Saturday, June 21, 2014

Outside the Wire

Me and my herd o' womens went to NYC to see some English-ters put on a production of Macbeth and see the stuff that is cool while we were there. I have been in enough big cities in other parts of the country to have some preconceived notions of what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised, it was a nice place to hang out for several days. Some musings from the trip:

Traveling to the big city by trains is cool.

There's a tremendous amount of abandoned real estate along the railways between DC and NYC.

I know the railways don't always travel through the best parts of cities, but I never expected Baltimore to be such a dump ... wow ... sketchy-town USA.

We may have been the only English-speaking tourists there.

City folk don't like city noises so they all wear earphones when they are outside.

The Walk/Don't Walk signs don't really mean Walk/Don't Walk.

During the World Cup season - and only then - you can wear safety-green or day-glo-orange shoes without folk chuckling at you.

Men can wear skinny jeans if they roll the legs up past the ankle and pair them with brightly colored leather dress shoes ... we saw lots of red ones. The exception is when wearing black leather skinny jeans which must be tucked into the legs into high-top tennis shoes.

The yellow ones don't stop.

Europeans think jorts are cool.

I was never overly concerned for our safety at any time we were there.

Navigating the city was very easy because most streets are numbered, not named; traveling on the subway was fine.

Go to Times Square one time - just to say you've been there - then don't waste tie going back. The same goes for Central Park.

Josh - from FACTs - was in NYC at the same time ... he was in Manhattan when we were uptown and vice versa tho.

I still don't like Shakespeare plays, even when done by a legit knight and Amy Pond's daughter.

NYC has a bunch of gorgeous old churches that were completely surrounded by super-tall, super-modern buildings.

There's a 75% chance that we might have seen two famous people.

When we were at the Top of the Rock there was no tremendous feeling of being up high, I suspect because the things that were close to us were also pretty tall. I couldn't see my house from there.

I opted to take my GoPro camera instead of my Nikon and it turned out to be a mixed bag. While I definitely enjoyed not having to lug the size and weight of the Nikon, I definitely missed having exposure and zoom control. The GoPro is quite amazing for it's size but it's no match for a real DSLR for still shots. I had to get a little heavy-handed with knocking down the exposure to reduce the glare in a lot of these, a polarizer would have been most helpful.

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.
Lower Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry.
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Lower Manhattan.
Entrance to the Cloisters.
Garden in the Cloisters.
Back of the Cloisters
The Freedom Tower.
The Empire State Building.
Emily and Me at the 9/11 Memorial.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Threesies

UPDATE (06/04/14):

The 1070 Wabash & 8099 Southern made a return trip on Wednesday leading 202 back to Pa. This time it would be a daylight run in the early afternoon so I burned a few hours of PTO to get some decent shots. I started back in Jonesborough then made the drive to Bluff City to snap a few as it crossed Boone Lake. The results this time were muchly gooder.




This past weekend saw more of the Norfolk Southern Heritage engines move through Jonesborough than any 3 day period since I've been looking for them. None of the three were new heritage motors for me but the 8105 Interstate coming through on Sunday afternoon was a much better photo op than the night shots I'd got last year.

So this past Thursday afternoon I learned the Interstate would be traveling through on 22A ... but - there's always a but - it was going to be late evening and the forecast was for rain. It was delayed getting into Bristol and then the skies opened up. No photo ops tonight, but there's always a chance it will be sent back on the 23G.

I also learned that both the 1070 Wabash and the 8099 Southern were on 201 ... but ... - there's that but again - it too was going to be a late evening run but at least it wasn't supposed to rain. I'd not seen a single train with two Heritage otors so I really wanted a shot at this one. It was on time toward Bristol until the train ahead of it went into emergency and caused a 45 minute delay. And at this time of day it's a quality 45 minutes of light. So when 201 finally left Bristol it was 8:30 which put it in Jonesborough at 9:15 ... with nothing but street lamps for light. The image below was taken at the highest ISO that's reasonable on my camera and some LR and Photoshop magic applied I got an image that only kinda stinks if you don't look too close. Maybe they'll send it back on the 202.

Norfolk Southern 1070 Wabash and 8099 Southern, Jonesborough, TN (06/01/14)
A Dirty Creamsicle.

