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Western Railroad Discussion > Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum

Date: 12/07/17 03:57
Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: santafe199

Here’s scenario I’m sure many of you have experienced in one form or another. You’re on an extended exploratory trip. You’re hop-scotching, scouting out back-road photo locations on a Texas main line you haven’t been on since 1980. Then the inevitable happens. You find a very interesting photo location that just begs for an oncoming train. But the post-hurricane flooding in Houston still has rail traffic all but shut down. The sun has been spotty all day, but it’s shining right at the moment. You have no idea if any trains are even close. You’re haven’t even seen a train on this main line since 9:18 in the morning. And there’s all the chance in the world you may never pass this way again. Once again, paraphrased song lyrics* come into play here:

BN-SF you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you have one on your line
I'll be here 'til the end of time
So you oughtta to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

What to do? The great railfan dilemma! The cat in me is patient, wanting to stay and wait it out. But the mouse says keep running, maybe I’ll find something just as good somewhere else. I can stay and run the risk of getting nothing, possibly wasting valuable time that might have been used in another location farther down the road. Or I can run and miss an opportunity that was going to show up within a reasonable amount of time. Tough choice…

Then the railfan gods smiled on me! A southbound controlled signal behind me going from red to green settled my quandary. And I heard the far-off horn. I set up for a long, head on tele-boomer sequence and smiled back at those railfan gods. Not-so-fast: As I waited for my first train in over 5 hours that blankety blank Mr Cloud made a curtain call. He had a cat & mouse agenda of his own. His shadowy paw prints started pitter-pattering all over my 400mm field of view. For several seconds that field went completely dark. But I was locked in and I was going to stay either way. I looked up and studied the cloud movement, deciding I had a fair chance of getting full sunshine. Depending on how fast the train showed up. I heard a much closer horn.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock…

1. 2:20 PM: More tick tock tick tock …

2. 2:22 PM: A headlight shows, moving as if on a slow order. My field is partly sunny…

Date: 12/07/17 04:00
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: santafe199

3. 2:23 PM: I’m now into rapid shooting, firing of bursts of 4-6 exposures every few seconds, with…

4. …the swooshy face of BNSF 8327 gradually filling the frame. Shots 1-4 coming in @ 400mm.

5. At 2:24 PM, and in full sunshine I back the boomer down to 120mm and discover it’s a 2 (x3) ballast train heading down for some desperately needed track rehabilitation down yonder Houston-way. Except for a parked intermodal at Cleburne, this was to be the last train I saw all day…
(5 photos taken looking north from the 1130 Rd crossing at the north end of the siding at Blum, TX on August 31, 2017)

Thanks for the suspense!
Lance Garrels

*Should I Stay or Should I Go was a cut from the 1981 album Combat Rock by a British punk-rock band called The Clash. Although it never charted in the US, the song was used in a Levi's jeans commercial in 1991. It was reissued as a single, consequently hitting #1 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2004 it was ranked #228 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all-time…

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/17 20:46 by santafe199.

Date: 12/07/17 05:24
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: cornerfieldhobby

Photo 5 I really like.

Date: 12/07/17 07:29
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: CCMF


Bill Miller
Galt, ON

Date: 12/07/17 08:01
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: bmarti7

Thanks Lance. Always enjoy the story behind the photos. BTW you're much more patient than I.


Date: 12/07/17 13:23
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: texchief1

Nice shots, Lance! I've shot at Blum a couple of times. The railroad does not actually go through Blum. I got a good shot of 22(Eagle) meeting a tied up SB coal train.

Randy Lundgren

Date: 12/07/17 19:30
Re: Cat & mouse ‘Clash’ at Blum
Author: wpdude

As the song says, "If I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double"! LOL nice sequence!

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