Photos from the afternoon of May 13, 2013
I got a heads up from a friend that Q NYCLAC, a hot intermodal off the NS, and normally a denizen of the Chilli sub, was being detoured over the Chicago and Mendota subs today due to track work at the IHB crossing in McCook. Sounded kind of cool since intermodals with NS power are as rare as hen’s teeth on the triple track. It also was something that I needed to get on to right away because it was set to leave Cicero ten minutes ago! I figured that this would be an easy catch, run for the tracks, catch the action, run back home, I’d probably be gone a half hour, so I grabbed my gear and flew for Fairview Ave.
I landed trackside about a quarter after two to find a westbound green on M1, probably for the commuter half of the outbound Amtrak / commuter duo due thru in a few minutes. No sign of the hot intermodal, and there wouldn’t be for a while because my friend had mistranslated its 3:50 departure time as 1:50! I didn’t know that yet, so for now I concentrated on the bird in the hand in the shape of Amtrak!
02:26 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
AMT w/b California Zephyr – Train 5
AMT 156 P42DC (heritage)
AMT 200 P42DC
AMT 155 P42DC
Bringing up the rear were several private cars.
PPCX 800710 Northern Sky Charters “Northern Dreams”
PPCX 800588 Northern Sky Charters “Northern Sky”
PPCX 29 Dearing Railroad “Dearing”
All three cars were headed for an AARPCO (American Association of Private Car Owners) Cheyenne Cowboy Limited rare mileage tour out in Omaha. I knew that private cars would be on the train, but heritage #156 was a surprise. I caught a bunch of coming and going shots as the train flew by.
As the outbound Cal Zephyr disappeared to the west the headlight for its eastbound counterpart popped up on M3. That put it tight to the platform, but since I was at Fairview I had room to back off for a quick wedgie:
02:30 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
AMT e/b California Zephyr – Train 6
AMT 147 P42DC
AMT 41 P42DC
A much less remarkable train than #5, but still pretty impressive at track speed.
I still had one more train to go; it was Metra time.
02:32 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
METX w/b commuter
METX 200 F40PHM-2
I got a nice across the green broadside of the arriving train, a shot that I’d noticed when I got out of my car.
Well that certainly was a lot of action, and I hadn’t even seen my hot intermodal yet! I ran into another fan, a retired gentleman from Portland ME taking a short break from the grandkids, and all I can say is that he picked the perfect time to do it!
A westbound green appeared on M2, perhaps for my hot intermodal? Well, it was for a hot intermodal, but not MY hot intermodal!
02:38 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF w/b priority intermodal
BNSF 6924 ES44C4
BNSF 4839 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 1077 Dash 9-44CW
BNSF 700 Dash 9-44CW
Great looking train under the cloudless sky, honestly the weather could hardly have been better.
It was at this point that I finally found out that my hot train wasn’t due for another hour and a half! Ooppss! I decided to hang tight, the weather was beautiful, the action was great, so why not? And who knew what else might happen by?
A westbound green appeared on M1, but I didn’t get excited about it since I knew that it was for a commuter express. A headlight popped up to the west and I didn’t need to check with my telephoto to tell that it was Amtrak; it was closing way too fast for a freight! I set up by the depot to catch it passing under the signal bridge:
02:54 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
AMT e/b Southwest Chief – Train 4
AMT 136 P42DC
AMT 172 P42DC
AMT 146 P42DC (heritage)
AMT 406 F40PHR (heritage)
Wow, two (three if you want to get technical about it) Amtrak heritage catches in one day, not the first time I’ve done that, but still it’s rare. Actually the 146 and 406 are part of Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary Train that was being hauled by #4 to Chicago for forwarding to it’s next destination, but in my book it still counts even if I came close to blowing it. Since the light wasn’t the greatest, I’d decided to get a bit arty and framed up the Portland guy in my shot, a mistake because that angle landed a fat tree shadow across the flank of the lead unit! Not a killer, it shined out nicely in post processing, but I should have looked closer beforehand.
