Hi, My wife Ruthe and I went to Pittsburgh for her 50th College reunion from 10/13 to 10/15. Friday was a free day for me so I decided to spend it exploring some old railroad haunts.
After checking out NS passing through Allegheny Commons Park West I moved on to a location where I shot Conrail almost 20 years ago; the Ohio Connecting Bridge from the north bank of the Ohio River. Unfortunately the four trains I saw here in a two hour period were headed for the south bank and I only managed a photo of one, an empty coal train.
After lunch I decided to explore Neville Island, a highly industrialized piece of land in the middle of the Ohio River. When I first went there almost 40 years ago there was great access and a number of industrial railroads to shoot. Today there is very little access, however, I did find a Pittsburgh and Ohio Central SW1500 (above and below) and
a CSX GP40-3.
I moved on to Sewickley where, after a short wait, I photographed a coke train passing the old station. At one time there were island platforms here.
My final stop was Leetsdale where there are still two traditional signal Bridges. Everything else has changed. The two grade crossings that were here are now closed and a highway over pass has been built. I hoped for an eastbound train but got two westbounds (above and below).
Hi, This post contains the remainder of the photos I have chosen from September 25.
We will begin at Skyline Trestle at the top of Mullan Pass. We tried to find the road to the track but were unsuccessful. Later we learned from Google Maps that the access road begins uphill from the trestle. Here the coal train we had spent most of the morning photographing caught up to us.
It was easy to beat the coal train to Austin as it descended the pass (above and two below).
Later in the day we caught another grain train just west of Austin.
On our way back into Helena we ran into friend James House at a grade crossing. He was there with his two kids and some other fans waiting for BNSF train LAUBAR as it was due out of Helena with a matched set of three MRL SD40s on the point. After awhile we learned the train would be delayed until sundown so Steve and I joined one of the fans at the depot where the train was waiting for a crew (above and below).
All of the SD70ACes in helper service also were present (above and below)
We then followed the railfan east as the only regularly scheduled intermodal train on the MRL was enroute. At Louisville we spotted a local in the siding so we got some shots of it (above) and then set up for the intermodal train (three below).
After photographing the local splitting the signals as it departed Louisville we gave chase.
Next up was Winston where the local stopped and then slowly pulled into the siding
behind an empty grain train for a three way meet with a westbound loaded grainer.
Our final location for the day was at Bedford (above and three below).
Hi, Since this was a very busy day I have split the photos into two posts. This one will cover the area between Missoula, MT and Blossberg, MT; on the west slope of Mullan Pass. Note, to see larger photos please click on one of the photos.
About 18 miles east of Missoula we encountered an eastbound train of coal empties at Clinton, MT which we then chased catching it at
east of Nimrod along I-90,
east of Gold Creek, again off the shoulder of I-90 (above and two below) and
At Garrison the train of coal empties was held up following a slow moving grain train so we switched our attention to the grain train. We caught it twice at Avon (above and two below). My next post will cover some additional opportunities we had to photograph the coal empties.
At Blossberg, just west of the Mullan Pass Tunnel, a westbound double stack met a four unit eastbound helper set (above and below).
The train stopped to drop its helpers allowing a variety of shots and an opportunity to get ahead.
After the stacker dropped its helpers we had one more opportunity to photograph it (above and two below).
Next we returned to Blossberg to get one more westbound. This one was carrying aircraft wings (in the two brown cars next to the locomotives) and two aircraft fuselages.
Hi, Steve and I started our day in Thompson Fall, MT. It would be a long and active day so this is a long post.
Montana Rail Link (MRL) was alive with BNSF trains that morning. We spotted an eastbound in the siding which meant something was going to happen, probably a meet. Sure enough, before we could find a good position a westbound showed up.
Once the westbound cleared the eastbound continued its journey (above and below).
We went to explore a bit and noticed the westbound was now waiting so we went back to the gantry signals to shoot another eastbound (above and two below).
We then moved to the east end of town where, having positioned its loads at the unloading racks, the Day Gas Local was getting on its train of empties to take back to Missoula (above and two below).
The two crossovers were used to run around the spacer box car.
After getting his air the engineer pulled out on the main, the conductor relined the switched to normal, the engineer backed up to pick up the conductor and
the train left town.
About four miles to the east the local pulled into the siding at Eddy, MT for a meet (above and two below).
Then it was off to the races. We photographed the train at Weeksville (above and two below) and
The Pines (above and below). We just beat him to Plains but I did not have time to set up for the shot. I would get a chance later in the trip to get it.
At Paradise the Gas Local took the line over Evaro Hill which is normal practice. In some places the shots are across the Flathead River, such as here at Knowles.
Eventually the train and the road share the same side of the river. These photos were taken west of Perma, MT and
near McDonald, MT.
We did not find anything that interested us enough to stop and shoot until we got to the bottom of Evaro Hill. The photographs above and below were taken at Nagos, Montana.
Desmet is where the short route over Evaro Hill and the much longer route along the Clark Fork River come back to together.
It was still early so we explored east a bit. At Bonner, MT we encountered an eastbound (above and below) and
We returned to Desmet where we shot this eastbound,
and these two westbounds (above and below).
We got ahead of the westbound coal train just east of Frenchtown, MT.
Our final shots of the day were of the Night Gas Local heading west at Desmet
Then it was time to meet up with friend James House, an MRL dispatcher, and his two children for dinner.
I am 78 years old. I took my first railroad photos in the mid 50's although active photography really took hold in 1971 when I moved to the Washington, DC area.
I enjoy photographing almost any kind of rail activity and have done so throughout the United States. In addition, I have photographed extensively in a number of Canadian Provinces and have had the opportunity to shoot some in foreign countries.
I am married with 2 grown daughters and 4 grandsons. Professionally, I worked for the United States Bureau of Mines until the organization was shut down in 1996. In my last assignment I managed the Bureau's Minerals and Materials Science Research Program.
My wife and I enjoy traveling. We have had a number of really great trips to South America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, Egypt and Jordan, and Africa. Photos from these trip will be included. You can reach me at email@example.com