Old 12-26-2010, 01:17 AM   #1
troy12n
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Default Any rail related stuff in/near vegas

Headed to Vegas Jan 16-22, I will have some spare time when i'm not gambling it up. Anything rail related in/near Vegas within a couple hours? I think UP and ATSF's mainlines go through there but would like some pointers.

Thanks,
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:25 AM   #2
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Nevada Southern runs a tourist train...

http://www.nevadasouthern.com/

Union Pacific's old Los Angeles & Salt Lake main runs right through Vegas itself, but can be very, very, very quiet traffic wise these days. VegasKen and NScaleMike both shoot there and may know traffic patterns.

If you are will to drive, you can hit the BNSF Transcon going through Northern Arizona. This is one of the heaviest pieces of freight railroad in the USA, if not the heaviest. I swear it's about four trains an hour average there.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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Ok, thanks. Should I be concerned about leaving my gear in my hotel room while I am gambling it up? I am staying at the Hooters Casino ($730 for airfare + 10 nights hotel!) which got some decent reviews. I think I am only going to dedicate about 2 days to rail photography. Got a car rental on the 18 and 19.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:09 AM   #4
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I'll second what Freericks says, go for the Transcon. Few trains on the UP combined with short days can make Vegas area railfanning pretty tough. With the Hoover Dam bypass bridge now open, you can get to Kingman in under 2 hours. Goffs Hill near Needles is also under 2 hours. And the Ash Hill/Ludlow area is about 2 and a half hours, with the added bonus that you are within eyesight of the UP for more than half the trip, so on the chance that a train is afoot, you can catch it on Cima Hill.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:51 AM   #5
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If you've never been out West and you just want to crush it for a few days, its hard to beat Kingman. Not only are there a ton of trains, the scenery is top notch (obvious if you look through the database). The UP north of Vegas is probably more scenic than Kingman, but can be very rough going - I've made three tries and got brutally screwed every time.

Hooters is a pretty legit hotel, so I doubt you'll have any problems leaving your stuff in the room.

While I've never really tired, I think there is potential for a great shot with the massive UP sign in downtown Vegas. I've also been scoping out a near lock for a 10,000+ viewer. All I'm willing to say about that one is that it involves a major off strip casino and probably slipping a bouncer a few bills.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
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My itinerary looks like this:

1/13: arrive late PM, check in / gamble (maybe)
1/14: gamble / cirque de soleil
1/15: gamble / some other show / vegas stuff
1/16: gamble / some other show / vegas stuff
1/17: pick up rental car (am) - hoover dam / railfanning / night photog outside of vegas
1/18: Zion / Bryce
1/19: Zion / Bryce
1/20: early morning photog (sunrise?) / return rental car (am) / conference / gamble
1/21: conference / gamble
1/22: conference / gamble
1/23: return home (AM)

I bit the bullet and got the rental car for 3 days. Vegas rental car fees suck bad. I am paying almost as much in fees/taxes as I am for the entire rental. I have corporate rate for $38/day for a full size SUV and $18 in taxes/fees (wtf!) for ~56/day. I am going to do some internet / google earth research this weekend to figure out how to best spend my 3 days with the rental car, I may just pick it up for 1 more day (Sunday) so I can maximize my spare time. My entire day of 1/20-22 will be booked with this conference thing that was the main reason I am heading out there. Kinda wish I was there this week, they had CES and the AVN awards (lol)... so more to do in town this week.

Last edited by troy12n; 01-06-2011 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:01 PM   #7
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CES is a blast! In my other work life I spent many a day in vegas working, and playing.

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Old 01-11-2011, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
CES is a blast! In my other work life I spent many a day in vegas working, and playing.

Loyd L.

Amen! AVN is overrated IMO and very tame.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
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Real quick before I leave, anyone got BNSF and UP frequencies? I know BNSF's line is called the Seligman sub through where I will be going, dont know about UP.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:09 PM   #10
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160.935 and 160.650 should cover you on the BNSF.

160.515 covers the UP.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:10 PM   #11
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Ok, so I made it back and in 1 piece. My wallet took a BEATING though. No new gear for a while

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdirelan87 View Post
The UP north of Vegas is probably more scenic than Kingman, but can be very rough going - I've made three tries and got brutally screwed every time.
Not even trying, my route from Vegas to Zion NP took I-15 North which parallels the UP line for about 60 miles and actually caught 3 trains, 1 southbound stack train, a Northbound mixed freight and a really odd one which looked like 25 short sill (ore?) gons of some kind with an SD90MAC on one end and a AC4400 on the other end, I am assuming this is some kind of push-pull mine shifter of some kind. At any rate, I did not have time or access to stop and take pictures of any UP stuff on the trip except for 1 which I will mention later.

