Friday, March 18, 2016

Railfanning 3/14 - 3/16/2016

Hi, Friend Stan Short and I set off on Tuesday for Roanoke, VA. NS units 4000/4001 (dash 8 GE units rebuilt as ACs) were still testing on the Belews Creek, NC coal train and had been leaving Roanoke around eight o'clock.  However, on Tuesday they had departed at about 2:00 AM and already were at the plant.  Therefore, we decided to head for the power plant at Belews Creek in hopes of finding the power where we could get some kind of photos and perhaps catch it leaving for Roanoke.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  The only thing that happened all day was a chance meeting with a member of the county constabulary which resulted in a traffic citation.  Oh well.  Day one gone and no photos. 

As far as the Belews Creek coal train was concerned Day two did not look much better.  While waiting in the vain hope we would catch the train heading back to Roanoke we saw five hi-rail trucks clear the railroad, including a welder and a crane.  On our drive up to Roanoke Stan spotted a production track gang.  It did not look good. 

In fact we learned the coal train had left Roanoke about 4:30 AM and arrived at the plant at about 11:00 AM.  We decided to check out the CPLs on the old N&W east of Roanoke.  Our first stop was Webster where, after a short wait, we photographed #195 (above and below).

About an hour later #098 came east with Onion Pacific (check out the nose herald) SD70M #4628 pulling a flat car followed by five new VRE passenger cars and another flat.

We chased the train to Bedford, VA.

We continued east as the dispatcher had given track and time authority to maintenance people and it was clear nothing would run between Roanoke and Lynchburg until well after 2:00 PM.

Continuing east of Lynchburg our route took us close to Keysville, VA we stopped there to see if anything was happening on the Virginia Southern (operated by the Buckingham Branch).  It was not and there would not be a train on Thursday either.  We did, however, find this sitting coal train (above and below).  On NS it was just more track and time authorities.

After spending the night in Lynchburg we headed up to the north side of the James River where the former Southern Railway mainline crossed.  We hoped to get a northbound train here and it was not long before we heard the dispatcher tell #159 he would meet #12R at Fallwell, south of town.  In due time we heard #12R come into town and begin switching first at Kenny yard and then at Montview.

Suddenly, while we waited the radio came to life as a train called a signal.  The former Southern Railway channel was the only one we were monitoring and the signal was loud and clear so we decided it had to be a southbound train and it was close.  We knew there was another trestle (across Harris Creek) about a block north of us so we hustled there and set up for #35Q (above).

After waiting out the rest of the morning with nothing happening we quit and headed for Fredericksburg where I let Stan off.  The radio was quiet all the way to Orange.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Japan -12

Hi, For our final port we returned to Aomori.

Musicians on the pier greeted the ship.

We first visited the Warasse Nebuta Museum.  The museum had numerous displays related to the Nebuta Festival which would begin that evening.

Key to the festival are floats, such as the one above.

Also, there was a display of masks, two of which are shown above and below.

Next we walked over to where preparations were being made for the evening's parade.  Above is one of the floats.  These are lit from the inside.

Drums also are an important part of the parade.  Here they are being tuned.

A short distance beyond where the preparations were underway groups of children were performing (above and two below).  I think this was just a practice session based on the lack of any costumes.

Our final visit for the trip was the Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site .  There were many more structures of greater variety than we saw during our previous visit to a Jomon site (above and three below).

This is the interior (above) of the building below.  It is believed that long houses such as this served either as meeting halls or workshops.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Japan - 11

Hi, In this post I will cover our visit to Kanazawa.  In the morning we visited Kenrokuen Gardens while in the afternoon we explored former Geisha quarters.

The photo above shows the entrance to the gardens while the nine photos below were taken as we walked through the gardens.

There is a moss plot in the gardens which is weeded by hand.

Rocks in the stream are brushed with brooms.

Here is another pattern I found intriguing.

After the men finished cleaning the rocks and left, the stream quieted to yield nice reflections.

Its amazing what the Japanese will do to support trees (above and two below).

Ropes are used to tie the supports together.

Kasumi Pond in the park has this interesting tea house

and a two legged lantern which is emblematic of the park.

Adjacent to the park is the Kanazawa Castle.

A beautiful lily pond was outside the castle walls.

Before lunch we strolled through a market.

The merchandise displays (above and below) were very interesting.

In particular we noted how carefully the produce is protected from bruising.

This market is not a tourist attraction but rather a place where the Japanese do their shopping (above and below).

That afternoon we visited the former Geisha district.

Here are some interior views of one of the houses (above and three below).  Note the instruments and how spare the decoration is.

Here is an exterior decoration.  Thanks for looking.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

February railfanning

Hi, February was a slow month; I only got out for a half day with friend Jim Mixter. We spent the time visiting four sites on the Northeast Corridor south of Baltimore.

Our first stop was the point where the south (or west) leg of the wye joins the Corridor (above and two below).  The tail track of this wye forms the branch to Morgantown and Chalk Point, MD.

Among the trains photographed was an Acela,

a MARC train being pushed toward Washington by and HHP-8, and

A Northeast Regional train.

Our second stop was just up the road at the Bowie State campus station (above and three below).

While we were there a small track crew went to work with one man at the north (or east) end of the platform with a whistle sign.  Here a MARC train headed for Washington is slowing for its station stop (above and below).

The second HHP-8 (above and below) was good fortune indeed as Amtrak has announced they will no longer maintain these locomotives after 2017 and replacement power already is on order.

Having made its stop the train pushed on toward DC.

Our third stop was at Odenton.  First up was the westbound Cardinal.

A few minutes later a northbound (or eastbound) Acela came through followed by

the Crescent pulled by one of the very few remaining AEM-7s.

Our final location was Halethorpe where we saw a MARC train headed for Baltimore,

two Acelas passing,

a Northeast Regional train bound for New York City,

another MARC train on its way to Washington, and

one more Acela going to Washington.  Thanks for looking.