Hello, everyone. and welcome to another edition of the Midweek Photos.  A chance to take a break from your normal day and look at photos of trains running in the real world.  I'll get things started with a few photos from my week at RailCamp 2019.  I normally play photos of the week chronologically, but let's begin at the Strasburg Rail Road.  This was Thursday, July 4.  


This cobblestone welcome sign is a nice touch to begin you visit to the Strasburg. 


The first person I see working is none other than Alex Merrill, who was just learning how to make the small scale steamer operate when I first met him during RailCamp 2015. 


Alex gives everyone a big sweaty hug on this hot humid morning.  Poor Ellen gets to go first. 


Former Great Western Sugar no. 90 a 2-10-0, is the steam engine that gets to run today.  We see her pulling to the coal pile. 


First assignment for one group of campers is to run a train on a stretch of track the train is the Lancaster Oxford & Southern diesel powered car. 


Chris teaches Rail Camper Zachary what the various handles are for in getting this unit to run. 


Another group gets to learn how to be a brakeman on the railroad.  learning about brake wheels, coupling and hand signals to talk to the engineer. 


One of the routine excursions passes by, led by 90.


Crew members share a little information as former Canadian National 2-6-0 no. 89 gets cleaned up.  She will be our steam locomotive for Friday's operations. 


A little while later, no. 89 is fired up, and putting off a little cloud of smoke. 


The rain in mid afternoon disturbed some of the planned activities, but that was made up for with a short walk through the locomotive and restoration shops. No. 89 was inside at this point of the storm. 


With the rain stopped, and the day nearly ended, some of the staff, Erik Armpriester, Ryan and Alex Merrill  talk shop with the RailCampers.  Joshua (in blue rain jacket) holds the floor at this point.

I will post more of my RailCamp experiences, but it is late, and I need to get to bed. 

Have a good week everyone. Please post some of your railroad photos here. 


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Once the snow quit falling I quickly lost interest in chasing trains for awhile.  The buffalo gnats were horrible this year, making sitting by the tracks no fun at all.  Instead I started taking photos with my 5x7 camera using glass plates of abandoned houses and Civil War re-enactors.  That was fun!  I assumed the 4014 would be heading east yet this year and decided to not go chasing it all over the West on tracks I did not know.  Even when the Great Tour schedule was announced I was still a bit ambivalent.  Crowds are such a hassle to work around, mostly because they dramatically reduce the number and type of shots I can take.  All that changed when I watched a good video of the 4014 puffing down the track somewhere.  My foamer gene kicked in!  OK, I'm going.  Gotta see that for sure.  I have a radius of about a 4 hour drive that I consider a day trip, so that put western Iowa and eastern Nebraska well within my range.  I figured there would be less clutter and people on the Nebraska side, so decided on that.  It's been awhile since I've been along the tracks from Fremont to Grand Island, Nebraska so a scouting trip was in order.  I did that last Saturday and quickly remembered why I don't go down there very often.  The land is very, very flat, few curves, few bridges, not much of anything photogenic unless you're crazy for corn fields.   U.S. 30 closely hugs the tracks making it harder to back away for a shot.  I finally came up with three possibilities, which like a good fishing hole I'm keeping quiet about.  One of them was anchoring my kayak in a river and taking a shot as it crossed the bridge, but I'm thinking that is now out because of the 8 inches of rain that fell the past few days.  It would be OK to kayak on it, but once you drop anchor there will be thousands of tons of 5 mph water slamming into the back of the boat which is not a good thing.  Done that once before.  It did not go well.


The Scouting Trip

On Saturday I got up early and drove down to Missouri Valley, Iowa and headed west on US 30.  I just wasn't seeing much potential all the way to Columbus!  At Columbus I missed my turn and took off into a maze of little highways along some tracks I wasn't familiar with.  Turns out they are from the Nebraska Central (NCRC), a railroad I've always found to be very elusive.  At Monroe I came across two parked geeps and took a shot.  I love the color!  Also found an older geep on an elevator siding.  When I tried to get back south to US 30 I quickly found out that many roads and bridges had been washed out or damaged, and it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be!  Finally got back to the main highway and followed it to Grand Island.  Grabbed a meal and headed back east, looking at spots more closely.  I only saw five UP trains moving in the five hours I was along the tracks.  Ten or fifteen years ago it would have been 4+ per hour!  I talked to a farmer by Duncan, NE and he said traffic was way down the past month or so.  He also said they've been doing a lot of flood repair work.  I got a couple of shots, but neither of them will work for the 4014 as I'm assuming the locations will be crowded.   US 30 was very busy on Saturday and I'm assuming it will be jammed on Saturday.  Not sure if the back roads and section lines are passable either--some I saw weren't.  I took a shortcut home up US 77 on the Nebraska side instead of I-29 which allowed me to follow the BNSF Sioux City sub.  I saw FOUR trains on that in just an hour!  Took a shot at Oakland, NE, then hurried home.  Got there about 10:30 pm.   For being gone 14 hours and $60 worth of gas I really didn't have much to show for it.


I've booked a room in Columbus, NE and plan on heading out tomorrow afternoon.  I honestly don't think I'm going to get any truly great shots, but it will be fun just to be there.  Just hearing and seeing it will be reward enough.  The prices on used Nikon D850 cameras recently dropped enough that I bought one.  The camera takes very good video, and I hope to pair it with my Rode stereo mic and give that a try if I get the opportunity.  Video is something I've done very little of.  I would also like to get a shot of the train and the crowd with my 5x7 camera using black & white film.  I'm only counting on getting one photo though.  We'll see.


Kent in SD 

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

Miserere nobis.


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Turtle 2, the circus cars are still in Scranton at Steamtown.  The Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Society is working out long term storage for their cars, which include these three.  The two performer cars and an elephant car turned horse car. They were last used as a haunted house train last Fall, and have not been used since. The horse car will be open to walk through during Steamtown's Railfest on August 31 and September 1.  I don't have much to update past that. 

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