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Eastern Railroad Discussion > How do you watch trains?


Date: 02/02/19 15:58
How do you watch trains?
Author: Lackawanna484

Serious question.

Sometimes I will sit on a bench in Stuart FL, and watch various FEC units haul freight.

No camera, no binoculars, no scanner, just my eyes and ears.

Traveling, I gear up with binoculars, camera, scanner, paper list of trains to expect.

There's a pleasure in being surprised, sometimes.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/02/19 16:13
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: Curt

Usually we're filming, and have tripod, scanner, timetable, camera, and a backpack full of stuff.  But I admit, when focused on filming, you tend to miss the train, if that makes sense.  There's a great pleasure in just "watching".  I enjoy doing that.



Date: 02/02/19 16:16
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: ns1000

I used to just bring my scanner and a magazine to read.

Now with the digital age, I bring my scanner, smartphone (access for internet of course), digital camera, usually 2 lenses, and lens cleaner (depending upon distance I plan to travel).



Date: 02/02/19 16:28
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: icancmp193

I go out on my back deck with binoculars. BNSF action is about 3/4 mile away across a meadow. I can read engine numbers if they are halfway clean.

TJY



Date: 02/02/19 16:51
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: dschlegel

Most of my train watching is done while walking my 2 dogs around Topton, other times I just get out of bed and look out my front window.
Dan

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Date: 02/02/19 17:20
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: HotWater

Just my opinion but, most trains really aren't worth watching anymore. I gave all my camera equipment (Nikon F5 system with a number of lenses, and the Pentax 6X7 with three different lenses) to our grandson. I simply got tired of viewing through a damned viewfinder after more than 60 years. The only trains I watch, is when I visit our local TrueValue Hardware store in downtown Western Springs, IL, on the famous Burlington 3 track main line, the "East End".



Date: 02/02/19 18:00
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: tq-07fan

It depends on where I am I guess. On far away trips I use public transit so I'll ride the bus, light rail or whatever to a location that I may have looked at on Google Maps or Street View and hope to see something. Sometimes I will walk along a railway line and take a different transit route back. There have even been times where I rode a transit route that looked like it would go near or across tracks and got off the transit vehicle when I saw a train or what looked like a good spot. Very few of those trips will I take the scanner as it just adds extra weight for the most part of the trip. On car trips though I take the scanner and drive around Interlocking and Control Points checking signals. Sometimes I will chase the trains to get a variety of locations in the photos, in particular if it isn't a busy line. One thing I have been doing and liking this year is to listen in and drive around my immediate area. There is enough stuff and enough variety in locations within ten miles where I live in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati to stay busy. For any time I watch trains home or away I rarely end up staying at one location for more than an hour or so or for more than a couple trains. 

Jim



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/19 18:02 by tq-07fan.



Date: 02/03/19 06:35
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: milepost180

Not sure how I watched trains in the beginning but my Mom said my first words were all the cars in train except I could not pronounce the Bagoose!  I'm 63 and here I am in Johnson City TN date unknown.(57-58?)  I have evolved over the years.  I bought a house 80' from CSX double track on Nashville's north side. I cohabitated with trains for 15 years.  Every wall was cracked.  Ceilings fell all along my street from vibration.  I rarely photographed trains at my house or even looked at them.  Since I was an Airline pilot, I would visit Cajon Pass every other week where I would shoot pictures all day long.  Go figure?  I retired in 2015 and moved to Vancouver, Canada.  Now I travel to northern Ohio and Folkston around three times a year to photograph trains.  I only shoot Graffiti now.  These venues give me the largest exposure to auto racks and mixed freights.  I do like to spend a few days in Skykomish, WA just getting stoned and sleeping next to moving trains.  My wife knows to pour my ashes on the tracks!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/19 06:40 by milepost180.




Date: 02/03/19 07:51
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: bath_wildcat

Alot for me depends on what's out there. I'm a member of a Facebook group for the Chicago Line, so it makes sense to check there for anything and the Hu site.

For me personally, unless it's rare or Canadian (I am a contributor to CRO) I photo the train, then write down the direction, track number, symbol if known, time said train passed, type whether it be a manifest, intermodal, or unit train. Below that would be the locomotive numbers and the type for my records. So for example:

Westbound on 1 @ 1115 Manifest 35N
4005-blue mane AC44C6M
3619-ET44AC

That goes for all nighters at Sandusky Amtrak in Sandusky, Ohio. Same method, but very few pics at night unless I can pull off the night Amtrak pics.

I have my cell with me and my hand held scanner. Usually once something gets close I can get the symbol and go from there, unless I already know what symbol say a heritage unit is on then I already know and can go from there. I take with me some snacks, drinks, and some reading material just to pass the time until trains come in Sandusky. My 9ther spot is out at pipe st in sandusky. Usually there to get whatever is running g heritage wise then I bail, kinda like guerilla railfanning. Get in get the unit, and bail. In Port Clinton, I'm usually at the library online as I can see the Chicago line literally from the library. Either way it's a win win.

