Old 05-02-2009, 10:43 PM   #26
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Thanks to friends, I can get a line-up and operations info on pretty much any railroad in the area, making my life a lot easier...though I've gotten to care less and less about what's on the train and more about the shot itself. Yes, the train may just have yet another CSX GEVO leading, but it's a train nevertheless, so I'll shoot it...and besides, if I screw up the shot, there's usually another train with the same power right behind it. So, yes, I am informed, but I only need to know that there's stuff moving - I just don't see the point in going berserk and chasing a pair of BNSFs halfway across the state (nothing wrong with that, whatever floats your boat - it just doesn't do it for me [anymore]).

Informed?! Yes, you are young lad! Kudos!

P.S. I still wanna see some WNYP shots young man!
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:49 PM   #27
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Since I started this, I may as well put my answer in! I CAN make tons of phone calls but, I just "shoot" from the hip when I go out (very few and far between these days). I'll roll up to a location, talk to some fellow fans and shoot whatever comes our way. I don't even take a scanner or my radio. You can tell that by looking at my "foreign" pics on here, most fields are left unknown. I could care less about train symbols...... But, that is just me. However, I know something good is coming when folk from NJ start whipping in at about 150mph without regard to life and limb!!
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:09 AM   #28
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However, I know something good is coming when folk from NJ start whipping in at about 150mph without regard to life and limb!!
That what we like to call a "heads up".
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:28 AM   #29
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That what we like to call a "heads up".
LOL, It's true!
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:42 AM   #30
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It depends where I'm 'fanning. If it's "home rails" then I'll go with informed whether it be through a heads up via a friend trackside, an Internet post, from a friend or two on the inside or other means. When I'm on a trip I try to get a good idea of what to expect before hand but certainly nothing to the degree that I have while at home. As Nick said before me it's starting to become more about the overall photo than the content. I'm striving to get shots that not many people have. A lot of this is made possible by knowing what's coming and when.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:19 AM   #31
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With my routinely shot shortlines/regionals, I use past experience of their operating procedures. BUT, we all know that NOTHING is routine in railroading.

Class 1s, a main line is a main line. A train will be along shortly, with the exception of Class 1 branches. In that case, see above.

I do have some inside help in some of my short line/regionals (and a certain Class 1). That doesn't usually affect my technique though unless it is a rail removal train or a plow extra (that I'm never able to chase), or said Rail is on train crew that job.

Do I use a scanner? Yup, it's a radio that I programmed and disabled the transmit. Radios are cool For a Class 1s, it's no biggie except to try and snag an ID. For short lines/regionals and yards, I like to listen to crews kicking cars around over the air.

If I'm going to a new locale, I research online or by other means if possible.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:14 AM   #32
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Anyone else here ever been railfanning with other railfans around... when all of sudden they seem to hear something on the radio/scanner, run to their cars, and spin out like gangbusters... and you're just standing there, staring at your scanner, trying to figure out, what they heard?

In my over thirty years, I've had this happend a few times, and I've had to console myself with the thought that maybe they are pure roster guys and suddenly found out that that SD70M missing from their complete collection just opened up for a clear shot somewhere...

While of course, in the back of mind I'm thinking, the most amazing train ever is now heading into perfect light somehwere within easy driving distance, and I just don't know about it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:44 AM   #33
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Which type of railfan are you? The type that makes a hundred calls and checks the internet for the trains running in your area or, the type that just goes out and waits for whatever comes their way?
The 'informed' side of me checks the [usually wrong] Weather channel first and foremost.. If I get an all clear then I will consider an outing. I usually railfan only on Mondays, since shortlines are my thing, the chances of seeing a train in action are significantly higher on the first workday of the week. Class I's are boring as can be, IMO, the only exception are locals. They do make good 'target practice' for getting the exposures right with slide film.. Still do not have it down 100%.

I must have some kind of sixth sense for trains.. In the past 3 trips I have made, I stumbled upon rare movements and locomotive DIT movements.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:35 PM   #34
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Scanner, insiders posting hints or luck of the draw, I go to get out with some slow train days and some great ones.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:48 PM   #35
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milwman, I love your new DP
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:39 PM   #36
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Anyone else here ever been railfanning with other railfans around... when all of sudden they seem to hear something on the radio/scanner, run to their cars, and spin out like gangbusters... and you're just standing there, staring at your scanner, trying to figure out, what they heard?

In my over thirty years, I've had this happend a few times, and I've had to console myself with the thought that maybe they are pure roster guys and suddenly found out that that SD70M missing from their complete collection just opened up for a clear shot somewhere...

While of course, in the back of mind I'm thinking, the most amazing train ever is now heading into perfect light somehwere within easy driving distance, and I just don't know about it.

Are you talking about Dave or Mark?
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:45 PM   #37
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Are you talking about Dave or Mark?

No, not at all... Never happened with people that I know... always with folks that I didn't know.

