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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Lost on the prairie

Date: 01/08/21 13:15
Lost on the prairie
Author: santafe199

Sometimes I’ll have a thread all but written up before I ever shoot a picture. Or at least I’ll have the thread title in place. This is an unusual location of a foreign, but familiar train in a very familiar town. A loaded UP grain train is headed to market. It’s exercising running rights over my old Santa Fe territory. And in this shot it’s departing my second home town of Abilene, KS. I’m using an unfamiliar approach, shooting wide angle @ 35mm across a recently cut corn field. With Abilene’s prairie skyscrapers for a city skyline it gives the train just a touch of a ‘lost look’. Hence, my thread title. Most of the year the condition of this field is anywhere from just planted to about ready to cut. During those times I’m not about to drive over this raw tire trail just to get some shots. But right after the cut I know I can drive through this small field and not ruffle anybody’s feathers.

I have another, more sentimental reason for using the word ‘lost’ in my title. Back in 1985, while still working for the Santa Fe I caught a brakeman vacancy on the local working into Abilene. I knew we’d be entering Abilene with daylight left, so I called my Uncle who lived there. He was a lot more of a modeler than a photographer, but he would get out to shoot every other now & then. I was working the rear end on this trip, so as we came into town I made sure to be standing on the waycar’s back platform. I was thinking he might be somewhere just outside of town for the shot. Sure enough, he nailed me from this very farm field trail. Ironically, I never got to see that picture and soon forgot about it. When he passed away a few years ago I recalled his shot of me. And I made a mental note to use this location a soon as I could. Alas, nobody from the immediate family could locate that picture of me on my Santa Fe waycar. I guess it’s now “lost” to the ages…

1. UP 7993 & 5372 leading a loaded grainer across east 1st Street, and out of Abilene, KS. It’s running over BNSF’s Strong City Sub down to Lost Springs, KS where it will regain home rails for the next leg down to Wichita. Photo date: December 6, 2020.

Thanks for listening!
Lance Garrels

Date: 01/14/21 20:13
Re: Lost on the prairie
Author: 8notch

 Great story as always and a good looking picture. I'm sure your uncle is looking down and smiling.
Robert in Lagrande Oregon 

Date: 02/15/21 13:13
Re: Lost on the prairie
Author: texchief1

Like the shot and story, Lance!

RC Lundgren

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