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View Poll Results: Are there forces beyond our understanding effecting
Yes - it's crazy but I believe the Train Gods are real and out to get me. 22 61.11%
No, it's silly. 9 25.00%
No, it's silly, but maybe. Don't tell anyone I said so. 5 13.89%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-22-2008, 05:51 AM   #1
Mgoldman
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Default Regarding every missed train: Divine Intervention?

OK - we all have thought about this, how about a poll regarding the FACT or myth that trains are typically scheduled to arrive at your location only after you leave, before you arrive or when you take a break for lunch or a card /film change.

Should be interesting...
Logic should prevail but I'm wondering if anyone believes otherwise?

/Mitch
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:04 AM   #2
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I've found that turning the scanner off after leaving a location for the day helps.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:07 AM   #3
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I AM a train god. I know when each and every train is coming, and I never miss one when I'm fanning.
I hate the weather gods though, they're a bunch of jerks.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:09 AM   #4
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I know lots of tricks to stop the trains but #1 on the list has to simply be the act of showing up.

/Mitch
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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The trick seems to be convincing yourself that it's time to leave. Give yourself 10 minutes, start walking away, and you'll surely hear the reverberations of an approaching motor. Works every time.*






* Actual results may vary.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:30 AM   #6
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I understand what you mean. As soon as you leave, a train comes, as it if it was waiting around the corner, watching for you to leave. No, there is not such a thing as a "train god." It is mere luck or coincidence. It is actually your fault, if you look at it, you are the one who got up and left too soon. Blame yourself!

Trains operate on a schedule. Or, well, they are supposed to. Anyways, talking to railroaders - they never say that they have stopped just short of a railfan's location to wait for his departure. It is plain stupid to think that it is a 'divine intervention' type of thing. Next time, just leave the scanner on, wait for a track warrant or signal to be called, and stay put until the train passes you.

Its as simple as that. I still do know what you mean though. If it isn't a train passing as soon as you leave, it is one stopping short of your location, you go down to shoot it, and it takes off right as you get there, or before you get there. The end of a train passing on a semi to hardly busy railroad line as you get to trackside. Trying to chase this train to never find it again. I hear ya, but it isn't anything in the way of divine intervention.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alstom
I understand what you mean. As soon as you leave, a train comes, as it if it was waiting around the corner, watching for you to leave. No, there is not such a thing as a "train god."

I still do know what you mean though. If it isn't a train passing as soon as you leave, it is one stopping short of your location, you go down to shoot it, and it takes off right as you get there, or before you get there.

I hear ya, but it isn't anything in the way of divine intervention.

Put you down for #3, Richard?

/Mitch


I've posted this before but can't resist again - have you played recently?

http://www.ratbike.org/tspotsim/index.html

Last edited by Mgoldman; 07-22-2008 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
Put you down for #3, Richard?

/Mitch


I've posted this before but can't resist again - have you played recently?

http://www.ratbike.org/tspotsim/index.html
As in the third poll option? I selected number two.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:53 AM   #9
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Yup, they're real and I'm on their bad list. I used to call 'em "railfan gods", but "train gods" works just as well. The one that bites me constantly is the cloud-passing-in-front-of-the-sun god. I can't tell ya how many times just in the past two weeks I've been whacked by that one.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:21 AM   #10
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but there is sun gods
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:05 PM   #11
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I actually try to approach railfanning locations now from directions that DO NOT allow me to see what is going on trackside from far away (if I can).

Because, I will almost always see a train going past the location I am going to BEFORE I GET THERE if I don't.

Then... nothing goes by, until I leave... I believe I give off a natural train repellent.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alstom
As in the third poll option? I selected number two.
He's in denial, Mitch.


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Old 07-22-2008, 01:32 PM   #13
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The TGs had fun with me a few weeks ago. I've been wanting to get a shot of an NS train crossing the Congaree River from the highway bridge. (Think of the CSX train shot I took from the edge of the river, taken from the opposite side of the tracks a long way away.) But to get this shot, you have to parkyour car on the side of a road, walk about half a mile and hope you time it out right.

First day, I see an NS train waiting to proceed. So off I go. As soon as I near my spot, I hear the whistle. Great time, I thought. Man, the light is perfect. Really going to get a good shot, here, I tell myself. Train was moving slow, but it was a local and sometimes they do move slow. Finally, it comes into view.

No!!!

