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Western Railroad Discussion > Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!

Date: 03/18/23 17:43
Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

#3 parked at Topeka, #4 parked at Osage City due to a derailment last night at the Mars-M&M spur” This text message was laying in my cell for almost 2 hours before I saw it. Even so I grabbed the camera gear and ran out the door ASAP. I called Amtrak friend Jim Woods (“mp51w”) thinking he might update me with the latest details. Turns out he was on his days off, and was already on the scene with his camera. I was now eastbound on US hwy 24 in what Albert Einstein once described as ‘high-speed motion’. I knew I still had to gas up, and I discovered I needed to air up a tire. The need for gas I couldn’t work around. The tire was only about 8 lbs low, and could have been taken care of later. But common sense prevailed and I stopped for air at a free spot right off 24 hwy in Wamego. I figure I lost about 2 minutes. It would come back to bite me...

Once back in motion I called Jim again. The still unchanged situation gave me slight hope I might get to Topeka before #3 was turned loose. But coming into Silver Lake Jim called back to say the derailment site was almost cleaned up, and he was heading down to 97th St near Wakarusa. I kept right on plowing. At worst I was now only about 10-15 minutes away from being in position to intercept #3 just south of Pauline. But as I was turning off 470 by-pass and onto Burlingame Rd Jim called again to say he could hear the approaching horn down at 97th St! GAME OVER...

So I altered my madcap dash and kept my southward heading with Carbondale as my new destination. I would have ample time to look for a well-lit spot to shoot #4 as it came north (TT east) later on. I got off the freeway at Carbondale and went west through 4 looong 20 MPH downtown blocks. As I neared S 1st St, the RR crossing gates just ahead activated!!! Oh shit... I made a snap decision to turn sideways right in the middle of Main Street! I rolled my driver’s window down, ripped the lens cap off my D7100 and machine-gunned through close 20 or so shots. (The guy in the pickup right behind me just smiled when he saw my camera... ;^) Thank goodness I last shot @ 1/250th of a second, although I would have preferred 1/500th. Out of that burst I ended up with 6 decent keepers, 2 of which are seen below. 10 frickin’ seconds (now) versus 8 pounds of air (earlier)! I’ll remember this episode for a long time...

1. & 2. AMTK 139, now liberated from being blocked by a switching derailment up in Topeka is hustling train #3 over the W Main St crossing in Carbondale, KS. I was 10 lousy seconds short of bagging a perfectly lit, ¾ approach sequence...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/23 17:49 by santafe199.

Date: 03/18/23 17:44
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

With the surprise bonus of just barely catching #3 I knew I had the luxury of time to find a great spot to shoot #4 coming up from Osage City. Scranton, KS was #1 on my list. (It was a very short list... ;^) I called Jim and he agreed to meet me there. I was already in Scranton looking over the shot at Brownie St while Jim was coming down Fairlawn Rd. Then I drove around and we pulled up at the East Ave crossing simultaneously.

We chatted a while and kicked around some shooting strategy. I knew I wanted go back to Brownie while Jim would stay at East Ave. Maybe. Maybe kinda sorta. Then with his gizmo he discovered the #4 had met #3, but had NOT left Osage City yet. Problems? Waiting on a fresh crew?? Jim decided to make a dash to Burlingame to shoot the big curve. I’ve seen this movie before, and decided to sit tight. TOO MANY TIMES I’ve zigged while my target train zagged, so I wasn’t going anywhere. But Jim did OK. #4 soon left Osage City and Jim got it on his curve at Burlingame. He alerted me and I got ready:

3. HEADLIGHT! Approach.................... Final systems check, click...

4. & 5. Two of seven approach shots. Here’s #4 with 176 leading.

Date: 03/18/23 17:46
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

Can a 67 year old move 5 feet to his right and swivel without falling on his can??

6. & 7. YES HE CAN-CAN! The 176 runs away with heritage unit 161 trailing.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/23 17:55 by santafe199.

Date: 03/18/23 17:47
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

One more generic rear end shot...