Just as the Chief cleared the Metra express blasted past heading for its first stop at Main St:
02:55 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
METX w/b commuter express
METX 189 F40PHM-2
The timing was so tight that I just turned 45 degrees and clicked the shutter. One more train was on the way, an inbound commuter that I ignored due to the poor eastbound light. My compatriot from Portland departed; duty, and grandkids called!
I finally had a lull in he action, but I knew it wouldn’t be for long since the outbound Southwest Chief and a commuter were due about 3:20; I more or less hung out at the depot and waited for them to come to me. First up was the Chief:
03:20 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
AMT w/b Southwest Chief – Train 3
AMT 4 P42DC
AMT 74 P42DC
The area trees are still in full bloom, so I framed up my capture between a couple of them. Nice!
The commuter wasn’t very far behind:
03:22 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
METX w/b commuter
METX 188 F40PHM-2
Following up on the flower theme I caught it passing a tree in full bloom from the other side of the station.
Westbound greens appeared on M1 and M2 for a commuter express and an intermodal, unfortunately not MY intermodal, but I figured that would be on the way pretty soon. First up was the Z train:
03:33 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF w/b priority intermodal
BNSF 4647 Dash 9-44CW
CSX 5416 ES44DC
BNSF 5641 AC4400CW
I popped off a couple telephotos and then stepped back for a wedgie from under the trees that I almost blew when I caught it a bit too tight between some lamp posts!
That left the express to be dealt with, and to get something different I moved to the north platform to line up a shot of it passing the flowering trees:
03:40 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
METX w/b commuter express
METX 205 F40PHM-2
I fired off a series of shots at varying distances, I figured that I’d sort out which was the best later!
Time for another lull. An eastbound commuter stopped by, and just like the last one I passed on photographing it due to the light. Another westbound duo of greens appeared on M1 and M2, I knew that M1 was for a commuter and was hopeful the M2 was for my hot train! An eastbound green appeared on M3 that I worried about until I checked the commuter schedule and discovered that it was for a train that would skip Fairview as a stop. Cool, done and gone, my favorite kind of train! Finally a headlight popped up to the east, but no, it was just one of the commuters, but just as it got under way another train appeared alongside it and it was my hottie! They were really hauling because they outran the commuter to Fairview!
04:12 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF w/b intermodal – Train Q NYCLAC
NS 9492 Dash 9-40CW
NS 9924 Dash 9-40CW
By now the sun was pretty tight to the tracks so I limited myself to a series of telephotos. Cool train, and fast, it really boomed by!
I headed for my car as soon as I got my photo; a lot of people were going to get off that commuter and I did not want to play bumper cars with them in their haste to get home! Wow, what a great day despite, actually because of, getting here two hours early. I need more mistakes like this!
Previous post: Dodging the weather Part II – Afternoon OCS
Photos from the afternoon of May 2, 2013
I was back at the house after a very successful capture of the NS’s Nickel Plate heritage unit in the morning, and quite frankly I was ready to set a spell. I’d done a fair amount of running around, plus the weather, which had been verging on sunny thru the morning, had taken a definite downhill turn. Ahhhh, it felt good to put my feet up! But then someone had to go and post this on the “Heads Up” Facebook page:
“BNSF officer special is supposed to depart Chicago as O CHIEOL9 02A around 13:00 today, make a long passenger stop at Eola, then depart Eola as O EOLMPL1 02A around 16:30 and head to Minneapolis.“
Wow, an OCS train, always good looking, surprisingly rare on the triple track, and not all that far off in the future. I decided that this was cool enough to warrant another visit to trackside despite the gloomy skies, after all how many chances do I have at something like this! I grabbed my gear and headed for Fairview Ave.
