Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Railfanning 9-10-2011

Hi, September 10 was Railroad Illustrated's Day in North America, the one date during the year when railfans are encouraged to spend all or part of the day photographing trains and then to submit 3 images to the magazine.  Friend Rudy Volin and I decided to begin our day at Harpers Ferry, WV.  I thought the Potomac River might be high enough there to provide some interesting photos.  It was high but not high enough.  The first train was westbound Q217.

Not too long after S400 went east.

After Q401 went west we decided to head for Shenandoah Junction, WV.

Railfans typically gather near the site of the former B&O station in Shenandoah Junction and we ran into friends Dave Davies, Alex Mayes and Teresa Renner, as well as a couple of other fans, while we were there. First up was NS #37Q at the north end of the passing siding that ends in Shenandoah Junction.

Then CSX sent 2 east bounds, U836 and


followed almost immediately by Q261.

When we arrived at the Junction we learned that a Straits Brothers carnival train was expected.  It showed up at 1:10 PM.  We heard it coming so we moved into position to photograph it at a spot where the train would be more visible.  While we waited Amtrak's Capitol Limited went east about 2:30 late.  I would see it come through Rockville at 6:15 PM more that 6 1/2 hours late having got stuck behind disabled Q415 near Dickerson, MD and then having its crew outlaw in Gaithersburg, MD.

The carnival train, NS #048, was followed by #228.

At this point Rudy and I decided to head for Brunswick, MD thinking we could photograph a train passing WB tower there.  However, we heard Q373 leaving Brunswick so we decided to stop at Harpers Ferry to intercept it.

It was a good thing we did as nothing ran west until 6:30 PM. Also, crews have placed a huge platform directly in front of the stairway of WB so there was no shot there.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Russia - 5

Hi, Our next stop was Petrozavodsk where I got to take some railroad pictures in the morning (see prior post if interested) and we attended a folk show in the afternoon. The show consisted of musical presentations and dancing.

The next morning as we sailed we encountered some typical wooden homes along the shore.

The sun was shining from the rear of the boat and this created some interesting patterns in the wake.

We also met some interesting ships, including this ship carrying stone, and

this large tanker.

Our last port prior to arriving in St. Petersburg was Svir Stroi where we went to a home for cakes and tea. The size of Russian homes is given by the number of total rooms, not counting bathrooms and the kitchen. This home is a 2 room apartment in a subdivided house. The occupants are a couple in their late forties or early fifties. He works in the local hydroelectric power plant as an engineer. She was an accountant/bookkeeper at the power plant and still works their part time. This is their kitchen.

This is one of their 2 counted rooms. There is convertible sofa in the room. Here is where we were served cakes and tea.

This is the second counted room, also with a convertible sofa. Note that their are no rooms used solely for sleeping.

On our way back to the ship we passed through an area with numerous crafts for sale. Ruthe bought a shawl and we purchased barrettes made of birch for our daughters.

The ship is waiting to lock around the hydroelectric dam.

This is the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

It is very ornate inside.

In addition it is the resting place of many of the Russian Tzars and some other nobles. This is the final post on Russia. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Russia - 4

Hi, Our first port after leaving Moscow was Uglich on the Volga River.  This is the view from our ship as we approached the dock.  The red church dates from about 1690 and was built to mark the spot where the youngest son, Prince Dmitri, of Ivan the Terrible died.

The main square is very large and retains many old buildings.  Fortunately, drivers are very courteous and stop for pedestrians as otherwise it would be very dangerous to cross this square.

The town had a Kremlin or fortress at one time and a number of churches were located within its walls. 

During our walking tour a young boy and girl in period costume appeared outside one of the churches within the Kremlin grounds.
This is the best view of our ship I could obtain.  Fifty ships were built to this plan in the mid-1970s and almost all are still in service on Russian rivers.  Our ship was completely remodeled in 2006.

The next day, while our ship was underway bridge tours were offered.  There are three stations with identical controls; one in the center of the bridge and one at each end.  These controls are on the starboard or right side of the bridge.  The controls at the ends of the bridge are used when docking or in tight places, e.g., when passing through a lock.

Our next stop was in Goritsy. where we took a tour of the monastery that dates back to 1397.

Also, there were some interesting buildings in this very small town.

En route to Kizhi Island we passed a dock where a ship was being loaded with logs. 

It seemed that there were far fewer ships on the Russian rivers as compared to the river/canal system in Belgium and Holland.  The ships, however, appeared quite a bit larger.  This appeared to be a bulk carrier.
This is an older style riverboat.

Kizhi Island hosts a museum collection of old wooden buildings and churches.

In one of the buildings artisans were working.

Hydrofoils operate along the waterways providing local transportation between towns.

This is a typical farm house.  During the winter livestock was kept upstairs in the back of the house.  A ramp on the other side of the building gave the animals access.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Russia - 3

Hi, This is the final post for Moscow.  This was the day for our visit to the Kremlin.  However, our first stop was across the Moscow river from the Kremlin for some photos.

Inside the Kremlin there are a number of areas that are off limits to visitors as this is still the seat of government.

This is the entrance to one of the government buildings.

This huge canon is called the Tzar's Canon.  The canon ball is so large it could not be fired.

There were numerous churches within the Kremlin.

The next day I took a Jewish Herritage optional tour.  Our first stop was at the Holocaust Memorial and Memorial Synagogue.  They are located in a large park dedicated to all those Russians who perished during World War II.

As part of the memorial there were slabs representing grave stones in the languages of each of the ethnic groups living within the USSR during WW II.

The memorial synagogue functions as a museum at present as no congregation has opted to use it.  That's too bad as it is a beautiful, though small and simple facility.

From the memorial park we went to the main synagogue in Moscow.  This is the Mezuzah at the entry way.  It contains a small portion of the Torah.

These are some interior views of the sanctuary.

Our ship sailed for St. Petersburg after our return to the ship.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.