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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Railfanning warmth?


Date: 12/28/23 06:36
Railfanning warmth?
Author: santafe199

Remember when you were a brand new camera-totin’ railfan? If you were like me you were just a shooter-snapper, and not nearly a true photographer yet. But that didn’t quell the excitement of engaging in a brand-new hobby that you really liked. If you were fortunate you lived on some busy main line somewhere. But if you were like me you were on a line where you were lucky to catch a train in the brief hour or two you could afford to spend on such nonsense. Full-time employment had a nasty way of eating up a huge chunk of your day. And there were always the honey-do chores to attend to...

That’s how Manhattan, KS was for me in the mid-1970s. By late 1976 my routine was to have my camera in the car when I got off work at the Post Office around 3:30. I would go camp out at the RR tracks in hopes of getting lucky with whatever time I could spend. That meant parking down at the UPRR ~ CRI&P crossing downtown so I could (ahem) double my chances. Which very often didn’t work worth a hoot. It was very seldom that a live train would cause me to miss my home-for-supper-at-6 constrictions. And if it was crappy, overcast weather would I forgo my ritual? Not a chance!! In that railfanning time frame I had to take every scrap of a chance I could get. And when I did get the occasional train I had to make the most of it. Little did I know in 1976 that a jolt in my USPS employment would allow me to hire on with the Santa Fe in May 1978. I never lacked for photogenic RR subjects again. I even had the luxury of passing on the crappy weather...

I’ve come full-circle now and am back in Manhattan, retired after 32 years in train service on 3 different RRs. The Rock Island is gone and the KP is still as sketchy as ever. But a major advancement in communication technology called ‘text messages’ now provides me timely messages about trains approaching my neck-o-the-woods. And I can pick and choose the times I wanna go chase down some routine train. That usually depends on the number of slides in my current scanning session.

On December 16 just past I got a routine text msg. I knew the weather was $#!++y but I needed a break. So off I went! I wound up getting a bit of sunset color: ( Sliver of a sunset at St Marys (trainorders.com) ). The lead shot of the day swept me right back to 1976. I knew a train was coming and ran over to Wamego to intercept it. I was in position on a cold, crappy day. I was suddenly remembering when I did the same thing at age 21. Nowadays at 68 I knew better, but the memory was kinda sweet. And sure enough, when that bright headlight package came around the corner my day warmed right up... :^)

1. That bright tri-headlight will expand into UP 8997 leading eastbound train SITP through Wamego, KS. It’s 4:29 PM on December 16, 2023.

Stop yer shiverin’, it’s a TRAIN!
Lance Garrels
santafe199




Date: 01/03/24 12:23
Re: Railfanning warmth?
Author: RollBy10

Thanks, I like this picture.



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