2120 or so…

I make lots of photographs at the Vancouver Amtrak station.  I blame it on the fact I visit on a fairly regular basis.  In the spirit of always looking for something different while I’m on my visits there I give you 2120…

Visiting the same place over and over again sure can put you in a rut when it comes for looking for new and unique viewpoints.  The result is I don’t take photographs every time I visit.  Instead I look for excellent light and interesting subjects and save my memory card for those events.

This image was made on a day when the platform was filled with visiting railfans taking photos.  I chose to keep my camera by my side and let the others have the prime positions and get the shots they were looking for.  In this case everyone had finished shooting the arriving train 513 and had cleared away.  I saw this took my photo while everyone else admired the stopped train.


Amtrak 1 is not something you see everyday. According reports I’ve read, Amtrak 1, 2, and 3 have been roaming the Northwest on the Cascades trains .  I never saw 2 or 3 but I did happen across 1 several few times.  On the 1’s last visit I decided to grab a few photos while it was stopped at Vancouver.

What’s the big deal about 1?  Good question.  I supposd in this modern era where 4 digit engine numbers are most common single digits remind us times past when mom & pop railways numbered their engines in the single digits.  Amtrak certainly isn’t mom & pop but the low number gives us the impression of a small, quaint operation.  That’s my guess anyway…

Train In My Front Yard

Many people ask me why I don’t live closer to the railroad track.  I love trains after all so why wouldn’t I like to live closer?

Oh boy, that can be a touchy topic.  I’d love to live where I could see trains but there are some things about that capability that makes owning a home in one of those locations more challenging.  For me personally my home and family are my priority so I tend to focus on what works best for all of us.  I know my family would not enjoy the noise, smells, and inconvenience of  living by the tracks.  Additionally I purchased a home for us to live in and a bit as an investment.  I would be concerned about living next to the tracks and how that would impact my home’s value.  Those are the main reasons why I’m 3 miles from the closest track.

When I drove along the Evergreen Highway on Sunday I had to laugh at the latest construction project.  As the photo depicts the home has a 4 car garage with a room above (got model railroad?).  The home itself is probably twice the size of the garage building.  The view the home will have is interesting as they can see out to the Columbia and the Glenn Jackson bridge.  Beautiful.  I’d move there if I could afford it.  Maybe.

Look what is in their front yard though.   Yep, the Fallbridge sub and its 20-30 trains a day including coal trains, grain trains, and manifests.  All the heavy stuff rolls right by here.  I’m quite certain that the house will pound when a flat wheel on a loaded 186K lbs. car goes by but fortunately for them most trains move quickly by this location thanks to the number of grade crossings in the area.  That means the middle of the night wake ups shouldn’t last more than a minute and the ground pounders will only rattle the china momentarily.  I guess I’ll find out if the noise is too much for the new owners when a sound wall goes up.

I do wish the new owners the best of luck with their beautiful new home.  Enjoy.

Your Heritage Is Showing

Sunday morning a UP crew brought a couple of locomotives to Vancouver for the O-VWWO empty dirty dirt train.  One unit in the consist was UP 6231, a former Southern Pacific unit, still in “patched” form.  The  crew dumped the power off on the tail track and promptly headed for Muchas Gracias for a mid-morning Mexican food treat.  The railfans of course swarmed like flies on … ahhhh … well … an SP painted locomotive.  Not to be outdone I captured a few images myself.

Built in May 1995 this locomotive is definitely used.  The nearly 17 year old paint is showing signs of all this unit has been through.  The scar on the side indicates it has had the standard GE fuel leak and subsequent fire.  The rust and faded paint show just how long something which sits outside its entire life will remain painted.  Of course the appearance of a locomotive is not what moves the train.

Most interestingly its heritage is showing.  Scarlet and gray paint colors and speed lettering (albeit not an original SP item) shout “SOUTHERN PACIFIC”.  The patch does little to hide the locomotive’s SP heritage.

Foggy Vancouver

Vancouver still has not had winter.  We had a bit of rain around New Years but since we have returned to a fairly mild weather situation.   With the mild weather and cool temperatures we end up with fog.   Sunday it was pretty dense in areas including at the Vancouver Amtrak station.   I did hear one train confirm with the dispatcher that the dispatcher did request a signal for them.  They normally could see the signals from their location but in the fog they weren’t visible.   Just another day on the job right?