Saturday, April 23, 2011

Railfanning 4-21-11

Hi, Friend Jim Kleeman and I had a great day photographing Amtrak, CSX, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) on the former RF&P. We photographed 26 trains and missed 3 between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

First up was the northbound Auto Train at Featherstone, VA.

We next went looking for a pond I had read about and found it before VRE 312 showed up.

Right behind the VRE was Amtrak Regional 174. We then relocated to Quantico, VA.

There were a slew of trains at Quantico, VA, not all shown. First up was CSX Q409.

Another southbound was Q741 which returns empty orange juice cars to Bradenton, FL. It usually carries a block of intermodal cars on the head end.

Q174 ran north,

as did Q740, the northbound juice train.

Our next move was to the grade crossing south of Brooke, VA where we photographed Amtrak 79, The Carolinian.

It was followed shortly by Q415.

After a little exploration we found a place to shoot the bridge at Aquia from the downriver side. Here Amtrak Regional 94 heads north with the commemorative unit painted in Northeast Direct colors.

Q703, a southbound garbage train, was up next.

We then relocated to the Brooke VRE station where we caught Q171. Unfortunately, all traffic on weekday afternoons usually runs left handed as VRE built almost all of their stations with one platform, on the east side of the tracks.

VRE 301 followed shortly.

From Brooke we headed to the upstream side of the bridge at Aquia. The commemorative unit in the first Amtrak paint scheme was a fortunate catch on Amtrak Regional 95.

Amtrak 91, the southbound Silver Star, was on time in a shot found by Jim,

Followed by VRE 303.

At this point we decided to relocate once again, this time to Neabsco, VA, where we photographed VRE 309 (we missed 2 during our relocation),


VRE 311, and

Amtrak Regional 93.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Railfanning 4-14-11

Hi, Last Thursday was a gorgeous day so friend Rudy Volin and I decided to try our luck on Norfolk Southern's B-Line between Riverton Junction in Front Royal, VA and Manassas, VA. However, as you will see, the best laid plans...

We arrived at Riverton Junction, in Front Royal, VA, about 9:00 AM, just missing northbound V86. For about an hour and a half the only talking on the radio was the V89 crew switching the Virginia Inland Port a few miles north of us on the line to Hagerstown, MD. Then, about 10:30 we heard that 227, a Norfolk, VA to Detroit, MI stack train should be at the Junction about 11:15 AM. It finally showed up at 11:30.

Just over 20 minutes later 211 crossed the Shenandoah River and headed east.

We decided to give chase. However, on the way we heard that V89 was in the area and 37Q was not far behind. Both would be heading south. So we took a shot at Belle Meade (just beat the train) and headed back to Riverton Junction.

Once again we missed V89. However, a work train headed south shortly after we returned to our spot.

37 Q was almost an hour behind the work train.

We quickly headed south. Little did we know there was no reason to hurry until we heard on the radio that 37Q would meet 16T and 202 in Front Royal. We found a grade crossing in Limeton, VA for our next shot. We chased the train south but it beat us to our next spot so we gave up and headed north.

I suggested we explore a side rode in Rileyville, VA and while we were there we heard 44T so we waited. The power was a real surprise.

After getting the shot in Rileyville we again headed south having learned that 44T would meet 38Q at Vaughn, VA. Unfortunately it was a perfect meet and it seemed like 38Q would not have to stop for the meet, so back north we went looking for another shot. However, as we headed north we heard a detector trip stopping what turned out to be 38Q. The conductor found a broken brake rod and the train took a 1 hour delay including the time to tie up the rod. We settled for a shot across the road at Overall, VA as the old highway bridge between the current road and the trestle was under reconstruction.

NOTE, there is a major construction project at Compton Creek Viaduct. The entire hillside and valley east of the viaduct and north of the access road to the canoeing company has been cleared. Rudy and speculate they will build a high bridge across the valley at this point but neither of us is sure what is going on.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cambodia - 2

Hi, Finally the last post, part 2 of our stay in Cambodia. Our afternoon visit was Ta Prohm Temple. It is known for the faces on its structures. The obelisks have one one each side. Lining the approach to the main gate are faces on pedestals.
Here is one of the faces.

This temple also had beautiful carvings that appeared to be of from a Hindu period.

Some monks were present and again were glad to sit for photos.

I think these are novitiates.

We went back to Angkor Wat for sunset.

This very young girl was wandering back and forth with what we assume was her baby sisiter. She was NOT begging. In fact we encountered very little begging in Viet Nam and none in Cambodia.

The next day, our last full day in Cambodia, we went for a boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake. On the way we stopped a few times for photo ops. Two of them involved teams of oxen being used to plow fields.

We passed a store on the drive. The bottles on the right contain gasoline. Since motor scooters and bikes use very little gas this is a convenient way to sell it. The bottles are recycled. This and the next photo were taken from the bus.

A little boy playing in a sewer pipe.

Because the lake is very shallow, particularly during the dry season, the propeller is on a boom which can be raised and lowered.

The propeller on our boat is partly out of the water.

A crank, being operated by this young boy in the back of our boat, is used to raise and lower the boom.

During the dry season when the lake is low and the fish are concentrated the local population concentrates on fishing. We went down a canal for a few miles and people were out fishing along the banks.

When fishing season begins many locals move homes built on ramps from the canal and lake banks out into the lake. They then form floating communities with stores, restaurants, and even schools. Needless to say all transportation is via boat and they are used for fishing, getting around, and moving goods.

Here is the school.

There is no walkway between the buildings.

This is a typical store.

Some of the homes kept pigs.

There was a Pagoda along the canal.

After our morning activity Ruthe and I visited a market in Siem Reap.

Finally, a photo I took out the window of a Cambodian family's home after lunch there on the first day.

As I said before, it was truly a great trip. I hope you enjoyed the photos.