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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> If you like trains like I like trains
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09/17/2005 11:32:43 PM · #1
Did I mention I like trains, no, I love trains.

So a couple of weeks ago I'm at a familiy reunion in a small town in sourthern Idaho - and I hear a train approaching the town. I jump in my car and start to chase it. I drive 5 miles ahead or so, and shoot as it goes past, and repeat.

So I've done this about 8 times, or about 40 miles, and the train doesn't come! I'm pretty sure that it didn't turn off the track, so I go back to find out what's up.

Well they've stopped to pick up a car. I pull up and start shooting the proceedings. As I'm shooting some shots of the engineer, I see him motioning. I figure it's to the other guy that's hooking cars, but realize that he's motioning to me to come over to him.

I get over there and he asks if I want to just ride along so I don't have to chase so much! Dude! I turned into a 6 year old instantly! So I rode along with them for an hour or so while they rearranged cars, then they went to lunch and kind of gave me free reign to shoot while they were gone.

So I got some shots, but more importantly, I got to ride the train! Oh sure, it might seem dumb to you, but this made my year!

Oh, here's some of the shots I got - had some fun in PS I'm sure you'll see.

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09/18/2005 12:58:18 AM · #2
Hey, dude, that's way cool! Whatta blast! But how did you get back to your car?

Interesting post processing you're doing here :-)

Robt.
09/18/2005 01:01:28 AM · #3
I am jealous beyond all belief.
Last ride along I did was 16 years ago and that was only 2 minutes in the middle of a yard... your experience sounds amazing. Nice photos as well. Not a huge fan of the uber-PS treatment but I love the photos as a whole.
09/18/2005 01:02:33 AM · #4
Originally posted by digitalknight:

Oh sure, it might seem dumb to you, but this made my year!


No way does that sound dumb to me...it's those things that make you feel 8 years old that make life so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
09/18/2005 02:00:30 AM · #5
You messed up the punchline -- you were supposed to say that the engineer motioned you over to tell you that HSA agents would be dropping by in a couple of Blackhawks in a few minutes to remove you to places unknown for the duration ...

You also left out the reaction if/when you got back to that reunion ...

Congratulations on a great experience! My (5 YO) son and I had a somewhat similar (if less dynamic) experience visiting a fire station a couple of years ago -- got him up in the cab and let him blast the horn and stuff.

If it won't get the train personnel in trouble, you ought to send them a letter and a print or two.
09/18/2005 02:18:30 AM · #6
there was a time in my life that private investigators from the railroad showed up at my door - but that's another story...

We went back and forth for a couple of miles assembling the train according to a computer printout they had. I asked why it had to be that way, they said they didn't get paid to think...

I got back to my car and there was a police car behind it. Seems in my excitement, I left it running! LOL So he came up to the car, the camera bag was open, there was an open bottle of Gatorade on the floor, the radio was on, and the enging running. I walked up and the first thing he asked was "how's LeeAnn" who is my wife. I thought that an odd question.

He had found her ID in the car, and I showed up without her, he was suspicious to say the least. So I spent another 45 minutes going over the story again and again "They let me ride on the train! I just got excited! Really officer...".

I got back to the reunion 45 minutes late for my shift at the grill to cook for the family. Once I explained ("I got to ride a train!") they were pretty cool about it. They were sad to see the uber-ps'ed versions too - but liked the straight photos. What can I say, it's art, and I like it!

You know when a train starts from a standstill with a big load, a long set of cars on it, and as it's starting up, the ground just throbs with the sound and the generators doing their thing? You should be inside the cabin when it's doing that - it was better than any amusement park ride I've EVER been on! :-)

Now I've got to find out when the model railroad show is coming back to town, THEY would appreciate my photos!

This will all make me smile for at least a year to come.

edit to fix some spelling

Message edited by author 2005-09-18 02:19:54.
09/18/2005 02:26:07 AM · #7
Hahahaha! You wife-muderer, you! And, Car running and CAMERA BAG left in car? Sheesh! Talk about excited!

R.

Message edited by author 2005-09-18 02:26:43.
09/18/2005 02:54:06 AM · #8
Great story, and I am way jealous. I also like trains, but I'm even more facinated by the people that work on them and drive them and make the whole railyard thing tick.

There is a huge UP railyard in my town and I have been so tempted to try and gain access to the site for an extended time in order to chronicle the way it works.

One day perhaps. For now, though, I'm so jealous....
09/18/2005 03:49:31 AM · #9
I like trains too. I have a friend whose an engineer. They're hard to shoot at night while moving though.

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09/18/2005 04:32:42 AM · #10
I love trains, too and I've chased one in the Mojave desert, on a dirt road, till the cupboards in our camper van broke from potholes... ;-)

It doesn't seem dumb to me at all, I'm just saddened by the fact that even freight trains are such a rare sight in the vastness of the Western US. Instead, there are millions of friggin trucks driving around, using billions of gallons of gas/diesel fuel every year that could be saved if you guys had modern, diesel-powered trains. Let's not even think about electric.

I used to live in NYC and the trains there, local and intercity are dreadful, terribly slow.

