View Full Version : Crappy Weekend in PA

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
10-20-2005, 03:02 PM
After looking forward to this weekend for a year, Mother Nature did not cooperate at all. The forecast called for rain Friday, Saturday, SUnday, Monday and Tuesday, not the best railfanning conditions you could get for a five day weekend.

We (my mom, dad, brother, and I) left central Jersey on late Friday morning and didn't get to the Lake Raystown Country Inn in Huntingdon, PA until after 9PM. This was due to traffic on what seemed to be every road in the entire state! Anyway, we did manage to catch two westbounds on the NS Pittsburgh Line before heading to the hotel and crashing for the night.

The next morning, Sat. Oct. 8, we woke up to the sound of nothing other than...rain. Just as the predicted it had rained all of yesterday, all night and would continue all day today. We arrived in Orbisonia for EBT's (East Broad Top (www.ebtrr.com for more info)) first day of the Fall Spectacular shortly before 8:30AM. 'Mikado's' #14 and 15 were still sitting in the roundhouse so my brother and I braved the rain to shoot them pulling out. While waiting under the protection of the roundhouse's roof I shot 2-8-2 #18 which is rarely photographed due to the door always being closed.
The first train out that day was the photographer's special with #15 and 14 doubleheading a coal train with a coach on the end, just like how it was in the early 1900's. We caught this train a few times on the way towards Colgate Grove (north most point on the line where trains are wyed).
We spent the rest of the afternoon around the station/yard area or chasing the various trains that went out onto the line before heading to dinner.
After dinner my cousin, brother and I headed back to Orbisonia Station to watch the two night trains come back in. We (along with about 6-8 other photographers took photos as the two trains ran around the wye and pulled back into the station to let off the riders which is never done for the day trips. The two engines sat in the yard for a few moments as they preped the turntable for them allowing for some nice shots. Both engines then dropped their ashes and were put away for the night.
For those who have visited this great railraod, if you think the feeling you get seeing them move around during the day, go there at night. The sites and sounds are even better after the sun goes down. Just a word of advice for next years visitors.

The morning of Sun. Oct. 9 looked a little more promising with patches of blue sky seen in the distance and no rain falling. But of course the patches did not open up and it was another day sans the sun. The routine for the morning and afternoon were the same. Chasing the photographer's special first and then most of the trains after that.
We left Orbisonia around 2:30PM to get to Cresson before the sun started going down. After sitting on the porch of the Station Inn for a few minutes, we went to the Cresson Springs Family Restaurant for a relaxing dinner. With a view of the tracks from some of the tables you never miss any of the action. After more sitting around waiting for the sun to drop my brother and I headed down the the parking lot by CP MO to do some night shots of the Cresson Engine Facility and whatever trains pass.
After getting what we wanted we headed back to the Inn to fall asleep to the sounds of idling SD40-2's and whining coal trains.

After waking up to the sounds of passing trains before the sun came, I saw that it was foggy and knew there were good shots to be had. Getting ready fast and an hour before breakfast I got my camera bag and scanner and many layers of clothes (it was only about 42 degrees) and walked quickly to CP MO on this Columbus Day morning. Monday, Oct. 10.
After breakfast we caught three more trains in front of the Station Inn before heading east to The Curve (aka Horseshoe Curve).
Yet another day of fog and clouds ruined some photo opportunities. This was my first time to Horseshoe that I actually remember, the last time I was there I didn't have a camera and couldn't have been more than 3 feet tall.
We decided to head down towards ALTO and the Amtrak station as it was gettign close to lunchtime. After the annual stop at Benzel's Pretzel Factory in Altoona, we grabbed lunch and hung out at the station for about an hour. At this time our parents left for Jersey because they had work the next day. The three of us decided that we wanted to catch the afternoon westbound parade on the West Slope and started back up towards our first stop Summerhill. While cresting the summit of the Alleghanies we were 'blinded' by some foreign object in the sky. Finally the sun made an appearance! Not only was it sunny but the sky was absolutely clear, not one cloud int he sky west of Altoona. We caught a few westbounds and eastbounds at Summerhilla nd one westbound at South Fork.
We headed back towards our 'base', Cresson, to decide where to go next. Once we got into town the fog had reappeared along with the clouds and cooler temperatures. We picked the curve under the Rte. 53 bridge just east of Cresson to get whatever trains came along.
We made our way back to CP MO to catch a few more both ways and then sat across from the Station Inn until we called it a night. We had to stay in Altoona due to the Station Inn being completely booked that night.

Tues. Oct. 11. turned out no differently then the previous 4 days, clouds and rain. After seeing photos of the turntable area of the Juniata Shops we decided this was our first stop of the day. While sitting taking some photos of the engines sitting there we were privileged to see an SW1500 pulling an SD40-2 and an SD60 (one at a time) onto the turntable to get serviced. Setting the goal to be home around 7PM we slowly made our way east stopping at various locations until we hit Harrisburg where we highballed it home (about 2 1/2 hrs).

The weather may not have cooperated but the weekend was still very enjoyable. Historic narrow gauge steam and NS's Pittsburgh Line for 5 days can't be beat in my opinion. Another weekend of good (decent) photos and a lot of the most important thing, FUN. Thanks to all who read and those for your comments.

bnsf sammy
10-20-2005, 03:04 PM
Those are still really cool shots, my favorite is the 3rd.

10-22-2005, 06:28 AM
How can live steam, in any conditions, be a bad thing?

But still sounds like you and a good time. The 3rd shot is the coolest, but the 2nd has some weird coolness with that headlight. Thanks for sharing the 1st pic.

10-22-2005, 12:50 PM
i like the third shot.
also the second is nice one.
when i saw the first shots i remembered the egyptian steam locos :)
nice work and wait to see more from you.

10-23-2005, 12:45 AM
Very nice shots, Andrew. I feel the rain adds a lot to the photos. Keep up the great work. :) Nick