Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Monopoly Train

One of the more colorful paint schemes in the Norfolk Southern Heritage fleet is the 1067 Reading (pronounced "redding") Bee Line Service. I know almost nothing about this railroad other than it's one of the four railroads in the US version of the Monopoly! game. 

I was particularly interested in why it was called the Bee-Line Service, I figured it had something to do with the "make a bee line for" axiom which means "to move quickly and directly towards a particular person or thing", which sounds like something good for a railroad to do. I did a quick google of the interwebs and found this in a wiki: "... one the most innovative ideas during this time was the Bee-Line service which would dispatch an engine on demand to customers wanting to ship more than 5 cars." So there ya go.

This chase started out like most for me, with a post on the facing book. It stayed overnight at Sevier yard and left there about 1PM headed through Bulls gap to the coal fields of SWVa and beyond. The hardest part of tracking trains on this path is there's a black hole of information about train movement between Bulls Gap and Weber City. So I made an educated guess. It's approximately a 50 mile run from Bulls Gap to Weber City, so I figured it would take about two hours if it didn't have to stop. Me and a buddy took the afternoon off and went to stake out the track in Weber City.

We got there with about 30 minutes to spare. And even had time for some BBQ and a cold beverage before the chase began.



This first picture was taken along the tracks behind Brad's BBQ. The sun was way bright and lens flares were a real problem.


This one is at the trestle over Copper Creek. The Copper Creek Viaduct that's used by CSX is the high trestle in the background.


This one was taken at the Dyno Nobel? loading tower on Railroad Ave just out of Duffield Va. I thought the tower might add some cool to the picture, I'm not sure it adds that much cool.


The last one was taken at a bridge crossing about 5 miles past Duffield, I think the light was better from the other side of the tracks but the angles weren't nearly as good. So this is what I got.


__________________________________
A new heritage engine for me, I'm at 19 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066  New York Central
#19  1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
 #16 1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
 #18 1074  Lackawanna
 #17 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, September 7, 2014

Radio Active

It's been a really good weekend for catching Norfolk Southern Heritage motors. The third new one for of this weekend was the only one I'd planned on, go figure. The NS1074 Delaware Lackawanna and Western came through earlier in week on 16T so I knew there was a chance it would come back on 15T this weekend ... and it did! 

The one major flaw in the plan was that the T's usually run through Jonesborough at night, so I had a funny feeling I would have to get a night shot if I wanted a picture. My success rate with night shooting trains is awful. But I went on anyway. 

It was a trifecta of fail because tt was just starting to rain, so I found an overhang to shoot from under, but this limited me to a small alley because I was shooting with a fixed 35mm lens which meant I had to be a certain distance form the rail to get the train in the frame. 

The resulting picture below serves only to prove that I actually saw the engine. I hope to get another chance real soon so that I can remove this one ....


__________________________________
A new heritage engine for me, I'm at 18 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
 #16 1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
 #18 1074  Lackawanna
 #17 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

Mongo

It's been a good weekend for train pictures ... I saw another of the Norfolk Southern Heritage engines today, the 8025 Monongahela, and it was a complete surprise! I had been watching the 8025 on a web site that tracks them because it had been hanging around the Birmingham area, and that's where the 16T originates. 

I was chatting with a FB friend, making plans to get a picture of a different heritage motor that is on a different train when we heard the dispatcher give a track authority to the 8025. I sprang into action ... well actually I got my camera and drove to my usual place in downtown Jonesborough to wait on it. Low and behold it really was Mongo leading the m42. I'm not sure how it got all the way from Birmingham to Jonesborough without someone reporting it, but there it was.




__________________________________
A new heritage engine for me, I'm at 17 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
 #16 1071  Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072  Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073  Penn Central
        1074  Lackawanna
 #17 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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jersey Girl

Thanks again the Facing Book for alerting me to another Norfolk Southern Heritage motor that I hadn't seen. This time it was on train 22A, it wasn't leading, but it was still coming through. 

I wanted a shot of the rear of the engine, the side and the nose. I also knew it was facing rearward so shooting at my usual train shooting spot was going to be a bit trickier than normal because at the time of day it came through the angle of the sun makes serious glare at certain points. 

