California Zephyr (II)
After not seeing any freight trains the day before, we tried our luck again on the Thompson – Green River section. Landscape was looking too promising. First train that came through was the eastbound California Zephyr. Today it was hauled by a locomotive in phase I livery, commemorating Amtrak’s 40th anniversary in 2011.
With this photo, I tried a new technique of developping the photos by improving clarity and vibrance and making local adjustments.
Some like it hot, and dry
We wanted to make a photo with the Book Cliffs as a background. All we needed was a train coming from Green River to make it work. Unfortunately, we only saw traffic coming from the wrong side. But then, fortunately, this train needed some pushing units on the back of the train.
The landscape doesn’t only look very arid, it most definitely was hot and dry here. Some animals, say snakes, like this environment enough to live in though. I discovered this while patiently waiting and reading a book on a rock, when suddenly I became aware of something sneaking up to me. Needless to say that I couldn’t sit at ease on a rock anymore that day 🙂
To the moon
What does the moon look like? I think we got an idea while hanging around Green River’s Book Cliffs. From a position a bit higher than the previous one, we got another coal train being helped by a pushing unit.
After this photo, it was high time to feed our stomachs and find a new spot, towards Price River Canyon.
Have I seen you before?
After lunch in Green River, we started looking for a new photo ocation and found this one. The place is called Cedar according to the Atlas, but apart from a level crossing there’s nothing to see 🙂
After only a few minutes, we heard the rumble of a train in the distance, and a few more minutes later the same coal train we saw earlier passed us! 2.5 hours have passed, the distance covered was about 40km. Crew change maybe, or waiting for another train?
Third time’s a charm
We had our photo, and after assuring nothing more was coming we continued north. We took our time, booking a room at a motel in the meantime, and looking for a new spot to photograph a train.
Price River Canyon offers some good possibilities for spectacular shots. Our first stop was at Castle Gate. And again, after only a few minutes waiting a train came around the bend. The same train as a few hours before. Really. In all those years of making photos of trains I’ve never accidentally seen the same train more than twice.
Just turn around
Sometimes all you need to do is turn around. A rear helper was definitely necessary to get this heavy train up the hill. What you can’t see on the photo are the mid-train helpers. No need to tell the heavy train was rolling by really slowly. A treat for our eyes and ears!
Taking our time
It was obvious that no real effort from our part was needed to make some more photos of this train. We took our time packing our stuff and continueing the road up the canyon. The road follows the line rather well, so it’s easy to find new locations, even without having been there before. In no time we had passed the hard-working rear and middle helpers and the leading engines… time to position ourselves on the next nice location we saw and just await what we knew was coming.
Following a train is not our usual way of making photos, but we really couldn’t avoid it this time.
Cut and paste
Enjoying the beautiful sunny evening, we drove on through the canyon, following the train. We found it stopped at Colton, on top of the hill. This is where the mid-train helper locomotives were taken out. If you look good, you can see them on the photo, through the heat waves.
The train will continue its trip donw spanish Fork Canyon with 2 engines in front and 1 in the back.
And off we go again
After being recopomposed, the train is slowly gaining speed again. The sun was starting to set, indicating almost the end of us following this coal train. 6 hours, and very relaxed, and lots of photos. This was definitely worth the effort.
Not over yet
After the unvoluntary chase we agreed to call the evening a success. And still it wasn’t over. The coal train had taken so much time climbing up the hill, that another train was following right behind.
Moments like this are a strong contrast to those days where nothing seems to work. I guess you need some of both, although I prefer when things do work out for the good 🙂
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