The Albina Conference

Like a ritual, BNSF’s Everett, WA to UP Albina yard manifest train stops at the Vancouver depot on every trip.  This stop is primarily to pick up UP orders but usually turns into a conference of sorts as the yard master and conductor review the paper work and delve into other issues of the day.  For unqualified crews, the UP will supply a pilot to help them through the maze of radio contacts and unfamiliar tracks but since this has been a regular train for a few years now fewer BNSF crews need guidance.

After this day’s conference the conductor climbed back aboard the train to go down through the contact list.  Albina run through yard master, Albina tower, Vancouver Terminal dispatcher, and finally the Columbia Draw.  Ten minutes after the conference is over the M-EVEABN is finally on their way again.

Signs of Spring

With rain, wind, snow, and cool temperatures over the past four days Vancouver has felt more like November than April.  Despite the forecast there are certainly signs of spring around as can be seen in this photograph of an empty coal train departing Wintler Rd last weekend. Now the weather just needs to cooperate.

Sixth Street

Sixth Street

Amtrak train 27 passes over the venerable 6th St. overpass

Modern, elegant, and stylish or old, boxy, and crumbling.  How would you describe the railroad underpass at Sixth St. in Vancouver?  I’m afraid I’d have to go with the latter three descriptions just based on appearance.   Each time I drive under it I question its strength though I’m sure that its design and construction is sufficient because the trestle still does its job just fine.  I guess I’m spoiled by more modern construction that looks far more substantial and overbuilt…especially in the railroad arena.

I thought it would be a good idea to start capturing some images of this structure since over the next few years it will be replaced as part of the re-development of the former Boise Cascade paper plant site.  From what Aaron and I gathered at the open house last winter there will be a shoo fly in place for several years while the new structure is constructed.  The new lead for the Port of Vancouver is being built with a very nice overpass structure at 6th St. and 4th St. which should allow for two 10-12 ft. auto lanes plus a bicycle lane.  Oh, and the clearance appears to be much more modern than the current 8′ 8″ height.  It will be nice to be able to pass under this without having to remove the railroad radio antenna from my rig!

[tags]  trains , railroad, railfan, photo, photography, amtrak, vancouver, washington [/tags]

Winter’s Still Here!

How can I be so positive in my assessment?  Here’s how…

1.  Its very foggy.  Amtrak Cascades train 500 of the 27th departs Vancouver shrouded in heavy fog.  With the recent power issues the Cascades are having it probably a good thing a Dash-8 is supplying the power today.

Amtrak Cascades train 500 in the fog

2.  Rail cars exiting the Gorge are covered in snow.  Thanks to a good dose of snow between Skamania and Bingen even trains that park at Eighth Street for a few hours, like this grain train, are still covered in the white stuff.

Packed Snow

3.  Trains have snow on the nose.  It looks like this M-SPOLVJ enjoyed the brunt of the storm as it passed between Bingen and Skamania.

M-SPOLVJ is plastered

Winter’s still here!

[tags] amtrak cascades, bnsf, columbia river gorge, photos, railroad, snow, trains, vancouver, wa, winter [/tags]