It's an NS train, sure enough, but it's going to the CSX yard! It's on the second bridge over which is slightly lower than the NS bridge.

Very next day, same scenario. An NS local local is waiting in the same spot as the day before. But this time from looking at the cars, I can tell this is a local that will use the NS tracks. No transfer run here. Great. Now I can get that shot.

So off I go over the bridge where I start waiting. And waiting. I'm sure someone will call the police soon. Guy standing on bridge with camera. Yeah, they must think I look suspicious. But still I wait. Here comes a train. Nope. CSX coming from the opposite direction. Maybe this is the train the NS was waiting for. CSX clears the single tracks and still I wait. Oh, hey, another whistle. Too far away. Sounds like an NS coming from the north that will sneak in behind the local.

Finally, I've been there for nearly an hour. Shadows start creeping up the legs of the bridge. But I tell mysef if it came in the next five minutes, I could get a decent shot. No luck. The shadows envelop the west side of the bridge and I head back for the car. Train was still an hour from leaving as my son told me he saw a local pass our place later that evening.

Just one story in many I could tell.


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Old 07-22-2008, 01:54 PM   #14
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Joe's story, heartbreaking as it is, brought a smile of recognition from me... just that combined feeling of dread from assuming someone is going to call you in for being suspicious and watching the shadows creep up over your shot... Can't tell you how many times in life I have set up for the perfect shot and watched the light go away, or have seen people looking at me funny. If you really want to go for the triple play of angst, add to it having a family member in the car who doesn't care to be railfanning.

Finally, how about this? You are set up for a shot... you see a headlight comnig at you. This is it... but now you're not sure... is it still moving? Is it getting smaller? Why would something be backing up on the main? What is it? Why isn't the scanner talking? Now it's gone. WTF.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:28 PM   #15
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Sorry - now I'm caught up in this --

Instructions on railfanning a town you don't know.

1) Use Google Maps to find the "famous spot" you've seen photographed before. Arrive in the morning to discover you've always been wrong and it's a westbound shot, not an eastbound.

2) Relocate to an okay shot nearby.

3) See a train in the distance... but it has now stopped.

4) Get in car to go down the line to see what it is.

5) Get stopped at the longest light in the history of the world.

6) See the train pass you, going towards where you were, at a good clip, with rare power in the lead.

7) Finally, find a through street that parallels the tracks (two miles away though).

Drive a little recklessly down this street, wondering why there is NO street running to the left to cross the tracks anywhere.

9) Find a street to the left, turn... oh no... it's a brand new development.

10) Drive in circles in the development on the off chance that maybe it goes through.

11) Wait at the light to exit the development. This light is even longer.

12) Finally, find the tracks... only, are these the tracks? The rail isn't welded here. Do I wait here? Or is this another line?
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:38 PM   #16
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There have been many times where I think the Train Gods were out to get me, or more specifically the Cloud Gods, but I wanted to share one time where I must have made the Train gods happy. My dad and I were out on the Geneva Sub last summer in Illinois. We had a so-so day on Monday, but the only thing we saw of interest was the CNW Heritage unit. We saw it in bad light however and got nothing worthwhile photo-wise. When we got to the hotel, I was sure the Train Gods were laughing as I went through my back-lit shots of the CNW unit, and when I woke up the next morning they seemed like they wanted to pile on because I was awoken by a passing train led by the UP United Way SD-40. So we packed our stuff and started heading back to Indiana, and to my suprise, the Train Gods must have had pity on me as the United Way engine had been stopped due to track work ahead, enabling me to get these 3 shots:

Image © Darryl Rule
PhotoID: 193187
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Image © Darryl Rule
PhotoID: 193188
Photograph © Darryl Rule

Image © Darryl Rule
PhotoID: 193183
Photograph © Darryl Rule




So sometimes, the Train Gods are ok.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:56 PM   #17
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I am certifiable, so I voted:

Quote:
Yes - it's crazy but I believe the Train Gods are real and out to get me.
Rail photography = Logical? Ho ho ho, hee hee hee.