The Interstate was indeed scheduled to return on the 23G, and it would be leading on the this trip. Thanks to the facing book trains groups I had a pretty good idea when it would get back to Jonesborough. The only other time I've seen this motor was a rainy night last summer so I was anxious to see it during a daytime run and get some good shots. Several folk on the facing book mentioned that it was very dirty and there was even some "PC" (for Penn Central) drawn into a couple of the dirty white areas. I guess the fact that's got as much white in the paint scheme makes it hard to keep clean, but dang, would it hurt to run it through a car wash once in a while ?
 
Norfolk Southern 8105 Interstate, Jonesborough, TN (06/01/14)
... and the obligatory butt shot - look closely and you can see the PC in the dirty white paint near the numbers.
Norfolk Southern 8105 Interstate, Jonesborough, TN (06/01/14)
__________________________________
Neither of these were new heritage engines, still at 14 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
        1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
        1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
        8025  Monongahela
  #2  8098  Conrail
#10  8099  Southern
  #5  8100  Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101  Central of Georgia
  #9  8102  Pennsylvania
 #14 8103  Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104  Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105  Interstate
        8114  Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Precision Transportation

Being a railfan in the era of social is pretty darn cool. Keeping track of the movements of the Norfolk Southern Heritage fleet is done quite well through a several pages on the Facing Book. The latest win was the Norfolk and Western 8103. 

Most railfolk knew that it was scheduled to drag the NS611 steam engine from Roanoke to Spencer, NC for the Streamliners at Spencer event the weekend of May 29. But it had been hanging around in southern Indiana for a a couple of weeks. It snuck (is that a word?) into Knoxville TN in the late evening of 5/17 and was gassed up and ready to go somewhere. I was hoping that it would be making its move to Roanoke on Sunday morning on 38Q, which usually gets to Jonesborough about 6:30AM.

Armed this info I decided to take a chance and just go hang out in Jonesborough about 6:15 Sunday morning and see if it was on 38Q. I reckoned that since it was still very early and the clouds were really thick that I'd need some street lights to help make a picture. The scanner has been completely quiet so I had no confirmation of train movement to go on. 

Just as I got to to Main St in Jonesborough I saw rail cars going by ... crap crap crap ... I missed it. So I banked hard left and drove back toward Johnson City, hoping that I could outrun it to somewhere that had street lights or was really open toward the morning sky. I decided on the crossing at OmniSource (Johnson City Metal) which had both. I'd never shot there so I knew I would need a few minutes to see if there was a reasonable angle with reasonable light. I fired off a few test shots with the F-stop wide open and kept bumping the ISO and shutter speed until I had a workable histogram. I knew the pics would be noisy at ISO 800 but you gotta work with what light you have. About a minute later I heard the horns.

As you can see below, the pics are noisy. When I got home I saw how underexposed they were and that will only make the noisier when I brighten them up in LR5. Regardless, I have pics of a new heritage motor for me! I'll get better pics when it comes back through, they always come back.

It wasn't until I got into post processing that I noticed the front door was open and the lead engine was #8013 (close to #8103).

NS Heritage 8103, Johnson City, TN (05/18/2014)
NS Heritage 8103, Johnson City, TN (05/18/2014)
_______________________________________________________________
This is a new heritage engine, # 14 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
        1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
        1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
        8025  Monongahela
  #2  8098  Conrail
#10  8099  Southern
  #5  8100  Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101  Central of Georgia
  #9  8102  Pennsylvania
  14  8103  Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104  Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105  Interstate
        8114  Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Veterans Engine

On Tuesday of this week the Norfolk Southern 6920 Honoring Our Veterans unit made another run through Jonesborough ... this time during the daylight !

It was trailing 3rd of 3, westbound on 37Q, but it came through town about 7:45, perfect timing for catching on the way to work.





_______________________________________________________________
This is a not a new heritage engine, still at # 13 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
        1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
        1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
        8025  Monongahela
  #2  8098  Conrail
#10  8099  Southern
  #5  8100  Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101  Central of Georgia
  #9  8102  Pennsylvania
        8103  Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104  Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105  Interstate
        8114  Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630

The Forgotten Hertitage Engine

The red-headed step-child of the Norfolk Southern Heritage fleet is the EMD SD70ACe #1030. While at the gathering of the Heritage fleet in Spencer it was representing modern-day Norfolk Southern, sporting the current horsehead paint scheme. The "30" in the road number signifies the Norfolk Southern 30th anniversary. The front number boards on the #1030 were temporarily changed to 1982 and 2012 to represent the 30 years since the merger between the Norfolk & Western and Southern Railways


The 1030 came through the area after dark earlier in the week on a 22A so i had hopes that it would return on the 23G today. And another win for the FB folk with a nicely timed heads-up when it left Bulls Gap. 23G got hemmed in at Sand Valley by today's 22A which made timing the 23G through Jonesborough very easy.