8. Amtrak #4 is running onward to Topeka, way too late to make any difference. I drove down Main Street to the “Scranton Tavern Bar & Grill”. Jim arrived from Burlingame a few minutes later and we observed one of the most sacred of railfan rites. LUNCH!!!* My pork tenderloin was perfect, with all the Ruffles I could eat. And Jim had some sort of tasty looking shrimp basket I’ll have to let him describe...
Photos 3-8 taken in Scranton, KS. ALL photos taken March 17, 2023.

Thanks for looking!
Lance Garrels
NO Zona access here!

*Oh yeah... after slightly mentioning it yesterday I’ll come right out and say it today: Jim bought me my lunch! So now I owe him one, big time. Railfanning with a good meal among friends. Just as it should be... :^)

Date: 03/18/23 18:05
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: swaool

The combination of "high speed motion" and low tire pressure usually does not play well together.  It looks like Mr. Cloud tried hard to hose you as well.

mike woodruff
spokane wa

Date: 03/18/23 18:12
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

swaool Wrote: > ... "high speed motion" and low tire pressure usually does not play well together ...

Well... I started out carrying 27 out of a recommended 35 lbs. I'm sure I've been in worse predicaments in past chases. And Mr Cloud was just fooling around. He looked mean, but never was much of a threat... :^)


Date: 03/18/23 18:30
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: King_Coal

Nice photos. Lighting really worke well.

Date: 03/18/23 19:38
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: Gonut1

If you lost pressure in a tire, I'd suggest you have it looked at. Normal tires without some sort of puncture don't lose pressure in less than many month's or even a year's time. I wouldn't want you to miss any other prime time shots! I saw my TPMS light a while back and thought it was a system problem, dang electronics, but gee, it was a nail in a tire. Your photos are too good to miss! So if you feel somewhat jilted by the short notice to photo, imagine how the onboard passengers felt. It sucked big-time for them with these huge delays. 
Great stuff as usual,

Date: 03/18/23 19:52
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: Ritzville

NICE Amtrak shots and narrative!


Date: 03/18/23 23:49
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: mp51w

I'm glad I went down to Burlingame, because I would have certainly been in your shots standing down by the grain elevator.
After I cleaned all the road gunk off my car, I also noticed a low tire.  No problem, the local Caseys across the street
has free air.  Nope!  They charge for air now, and then the machine was out of service anyway!  One of the locals pulled a small
battery operated compressor out of his car and put in a few pounds of air for me.  How's that for small town hospitality!
The Scranton Tavern reciept actually says "The Drunken Bernard" on it!  I thought that was pretty funny!
Your shots of that 161 heritage unit really pop, even with all the dirt!


Date: 03/19/23 00:07
Re: Both SW Chiefs late: more images with a story!
Author: santafe199

Gonut1 Wrote: > ...  If you lost pressure in a tire, I'd suggest you have it looked at ...

I am several thousand light-years ahead of you! I don't mean to sound like I'm down-playing the low air thing, but I have "my own special revolving door" built in at my local tire shop/auto service shop (Burnett's Automotive here in Manhattan). I'm constantly getting tire hazards taken care of there because when I buy my tires I always add the "tire hazard" feature as part of the sale price. And this feature has paid for itself many times over. As most truly active photographers will tell you: picking up nails, shards and other tire hazards is a routine fact of life during average photo activity. Good railfanning doesn't just magically happen from comfortable, safe, "antiseptic" roadways. And quite contrary to the rare example I just related about an emergency stop in the middle of Main Street in small-town USA, good railfanning results come from the willingness to regularly go OFF ROAD in situations that require it. If I was to go shooting without using mostly secondary highways, gravel back roads and even the occasional farm fields (with permission) like I do, then you would NOT be opening my threads as often as you do. Mainly because I would NOT have the photographic results to post like I have in the past several years here on TO. A good railfan chase does not happen when you go out and just sit on your asset someplace waiting for the trains to come to you. You have to be aggressive enough to go after your results, or you get no real results...


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