Old 10-10-2006, 03:24 PM   #1
Ex. Railroad Employee
TonytheTiger's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 136
Default The Perfect Lunch Hour

The Perfect Lunch Hour

Little did I know as I loaded my pickup for work yesterday that all of the elements would come together for the Perfect Lunch Hour . . . .

I picked up my lunch at a local deli and turned on my scanner. Immediately I heard the Harrisburg East dispatcher informing the Hershey shifter that a westbound train was approaching. I started up my pickup and headed for the s-curves on the west end of Hershey. I tried this spot before, but I was too early in the day. Now, with the lower autumn sun, I was hoping for more success. I set up at a spot that I thought would give me the effect I was looking for and waited. Soon, the headlight of the westbound train beamed in the distance. Unfortunately, the train was on the wrong main so the effect I was looking for did not materialize . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 161347
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Just after that train passed I heard another westbound about 5 miles behind it. I repositioned myself and, even though this train was also on the wrong main, this time I was a little more successful in capturing the effect of the train snaking around the s-curves.

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 161349
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

I was beginning to wonder why these trains were on the wrong main when I heard the dispatcher call 34A at Hershey. Westbound 34A is a mainline shifter that works the major locations on the Harrisburg main, and it had just finished making a setoff and pickup at the Hershey Chocolate yard. They had just told the dispatcher that they were ready to head west, and the dispatcher gave them the OK to proceed. I relocated to a location that would give me more of a broadside view of the train because many times 34A has a strange mix of power since it is used to ferry engines to Harrisburg for servicing. I packed up and headed for the overpass to the community pool in Hummelstown.

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 161350
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

They were coming through town slowly with their headlight dimmed since they were expected to be held east of the road crossings at Hummelstown while the autorack train led by the 2856 was crossing over at CP Tara on the west end of town. I thought I would head to the center of town to get some closeups of the power (especially the Conrail unit) so I packed up and headed for a good spot in the middle of town. Just then the dispatcher gave 34A the OK to continue so I quickly changed gears and headed for the westernmost road crossing in town instead. I got there just before the gates started down and had just enough time to set up and get this shot . . . .


At it was passing by I looked off to my left and lo and behold what do I see but an eastbound coming around the corner. This area is a canyon of trees, but I took a couple of shots that turned out pretty well . . . .



While I was packing up and preparing to head back to work I heard the dispatcher tell another westbound to head down to the road crossings at Hummelstown and hold. I turned around and headed to my regular lunch spot at Brownstone and set up one last time. The daily Annville stone train came by with a pair of Conrail blue SD-40s on the point . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 161353
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

In 45 minutes I had photographed five trains. Low October sun, bright blue sky, the beginnings of fall color, information from my scanner, and the knowledge of where to set up to frame the photograph culminated into the Perfect Lunch Hour. It took me six months of lunches and numerous rejections from RailPictures to finally put all of the pieces together. Hopefully it will happen again.
Rob Kitchen
Harrisburg, PA

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

Last edited by TonytheTiger; 10-10-2006 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Wrong title
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:36 PM   #2
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Location: Nth. Strathfield, Main Northern, CityRail - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 255

Great shots!

Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. You got lucky today, though.
A Thousand Miles
Cycling around the world, for FightMND, from 2021.
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:09 AM   #3
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Posts: 195

Very lucky, and nice shots too.
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