Last time was at Pepper though... couple railfans were up there and had some friendly hellos (maybe a year ago or so). Standing around after that, watching the trim job working, when all of a sudden they heard something on their scanner and raced to their cars (this was the specific incident that got me thinking about it) and chirped their tires taking off.

I remember thinking, wow, if it was me, I would have yelled, "Hey, such and such is at so and so..." but then again, who knows what they heard... could have been a clean view on a roster shot that I wouldn't have cared about, or may not have had anything to do with railfanning at all.

Last edited by Freericks; 05-03-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:51 PM   #38
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Since I've got the AMTRAK schedule through Williamsburg down, I guess you could call me informed on that, but otherwise I'm pretty much a LOTD railfan unless I'm headed to a scheduled event somewhere (tourist line, special, etc.). I'm not sure I'd even have a clue what to listen for on a scanner if I had one . . .

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Old 05-04-2009, 03:09 AM   #39
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I always compared chasing trains to fishing. I go out with out a clue of whats going on if I go to a class 1 railroad in my area. Somedays I can spend 8 hours and see nothing, somedays I spend 30 minutes and see 3 trains. The way the signals are set up around here though help, if its yellow then there is a train fairly close by, if its red then its extremely close, the hard part is figuring out which way its going.

If I chase the local shortline its much easier, I can hear the horn from my house and with the 10mph speedlimit its not hard to catch up with.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:46 AM   #40
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Informed railfan 95% of the time, which generally means staying home. As standard as everything has become, it's just not worth the time and gas to see the same old stuff over and over again. How many times can you shoot dirty H1, H2 or H3 BNSF GEs anyway? Or filthy CP tractors with burn marks down the side?

Has anyone else started to lose interest since the Class 1 railroads have become so boring?
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:50 AM   #41
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Informed railfan 95% of the time, which generally means staying home. As standard as everything has become, it's just not worth the time and gas to see the same old stuff over and over again. How many times can you shoot dirty H1, H2 or H3 BNSF GEs anyway? Or filthy CP tractors with burn marks down the side?

Has anyone else started to lose interest since the Class 1 railroads have become so boring?

Yes and no... it's made me become much more interested in the photography side of things... working at my photographic skills... what's an interesting angle, what's a interesting thing to include in the frame, what's a shot no one has seen before?

Honestly, these are things I wouldn't have thought about if I was still out there looking for C628s.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:58 AM   #42
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As standard as everything has become, it's just not worth the time and gas to see the same old stuff over and over again. How many times can you shoot dirty H1, H2 or H3 BNSF GEs anyway? Or filthy CP tractors with burn marks down the side?

Has anyone else started to lose interest since the Class 1 railroads have become so boring?
Thomas,

Looks like you need a vacation! If the power's going to be boring, you might as well vacation someplace that has the scenery to make up for it (Montana, wherever Tim Stevens shoots). Or, start on a Short Line tour!

Or if you're going to give up, I'll take all of your lenses when you give them away!
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:44 AM   #43
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I probably fall under the 'informed' category, and, some friends have said I'm the most connected railfan they've ever met. John Ryan can vouch for it with those printouts he got when he and his group were out here...
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:47 AM   #44
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A friend who I often go chasing trains with makes an analogy with fishing. The success of a trip is not really a function of how many fish you catch but how much fun you had in the process. Or put another way, if you want fish, go to the local fish market. For us railfanning is a social thing. I usually chase trains with friends. Yeah, we do our homework and try to pick lines that will produce a reasonable number of good pix.....but net net, we are out there to tell tall tales and drink whiskey. Oh there are exceptions, occasionally it is good to get out and enjoy some solitude. But mostly it is is good to share it with friends.

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Old 05-04-2009, 06:48 AM   #45
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Are you talking about Dave or Mark?
Mark was telling me his little UP 1983 story in Pomona with Charles, the whole time I'm laughing and trying not to fall off the hillside we were balancing on waiting for Amtrak.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:22 PM   #46
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Has anyone else started to lose interest since the Class 1 railroads have become so boring?
No still go out, I felt the same way about the SD40-2's. You can never go shoot yesterday.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:51 PM   #47
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Thomas,

Or if you're going to give up, I'll take all of your lenses when you give them away!
Lol! I'm not quite to that point yet.

A vacation is probably the solution. Maybe you'll see me out in Colorado or Montana this fall.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:43 PM   #48
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I probably fall under the 'informed' category, and, some friends have said I'm the most connected railfan they've ever met. John Ryan can vouch for it with those printouts he got when he and his group were out here...
Better get those print-outs ready again. Two weeks and counting.

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Oh there are exceptions, occasionally it is good to get out and enjoy some solitude. But mostly it is is good to share it with friends.
This is so true, John. When railfanning with good friends, you don't always need a train for entertainment. Some good company and conversation can make the time more enjoyable.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:05 AM   #49
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I used to be a bit of 'luck of the draw' and 'informed' but I do not have very much spare time anymore and will not head out to get some shots unless I know there is something special running. Work and study are more important ...
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:09 AM   #50
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Better get those print-outs ready again. Two weeks and counting.
I'll have to get more black ink!
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