Driving towards the tracks it was obvious that I was in for an interesting afternoon no matter what, it was raining like Noah was about to launch! I wasn’t too worried, the forecasters had called for brief heavy storms like this, and sure enough by time I got to Fairview it had tapered off to a drizzle. I breathed a sigh of relief, or at least I did until I crossed the tracks and spotted a headlight to the east! Yikes, could I make it to trackside in time? I tried my best, but the train blasted by just as I pulled into a parking space:
12:36 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF w/b merchandise
BNSF **** SD70MAC (Grinstein green)
BNSF **** SD70MAC (Grinstein green)
BNSF **** Some kind of GE
I didn’t even have time to step out much less get a photo or number reading. I was REALLY disappointed at missing a pair of Grin green MAC’s even if the weather blew chunks; too bad I wasn’t here thirty seconds earlier! Taking advantage of the slackening rain I ran for the depot only to be confronted by an eastbound coalie as I stepped around the corner!
12:37 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF e/b loaded unit coal
BNSF 9086 SD70ACe
BNSF 9438 SD70MAC
The train was so close that I barely had time to fumble off the lens cap much do anything fancy! This was a big surprise; I’d been warned about this train during the morning and pretty much figured that it was gone by now. I wonder what the hold up was?
The trains cleared and I took shelter under the station canopy to wait out the remnants of the passing storm. I was somewhat bemused when the lawn sprinklers came on; considering the day and the record deluge the previous week it hardly seemed necessary! (It wasn’t until later that I caught sight of a sprinkler service truck behind the depot, apparently they were doing maintenance.) There was another headlight to the west; something was holding M2; good because I’d have a nice shot of it from the station. An eastbound commuter showed up; considering the weather and the time worn subject I passed on getting a photo of it. It looked like its passage was just what that freight had been waiting for; it lit up and the crossovers reset to move it from M2 to M3, a bit of a bummer since it trashed the shot I had planned. Luckily the rain was down to dripping, so I crossed the tracks where I set up to open the angle a bit:
01:01 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF e/b road freight
BNSF 4141 Dash 9-44CW
Something definitely was not right with the 4141, its exhaust kept surging up and down in a way that made me wonder if it would make it all the way to Cicero! I got a variety of very damp looking shots as it went past.
With only one unit up front I was pretty sure that there had to be a DPU and I was right!
01:04 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF e/b road freight – DPU
BNSF 4825 Dash 9-44CW
Much smoother running than the 4141, it almost purred by.
I retreated to the shelter of the station where I wouldn’t have to keep toweling off the camera. A westbound commuter came and went on M1 that I ignored due to the general gloominess of the weather. By now I was beginning to wonder what was up with the OCS train, generally they don’t let any moss grow under their wheels even on a short trip to Eola, but a signal for it hadn’t gone up yet! Amazingly a westbound green popped right behind the commuter, exactly where I didn’t expect to see an OCS train running. Interesting, apparently they were really taking their time today although for what reason I hadn’t a clue; it obviously wasn’t to enjoy the weather. I headed down the platform to set up where I’d be clear of the newly reinstalled commuter fence (couldn’t they have waited one more day?) just in time for the headlight of the OCS train to appear to the east; it was train time!
01:24 p.m. – Downers Grove IL / Fairview Ave
BNSF w/b OCS move – Train O CHIELO
BNSF 6583 ES44C4
BNSF 6581 ES44C4
BNSF 51 Snoqualmie Pass
BNSF 68 Rollins Pass
BNSF 6 Topeka
BNSF 10 Lake Superior
BNSF 28 Mountain view
BNSF 30 Glacier View
Despite carefully checking my exposure and even taking some test shots, my captures came out amazingly dark, I think that the fairly bright sky in the background threw things off. I am beginning to despair about ever getting the hang of low light photography!
Well that was enough for me, I’d gotten what I was after and the weather wasn’t going to get any better, so I called it quits and headed home for good!
Previous post: Dodging the weather Part I – A Nickel Plated Morning