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Old 02-10-2010, 02:58 AM   #1
Ex. Railroad Employee
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 136
Default My "Day in North America"

This last October 3rd was the annual Railroads Illustrated Day in North America, and I was determined to go out and take some photos to submit. I had delayed writing up this trip report until the actual Day in North America issue was delivered because I didn’t want to post any photos that were published. One of my photos is featured on the top half of page 37 of the February, 2010, issue.

I will now share some of the rest of the photos I took on that day.

The day began early, and Central Pennsylvania was socked in with thick fog as I picked up another railfan. He was new to the area, so he deferred to me as to where to go. The Norfolk Southern Harrisburg mainline can often have foreign power in the mix, so we headed for Hershey.

This would be my first time participating in the Day in North America, and I was going to spend the entire day, and some of the night, taking photos. However, it ended up that my published photo was one of the earliest ones I took that day. It featured the Hershey shifter heading out to West Hershey with one empty tank car and the regular Conrail blue bay window caboose. The actual first photo of the day was of the Hershey shifter pulling away from the small yard at Derry Road . . . .


The fog was getting thicker as NS westbound intermodal train 21E came speeding by. I was trying a low view angle using the fold out view screen on my camera, but the fog was so thick that I had difficulty seeing anything in it, so I shot too early. It amazes me that these trains go so fast when they can’t see where they’re going . . . .


After 21E disappeared around the bend at the main Hershey Chocolate plant, the Hershey shifter was given permission to enter the mainline to begin its trip to West Hershey. Shortly after it departed, NS eastbound intermodal train 212 came speeding through. The fog was still pretty thick . . . .


Thinking that the fog looked thinner to the east, we left Hershey for Lebanon. On the way, we heard NS intermodal train 22V on the scanner. It was following the 212 east, and we stopped at Palmyra to catch it. The fog wasn’t any thinner here . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 307795
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

From here we continued on to Cornwall Junction on the west side of Lebanon. We didn’t have to wait long until NS westbound 34A chirped up on the scanner. The sun was still low in the east, so I didn’t take any photos as it passed by us. Soon afterward, NS eastbound 14G approached. I was set up for both video and stills, and I really wanted to get a good photo of an eastbound passing under the signal bridge here, but trying to do two things at once resulted in getting neither.

Frustrated, I suggested that we go downtown to check out the two old passenger stations in town. The morning light would be perfect for the 1885 Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad station, and it did look terrific when we arrived . . . .


This station is now used as a law office and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Across the street is the old Reading station, but it is not photogenic in the morning light. Here is a photo I had taken on a previous afternoon . . . .


It was for sale, if you’re looking to buy a railroad station. The scanner was quiet, so we decided to take a pit stop. As soon as we got back in the Jeep we heard an eastbound on the scanner. Prescott was not too far away, so we headed for there to catch it with the signals. Eastbound NS intermodal train 20G came through with a pair of BNSF units behind the thoroughbred leader . . . .


We had had enough of the Harrisburg line for the day, and my copilot had an appointment in the afternoon, so we started back for Harrisburg. As we were passing back through Lebanon, we heard an eastbound approaching. It would be close, but I really wanted to get that eastbound train under the signals photo at Cornwall Junction. Our timing was good, and I got my photos of NS unit ethanol train 68Q . . . .


Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 307797
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Under the signals and foreign power, what else can I ask for??

Back on the road, we retraced our steps of the early morning in case something showed up. At Derry Road, in Hershey, a short pause resulted in a pair of eastbounds. First was NS loaded autorack train 18N, followed by manifest train 33A. The sun was bad for eastbounds, but a Conrail blue leader and an SD40-2 trailer on 33A begged me to try a parting shot . . . .


It was really tempting for my copilot to skip his appointment, but we got back on the road toward Harrisburg. I spend my lunch hours trackside at several locations in Hershey, and I took my copilot to most of them along the way. At Brownstone, a westbound popped up on the scanner. I missed the train number, but since we saw every train on the Harrisburg line so far today, it may have been the 23M heading for the Harrisburg Intermodal Terminal . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 307799
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

I took my copilot to the east end of Rutherford Intermodal Terminal at Beaver, and then to the west end at Ruth, where NS eastbound intermodal train 22A was lined into the yard. The light was bad for photos, but my copilot wanted to end his day with one more photo, so we waited for it to pass by.

I returned to where we started, to drop off my companion for this part of the day, and then I headed for Enola to see what I could find. Before I could check out the yard, I heard a lot of activity, on the Buffalo line, on the scanner, so I headed up there instead. I was attempting to catch up with NS northbound train 12R, but it was too fast for me. When I arrived at Clarks Ferry, southbound train 11R was departing, so I quickly backtracked to find a place to get a photo. I didn’t have much time, so I dropped off of the highway at the first exit and got set up. The lighting was not the best, but I could not pass by the chance to photograph an old style C40 on the Buffalo line . . . .


The dispatcher was telling 12R that it would be meeting a southbound train at Millersburg, so I decided to try to get a photo of the southbound crossing the Wiconsico Creek bridge on the south side of Millersburg. I didn’t have long to wait . . . .


I jumped back onto the highway to see if I could chase this train to Enola. I passed it and caught it again north of Halifax . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 307801
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

The winding two lane highway from Halifax to Clarks Ferry spends a lot of time far from the tracks, whereas the railroad has a shorter run along the Susquehanna River. I‘ve never been able to beat a train to Clarks Ferry from Halifax, so I was pleasantly surprised when I came down the hill to the tracks at North Ferry and saw the train in my mirror. It was slowed down by northbound 31T entering the siding. I was able to catch southbound H3W as it met the marker of 31T at Clarks Ferry . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 313490
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

I crossed the river to check out the Shermans Creek bridge on the Pittsburgh line. The shadows were too deep, but there was a train coming in both directions, so I stayed to watch. From here I went to the Sheetz, at Cove, for a badly needed pit stop. Returning to my Jeep, I heard an eastbound on the scanner. I wanted a low sun photo, so I dropped down to the road crossing below Cove and waited. It wasn’t long before the last daylight train of my day passed by . . . .


The shadows were getting too long and it wasn’t dark enough for the night photos I wanted to take, so I just took it easy for a while and watched as eastbound NS empty unit trash train 64Q, and westbound NS manifest train 19G passed by. A full moon was rising and the signals at Cove were still lit after the passing of 19G, so I quickly moved down and got set up. Of course, as soon as I got ready, the signals went dark . . . .


I moved over to the water treatment plant next to the Rockville bridge to get another moonlit night photo . . . .


For my last photo of the day, I had planned all along on getting a photo of the hump with the Harrisburg skyline in the background. I spent a lot of time here trying to get things timed just right. I tried several shutter speeds and apertures, and lots of timing points of where to start the exposure, until I got what I was looking for . . . .


That was it for my Day in North America. For 2010, the official Day in North America is April 17, and I plan on doing this again. I just have to figure where I want to go to this time.
Rob Kitchen
Harrisburg, PA

You know you are old when the first car you owned is now considered a "Classic".

Last edited by TonytheTiger; 02-19-2010 at 01:49 AM.
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