random thoughts on railroad photography, railfanning, technology, and such

Entries in General Photography (4)


Second Chance for 3751 at San Bernardino Railroad Days

SB Railroad Days Flyer

According to the San Bernardino Railroad Histroical Society’s (SBRHS) web site, one week after the Santa Fe 3751 leads the San Diego Steam Special II from Los Angeles to San Diego and back, the 3751 will make a trip between Los Angeles and San Bernardino as part of San Bernardino’s Railroad Days & Bicentennial Celebration.

The San Bernardino Railroad Days & Bicentennial Celebration will be held at the San Bernardino Train Station on Saturday, May 8 and Sunday, May 9 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m and according to the event’s web page:

Not only will you be able to walk through the cab of the train, you will also be able to ride the train! On Saturday, May 8 you can board the train from Los Angeles and arrive in San Bernardino to enjoy the 2-day extravaganza. Dress in period clothing to truly experience the steam engine days.

Once you step off the train you will encounter antique cars and trucks, a demonstration from a steam-powered fire engine, a new state-of-the-art locomotive from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, bands playing festive music, model railroads from multiple railroad clubs, and a display of Women in Railroading.  There will be food vendors, but you may want to order something from one of the Harvey Girls, waitresses from the famous Fred Harvey restaurants that sprung up along the Santa Fe lines going West.

Saturday May 8, 2010 coincides with National Train Day, the details of which can be read from this post National Train Day - Discover and Learn About Railroads and Trains.  I plan on being in Los Angeles on the 8th and San Bernardino on the 9th.  I hope to see you there!


Rare Railroad Photo and Family Opportunity in Southern California

One very special event is coming to southern California and presents a rare opportunity for many, railfans and the general public alike.

On May 1, 2010 a former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway steam locomotive will make a run, complete with a passenger train set, from Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal to San Diego, California and make a return trip the following day.

The locomotive, known as Santa Fe #3751, was delivered to the Santa Fe Railway in May, 1927.  It is known as a 4-8-4 type locomotive; four leading wheels, eight driving wheels and four trailing wheels. The locomotive and tender weigh nearly 875,000 pounds when loaded with water and fuel.  The 3751 was retired from service in 1957 and donated to the city of San Bernardino.

The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) acquired the 3751 from San Bernardino for $1 in 1985 and began extensive restoration efforts.  The SBHRS finished restoring the 3751 in 1991 and she has been making occasional runs ever since.

This particular run of the 3751 is called the San Diego Steam Special II and is a joint effort of Central Coast Railway Club and the Pacific Locomotive Association.  You can purchase tickets to ride the train, if you wish.  The current schedule calls for the train to leave Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal mid-morning on May 1, 2010 and arriving in San Diego, California in the mid-afternoon.  A return trip is planned for the next day with the train leaving San Diego mid-morning and arriving at Union Station in Los Angeles mid-afternoon.

This is a rather rare opportunity for you and your family to see a steam locomotive at speed hauling a train set.  It might even be something that your younger kids have not seen before.  It really is a very thrilling site to behold.  A glimpse of days gone-by and one that shouldn’t be missed.  Find a scenic and SAFE spot near the tracks and make an event of it.  I’ll be trackside! 

Check out this video from YouTube showing a previous run of the 3751 and some of the folks stopped to see the majestic locomotive blow by.



Sometimes Life Throws You a Curve

Whenever we are out for a weekend on one of our shooting trips I try to get up before sunrise.  I learned sometime ago to appreciate the special lighting conditions and opportunities that occur only when the light level is low and soft that happens at sunset and sunrise.

On our most recent outing to Lavic, CA, on BNSF’s Needles Subdivision, Lappy woke us up because he needed to go outside.  The time was 4:15 AM. Perhaps a tad bit early but I didn’t want to chance it and oversleep so I got up.  I cleaned up, got a little something to eat, and put on ample layers because I knew it was going to be cold outside - and it was.

It was still dark when I got outside but the sunlight was making a discernable streak in the eastern sky.  The weather continued to be as excellent as it was the day before.  There was little to no cloud cover and no wind at all, but is was cold, very cold.

I began to assess the location, its accessibility and scenic features.  Little need to analyze the color was required because the darkness stripped away all but several shades of blackness.  My hopes were for an opportunity to shoot an eastbound train lit by the rising sun but it would also be cool to get a westbound train silhouetted against the dawn.  I picked a spot that afforded me an opportunity to get a shot of a westbound or an eastbound train and began to gather my gear.

I recalled hearing trains passing our location all night as we slept and I was worried that one would come before I was ready so I franctically yet methodically worked to get everything ready.  Eventually I was ready.  My camera was mounted and my tripod leveled and securely positioned.  My video camera was  also in place and fully charged.  The sun was beginning to rise as the eastern sky began to glow.  I was filled with anticipation.

I was ready and my gear was ready.  The skies were beginning to develop into a canvas of promise.  There was only one thing missing for a railroad photographer, the train.  So I waited.  And waited.

Did I mention that I waited?  Because I did.  I waited and I waited. And then I waited some more!  Where were the trains?  No clue.  All I knew was I in place, ready to shoot, and the moment was perfect except there was no subject in the frame.  Such is the life of a railroad photographer, I thought.  Unlike a landscape photographer, we are dependant on the presence of a train in order to fulfill our desire to get the perfect shot.  None was seen, or heard at all.

The sun began to reflect off of the rails and highlighted the eastern edge of the curve that was before me.  I took this opportunity to create a rail-related scene without a train.  I compose the shot and reviewed the results.  I missed.  The lighting was all wrong.  I adjusted the settings on my camera and proceeded to shoot the sun rising over the curve.

I like the shots that I took, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but think about what the shots would look like if a train had been there.  Perhaps I would have emphasized the train too much and missed the moment.  I’ll never know for sure.  Maybe next time I’ll get the shot that I had hoped for. 

Deb, let’s go out again! 

Sunrise Curve 3

Sunrise Curve 1

Sunrise Curve 2

Sunrise Curve 4