Quote:
Hooters is a pretty legit hotel, so I doubt you'll have any problems leaving your stuff in the room.
No complaints about the room, the 20$ trick got me upgraded to a strip view bigger room on a higher floor, the room had a BIG safe which fit all my gear, my laptop and my (shrinking each day) wad of cash I brought with me. The Hooters casino itself was kind of ghetto, it reminded me of a place downtown. I spent most of my time at MGM, Mandalay Bay and Monte Carlo. Although I did hit up most every place on the strip. Oh, and the sports book at Ceasers is pretty epic. Football games there is just unreal. I think I lost every bet I made on the games though.

Quote:
While I've never really tired, I think there is potential for a great shot with the massive UP sign in downtown Vegas. I've also been scoping out a near lock for a 10,000+ viewer. All I'm willing to say about that one is that it involves a major off strip casino and probably slipping a bouncer a few bills.
I found what you mentioned, and did what I could to do a grab shot that will no doubt be a PEQ, but it was night, cold, windy and there were too many shady people hanging around. I would not have even attempted to walk there, I parked my rental car (Toyota ForeRunner, very nice actually) in the UP parking lot by the yard office. I felt that gave me about 10 minutes before being run off, so I did what I could. Photo to follow...

I hit up Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP as well as Valley of Fire state park and was pretty impressed. I just did not have the time to do each of these places properly and that only gave me 1.5 days of time to railfan. I spent most of my time in and around Kingman, the canyon west of town is excellent, I think I got some good shots there, but have not processed anything yet. Also around Hackberry, Valentine and Crozier canyon, excellent places. Places like Peach Springs have promise but the light was on the wrong side of the tracks, I made it as far east as Seligman. I was truly impressed with the volume of traffic, it seemed like stack train after stack train hauling ass across the desert, caught some warbonnets (OMG Warbonnets! ) but mostly H3 Gevos. No coal or grain, all intermodal, autoracks and a couple freights.

I am going to have to do this again when I have more time to dedicate to photography (the parks) and railfanning and not feel obligated to spend the night in my room 2 hours away that I paid good money for.

Also something I was not prepared for was the short days, WTF is with it getting dark at 4:30 in the afternoon?

Thanks to those who gave info...

EDIT: Oh 1 other thing, I was NOT used to railroads NOT calling signals. I guess we are spoiled back East where there is pretty thorough ATCS servers and the railroads call signals. There were several times I come around a corner and BOOM, there is another stack train. I missed dozens of shots due to this. Any reason why they dont call signals?

Last edited by troy12n; 01-24-2011 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:24 PM   #12
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Yeah, when I found out the western RRs don't call signals. I was like, “Oh crap.” All the more fun, I guess though.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:59 AM   #13
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Looking forward to the pics, Troy.

Kind of curious as to what the 10,000 viewer might look like : )

This was my money shot now no longer possible:

Image © Mitch Goldman
PhotoID: 216638
Photograph © Mitch Goldman


Now, tit for tat, here's one for you guys who find ways to make it
in the area - Valentine, AZ, to be specific. I had a 3 day trip and
managed a one day visit to the area - complete with few trains
and all the overcast and rain I could ever ask for. Still, here's my
come back to shot in Valentine:

/Mitch
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File Type: jpg Valentine Cougar BNSF RF.jpg (269.6 KB, 329 views)
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:09 AM   #14
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Here's a few that have made it so far
Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 352877
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 352878
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353000
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353016
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353029
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353101
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353269
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353454
Photograph © Troy Nolen



.................................................. ............................OMG Warbonnets!
Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 352928
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 352929
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 353017
Photograph © Troy Nolen

Image © Troy Nolen
PhotoID: 352879
Photograph © Troy Nolen

.................................................. ............................OMG Warbonnets!

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Old 01-28-2011, 08:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
EDIT: Oh 1 other thing, I was NOT used to railroads NOT calling signals. I guess we are spoiled back East where there is pretty thorough ATCS servers and the railroads call signals. There were several times I come around a corner and BOOM, there is another stack train. I missed dozens of shots due to this. Any reason why they dont call signals?
UP will if they get less the an high green, Calling blocks is a Eastern RR thing.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:43 AM   #16
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Here's the Stratosphere pic, dont know if it will get on here.

EDIT: no, it got a PEQ

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:57 AM   #17
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The BNSF Seilgman Subdivision is on ATCS Radio Code. Server coverage is provided on the west end, and around Flagstaff. Having an ATCS radio helps, as parts of the sub are to remote for the servers to cover.

If you want some real fun, go in search of Canyon Diablo.
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