Pics posted are of The UP 1996 on new years day, 4005 on 35N, and the Barcode unit from my spot in Sandusky.

Mike Fair
Sandusky, OH








Date: 02/03/19 08:03
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: junctiontower

I watch trains multiple ways.  I work across the street from the Nickel Plate main in Fort Wayne, and I take my camera bag to work with me every day, so if something interesting shows up, I just whip out the camara and shoot.  A lot of trains stop right in front of our buiding waiting for signals or for crew changes. The trains vibrate our building, so if you are in tune to it, you know when they are coming.  My work is also a mile west of East Wayne Yard, so often while running errands for work or after work, I will cruise the yard area looking for good stuff.  I also have three or four good spots that I hit on the way home from work when I have time and see what I can catch.  My house is three miles from both the NKP main and the Wabash main, so sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, I will just find a parking space and see what I see. We also take dedicated railfan trips to various hot spots.  My favorites are Marion and Fostoria Ohio, Dolton and Blue Island Illinois, Pine Junction, East Chicago and Goshen Indiana.  My camara bag is the size of a good sized gym bag, and holds my camara, lenses, accseessories, video camara, scanner, monopod, tripod, GPS, and my sidearm (in Indiana).   When I am going to a regular railfan spot, I will also take good maps, track charts and other resources for that area. I also take a stack of old Trains Magazines to look at during the lulls.



Date: 02/03/19 19:23
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: RuleG

I am fortunate to live in Pittsburgh through which many CSX and NS trains pass.  Most of the time when I see trains is when I'm doing something else like weekend chores or commuting to and from work.  Sometimes, I walk one of the riverfront trails from which CSX and NS trains can be seen.  The first photo was taken from such a trail near the lower station of the Duquesne Incline.

One of the few places in Pittsburgh I go to hang out for watching trains is West Park in Pittsburgh's North Side.  In particular, on Sundays, I like to go to the park, bring the Sunday papers and read during the times between trains.  As shown in the second photo, it is one of the more scenic places in the city.

I also enjoy watching trains when I'm riding them.  In the third photo, Georgetown Loop Railroad #111 is running around the train for the return trip to Silver Plume, CO.



 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/19 06:12 by RuleG.








Date: 02/03/19 19:25
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: march_hare

We have the great advantage of living close to an RR that I find very interesting, and it’s relatively easy to chase train on it, to. 

From my deck, I can hear NS trains on the former D&H hit the grade crossings about  3 miles to my South. If I’m not doing anything important I can easily hop in the car and follow the train for 20 miles or so, catching him maybe 2-3 times if I choose my locations carefully. Richmondville Hill is nowhere near the operating challenge that it used to be, but gravity is still gravity. If you know what diesels sound like when they’re under heavy load  it’s still a pretty good show. 

The photo locations aren’t bad either. 
 



Date: 02/03/19 19:37
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: BaltoJoey

I watch from the comfort of my home. I use the various YouTube streaming channels.
No bugs, no pests, no harrassment, etc!



Date: 02/03/19 19:37
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: Lackawanna484

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>(SNIP)
> One of the few places in Pittsburgh I go to
> hangout for watching trains is West Park in
> Pittsburgh's North Side.  In particular, on
> Sundays, I like to go to the park, bring the
> Sunday papers and read during the times between
> trains.  As shown in the second photo, it is one
> of the more scenic places in the city.
>(SNIP)
>  

Thanks for the pictures.

A while back there was discussion on NS dropping the tracks or raising bridges in the trench area.  Did that ever happen?



Date: 02/03/19 19:56
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: RuleG

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
------------------------------------------------------- 
>Thanks for the pictures. 

You're welcome. 

>A while back there was discussion on NS dropping the tracks or raising bridges in the trench area.  Did that ever happen? 

Not yet.  The proposal has been very controversial.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/19 19:57 by RuleG.



Date: 02/04/19 04:50
Re: How do you watch trains?
Author: RS11

I usually stop by Bolley's Famous Franks to grab a couple of hot dogs and drive across the street to the railroad yard to see if there is any switching going on or maybe a road job coming through.  There usually isn't.  I might catch the Hinckley Job arriving.  Things sure have changed around here in the last 30-35 years.  Gone are most of the locals, most of the yard  jobs, most of the road jobs.  It's quite sad but there is still a railroad here.  East of here in Bangor, everything was torn up years ago.  All that remains of a once busy yard is one main track through there and maybe one train a day.  The paper mills are all but gone, the Calais Branch is gone and most carload traffic has been run off.
By the way....I am in Pan Am's Waterville Yard in Waterville, Maine.  It used to be a proud Maine Central Railroad yard.  Things have never been the same since Timothy Mellon, Guilford and the two strikes back in the mid 1980's.  Train watching...I still try sometimes, but it's not the same.



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