Railfanning

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Podcast: Episode 7 - The "Father of Railways", two junctions and selective compression

Listen to Episode 7

Selective compression applied to a model building.A model of the Compressed Manufacturing Company in HO scale.

Never more than a day late, here's the next episode of the Rip Track Podast.  In this episode, we take a look at the life of George Stephenson, "The Father of Railways."  Then we hear the final installment of Randy Garnhardt's discussion of interesting juctions with a look at Clinton, Iowa, and Nelson, Illinois.  Finally, the Modeler's Moment describes the princile of selective compression as it is applied to model railroads.

One day along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin

BNSF 7234 leads an eastbound trainOn June 6, 2009, I spent a day at one of my favorite railfanning spots along the Mississippi River.  The rail line on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin was originally built by predecessors of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.  Today, the line is part of BNSF's mainline between Chicago and Seattle.  On the days that I've railfanned this line, there have been about one train per hour, so there's plenty of action to see for a patient railfan.  While this location didn't produce many artistic photos on this trip (it was colder and rainier than on previous trips), I was able to get a number of reference photos of the equipment that passed me.

One word of caution for readers on a dialup connection, however.  This post is very long compared to the rest of the site.  There are about 30 images below, each about 50 kilobytes.

Podcast: Episode 3 - all about railfanning

Listen to Episode 3

Railfans out railfanning.Railfanning near Prairie du Chien, WI, in 2004.

With this episode, things are falling into place and the show is officially fully established. First we hear an excerpt from the Conversations About Photography Conference where Stuart Klipper tells us about some of his inspirations for railroad photography. Then we go over a checklist to ensure that railfanning trips go well. In our Modeler's Moment, we discuss how to use railfanning as a model railroading tool, and finally, there's a little shameless self-promotion to finish off the episode.

Podcast: Episode 1

Listen to Episode 1

Here it is, the first episode of The Rip Track Podcast. In this show I discuss NTSB recommendations R-09-1 through -5 that have to do with uniform railroad signaling, I list a number of significant events in railroad history that occurred in May throughout the years, offer an excerpt from the Conversations About Photography conference sponsored by the Center for Rail Photography and Art, and I close with a Modeler's Moment describing one way to save some money on your model railroad purchases.

A photo project I want to work on...

A Maintenance of Way worker at Dolton crossing.

I need your help. I've submitted an entry in the "name your dream assignment" photography contest. The winner will get a stipend and laptop to pursue the assignment, but in order to be considered, the assignment idea needs to be voted up. The project that I want to work on is to publish a book of photographs that show the hard work involved in keeping the trains rolling across North America. Please take a moment to visit my assignment idea and vote for me. Thanks!
 

Modeling on the prototype

Okay, all you railfans out there. Be on the lookout for a newly painted box car in interchange service in the US. WSOR 503175 is a 52' double plug door boxcar just released from the WSOR paint shop last Friday. This car joins WSOR 503149, painted in 2003, and WC 26173 in 1999 as prototype boxcars with a little extra in the paint. All three of these cars carry emblems celebrating significant anniversary years of publication for Model Railroader magazine. The new car entered regular service on October 10. There is at least one photo on teh intarweb already showing the new paint scheme. Have you seen this car yet?

Railroad photographer Richard Kindig passes

I just read a note that says noted Colorado railroad photographer Richard Kindig passed away on April 7. Earlier this year, the governor of Colorado in a ceremony at the Colorado Railroad Museum, declared March 1, 2008, to be Richard H. Kindig Day in recognition of his work photographing the railroads of the state. There are a few mentions around the web on railfan and modeling sites...

He was 92 and will be missed. May the eternal dispatcher always give him the clear signal.

The 2008 Olympic Torch travels by rail too

The Olympic Torch is on a Eurostar train today traveling from London to Paris.[1] In scanning around the web for news of other train rides, it appears that the Torch Relay will ride the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (now the highest railway in the world) in June,[2] and will also ride the Indian Pacific across Australia (a route that traverses the longest stretch of straight and level track in the world as it crosses the Nullarboor Plain) in July.[3] What I don't see is any mention of rail travel over North America. I've seen photos of the 2002 relay car that Union Pacific built, and I got to see Canadian Pacific carry the torch through Wisconsin, but so far it doesn't look like any American railfans will get to see it on a train this year.

Modeler's Moment - Go when you can

Triple-headed mainline steam!

I've learned long ago that if you're ever given a chance to go out railfanning, do it. It seems that every time I go out to shoot trains, I see something special. To use today as an example, I had an opportunity to go to the Quad Cities to see the double-headed special pulled by the two Chinese steam locomotives on Iowa Interstate. When I finally got to a good photo location, another railfan told me that 261 was coupled into the train too. The train pulled into the town and all three were steamed up and working! Bonus!

Trip report - A quick tour of Colorado

We just got back from a short vacation in Colorado. What is a railfan to do when surrounded by some of the best known narrow gauge railroading in North America? He goes to the museums and rides the trains, of course. On this trip, we visited the Colorado Railroad Museum, and rode Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Here's a little bit of a photojournal documenting the trip (39 photos, dialup users beware)...

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