I don’t mean to get too philosophical about taking pictures of trains here; but I view it a little like hunting, though in lieu of a rifle, I carry a camera. Even the term shoot applies to both. When I’m “hunting” I don’t carry a lot of equipment with me; in fact, a lot of the time, I only carry the camera. I don’t use a frequency scanner, or anything like that; though to be clear, I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’m not arguing that my imagery is “more pure” because I get my photos by chance. I have chased trains before, but I don’t really like to do that; instead, I like to find a spot with good visibility in both directions, and I stay there. Waiting. I spend a lot of time in view of the railroad signal that’s within walking distance to our neighborhood. In my hunting analogy, that’s something like stalking a watering hole on a game trail, I guess. Rail traffic can be sparse and it’s typically sporadic since there’s only one rail that serves both north and southbound traffic.
One trophy that I’ve wanted to get since we moved down to Colorado Springs was the Unit Coal Train for Colorado Springs Utilities. I’ve seen it a few times, but I’ve never had my camera with me. But on Memorial Day, my daughter and I were walking back toward the car (and keeping an eye overhead on the Thunderbirds, who were showing off their stuff). I heard the sound of an approaching train, so we stopped and waited. I see BNSF trains far more frequently on the Joint Line, so seeing Union Pacific’s colors appear was a nice surprise. First visible was UP 7877, a GE AC45CCTE (what UP calls their ES44ACs), followed by an EMD SD70ACe, UP 8346, and another one that I didn’t get good enough photos to use.
But the Trophy Moment was that this UP consist was pulling the empty Colorado Springs Utilities hoppers north for a refill:
Then, as the train was passing, a few of the Thunderbirds flew overhead, and I managed to get both the train and the Thunderbirds in the shot. Score!
Bringing up the rear of was a pair of GE AC44CWCTE (AC4400CWs), UP 5626 and UP 6664.
Hands down, one of my favorite hunts.