I got there about 30 minutes early and it was raining ... bummer ... but then it stopped ... yeah ... but then it stayed cloudy ... bummer ... then the clouds started rolling away ... yeah. I'm glad I had time to work on camera settings for a while because It was much darker than I expected so I need a lot of test shots to gets a happy medium between speed - for a clear shot of a moving target - and brightness.

I thought I was positioned properly for the three shots I wanted, but I was a bit too close. so the butt shot had the nose clipped, the side shots were off center, and most of the nose shots had spots of glare. Well darn. The following is the best of the bunch.



The nice thing about it being on 22A is that it's likely that it will return on the 23G in a few days. So hopefully I'll get another shot at getting it right.

__________________________________
UPDATE: (09/10/2014)
The 1071 made a return trip through the are on train 23G, and this time it was leading! It's notoriously hard to get the timing right on 23G, but it had made two recent trips through here about 7:00AM, so I was hoping for a repeat, but Just to be sure I was up and ready to go at 6:00AM. 

When I heard it clear Jonesborough on the scanner I took off for the bridge over Boone Lake in Bluff City. Traffic was with mr and I arrived in plenty of time ... just to find the whole place socked in with fog ... crap! It was too late to go to another spot so I stayed at the bridge hoping the sun would get up high enough to burn off some of the fog before 23G got there.

The wind picked a bit and the fog blew in and out, mostly out. When the train got to the bridge the fog was just about right, but I didn't get the exposure just right, so the pics are a bit darker then I'd like, but there's a nice reflection. All in all it's not too bad; I'd like another shot at it though.


__________________________________
A new heritage engine for me, I'm at 16 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066  New York Central
        1067  Reading
#12  1068  Erie
  #1  1069  Virginian
  #8  1070  Wabash
 #16 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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lightning Stripes

UPDATED: 10/05/2014

The NYC made a surprise return visit on  a cool bright Sunday morning on the 16T. I saw on HU.com that the NYC was in Asheville yesterday on a train that ends up in Knoxville. I then heard the dispatcher give a TA to a 106-something to proceed to Piney Flats. I knew the 106x series were all SD70ACe's with the coolest horns out in the fleet, so when I heard the train horn in Jonesborough I took a chance and made a quick run to Johnson City Metals ... Jut in case.

My efforts were rewarded with the following two pictures of the NYC leading 16T eastward toward Bristol.


 __________________________________

It's been a while since one of the Norfolk Southern Heritage engines came through the area. The fine folk on the Facing Book posted about the New York Central coming east from Chattanooga on 16T which meant a daylight opportunity for a shot at a new Heritage motor for me. The reports had it trailing 2nd of three so I knew it wouldn't be a great photo opportunity. And I wasn't sure when 16T typically moves eastbound from Knoxville so it was going to be a wait-by-the-scanner day.

I heard the dispatcher give a track warrant to a westbound 29W which would meet some unknown eastbound at Telford, so I went to Jonesborough to wait on the eastbound, just in case. I got a few shots of the SD60 leading the westbound 29W - which was kinda cool - then I heard the dispatcher give a track warrant to 38Q coming into eastbound into Telford ... bummer ... not the train I thought the NYC was on. But it was only 10 minutes away so I decided to wait and take a few pics because 38Q usually has 5 or more engines so it's always cool to see and hear that.

I snapped a few pics of the whole consist as it came toward Jonesborough, and imagine my surprise when I saw the lightning stripes of the NYC trailing 5th of 5. I had already lowered my camera so I had to quickly get back on task. I got off six shots, the best three are below.




Trying to get a good shoat at an engine that far back in the consist is hard enough when you have time to plan for it, so I'm pretty happy they turned out as well as they did given the hastiness of the shooting.

__________________________________
A new heritage engine for me, I'm at 15 of 20.

#00  1030 The Forgotten Heritage Engine
#13  1065  Savannah and Atlanta
#15  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

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 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 your time going back. The same goes for Central Park ...meh.

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