The night of May 21 found me back in West Brownsville on Main St., lighting all set up, and doin' my thing, waitin' for a train. After spending four hours at a photogenic location and listening to Coast To Coast AM on the radio, I thought a move was in order, and relocated to the top of the street around the church again to catch the jobs I had witnessed the past two nights. Unfortunately for me, I failed to consult with the dispatcher on this move, and instead of shooting trains passing the church, or my original spot, got to watch, as inbound loads came past me. Ha,ha,ha! With CSX power. A later opportunity with CSX at the church became so fogged in the headlight glare was overwhelming. As dawn arrived my intuition proclaimed that "maybe" it was time to move on, at least for now. And I agreed, knowing the dangers of becoming attached to a location and getting "the shot", at the expense of time spent elsewhere. After all, this street running trackage, for all its attractions, was not the only game in town! The PA. State Park I had been cornered into camping at, Ohiopyle, was nicely located halfway between West Brownsville and Mance Curve on Sand Patch! What could be better, than a Saturday evening on Sand Patch at the Mance Post Office? Driving in from the Subway at Meyersdale that evening I was listening via the car scanner as the dispatcher inquired of the Connellsville helper crew how much longer they were available. It seemed there were several eastbounds coming up the west side that had power problems, or were over tonnage or late running. The helper conductor replied they were good until........(I forget the time given) hours, and obviously pleased with this news, remarked how there always seemed to be work for them to do. The dispatcher was pleased with this news of their availability, humorously agreeing with their appraisal of the situation, and started lining up a couple trains down the west side of Sand Patch to stop for the helper. Also pleased with this news was Gary! As I had planned on setting up to shoot eastbounds going past the Mance P. O.! Two years ago when I visited this spot ahead of Memorial Day weekend, I saw very little traffic at night. Tonight, two eastbounds come by in the gathering dusk as I'm enjoying my Veggie-Delite on the picnic table. Owner Dave Snyder told me whenever I'm visiting to make myself at home, and I will, thank you Dave! Having shot from the porch before here, the lighting goes up quickly in the dark. And when I say dark, I mean DARK! Not a light to be seen anywhere. The double track main line off to the right is a ghostly image at best. Three eastbounds come by one hour apart, from 22:30 on, then a lull for two and a half hours with only a couple westbounds coming by on track one. The space of time with no eastbound trains leaves me wondering.......was that it? LOL! The longer the time goes on, the better my chances for another eastbound. Then it happens! The scanner erupts as a westbound is calling out the next signal below me, quickly followed by an eastbound identifying his train symbol then......... "green at Manila with 4082" then silence! "Manila" is just outside the east portal of Sand Patch Tunnel, maybe a mile away upgrade. Quickly in position behind the 5D, the w.b. train climbing toward me can be heard clearly, I do a test flash to make sure all is well with the lights. It is now I stop and ask myself.............4082?......4082? What the heck is that? I don't believe the rebuilt SD 40-2s CSX is doing in the 4000 series run up this far in the numbering system yet. We will find out shortly I conclude! From my camera position I can step back and look 90 degrees to the left as the westbounds headlights appear in the dark rounding Mance Curve, making short work of Sand Patch with a lighter than normal train of containers! They pass by at track speed, leaving me waiting, watching.........outside the porch its pitch black, the shadowy containers keep going by on the far track. Finally headlights glint off the passing containers, I fire off an awareness flash for the crew and settle into a crouch behind the camera. Headlights appear and I don't hear a thing until the cab is nearly in position, then with a flash watching through the lens, the image is captured, reflecting for a split second back through the lens...........red/yellow, KCS colors! Instictively I jerk my head up to look, at headlights passing by in the darkness! LOL! Then returning to the image, Kansas City Southern SD 70-2s! At Mance! A first for me shooting this paint scheme! Remember my past remark about departing Lawrenceburg, Indiana after two days and not staying a third, and how it would prove to be a beneficial decision? Here at the Mance P. O. several nights later, I reap the rewards of that decision! The traveling flag even frames the Kansas City Southern spelled out on the hood. Not bad timing with the 5D shutter in pitch darkness! After capturing this image, it was time to sit and have some tea in gratitude at Mance for Gary! What a location to catch this power in! Shot on May 22, 2011 at Mance, Pennsylvania with the 5D and Nikkor 14-24/2.8 lens set at 14mm and f2.8. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2011;


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