also supposed to be open.  Fabulous!  For people who’ve never ridden the train this will be a perfect opportunity for them to get the feel for what it is like.

My daughter and I had a great time taking in all the sights and sounds (4449 whistle every half hour!) .  In fact my daughter came back with quite the collection of items in her goodie bag including a SP 4449 video she’s been eying for a while.   We are of course looking forward to next year.

National Train Day is Saturday

This Saturday, May 7th is National Train Day. Coordinated by Amtrak through a network of local events, National Tray Day celebrates our railroad heritage with exhibits and information about trains of the past, present, and future.

SP 4449 leads a special train northbound along the Puget Sound at Steilacoom, Washington

I’ll be at the event in Portland, Oregon, where the SP 4449 will join other equipment and displays for railfans of all ages. If you’re in the area, come on down to Union Station between 10am and 4pm and check out the scene. Look for me wandering around with my camera.

Find a National Tray Day event near you.

Fine ’til the 4449

Like Steve, I ended up down at Portland’s Union Station last weekend for National Train Day. Having been to events such as this with large crowds of the public, I knew I probably wasn’t going to get any prize-winning calendar shots. I’ve recently started playing around more with HDR photography so I decided to take a few photos that might let me explore this technique. This worked well for a couple photos, such as this one of an ex-UP caboose:

I was also able to pull out a decent amount of shadow detail around the Oregon Pacific 1202:

Things didn’t go so smoothly for the 4449. The running boards of the locomotive where nice and shiny which reflected the colors of the crowd next to her. These reflections weren’t too bad in the original image, but after processing the photo and tone mapping, the reflections turned into random noticeable splotches on the side of the locomotive:

You win some, you lose some. Hopefully I’m smart enough to learn as I continue to work on technique.

I’m testing a new embedding method with the images in this post. I see a couple issues so I’ll need to get those resolved.

National Train Day – Portland, OR

As most railfans know today is National Train Day.  For those of us in the Portland, OR area that means a visit to Portland Union Station to see the star of many local shows, the SP 4449 Daylight.   There were other visitors like BNSF 7400, “Mt. Hood”, and UP Caboose 25198 but as you can guess the Daylight was the star of the show.

Since my daughter Haley absolutely adores the 4449 and trains in general this turns into a must do event for our family.

Portland Union Station

With Haley, Tammy, and Tammy’s Mom in tow we headed out for NTD adventure.  As I expected there were plenty of people enjoying the nice weather and the trains which made the line for Daylight cab visits about 30 minutes long.  We passed on that but did take advantage of tours of UP Caboose 25198 and GN Empire Builder car “Mt. Hood”.   We also spent plenty of time exploring the booths around the station where Haley picked up some goodies and a couple of new t-shirts.

Waiting for the Daylight

Haley’s most comfortable when she has the full lay of the land so we headed up on the pedestrian overpass at the south end of the station to get a view of all the equipment parked for us to examine.

National Train Day – Portland

On our way out we visited the BNSF 7400.  Rarely do we actually get up close and personal with locomotives so I encouraged Haley to touch the engine and look around it.  We felt the vibration of the engine idling, we looked at the “big wheels”, and admired the BNSF paint.  A perfect end to a great National Train Day!

If you want to read Tammy’s perspective on the day visit her blog.