UP’s 150th In Portland

Two weeks ago Union Pacific brought their E units and the 150th Anniversary train to Portland for display.  Thanks to a family Disneyland vacation my only opportunity to see the train was Friday the 13th, one of the two days it was on display.  The other days it spent in the Northwest I was either in sunny California or was just too warn out from the trip to consider much of a chase.

The fun thing about visiting on Friday was we had the train to ourselves!  Only 50 or so folks wandered around while we took our tour.  This allowed me an opportunity to photograph some details around the train and the locomotives that I wouldn’t normally get.  I also had a chance to meet Ken Fitzgerald, who travelled with the train as the photographer.  He was busy taking photos of VIPs on the rear platform but I did have a chance to chat with him a bit.

I do have to say I was a bit disappointed with the condition of the train.  From a distance everything looked great.  When I walked along the platform next to the train I noticed how dirty it was.  I was shocked to see a light haze of mud on the windows and the sides.  At the front I found the nose of the 951 peppered with bugs.  Had the UP not washed the train?  UP is a class outfit so I’m really surprised they hadn’t hit it with a pressure washer before putting it on public display.   That minor gripe aside (damn, I’m picky) the train really did look good.

Happy Birthday Union Pacific, here’s to another 150!

Rainy Night in Portland

Sunday evening a Google+ photo walk, organized by three local photographers, was held in Portland.   Aaron and I joined in the festivities though railroad photographs were not the primary focus of this walk.  The walkers were made up of a variety of photographers from around the area including some from north of Everett.   The walk started at Union Station and proceeded towards the river, the Eastbank Esplanade, and eventually the Hair of the Dog Brewery on the east side.  Hey, photographers of all sorts love beer, not just railfans!

Sunday the weather grew increasingly wetter and by the time the walk started around 4:30pm the rain was steady.  Despite the dampness quite a crowd showed up and impressed the organizers who thought many would not attended.  I had a couple of rail related images I wanted to capture and right out of the gate I set up for a couple of them.  As we moved along it grew dark and the wet streets started to reflect light from various street lights, headlights, signs, and buildings.  There was a lot of shiny goodness going on!

When I arrived at the Skidmore Fountain MAX stop I saw a wonderful photo brewing.  Street lights lit the area brightly and the reflections from the cobblestone textured streets were spectacular.  I set up my tripod and waited for a MAX train to arrive.  The result?  This colorful image of a westbound blue line train departing Skidmore Fountain.  As we walked we talked about how if any of us got 1 or 2 really good shots from the walk, we’d be happy.  After I saw this shot on the computer, I was happy.

If you are interested in other’s results from the walk you can view everyone’s contributed  images from the photowalk, including mine and Aaron’s here.

Smooth Operators

A couple weeks ago was National Train Day and while I was photographing the event at Portland Union Station I was looking for unique angles and photos that were a bit different that the standard shots of the equipment amongst the crowds. We had gray and intermittently-stormy skies which let to things being wet. At one point I created an image looking down between a Superliner and SP Daylight observation car that were on display. The gray skies, wet pavement, and smooth reflective cars made for an interesting photo.

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.

To Portland

I’m not sure why I don’t visit the Gorge more frequently since it is literally in my front yard.  For some reason I don’t run out there all the time though I’m working on making up for my lack of judgement.  Not only am I going to visit more frequently but since my daughter enjoys going on walks I plan to explore places that I previously had to visit only with my vehicle.

Manifest train M-NPPT (North Platte to Portland Terminal) is on its way to Portland as shown in this photograph taken from the overlook at Bridal Veil Falls State Park.  This was the first of 4 westbound UP trains on Sunday morning.  Unfortunately it literally took them all morning to get from Meno west due to eastbound traffic and a rash of dead crews.