Wabash Cannonball

Overnight the first member of the NS Heritage Fleet to appear on the D&H North End, NS 1070, The Wabash engine, led train 931 north! I initially planned to catch the 1070 at Port Henry and Plattsburgh, as its crew was called for 15:30 at Saratoga, but I did not plan on them running non-stop, with no meets. If not for an email heads-up from Al Whalen mentioning that 931 was already by Ticonderoga at 18:00, I would have made the disastrous decision to head for Port Henry first! Only to find 931 long gone. Whew! As it was, I departed Hinesburg at the uncomfortable hour of 6 p.m. in daylight, and around 8 p.m. I was on approach to Plattsburgh when I heard 931 at an equipment defect detector located several miles south of the city! The ugly realization was setting in that it was quite possible I had blown my opportunity with the Wabash unit at Plattsburgh as, knowing the running time from the detector to the station, I would not have time to setup before 931 came past me. In rides North End Dispatcher “Sandy” to my rescue! At the time, there was a loaded crude oil unit train, (608) going through the customs inspection further north at Rouses Point. Sandy radioed the crew on 931, telling them they would be pulling in at Bluff Point, located south of the station in Plattsburgh, to meet 608, explaining they were going through customs at the time! Absorbing this “most fortunate” turn of events, the thought occurred to me..............flowers might be in order for this woman, lol! Again I ask you, aren’t railroad scanners wonderful? In light of hearing this news, I happily drove through Plattsburgh down to the lake front where the ex-D&H station is located, to find a small group of railfans waiting to see the Heritage unit on 931. They are all members of my mailing list, and holler greetings to me as I set up the lights well away from their location. Some of these folks have not seen me since before my heart valve replacement operation! We stay apart until after 931 goes past, as some of them are videoing the train from just below where I set up the stepladder opposite the station. I know the lighting setup here well by now, as this is a favorite spot for me at night, and no areas of concern attract my attention when I test the lights. Once 608 goes past us, with veteran D&H engineer Marty Shapiro at the throttle, I take the clippers and cut back some of the offending brush, again...........I “think” I improved things, LOL! After seeing the crowd of railfans as well as myself, setup for a northbound, Marty no doubt wondered what was coming. He would soon find out as his train met 931, we could hear him inquiring about their lead engine over the scanner with 931s crew, and he warned them Gary was up at the station along with a bunch of people waiting to see them. 931s engineer replied they were warned before they left Saratoga that people would be out taking photos of that engine. Then the scanner fell silent, and a happy calmness settled over me, knowing I had eliminated “most” everything that can go wrong in executing these night photos. What better location to see one of the NS Heritage units than here, up close, going past the Plattsburgh Station? Several minutes pass by, then the welcome low rumble characteristic of GE prime movers reaches our ears, and every ones attention is on the crossing at Dock St. as the gates and lights are activated and NS 1070 comes into view! I fire off an awareness flash of the lighting for the crew out of habit, they’ve been told I’m in here, and watch as the Wabash cab rolls into the scene. Sometimes I have a sense of time going into “slow motion” as I watch the cab coming into the scene, but..........not tonight! Suddenly they are at my mark, and I press the shutter release, capturing the moment! Then attempt a wave as the cab passes by. Thank You! What a sight! Examining the lcd monitor afterwards, I conclude part of the appeal of this location is the obvious contrast between the ugly weed growth in the foreground, the glamorous Wabash heritage engine, and the elegant ex-D&H station in the background. Glowing after shooting this scene successfully, I go up to join the group below the station, meeting people I know by name only who are on this list, as well as personal friends I have not seen in a long time due to our different lifestyles, lol! SHot on September 15, 2013 at 21:27. Special thanks to Kevin Burkholder for making this possible, and Al Whalen for a timely “heads up” on 931s time at Ticonderoga! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2013;
Gary Knapp

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