Our Persistence was Rewarded in the End

 

My last photograph of the day was one of the best, if not my favorite. The sun has set but the afterglow lights up the western sky as a snow-coated CSX stack train heads for Cleveland.

My last photograph of the day was one of the best, if not my favorite. The sun has set but the afterglow lights up the western sky as a snow-coated CSX stack train heads for Cleveland.

My fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Edward Ribinskas and I went to Conneaut on Sept. 19 to catch the Pine Tree Limited on its way to the convention of the American Association of Private Car Owners.

A couple days later, Ed checked himself into the Cleveland Clinic hospital where he ultimately wound up having open heart surgery.

It’s been a long recovery period and Ed is doing well, but he had not been trackside since that September outing.

Last Friday afternoon I had an opening in my schedule and the weather forecast looked promising so I traveled to Ed’s home to pick him up and take him to Perry to get in a little train watching.

At least that was the idea. Perry is home to the busy CSX Erie West Subdivision and the Norfolk Southern Cleveland District, both of which go to Buffalo, N.Y., from Cleveland.

I thought by Friday traffic would be moving again on both railroads and it would be heavy as they sought to get caught up.

I could not have been more wrong. We sat for a good two hours and nothing moved. The road channels of both railroads were eerily silent.

About 4:15 p.m., I heard a scratching noise on the CSX road channel. It was followed by another scratching noise a couple minutes later. Another minute passed and I heard a voice calling a signal on Track No. 1 westbound.

We were not going to be shut out. Until then, we had both become rather discouraged.

By the time the train got to Perry it was just past 4:30. Weather conditions were good. It was cold, but not bitterly cold.

The clouds had broken up and it was mostly sunny. The ground was still snow covered and there was a fair amount of the white stuff on the tracks.

With rain and warmer temperatures in the offing for Saturday and Sunday, Friday would be the best day to photograph trains even as it turned out not to be the best day for rail traffic.

The challenge was that the sun would be setting in less than a half-hour. The low sun angle was fine, but the trees blocking it created the effect of sunlight and shadows.

Still, I rather liked the way that that played out. Our first train of the day was a garbage train that stinks to high heaven even in the winter.

We got out shots and I managed to work the setting sun into a going way image.

After getting back in my car, we joked about how we waited for more than two hours and all we got was garbage.

It was good for a laugh, but we weren’t done just yet. About 15 minutes later CSX sent a pair of stack trains past us, one in each direction.

The light was slipping away fast, but there was just enough to make good images.

We both were pleased with how our photos of the Union Pacific unit on the lead of the westbound worked out.

As we got ready to leave, we agreed that we had, again, learned that you need to be persistent when chasing trains.

It doesn’t always work out this way, but on this day our seeing it through was rewarded with some good late day light photographs.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

After waiting more than two hours we finally landed a train. Fortunately for us, it coming westbound into the late day light.

After waiting more than two hours we finally landed a train. Fortunately for us, it coming westbound into the late day light.

A closer view of the motive power of the garbage train stepping out in the sunlight again.

A closer view of the motive power of the garbage train stepping out in the sunlight again. Note the tall shadows that Ed and I cast in the snow.

I just liked the contrast of dark and light on the endless string of garbage containers.

I just liked the contrast of dark and light on the endless string of garbage containers.

The sun is about to set over Perry as the rear of the snow-covered garbage containers catches the dying rays of light.

The sun is about to set over Perry as the rear of the snow-covered garbage containers catches the dying rays of light.

I managed to catch a piece of the setting sun in the notch in the trees in front of the nose of this eastbound stack train. If only the train had been here a few minutes earlier.

I managed to catch a piece of the setting sun in the notch in the trees in front of the nose of this eastbound stack train. If only the train had been here a few minutes earlier.

Passing stack trains beneath the old signal bridge at Perry.

Passing stack trains beneath the old signal bridge at Perry.

A good look at the Union Pacific leader on the westbound stack train.

A good look at the Union Pacific leader on the westbound stack train.

The snow caked on the pilot and trucks of Union Pacific No. 8178 show that it's been traveling through snow for a while.

The snow caked on the pilot and trucks of Union Pacific No. 8178 show that it’s been traveling through snow for a while.

The last rays of sunlight of the day reflect off the sides of the containers of a westbound CSX stack train at Perry.

The last rays of sunlight of the day reflect off the sides of the containers of a westbound CSX stack train at Perry.

 

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5 Responses to “Our Persistence was Rewarded in the End”

  1. locoyard Says:

    These are some fantastic pictures! Would it be possible to use one of these pictures for an advent calendar we’re running on http://www.locoyard.com please? We will give full credit to you of course.

    Many thanks,

    Dave

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