I've been slowly starting to implement the "force" when railfanning; meaning no scanner, no ATCS, no info from message boards, no satellite imagery, no maps. So far, this has resulted in no success, but I found that I have no headache and no stress. No kidding.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:40 PM   #18
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Naturally, I voted yes in the poll after being shown that there are train gods by Railpace editor, Tom Nemeth. While visiting the Clinchfield in NC-TN, I was taught several railfanning lessons which I do find very handy now such as:

Once you wake up and are ready to chase, drive by the tracks and say outloud, "OK, nothing's coming" and then get breakfast. This way, not only will the train gods give you a train when you are "out of position" (in reality you know it will happen) but they will also make it a chase-worthy train therefore your food gets cold and you cannot eat it.

I'm with Chuck on this one, no intelligence = no headaches or aggrevation. For 19 years I had only seen the 2-3 time a week local on the Freehold Sec. three times and didn't have my camera for any of them. I had spent the last two years trying to figure out when they ran and even had my friend text me when she heard the train pass her house. No luck. This March, my gut told me to check to see if there was anything going on at the eastern end of the line. Sure enough! There is the train ready for its Form D to head back west. I did the same thing a few weeks ago and had a very successful evening chase with some great light.

Sometimes you just need to get out there and tire out the train gods until they need to let the trains roll. If not...find a commuter line to shoot!
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
For 19 years I had only seen the 2-3 time a week local on the Freehold Sec. three times and didn't have my camera for any of them.
Andrew, aren't you about 19 years old? At what tender age did you begin to fan and shoot? Were you like Tiger Woods, who started to golf at 2? Where is your early body of work, the work before AB(1)? What camera did you use in 1989, anyway, and what film did you prefer back then? What did you do back then when there were no photo lines to walk away from? It's all a muddle...
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
What did you do back then when there were no photo lines to walk away from?
Before he could walk away from photo lines he crawled away from them!

I don't believe in Train Gods per se, but boy, sometimes you wonder. There's no real good way to follow trains coming south out of Las Vegas, so you simply have to go to Sloan and wait for them. I swear, that section of track around Arden is like the black hole of trains! You can hear them, they say they're coming, but 45 minutes later...still nothing. And then, with the sun now gone, I give up and drive away. Down towards I-15, just happen to glance up Sloan Canyon...and here it comes! It's happened 3 times out of the 5 times I've been there waiting on a westbound, and the other two times were ridiculous waits as well!

I'll have good luck as well, and really the good balances the bad. All in a day.

Now...do I gamble and try to catch the UP 1996 led IG2LB in the Afton Canyon this evening in good light? Maybe I should just flip a coin!
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Andrew, aren't you about 19 years old?
20 now.
Quote:
At what tender age did you begin to fan and shoot? Were you like Tiger Woods, who started to golf at 2?
I believe I was only a few months old when I was first introduced to trains in the form of Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern's blue Pacific #425 and/or Reading T-1 #2102. I started shooting early with a Fischer-Price 110 film camera when I was about 6 or 7.
Quote:
Where is your early body of work, the work before AB(1)?
There is some awful stuff on RP somewhere from my original name when I began getting photo CDs with my prints. Anything before that is stored in paper boxes throughout the house. I do hope to find and salvage a few shots from the Black Hills Central from the mid-90s
Quote:
What camera did you use in 1989, anyway, and what film did you prefer back then?
Okay, so maybe I wasn't shooting when I was 1 but it wasn't long after that.
Quote:
What did you do back then when there were no photo lines to walk away from? It's all a muddle...
Ken is exactly right on this one!
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #22
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I'm on a CN line. There are no rail gods here - just fallen angels

Confession: I said a prayer for sunshine when chasing this one. It was an overcast morning, but check out the light I got:
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
20 now.
Happy Birthday!

Quote:
I started shooting early with a Fischer-Price 110 film camera when I was about 6 or 7.
My boy is 5.5, and I guess it is about time to get him started; I've been meaning to email the Baxters and get info also. I fear, however, that he has lost his interest in trains. But if I can get photography started, maybe that will come back.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:24 PM   #24
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Can't hurt to give it a try. My dad starting taking me with him to the local yard as soon as I could walk and gave me an old insta-matic camera at age 4 or 5. I look back now at some the stuff in those pictures and wish I was a little older when I took those shots.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:33 PM   #25
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One main problem is that the 2nd camera, that I would like him to use because then I wouldn't have to buy one for him, a) has lots of shutter lag, and b) cost me $250 used, and while it is probably worth half that now, still psychologically, one doesn't give a kid that young command over something that valuable.

But the shutter lag is the main problem. He has used the camera a few times and I think he just doesn't "get" that yet.
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