I live in Zurich, Switzerland right now and the train system here is UNBELIEVABLE! 9 out of ten trains leave the main station within 30 seconds of their scheduled departure times - mind you, they even ARRIVE on time...

A ride that takes you 80-100 minutes on the highway by car, takes me 57 minutes on a high speed train. ultra convenient, affordable and so relaxing compared to driving a crowded highway.

If you ever made it to Switzerland, digitalknight or others, contact me beforehand and I'll see if I can get you to ride with a high speed train operator for an hour or so, doing 100+MPH - how cool would that be? ;-P

Enjoy your fond memories and keep those train shots coming.

PS: here's the departure times schedule of Zurich main station, just to give you an idea. We're a small city, just over a million people, including the suburbs, but boy is this place bustling with excellent public transport! On this very Sunday morning at 10 am there are 50 (!) public transport departures from ONE place (i.e. main station building, local and express tracks, boats just outside, trams and buses) within 8 minutes:

//fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/bhftafel.exe/dn?

Gotta love it! Oh, and did I mention that roughly 85% of Swiss public transport is electricity powered and of the rest, the vast majority is relatively clean, particle filtered (!) diesel engines for heavy buses and short distance freight train "rearrangement" - not to mention the fact that 95 % of our trains, trams and buses are modern (10 years old or younger) while NYC still has 5- as well as 40-year old subway trains...

My unlimited ride pass for all but the most exclusive mountain railroads costs me less than USD 200 per month. A parking space in a garage around the corner costs USD 120 per month - car, gas, maintenance etc. not included. Our car share "club" with roughly ten different size cars within 2 to 5 minutes walking distance from our appartment costs us USD 50 a year, use of cars costs next to nothing, all inclusive (reserved, hassle-free parking, gas, taxes, insurance, maintenance, cleaning etc): a compact is about two bucks per hour plus 25 cents per mile, a minivan roughly double that - try that with an SUV you own or are still paying for at the current gas prices...
09/18/2005 05:10:25 AM · #11
A few of mine (Train related)
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09/18/2005 11:10:13 AM · #12
Originally posted by bear_music:

Hahahaha! You wife-muderer, you! And, Car running and CAMERA BAG left in car? Sheesh! Talk about excited!

R.


For the record, it was JUST the camera bag with a broken 70-300 lens - and it's a HUGE bag - . I had the other lenses in pockets, and the camera with me of course! And it was rural Idaho, my car was probably 150 miles from the closest town. (by town I mean more than one gas station - there's LOTs of little places with just a little gas station!)

Between the people still being pretty darn honest there, and the fact they are all farmers more likely to want a new implement over a crummy Sigma lens, I feel pretty safe in those small small places. (knock on wood!)
09/18/2005 11:13:02 AM · #13
Originally posted by BeeGee:

If you ever made it to Switzerland, digitalknight or others, contact me beforehand and I'll see if I can get you to ride with a high speed train operator for an hour or so, doing 100+MPH - how cool would that be? ;-P



Oh I do hope to make it there someday! My biggest fear is they are designed for "normal" sized people, and my 6'7" (2 meter) self will have to cram into a seat, much like the airline to get me there!

Still, any train ride is worth the hassle. But I must see Switzerland before I die!
09/18/2005 11:14:49 AM · #14
Originally posted by BeeGee:

I live in Zurich, Switzerland right now and the train system here is UNBELIEVABLE! 9 out of ten trains leave the main station within 30 seconds of their scheduled departure times - mind you, they even ARRIVE on time...

You could say that they run like a Swiss watch ... : )
09/18/2005 11:17:03 AM · #15
no way it's dumb, always great to read a story like the enthousiasm drips off my screen ;)
09/18/2005 11:20:47 AM · #16
i think that sounds like a really cool experience. here's the old train dudes who appreciate train appreciaters!
09/18/2005 11:27:55 AM · #17
I LOVE trains.... luckily abuot 15 years ago I got to ride a STEAM train from Pontiac, Michigan to Fort Wayne , Indiana and back. IT was a dream come true and something I want to do again!! I'll have to look for the photos of it and scan em in ...
09/18/2005 11:41:16 AM · #18
I like trains too. I'm gonna go photograph some today :)
09/23/2005 06:10:31 PM · #19
beautiful fall day, rocky mountains, and trains! Here's some that I liked best
09/23/2005 06:29:50 PM · #20
Here is the largest working steam engine train in the world.

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09/23/2005 06:33:25 PM · #21
I take my 7 and 2 year old boys down to watch the train folks put the freighters together about once a week. Taken about 200 different engines so far and great derailment documentation too. They really like it, also the flattened pennies. Nice shots.
09/23/2005 07:27:34 PM · #22
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Like trains well...

If your in the Las Vegas, NV or Lake Havasu, AZ area, check out the little town called Kingman Arizona.

I pulled off on my way to Sedona in May to drive on Historic Hwy 66. Well there was a train going through there about every 20 minutes or so.

There was cactus and interesting rock formations to shoot while waiting for the next one.

Here you can see two tracks for passing purposes. Couldn't wait long enough to get 2 trains in one shot.

It must be the main route into Southern California.

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