Even though I’d scored a good one Friday I was still in search of oil trains if for no other reason that it gave me a good excuse to be trackside! I heard over the weekend that a couple more would be passing thru on Monday, cool except for one thing, it was going to be cloudy, the first overcast day in over week! I almost bailed on that news, but then someone on the web mentioned that the BNSF would be running a couple test trains for the CSX, and so I went from maybe no to definitely yes. Taking a pass when I might have another chance is one thing, missing out on what might be a one time move was a different ball of wax! The game was afoot!
Monday morning arrived and it was time to get a move on, it looked like the first train would show up right after the commuter rush. As predicted the weather was cloudy, but since I was planning telephotos I wasn’t bothered by it. This time around I headed for Westmont since it had a really open view to the west.
I landed trackside a little after 7:30 a.m. right in the middle of the commuter rush; an eastbound express and a regular commuter went by just during the it took to park! Just like on Friday I was planning to ignore the commuters, I’d probably have been encouraged to do more if it had been sunny.
It was really humid, or at least a lot more humid than I was used to. Far more irritating where the little bugs that kept orbiting right in front of my face. I wasn’t the only one being bothered; all along the platform everyone looked like they were directing invisible orchestras.
Since I wasn’t expecting anything other than commuters you can imagine my surprise when Amtrak showed up out of the blue! I’d totally forgotten about it, due to its early morning, against the light schedule it’s usually off my radar.
08:03 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
AMT w/b Carl Sandburg – Train 381
AMT 199 P42DC
I was not in the best of positions to get a photo, the sky to the east was very bright while the foreground was dark, a worse case scenario for good metering if there ever was one. All I had time for was a snap shot wedgie and the results were not pretty, but I did manage to pull out a halfway decent image in post processing.
Headlights popped up to the west for a flip pulling into Fairview and an express on M2. Earlier I’d seen a good headlight glint shot as a couple commuters passed each other, but I was just a bit too slow on the draw to pull off a capture. This time around I was forewarned, so I hustled down to the end of the platform to catch the light:
08:11 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
METX e/b express passing e/b regular commuter
METX 195 F40PHM-2 (Express)
METX 193 F40PHM-2 (Commuter)
Due to the distance I fired off six shots. I was mostly concerned about catching a clear image without any warm air distortion, but I should have been more worried about focusing! As it turned out only one of the shots came out sharp, but that’s all I needed. Definitely my catch of the day.
In the mean time the sky had begun to clear, a big surprise considering the forecast and how dismal the day had started out. I could see more clouds to the west so the good times wouldn’t last forever, but it looked like I might be in for a bit of luck.
Time passed and the skies over the area cleared; cool! Well actually not, the day, which had been cloudy and humid was now hot and humid! At least it drove the bugs away. A headlight and a splash of orange popped up to the west on M2, my first freight action of the day was on the way. I decided to shoot it from the north platform since an inbound commuter was due at any moment and I was afraid of getting blocked. Despite all the forewarning I barely made it across and down to the far end of the platform in time, I’m afraid that I’m nowhere near was spry as I used to be!
08:20 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF e/b priority intermodal
BNSF 727 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 4955 Dash 9-44CW
I had really good light for this train and I fired off a series of wild (300mm) and mild (116mm) telephotos as it went past.
Right behind the Z train but over on M3 was the commuter I’d been worried about:
08:23 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
METX e/b commuter
METX 192 F40PHM-2
Since I had such great light I grabbed a couple shots of it as they pulled in even though it was just a commuter. I was glad that I’d caught the Z train from the north platform, the commuter’s train filled the platform and then some.
Another headlight popped up to the west; oil train! Great except that a small patch of thin clouds were edging over the sun! Ack! They weren’t light sucking monstrosities, but the area dimmed noticeably, and in my opinion their timing could not have been worse! It was obvious that they were here to stay so I just did the best I could:
08:32 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF e/b unit oil
BNSF 4085 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 4027 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 747 Dash 9-44CW
Unlike the train I’d seen Friday evening this one had all its power up front. I fired off a five shot series starting off with a telephoto and finishing with the train passing under the signal bridge, all of them dimmed just enough to require some post processing surgery.
The oil train cleared, and of course, so did the clouds. Yet another headlight appeared to the west. I moved east down the platform to set up a shot of it passing under the signal bridge:
08:41 a.m. – Westmont IL / Cass Ave
BNSF e/b merchandise
BNSF 5052 Dash 9-44CW
NS 8733 Dash 8-40C
I’d seen the #8733 leading a westbound thru Downers on Friday evening; welcome back! I grabbed a very short series with this train, basically just wedgies of it passing the signal bridge and along the platform.
With that I called it quits. Normally I would have hung tight, but clouds were edging into the area and the next oil train was still some distance out. It was time to head home and make plans.
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