Post Star Article August 12, 2010 on the King's Caboose
About a year ago I got back into a Conrail state of mind (for a while) and ended up doing a group of different classes of cabooses. These included ex EL, RDG, PC and LV. At the time I modeled the CR versions (I think) I did them quite accurately. All were based on prototype photos. The original LV's I didn't finish at that time. I was somewhat intimidated by the work I perceived as necessary to do the job right. This situation was corrected this week. It's cool in the workroom and nasty hot outside!!! I don't know if you have an interest in this but, the changes were really just a bit time consuming. My CR (ex LV) was from a prototype that was shopped at Juniata. They added a Pennsy smoke stack and some changes to the ends but other than that it stayed pretty much LV with only a poor paint job It was showing major rust after only three or four years. Reading (under CR) reshopped a lot of cabooses too, by the way. I used the Walthers Proto 2000 as a basis on these, it's head and sholders above any previous model of "Northeast caboose" It was a perfect Reading but not LV. I added the third step to each corner, proper end detail as from the LV shopping of the early 60's, proper height smoke stack and some other small stuff.
We are at the east end of the renovated North Stratford station tonight, as SLR 394 comes down off Bloomfield Hill into the curve near the town square with headlights dimmed. I have tried and tried for "a long time" to see a way to include the attractive Post Office and North Stratford Market in a photo with 394 here. Tonight I partially succeeded! The Post Office is lit up in a very satisfying capture! The best lens I have ever used, the Zeiss 100/2 Macro lens shows off again here, outresolving the 5D sensor, (sending more information to it than can be recorded) capturing the scene. 394 tonight is another money maker for the SLR, with sixty two cars. The normal car count lately has been in the upper thirties to forties. As the consist passed me, from atop the stepladder I heard voices hollering maybe forty cars into the train, I looked across the tracks in between passing cars and saw no one. It was pitch dark on my side, the train blocking any ambient light. I heard more voices hollering to each other and I'm watching the cars come by and I see a form come by hanging onto the handrails of a car running along the ballast! I could'nt believe my eyes. Then here comes another form of a person doing the same thing. 394 was only doing about ten mph through town, but I could not believe what I was seeing! As the rear end came by, I walked down that way but did not spot anyone standing around. I concluded they were hobos, and I wondered wether the SLR has "an ice cream stand" (Vacus x-ray scanner and building) up at the border as the D&H and NECR have. After loading the lights into the Civic, on Cloud Nine, I called the SLR dispatcher to tell him what I saw, then went over to Groveton and poked around looking for new angles around the station to catch 393 returning that morning. As I turn the Civic around in a dirt lot trackside, the headlights light up a pickup track in passing and I stop......did I see a person sitting there? I back up to light up the pickup again and yup....sure enough, there is a man inside.......and Universe deals him his card.......the unknown! As if on cue, he opens the door and hops out, plastic bag in hand with food. Universe deals Gary his card.......the known....... I have seen someone get picked up here during past nights. He comes toward me at a slow jog, not recognizing the "unknown" card Universe has dealt him. I turn on the inside light so he can see me. All the doors are unlocked as I have been in and out of the car while looking around and I'm wearing an LED headlamp on my head, you would think.........but he thinks I'm his ride! LOL! Up to the passenger side he runs opening the door to jump in! A man in his fifties of slender build. Now, in my car, (as Richard Wingler found out one afternoon) you don't just....."hop in" on the passenger side, there are all sorts of gizmos, gadgets, flashlights and items related to night photography on the seat ready to be used! The man sees this collection of "stuff"...... pauses, and Universe smiles! He recognizes the card he has been dealt. This is a strangers car. Leaning in slightly to really look at a smiling Gary wearing a headlamp strapped around his head, he says, "I don't know you"! I reply, you are right! Staring at me now, he says "Who the hell are you!" You don't know, was my reply. I'm NOT your ride, I added. LOL! He started to laugh and apologizing walked back to the pickup! And I swung out of the parking lot to continue looking around, enjoying being on the "known" side as Universe dealt for a change. Maybe the Perseid Meteor Shower, which was in full swing that night, had something to do with people behaving oddly, but it was another night to remember trackside! SHot in North Stratford, NH on August 11, 2010 at 22:14 with the Zeiss ZF 100/2 (Nikon) lens set at f2. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2010;
Dean J. Splittgerber