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

Entries from May 9, 2010 - May 15, 2010


What's Wrong with this Pcture?

I was doing some post-processing work on my photos in preparation for upcoming blog post about the National Train Day events in Los Angeles a week ago and I came across this photo. Something just doesn’t seem right about it.

Can you spot it?

Post your answer as a comment below:


In the Ballast with the Santa Fe 3751 at Los Angeles Union Station

Continuing my coverage of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society’s former Santa Fe 3751 steam locomotive’s departure from Los Angeles Union Station en route to San Bernardino, California with an excursion train as part of the San Bernardino Railroad Days and Bicentennial Celebration, I have moved my vantage point into the ballast area at the end of the platform.

Here are the some photos that I took as she departed on a beautiful May day that happened to be National Train Day as well:

“Yesterday meets today” - The former Santa Fe 3751 waits for the “highball” call from the conductor on Track 8 while an Amtrak Surfliner train occupys Track 9 at Los Angeles Union Station on National Train Day, May 1, 2010.

An eclectic mix of private cars comprise the consist behind the former Santa Fe 3751 for this excursion run from Los Angeles to San Bernardino as part of that city’s Railroad Days and Bicentennial Celebration. 

Prior to the excursion train’s departure the Amtrak Surfliner gets a green light out of Track 9 and begins to navigate the track complex at CP Terminal.

Showering a line of photographers in steam, the 3751 gets the “highball” indication and pulls hard on the train as it begins the run to San Bernardino, California.

Equal pillars of steam and smoke are expelled as the 3751 leaves Los Angeles Union Station’s Track 8.

The 3751 eases back a bit as the train gains momentum.

The glorious 3751 rolls by in a magnificent thunderous kaleidescope of motion and sound.

Here is the video from the 3751’s departure out of Track 8 on it’s way through CP Terminal and on to the Metrolink’s San Gabriel Subdivision for it’s run to San Bernardino: 



On the Platform with the Santa Fe 3751 at Los Angeles Union Station

Indirectly associated with the events of National Train Day, the former Santa Fe No. 3751 was going to pulling an excursion train from Los Angeles Union Station to San Bernardino, California as part of San Bernardino Railroad Days and Bicentennial Celebration.

It was perfect timing for me as I was going to be attending the National Train Day events at Los Angeles Union Station yesterday anyways so I altered my schedule a bit so I could see the 3751 leave LA.

I caught Metrolink #351 at the Upland Metrolink Station and took it into LA. Onboard the train already were a lot of folks that were heading to Los Angeles to board the excursion train and ride it back to San Bernardino. It added to the excitement of the day’s events and they were clearly looking forward to their trip and it spilled over to the rest of us.

As we pulled into Track 6 at Union Station I saw the 3751 majestically holding the point of the excursion train on Track 8. She was alive with steam and raring to go.

I exited the train and made my way to her track. The crew was making final preparations and the scene was littered with railfans already in position and the press covering the event. I unpacked my cameras and monopod and began to take some shots:

The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society’s former Santa Fe 3751, up to pressure and raring to go, is the star attraction in the early morning hours of National Train Day as she waits for departure to San Bernardino, California.

Santa Fe 3751’s magic box - her cylinder.

Santa Fe 3751’s running gear.

The former Santa Fe 3751 is alive.

The train’s departure time drew near and as I completed my final shots, I noticed a man whom looked out of place because he looked like he belonged there - one with the 3751, if you will. He focused intently on every detail and sound in sheer silence. Folks passing did not garner even the slightest distraction of his pursuit to absorb what laid before him. He was one the treasures of on Track 8, one was the 3751 and the other was he, Jerry Brown, 81 years old and from Culver City, California.

I spoke briefly to him, so as not to take away from his moment, just to get his name, age, and reason for being track side. It turns out that he was there, in full steam regalia, as a steam enthusiast. He was not there to ride, nor for the National Train Day event. Rather, he was there out of love - and, perhaps, to remember. 

Thanks Jerry, you made my trip.

With purposeful intent, Jerry Brown enjoys the experience of being with the 3751.

I disturbed Jerry just enough to ask him to pose for a picture for me. This will be one of my fondest moments of being a railfan. What a cool guy.