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Western Railroad Discussion > Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------


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Date: 06/07/24 17:17
Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: SP8595

---------with very limited success.

On what has got to be one of my longest outings just for one stinking train, I spent 21 hours yesterday trying to get shots of Canadian National SD70M-2 #8878 as it led an empty coal train out in Western Colorado!

The plan was to get up early and catch it heading up the Craig Branch at the Crater Loops right around Sunrise. I set the alarm for 2:40 in the morning and then drove the two and a half hours from Grand Junction to be in position. The plan almost worked out perfectly but the dang train showed up not 20 minutes before the Sun could pop over the Mountains:{
I next headed over to Egeria but the Sun was only hitting the tracks at one spot there and it required a hike that was both longer and tougher than I anticipated and I ended up barely making it for the shot. To try and make the return trip back to the car quicker, I took my shoes and socks off to wade across the stream:}
The train was set-up 2xFRED and was going to pick up 4 more engines at Phippsburg that were "stolen" off of the Hayden Shuttle to use as swing and rear helpers. Since the train ran a little too early for shots between Bond/Orestod and P-burg, the hope was for shots in decent light when it rolled West out of P-burg over to Adams and then up the Energy Lead to the coal mine. Well that idea came to a screeching halt when the power move crew had to wait 3 hours for a bus to take them from P-burg to the Hayden power plant so the end result was the train made that trek at the worst possible time with terrible high Noon Sun conditions.

Trying to still think positive, we figured that it should take about 2 hours to load the train which would make going away shots (since the tracks dead end at the mine the train has to change ends/directions) of the CN in Great afternoon light. So we headed over to Steamboat Springs for some lunch (and an adult beverage to drown out the terrible morning:}) and returned back to the Mine almost exactly 2 hours later and soon saw that the train had loaded a grand total of 5 cars!
Somewhat dejected we walked up the hill behind the mine to get some shots of the rear of the train and figured that hopefully we could still get a shot or two of the train heading down the Lead towards the mainline.

Unfortunately the coal mine has had all sorts of production issues lately and had almost no coal piled up at the tipple so the train had to load at .002 MPH and with many stops so the dozers could keep up with trying to shove what little coal was on the ground into the loader, it took over 6 hours to load the train and when the Sun finally set the train still had 3 more cars to load.
Now it was time to make the 3 and 1/2 hour drive home and I pulled into the driveway at 23:40 which was exactly 21 hours.

Oh well, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't:}

1) As I mentioned after getting skunked at Crater, I went over to Egeria and just made it to this location and also was lucky enough to just get high enough to get the bushes below the engine. Here the CN 8878 is pulling out of Egeria Canyon and will soon roll across the flat landscape ahead over to Toponas.

2) My next thought was trying to get it passing Finger Rock near Yampa but the North side of the rock has a bunch of trees on the East side of the tracks vs. the wide open space on the usually taken South side shot so I tried this angle with an old searchlight signal included and in yet another sign of what a bad luck day it was, a pick up truck was placed perfectly in the road!

3) After an over 3 hour wait, the 4 engines that would become the swing/mid-train helpers finally showed up and all were facing backwards! So we were left with a backlit going away shot instead of shooting the long hood forward of the EMD leader as it approached the town of Oak Creek.

---------------------------Three More Pictures Posted Below---------------------------








Date: 06/07/24 17:18
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: SP8595

4) After cutting in the helpers at P-burg, the CN is now heading up the Energy Lead at Milepost 6 with the 2 mid DP's seen back in the train.

5) On the final approach to the Mine, the entire train can be seen in this view.

6) After changing ends/directions at the loadout, the CN 8878 is now the rear DP as the train is about halfway done being loaded with coal.

It took another 3 hours or so just for these engines to reach the loadout!








Date: 06/07/24 17:31
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: dan

loving it even if your feet aren't



Date: 06/07/24 17:35
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: jgilmore

Hats off to you, more than I would do to get some shots these days. But you did come away with a nice bunch, hope you didn't get any minnows stuck between your toes when you crossed the stream, lol... :>)

JG



Date: 06/07/24 17:45
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: ParkSouth

Great!!!!!!!!!!!   Tom Klinger



Date: 06/07/24 18:09
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: texchief1

You came away with some good shots!  Thanks for sharing your adventure.

texchief1



Date: 06/07/24 18:09
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: Vicksburg_Route

Absolutely worth the effort. Excellent images.

VR Out

Posted from Android



Date: 06/07/24 18:11
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: eastpenn23

Great series! I like the last two a lot



Date: 06/07/24 18:14
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: MILW86A

These are excellent
MILW86A 



Date: 06/07/24 18:19
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: koloradokid

WOW!!  I really like the shot of the train with Finger Rock in the background.  It is tough to get good shots of the train and the rock, but you certainly did it in a very creative way.  The shot heading up the Energy Branch with the wall to wall mountains is great too.  These days, the only way to make a really great shot is not always with the train, but the scenery.

I too feel your pain at making plans, then having them go belly up as the day wears on.  It makes one cry sometimes.  We were heading through Montana to Canade back in 76, and the farther we went, the worse the weather got.  I finally just turned around and headed home.  It just got too sad to continue.

Thanks John,

RR



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/24 20:11 by koloradokid.



Date: 06/07/24 18:53
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: callum_out

Mass props for that effort, there are some great shots in that group and 5 years from now
those will be even more wow-worthy! 

Out 



Date: 06/07/24 19:07
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: Gonut1

Wow!
You went way deep to try to catch what you really wanted. However what you did catch and post are a bunch of excellent photos from a rather remote and "endangered", railwise, location(s).
I'm as old as dirt and have done many all-nigfhters for various reasons but as most of my serious railfanning days were when I had kids I believe a 16-18 hour day chasing Ross Rowland's C&O 614 a couple times around Port Jervis and Otisville, NY was a stretch!
Gonut
 



Date: 06/07/24 19:19
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: KimHeusel

WOW!!! Great Effort = Great Images. Good work!!

Kim Heusel



Date: 06/07/24 19:31
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: 3rdswitch

Big capital A for effort.
JB



Date: 06/07/24 20:25
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: MacBeau

Very nice series.
—Mac



Date: 06/07/24 21:04
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: SPgoletablock

Diligence, massive effort, passion and talent.



Date: 06/07/24 21:21
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: oyw

Quit your crying, you did great! If it makes you feel better, I think your last shot is the best of the bunch so it's good you waited it out.



Date: 06/08/24 04:57
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: santafe199

oyw Wrote: > ... Quit your crying, you did great!

Cry! No cry! Your option... Just keep posting your expert camera work. Say.......... that CN unit looks sorta familiar... ;^)

Lance



Date: 06/08/24 06:42
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: jkh2cpu

Lance, do you mean this loco?  It gets all over ;-)  Here we see it in Feb 2017 coming up the Holly Sub.

santafe199 Wrote:

> expert camera work. Say.......... that CN unit
> looks sorta familiar... ;^)
>
> Lance

 




Date: 06/08/24 08:40
Re: Trying to get a CN leader on the old Rio Grande------
Author: spider1319

Super stuff and the patience paid off. Bill Webb



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