PAGE SEVEN.
HIGH IRON Online Magazine. Issue 1, Winter-Spring, 2001
Published by Iron Horse America, Hosted by Railfan.Net
ARCHIVES PAGE 1
Also known as Older Stuff.
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The one railroad I wish that I had more coverage of has to be the RioGrande. The D&RGW image began to fade before I really started traveling, so I missed catching the "Rockie's Railroad" without the SP influence. Of my limited collection, this is my favorite RioGrande photo. The train is coasting down SP tracks near Blue Cut, California on Cajon Pass.
In April of 96' I took a good friend of mine to California to get a final look at Santa Fe and Southern Pacific before the effects of the mega mergers changed everything. At first light on Cajon Pass we caught this Santa Fe intermodal train climbing the "old main", about 2 miles below the summit. The shot is taken from the "Flower Garden" camping spot that I gave honorable mention to in the Trackside Camper page. Watch for a video with a visit to Cajon to be released in the coming year.
I really did not like Amtrak's new G.E. locomotives when they first appeared, for their looks alone. The unit's design was revolutionary, but it's appearance had mixed reception. As with all things I got used to the "Mailboxes on wheels" and began to appreciate them. After all, a 'Genesis" diesel sounds really cool at full throttle grinding up a hill or racing along at 80! You can't say that for an F-40.
Railroad people are a fun but difficult subject to capture because they are unpredictable. The track gang seen here, is doing a rush repair job on a switch point. The train in the background was slowing for a siding when the conductor happened to see a broken rail ahead. Needless to say the train got stopped, but not with much room to spare.
The Chicago and Northwestern railroad was one of the great midwestern granger roads. Much of the C&NW's revenues came from Nebraska, Illinois, and Iowa grain movements. In my C&NW program, currently in production, viewers will get to visit the great heartland served by the historic railroad.
Knowing that the westbound mainline was out of service for maintenance, I took this photo of Q 396 at the west portal of Sand Patch Tunnel on a foggy morning in October of 1991 with the local signal maintainer at my side. Driving to the west portal is a muddy, rough practice, however if you do make it back to the tunnel, you can camp right on top of the portal... pretty exciting at night!
In all of my travels I have visited many mountain railroads. If I were asked which is the best, my answer would probably be Mullan Pass. The relatively short grade (by western standards), boasts a very steep single track climb, with heavy traffic, (So meets are easy to catch). The hill has 2 huge trestles, one of which is in the middle of a horse shoe curve, and there are two other horse shoes back to back, There is also a long tunnel to reach the summit. The best part about Mullan is that Montana Rail Link and BNSF both use pusher locomotives extensively on the hill. Heavy coal and grain trains often have mid and end of train helpers, which makes the action even better. This eastbound MRL train is emerging from the east portal of Mullan tunnel having crested the continental divide on the other side. This is one of many scenes coming in a new video about Montana to be released in 2001.
On occasion, many photographers fiddle with 'artsy' night shots. I try to do a few on every trip I take. Here we see an SP train waiting in the siding at Woodford, CA., as a faster freight overtakes it. 16 seconds, F.5.6, Fujichrome, and I used a Sunpak flash gun to light up the nose.
Driving west on my way in 1994 to BN's Stevens Pass in Washington I had the pleasure of following this and several other trains along the Montana Rail Link mainline which parallels the interstate through the high plains of Eastern Montana. This westbound 'L-M' train is about an hour and a half east of Livingston, MT.
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Copyright 1996, 1997,2000,2001 Iron Horse America Video ABOVE PHOTOS AND MAP By Will Holloway