_______________________________________________________________
This is a new heritage engine but I'm still at # 13 of 20 official heritage engines for me!

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
        1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
        1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
        8025  Monongahela
  #2  8098  Conrail
#10  8099  Southern
  #5  8100  Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101  Central of Georgia
  #9  8102  Pennsylvania
        8103  Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104  Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105  Interstate
        8114  Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuxedo

Another win for the Interwebs, specifically folk from the Facing Book and HeritageUnits.com. I finally got a chance to catch one of my favorite paint jobs on a Heritage engine: the tuxedo paint scheme on the Savannah and Atlanta.

The Savannah and Atlanta has been stuck in Illinois for the past six months save one trip through Jonesborough back in January which I missed - but a week ago there was a glimmer of hope that it would get here when I saw on HU.com that it was making a break for West Virginia. The next update had it in central WV, then silence for a few days then BAM! it was leaving Cleveland Va leading on a coal drag bound for Belmont, NC - which would put it through NETN today. The hard part - as it always is - was knowing when it would get close to us.

FB to the rescue ... a FB buddy from the East Tennessee Rail group was waiting on it just west of Rogersville. I would typically go to Weber City Va to shoot trains coming out of SWVa toward Knoxville but I figured I was too late to the party to get to Weber City before it did ... so ... my shooting buddy John and I took and early lunch and bolted for Bulls Gap TN, figuring that the guy in Rogersville could call us off if were too late to catch it there

The following three pics came out pretty good. It would have been nice to have some clouds to break up the sky but you gotta work with what you have.

Savannah and Atlanta, Bulls Gap, TN (04/23/14)
We'd previously used the Google to scout out what looked like a good train shooting spot with an old building for a backdrop. When we got there we a bit disappointed because they layout wasn't as cool as it appeared on the Google; the railroad crossing was much higher than we expected. In the picture below you can see that a most of the bottom floor of the building is blocked.

Savannah and Atlanta, Bulls Gap, TN (04/23/14)
The obligatory butt shot.

Savannah and Atlanta, Bulls Gap, TN (04/23/14)

_______________________________________________________________
This is heritage engine # 13 of 20 for me!

#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
        1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
        1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
        8025  Monongahela
  #2  8098  Conrail
#10  8099  Southern
  #5  8100  Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101  Central of Georgia
  #9  8102  Pennsylvania
        8103  Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104  Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105  Interstate
        8114  Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630

Monday, April 7, 2014

Southern 630

The 2nd annual running of the ex-Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630 as part of the 21st Century Steam program took place on Saturday and Sunday (4/5 & 4/6). Last year we met it in Bulls Gap for the railroad day festivities and then caught it as it came back by the Salt House in Jonesborough, caught it one last time on the bridge over Boone lake at Bluff City. We didn't want to go back to those places again so we used the Google to pick a few points of interest along the out-bound leg and a few different ones on the return leg.

As it moved west on the first leg of it's trip we planned to see the train arrive in Johnson City to pick up a few passengers, then we moved to the Spring Street crossing in Jonesborough, then to the depot in downtown Greeneville.

On it's return trip we caught it at the W. Irish Street crossing in Greeneville and then one last time as it passed under the Old Jonesborough Road bridge back in Jonesborough.

I took lots of pics that were just fine, nothing special, but not bad. The following two are different renderings of my favorite of the weekend. Which do you like best ?



_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Heritage engine for me. Still at number 12 of 20.

#1 1069 Virginian
#2 8098 Conrail
#3 8104 Lehigh Valley
#4 1073 Penn Central
#5 8100 Nickel Plate Road
#6 8105 Interstate
#7 8101 Central of Georgia
#8 1070 Wabash
#9 8102 Pennsylvania
#10 8099 Southern
#11 1072 Illinois Terminal
#12 1068 Erie
 
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new Special Interest engine for me.
#1 6920 Honoring Our Veterans
#2 6963 GoRail
#3 Southern 630