All The Best In 2013;Gary Knapp
Riverside Station on the Saratoga & North Creek
We return to Riverside Station alongside the Hudson River tonight on the Saratoga & North Creek for another night photo of BL2 #52. I’ll enjoy all the moments universe wants to send my way like this one! In addition to the ever attractive BL2, my friend Greg Klinger has agreed beforehand to pose for me with the BL2 passing by! Mother Nature provides a steady light rain with temps in the low fifties. What could possibly go wrong? Ha,ha,ha! I arrive at the pre-arranged 8 pm, (no small feat in itself) and meet up with Greg, and we go about placing the lights for the scheduled 9:05 pm appearance of train 185. Tonight, keeping in mind how elevation is everything with train photos, no matter day or night, I have planned to go for a higher viewpoint, up atop the caboose. With Gregs help I have camera, tripod and large umbrella in place some twenty minutes before train time. Life is great! Test shots look fine, I ask Greg to move a flash unit for me, otherwise we are ready. We let nine pm arrive before either of us mentions to the other that “hey, we have not heard that ‘boat horn’ yet, remember last Sat. night we heard it some fifteen minutes before we saw headlight glow?” 9:05 passes, the time we saw 185 a week ago, with no sign of a train. No problem we confidently conclude, they are a little late tonight that’s all, maybe the fallen leaves are giving the BL2 problems. 9:30 then 9:45 pass with no boat horn sounds, now we are concerned as this is a scheduled passenger train. All sorts of doubts are manufactured in our heads as to what happened? Ten pm and we hear that most welcome low toned sound! lol! Minutes pass by as we listen to engine exhuast, followed by quiet breaks, then more engine exhaust sounds then finally headlight glow can be detected, then the headlights of 52 come into view below the station, yes! Success is at hand! I direct Greg into position below me............then we both notice..........the train has ah..........stopped! Maybe two thousand feet away, there #185 sits, then the ditch lights go off, never a good sign. We agree that dose’nt imply good things. It becomes a stare down, lol! Nobody moving. Neither Greg or I have our scanners handy to monitor any conversations between crew and dispatcher, so we wait. After several long minutes, happily the ditch lights come back on! Forward! I’m thinking. And the BL2 led 185 struggles up to the station and stops, this time only some fifty feet away from my planned position for the photo! Oh, so close! But no cigar. However, now the conductor appears, walking up the platform past Greg, says a few words with him and continues past the caboose greeting me on the roof underneath the brightly colored golfing umbrella from La Grange, to the grade crossing behind me where he manually shuts off the crossing signals and waves waiting traffic by. Greg hollers up to me.............”wet leaves! They are having problems with wheel slip!” Once the road traffic is cleared the conductor resets the crossing signals and walks back down to us to ask Greg...............”the question”. “WHERE DO YOU WANT IT?” Greg looks up at me, and I holler instructions to the conductor who relays them to the engineer. I reflect how Greg and I just went from “Rags to Riches”, ha,ha,ha! As the crew positions the BL2 for us. I fire off a couple shots, then ask for the ditch lights to be turned back on please, (as I plan for them to be on when setting up the lighting) then fire off several more shots. The engineer emerges from the front door of 52 and I climb down to greet an old friend from long ago, Tom Carver! Amid handshakes, pleasantries and of course the obligatory “chimping”, (oohing and ahhhing at the images on the camera lcd monitor) we are told the train is empty of passengers, and they are out of sand for traction on the wet rail and fallen leaves. They have their doubts about climbing the grade out of Riverside and mention how they will back down below the station to get as much of a run at it as they can . And with that disclosure the crew says goodbye and heads back to their duties on board, leaving Greg and I basking in being spoiled! In my case at least........AGAIN! As the BL2 led passenger train backs away from us, I do the only logical thing to do in this case, and climb back up atop the caboose, as you would I’m sure! This time for a photo runby! A totally different experience versus shooting the train stopped! Once they roll past us and out of sight into the darkness, I climb down and collect the equipment with Gregs help. Before long though..............here they come. Back out of the night into view and over the grade crossing comes train 185, unable to climb the grade out of town! The crew ends up tying the train down overnight out of sight, and a crew van picks them up for the ride back to North Creek, while Greg and I bask in our accomplishments. Having Greg in the photo waving makes a huge improvement in my opinion. And hey? Where else in this world of ours, can one see a BL2 built in 1949 working with a B39-8 built in the mid-eighties in 2013? Only here, on the Saratoga & North Creek! Every night is an adventure! Shot on October 19, 2013 at 22:24 in Riverside, NY. Special thanks to Greg Klinger and the S&NC crew on train 185! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.