NS 8100, the Nickel Plate heritage unit, made a surprise visit to the Racetrack today; it had been sitting for days out in Stanley ND, and then all of a sudden it was passing thru St Paul heading on a loaded oil train! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try for it since 1) it was trailing, 2) I’d caught it once before, 3) the weather was crud, and 4) yesterday’s adventures had left me creeping around like a 100 year old man! Maybe it would be best to stay home and mend a bit before trying any more railfan adventures.
I spent the morning getting my tax stuff in the mail (I wasn’t going to spend $20 to electronically tell the State of Illinois that I didn’t owe them anything) and then started attacking my backlog of blog postings. Updates on the #8100’s progress would periodically pop up, and as it got closer my resolve to stay home wavered. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a heads up that the train was passing thru Eola; surely I had the time for a quick trip to the tracks! Throwing caution (and perhaps my back) to the wind, I grabbed my camera and headed for the tracks.
I hustled over to Westmont to find empty tracks to the west, so either I was way early or just a bit too late. More important at the moment was a westbound green on M2 and a headlight to the east; hey wow, a CSX oil train! Talk about cutting it close, the gates went down while I was crossing the tracks. Things happened too fast to get fancy, all I could do was point and shoot!
10:17 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF w/b empty unit oil – Train U CSYTND
CSX 4826 SD70MAC
CSX 164 AC4400CW
Wow, great, a MAC! The only fly in the ointment was the #4826’s nose; which was a sickly pastel. Yech! Still, it was a really cool especially since just the night before I’d seen some really neat photos of these trains out east and had developed a hankering for them. Bring ‘em on CSX!
I wasn’t the only fan around, an older gentleman was shooting from the parking lot, so after the train cleared I asked if the Nickel Plate engine had gone by and the unfortunate answer was yes. Well that was a bummer, but in my book the CSX train was excellent compensation, so I’d say that I came out even. I didn’t hang around; it was a cloudy, yucky day, and I wanted to save my electrons for when the sun was out. Time to head for home!
Previous post: 04/14/13 ”A double heritage day – Part II / NS 1066″
After a pit stop at home I was now back at trackside, more or less against my better judgment since I wasn’t feeling all that good (too much running around at Belmont), but fair weather and a report of an outbound oil train were my siren call. This time I was at Westmont, I just wanted somewhere close, which may give you an idea of wobbly I felt, but I figured that if I took it easy and spent most of my time sitting down I’d be fine.
My time away from the tracks had cost me some action, namely outbound Amtrak #5, but from what I understood I had a fair amount of westbound freight action headed my way (oil, coal, Z) so I wasn’t too put out about it. First up though was some action from the west, Amtrak was on the way:
02:34 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
AMT e/b Southwest Chief – Train 4
AMT 19 P42DC
AMT 87 P42DC
AMT 94 P42DC
I climbed to the upper level of the station to line up my shot, only have some guy walk into the middle of my framing and begin sorting thru several cartons of cigarettes. Hey guy, don’t you know that those will kill you, as I might do it for you messing up my shot? I managed to shuffle over enough to get him off to one side only to almost blow it by firing way too early! Its always tricky with Amtrak, they’re going so darn fast, but this was way off! Luckily it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t crop it down to something decent looking.
A pair of westbound greens popped up on M1 and M2, so I headed for the east side of Cass Ave to line up some shots. A headlight popped up to the west, I figured that it was just a commuter, but rather than risk getting blocked out at a critical moment I switched to the dark side. Good move because the headlight turned out to be a freight, while off to the east the oil train poked its nose out of Clarendon Hills! It was time for a meet!
02:46 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF w/b merchandise – Train M GALBRC
BNSF 4067 Dash 9-44CW
UP 4511 SD70M
02:46 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF w/b empty unit oil – Train U CXYTND
BNSF 7286 ES44DC
BNSF 4915 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 4407 Dash 9-44CW
I passed on shooting the eastbound except for catching it meeting the oil train; the light was totally against me. I got some good shots of the oil train coiling out of Clarendon Hills; at one point I braced myself against the pedestrian gate only to discover that it was vibrating too much to be steady!
Next up was the train set for the westbound green on M1:
02:50 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
METX w/b commuter express
METX 183 F40PH-2
Honestly at this point I was so tired that I couldn’t get my act together enough to catch a shot! I probably should have gone home, but I wanted to hold out for the outbound Southwest Chief that was due thru in about a half hour, I should be able to do that shouldn’t I? My mind said yes, but my body said no, and my mind won.
An inbound Metra paid Westmont a visit; I deliberately ignored it due to the bad light for eastbounds.
Westbound greens reappeared on M1 and M2, I figured that they were for the Chief and a commuter that would be thru in a bit, but it turned out that the green on M2 was for something a bit bigger:
03:04 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF w/b priority intermodal – Train Z CHCSSE
BNSF 7386 ES44DC
BNSF 4953 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 5311 Dash 9-44CW
I was so pooped when this train showed up that all I had the energy for was another set of telephotos to the east. At least this time it was from the other side of the tracks!
Another westbound green appeared in the wake of the intermodal, now that had to be for Amtrak, so I slowly shuffled down to the west end of the platform to line up a shot that didn’t involve the grade out of Clarendon Hills! Nice view, all I needed now was a train, and I didn’t have to wait long for it.
03:20 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
AMT w/b Southwest Chief – Train 3
AMT 130 P42DC
AMT 184 P42DC
I fired off a short telephoto series as it passed the depot; I was so worn out that I didn’t notice that the second unit was Amtrak heritage until it went by me!
Right behind it by about 30 seconds was the commuter:
03:20 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
METX w/b commuter
METX 187 F40PHM-2
Just a couple quick shots, it’s all I had the energy for despite the encouragement of some very excellent light!
At this point I was more than ready to head for home, but then another westbound green popped up on M2. Time for one more? Yeah, time for one more. Actually two more as it turned out:
03:24 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF e/b priority intermodal – Train Z SSECHC
BNSF 6788 ES44C4
BNSF 5647 AC4400CW
BNSF 4671 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 5006 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 6685 ES44C4
When I saw this train coming I shifted over to the dark side of the tracks and just watched it go by, I was simply too tired to work out a shot for this badly back lit train running tight to the platform. As it cleared I crossed back to the sunny side just in time for the headlight of the eastbound I’d been waiting on to appear.
03:27 p.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF w/b empty unit coal – Train E CKVSXM
BNSF 8853 SD70MAC
BNSF 8926 SD70MAC
BNSF 6030 ES44AC
Yet another up grade photo series, but hey, I caught a pair of MAC’s! It could only have been better if they were Grinstein green. I was so tired that half my shots looked like they’d been taken from the deck of a listing ship (which basically described my body at the moment) but I did manage to catch them and live to tell about it!
With that I called it quits, I was now officially too pooped to pop and I needed to get home and kick back! All in all a pretty good day even if I felt like I was about to die!
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