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Old 06-09-2005, 06:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Homeless, alcoholic drifter with no permanent address
Posts: 653
Default Trip to Princeton, IN

My friend Rat and I headed out June 7th to Princeton, IN to see what we could catch. I had never been there to watch trains, only to pass through town on the way back from somewhere.

Upon crossing the Mississippi River on I-255 we spotted northbound QSRAS 04 motoring up through Columbia, so we stopped off in Dupo to try a shot. Mine did not turn out well, as one of those damn pole shadows hit the front edge of the engine. Some day I hope the UP does away with this pole line, it seems to plague me in the morning when the sun should be at its prime.

Seeing as we were in the neighborhood, or just the hood, if you will, we stopped off at Valley Junkyard. There we spotted several trains, only one of which was worth shooting given the sun angle at the moment. This was GEVGBX 06 sitting on the Springfield Sub at 19th Street. We stopped and took a shot at the train. Nobody shot at us. As I always say, it is certainly a plus if you take a trip to Valley and don't get murdered, beaten, raped, robbed, mugged, shot at, carjacked, hit up, knocked up, beaten up, accosted, propositioned, capped, see a burning car with someone taped up in the trunk, or you don't kick up a body in the weeds rolled up in some old carpeting.
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From Valley we blew on up to Fairview Heights for an early morning binge at White Castle. The cuisine was most certainly a breakfast of champions, and one to get my arteries all good and greased up to keep the blood flowing smoothly. I disagree with whomever states cholesterol is bad for you. I see it as a form of arterial lubrication, but I digress. From there we hit I-64 eastbound to make some time, popped in some of Rat's good ole CDs, and played them too loudly to hear the scanner, so perhaps we missed something on the Southern, perhaps we didn't. We'll never know.

Mount Vernon, IL was our next stop. Nothing was moving on the UP, NS, or CSX, and the only shot even close to worth taking was this shot of two NS units sitting at the NS/UP crossing. The pole blows the shot, but I just wanted to feature the blue unit anyway. NRE had a few engines posed in the yard, but none in good enough places to get shots over the fence.

After Mount Vernon we made a beeline toward Princeton via Illinois Route 15. That beeline was hindered a bit by a passing Illinois State Trooper who thought we may be beelining it too fast. He turned around, flipped on the lights, stopped us, and informed Rat was driving 72 in a 55 and asked if he had a reason. Rat simply stated he was speeding and had no good reason. I suppose Rat's honesty helped, as the trooper slipped him only a warning and told him to have a nice day. This officer had a sense of humor, so I informed him our reason for speeding was because I was going into labor. He didn't buy that, but told me it was a good try. Well, damn, I could pass for at least 5 months along, so I thought it was worth a shot.

Finally arriving Princeton, we found ourselves in the midst of quite some action, all being on the CSX. Not long after our arrival at the Princeton depot, we caught northbound CSX train Q124 06. I shot it against my better judgement, as it was totally cluttered and backlit. I wanted to see if I could include the train with something at the depot, like the crossing gate they have set up. The results of my attempt would be better suited on the Gong Show.

Quickly follerin' Q124 06 was N288 03. After hearing that one coming, I set down the camera and soaked up some heat and humidity, knowing full well it was going to have UP power on it. Sure enough, it reared its ugly head with a pair of yellows pulling it. I did not shoot it, of course. I could do that at home. I came to Princeton to see CSX, not UP power. As the train banged and rolled by I started thinking, which was evident by the smoke seeping from my ears, that I should shoot the DPU going by the depot, since the light would be better as the rear departed. That idea was shot down when I saw they were back to their old tricks with running the N288s with a mid train DPU instead of a rear end.

Not long after the passing of N288 was a trio of southbounds. First up was V566 07, which was not lit well enough to get a good shot. We were there at noon, which is the worst time of day this time of year. I shot it anyway, more or less to document what was seen on our trip.

Shortly after was K341, and the story is the same, poor lighting, poor shot. At least it was led by something colorful.

Third up to bat was Q515 07, but it showed up as I was talking to one of the museum members about a signal they have sitting in their parking lot. The sun by now was slightly on the west side of the line. I did not want to cross the track right in front of the train, for I feared getting a leg cut off, or losing an arm. I hadn't brought any spare limbs with me, and having only one hand would have greatly impacted my ability to shoot decent pics the rest of the day. I'm extremely emotionally sensitive, too, and did not want the feeling that people behind me were staring and saying "hey, look at that guy, kids, he only has one arm and one leg. Poor fellow, I bet he has one hell of a time doing jumping jacks."

We left town, with all my limbs intact, I must happily add, and headed toward Petersburg, IN to see if we could catch some Indiana Southern activity. We didn't, but leaving Princeton on the way we spotted a crewless NS 112 sitting outside of town. Again, the shot was bad in the high sunlight.

After a stop at Burger King in Washington, IN for more vein lube we headed west on US 50, through Vincennes, and into Sandoval, IL. At no time did we see or hear a train on the B&O, although we did see a work gang out at Olney, IL. That and the four scheduled trains a day likely contributed to our lack of action.

Since the B&O was dead, we headed to Centralia. We noticed a restricting at the BNSF signal, so we waited to see what was going to show. Not long after, the darkest moment of my day happened, I had to see Amtrak's Illini go by. I did not take a picture because right at that moment, I desparately needed to bend down and tie my shoe. Darn the luck. Anyway, after that atrocity rolled northward and out of my life, the train for whom the restricting was lit showed up. It was a BNSF rail train empty. By now the clouds had thickened, so the shot was not that great here, either. Really, it wasn't my day for photos, but rest assured, I had a good time regardless. I am not complaining at all, simply illustrating the tough time I had with the shots all day.

Our last trains of the day were found back at Valley Junkyard. We ran into Zach Guenzel and John Witthaus there, too. They were shooting a train backing into KCS's yard. They shot a block west right before we ran into them. Rat and I got caught on the wrong side of the train, and after it cleared the crossing, I tried a shot. The lighting was bad, the focus was bad, let's face it, the shot was bad.

We also saw H HOUMAD9 and MCHNL 07, but my pics were not worthy of the electrons used to create the image. Their fate was sealed with a touch of the delete button. Zach dumped off John on us, since John lives right near me, and Zach lives on the other side of town, freeing him of having to drive the extra miles to return John to the homestead. The three of us headed south through Dupo, saw nothing, and motored on home.

John's shot of H HOUMAD9 with Rat doing his video taping:

Shot of train backing into KCS by John and Zach:

If someone would be so kind as to explain to me how to include non pictures rather than links into stories like this, I would be mucho thankful.

Click on for a good laugh and waste of your time.

Last edited by 4kV; 06-09-2005 at 09:27 PM.
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