LAL heavyweight observation car "Traveller" and LAL #420 in Lakeville, NY.
It's June 15, 2006 and I've spent the night here at LaPocatierre, Quebec aspiring towards night photos of trains passing the classic station. Very quiet at night, a couple trains passed by, enough to keep me happy. The white school bus marked with the red CN noodle appearred around 03:00, pulling up and stopping behind the station to deliver members of a section gang to their nearby machines. Various autos arrived shortly therafter, filling up the small parking lot around the station with more section gang members. It was quiet no longer. While most of the track machines were on the passing siding west of town, a pair of tie handlers and tampers were on the short siding immediately to my left. Once their machines were up and running, it did'nt take long before the men came over to talk. I explained I was waiting for VIA #15, and they inquired of a foreman, who told me 308 had to go by first, then the VIA would come west after meeting 308. So we relaxed and tried to maintain conversations, me not speaking french, and many of them speaking broken English at best. 308 came and went. The men explained the gang numbered fifty operators, (Wow! I thought, the track work this gang can do in a day..........) with most members west of town in the passing siding waiting with the rest of us, fo the VIA. Twenty, thirty min. pass by, I'm concerned as the sky starts to lighten behind the station. A couple of gang members ask me if I'm a "spy" for CN, I laugh.....nobody else does. I explain to them I am retired, "no more work" as the sky continues to lighten, I break out my AARP cards which seems to satisfy them. More cigarettes are lit up and more joking in french........it was then that I turned around and saw this! A bonafide sunrise! I check the scanner, still no VIA! Jeez, I thought, you gotta be kidding me, they gonna be late for this! You DO NOT "chase" a VIA train into a sunrise like this, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. I show the sectionmen the image of the station and sunrise on the camera lcd monitor and ask, where is the VIA? They shrug their shoulders, don't know? Then a new voice is added to the talk, I look around and spot the foreman in the white hard hat, below us across the tracks waving at me. VIA he yells, VIA, and points north. I smile and wave a thank you, and drink in the scene before me, as the sectionmen head across the mainline to their machines. The long awaited message comes from the detector a mile and half north of me, in french, but I get the idea, lol! I'm all smiles! I do a quick look around, the gang members, some on the ground next to their machines, some in the cab, watching intently. The flash units are all working. What a backdrop! Then the headlight appears, slowly swinging around the sweeping curve north of the station, and down the straightaway comes the head end of VIA 15. Now I'm thinking he's doing maybe thirty or forty mph, with a fifty man track gang trackside in front of them, and I'm watching thru the viewfinder trying to judge his speed, as the head end comes up past the station, when it dawns on me, holy cow! He's doing track speed! "Click" I "attempt" a wave as the cab of 6413 blows past in a blur, going "real fast", lol! That's all I could think was "real fast"! I wore a smile back to Rivierre-du-Loup and to sleep. The implication of speed is in this photo, in the ballast dust enveloping the rennaisance cars and the exhaust from three F40's flattened down over the train.
Saturday night was very quiet on the D&H "North End", somewhat typical for Saturday nights lately. So, with the work train and rail gang tied up for the weekend, and sunny skies forecast, I was hopeful for a late running southbound to shoot here along Lake Champlains' Willsboro Bay. CP 930 followed 252 out of Canada, arriving Rouses Point around 01:30ish, and I was all ears as the Canadian Crew requested a change to the lead unit on the TGBO.......to the CN 5560! Thus removing one of two big hurdles to overcome in getting a shot at M.P. 144.6, getting a "photogenic" leader and sunny skies. I listened from the compound in Hinesburg as 252 continued south, running through with a D&H crew after passing it's customs check. Then silence after 930 pulled through customs after 01:45 or so. At 03:00 I left the compound and drove ovah to New York, arriving in Willsboro at 05:10 or so. With sunrise due at 06:40, I stopped at the convenience store for a "health food pick me up" in the Doritos' rack, parking trackside in hopes of hearing something on the scanner of 930 coming south. Nothing by just after 06:00, so I started the hike in, knowing I had those two big hurdles out of the way, what the heck! 930 is bound to run this morning sometime. Watching my step walking up the tracks, (there are spots here, right off the ballast, where it's a long drop straight down onto rocks) every now and then I would hear this "whoosh" sound nearby, (like when you close an in-house vacuum outlet), I would stop and look around and see nothing unusual. Then it dawned on me, I was hearing Peregrine Falcons who live here in the cliffs, diving past me hunting for breakfast! At 06:40 I'm finishing the short climb up to my perch here from trackside, not a cloud in the sky and I hear a whistle! From the north, it's gotta be 930! Amazed that my scanner picked up no warning from the two detectors north of me. I look across at the Green Mountains, and the sun is not up yet! What do yah mean 06:40 for sunrise! LOL! It will be 07:00 before the sun has cleared the Greens, as I happily keep an eye on the ever improving light, fingers crossed. Hmmm, maybe the weather service meant 06:40 on the EAST side of VT. Six minutes after sunrise, CN 5560 pokes it's freshly painted nose out of the Willsboro Tunnel Portal, and I'm all smiles! I give the crew a wave as they pull towards me and look through the viewfinder to........"click", and the head end is by me, pulling hard on this southbound grade. Well done guys......Thank You! Shot on Sept. 23, 2007 at 07:07 with the 5D, (ISO 200 & 1/500th) and Leicas' 21-35 zoom set at 23mm and f3.5. Please notice the fisherman in his boat down in front of us here, for an "appreciation" of our postion above him......... please enjoy!
D&H 7303 interchanging with the Battenkill RR in Eagle Bridge, NY.
D&H SCR heading west over the Hudson River Bridge in Mechanicville returning from Eagle Bridge.
D&H Train 414 heading towards Albany over the Erie Canal in Waterford.