Old 03-27-2008, 08:54 PM   #1
ccaranna
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Question Cutting back on trips?

I believe it has been discussed many times, but is anyone else finding that the high(er) gas prices are keeping you from exploring new railfan opportunities? I know it has severely limited mine.

I used to like to get out and scout out new photo locations around the state, but I just can't justify the fuel expense anymore. I pretty much took a break in 2007, and I only have about a half dozen pictures (all from my local area) to prove it.

If prices continue to rise in '08, I can expect to find myself trackside even less. Between commuting to and from work and other responsibilities, I'll be happy to even get around the city.

I used to be a "chaser", but at $3.29+ a gallon, I'm staying put.

How are you coping, or are you cutting back in other places?
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:18 PM   #2
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Actually, the thing that keeps me from railfanning as much as I like is the fact that I lease my Jeep and have to pay $.20 a mile that I go over 1000 per month. Since I don't want to end up with a $7000 penalty when I turn it in, I keep my trips down, going on one decent one a month and otherwise focusing in the Las Vegas area. I'm also looking at renting a vehicle for railfan trips, or flying to places I would otherwise drive.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:17 PM   #3
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The gas prices really have not been the deterrent for my trips. Over the past year or so I have been involved with several pretty big projects at work, so I have not had the time to get out much. I am planning a trip this weekend to do some scouting, but no other major trips in the works.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:57 AM   #4
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The amount of time I have is what has kept me from going on any trips, I'm lucky if I can find the time to drive 50 miles to get to Marion, the only day I would have to travel somewhere is on a Saturday, and since I get no vacation time, I'm really limited on how far I can roam. While I do find it nice to get out of town and perhaps get some sort of background in some of my shots I'm perfectly happy with what I can get locally, as long as I'm not shooting in the same spot day after day. I do attempt to try to conserve fuel, mainly by sitting off somewhere knowing a train is coming, and if I hear something 20 miles away moving I wont bother with it.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:04 AM   #5
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Very interesting thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna
I believe it has been discussed many times, but is anyone else finding that the high(er) gas prices are keeping you from exploring new railfan opportunities? I know it has severely limited mine.
My trip count is definitely lower this year than it was in '06-'07. As for new opportunities, thats where the biggest cut has come. Instead of "checking out" something I'm starting to stay local and hope for the best. The result...a lot of standard stuff.
Quote:
I used to like to get out and scout out new photo locations around the state, but I just can't justify the fuel expense anymore. I pretty much took a break in 2007, and I only have about a half dozen pictures (all from my local area) to prove it.
I'm in the same boat as I said. Now, scouting trips include the actual railfanning as well and what I see is what I get, train or no train. Fortunately, this has resulted in getting in the habit of getting up at 5AM to get out before the sun and scouting early so I know what to shoot for the rest of the day.
Quote:
If prices continue to rise in '08, I can expect to find myself trackside even less. Between commuting to and from work and other responsibilities, I'll be happy to even get around the city.
Living in one of the most congested areas of the country, railfan outtings can be quite relieving in terms of how much gas I use up. With roads with little or no lights and Interstates where you can actually maintain the speed limit and not get stuck in traffic the rural areas to go to in NJ and PA aren't as bad as the Parkway or Rte. 9 during rush hour to school or work. As for less trips if prices go up more (which they will), won't happen but I think the "long way home" trips to the yard in Old Bridge will stop and I'll be back to my school-work-home weekday routine and railfanning one or two "big" trips a season with a local weekend here and there.
Quote:
I used to be a "chaser", but at $3.29+ a gallon, I'm staying put.
I'm becoming a mainline man more and more. This week has been spring break for me and while one day was a crazy (500 miles in a day) trip to Bethlehem and Strasburg, the other was a nice relaxing NJT and Lehigh Line trip with a small detour to the CSX line on the way home.
Quote:
How are you coping, or are you cutting back in other places?
I'm not eating...fast food. If my friends ask me to hang out, I say it has to be something cheap or free if possible. Yeah, I may hear it and be called cheap, but when they realize they have $10-20 extra dollars in their wallets they'll see the madness in my ways. With a few big, expensive ::shudders:: trips out west this year I'll be back to my stay home on weekends and do nothing but work and school during the week until I reach my savings goal.

I'll reap the rewards in the fall and winter from staying home or local if I need a train fix when I can go away for the weekend when the first snowfall is hitting western PA or a steam tourist line somewhere in the East.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
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Ah yes, the price of energy.... It's the one wild card that may keep all of us on the work-'til-ya-drop plan.

I personally hit 50 recently, and although I'm not ready for the scrap heap yet, I also realize I'm not a kid any more and I'm not going to be around forever. In a movie recently, one of the characters referred to constructing a personal "bucket list"...things he wanted to do before he kicked the bucket. That's not such a bad idea for a guy my age, so although I'm not planning to go hawg-wild and lose control financially, I'm not going to deny myself reasonable things that I really want, like a few trips to chase trains. To make up for it, I will watch expenses in other areas, and work from home when the opportunity presents itself.

I've been shooting pictures of planes and steam trains since I was in college, and although I think I was better than the average Joe, that's not saying much. Coming here at the beginning of this year really opened my eyes and made me want to take things to another level. Both my equipment and my skills needed some serious improvement. Now, I really need to go back to all of the places I've been and get it right this time!!!

So, despite the era of $3-4 auto gas and $5-6 avgas, my trip list looks like this...

Feb: Nevada Northern RR - Fly Commerical (unfortunately steamless) - DONE
Mt. Washington Cog RR - Drive -DONE

Apr: Strasburg RR - Fly Commercial (wanna get there before the corn grows!)

May: Cass Scenic RR - Fly Commerical (doing a photo special)

Summer:

WW&F Narrow Gauge RR - Drive

Conway Scenic - Drive

White Mountain Central - Drive

Valley RR - Drive

Wilmington & Western RR - Fly GA
New Hope & Ivyland - Fly GA
Strasburg - Fly GA

Mt. Washington Cog RR - Drive

Wanamaker Kempton & Southern - Fly GA
EBT - Fly GA

CATS RR or D&S NGRR - Fly Commercial (haven't figured out which RR yet)

Hopefully, that will be enough activity to get me at least a few shots for my tiny portfolilo here.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:30 PM   #7
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$3.39 per gallon when I filled the Dodge this week.
I'm planning at least one a month road-trips around the area within 80-100 miles round trip. I'll compensate for the dough by brown bagging it instead of fast-food, vending machines at work and on the road.
Where theres a will theres a way.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:24 AM   #8
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Being stuck at college without a car, only having an unpredictable 20-30 train a day mainline in town, and attempting to get a civil engineering degree from the no. 1 civil engineering school has really eaten into my trip time. :-/
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:25 AM   #9
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Default trying to take more trips while it's cheap...

The way I see it, gas is only going to get even more expensive...$3.17/gallon here in Florida...so I've been getting out as often as possible while it's still cheap. There are a lot of ways to save money in other areas or make a few extra bucks to help pay for gas so for me it's full speed ahead!
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainshooter
...$3.17/gallon here in Florida...so
Hmmm $4.50 US gallon here
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:49 PM   #11
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3.49 a gallon this weekend here. 3.35 in Janesville.Rumors of 4$ a gallon by Memorial day
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
Being stuck at college without a car, only having an unpredictable 20-30 train a day mainline in town, and attempting to get a civil engineering degree from the no. 1 civil engineering school has really eaten into my trip time. :-/
I know the feeling mate. University assignments impact more on my rail trips more than anything else! I normally go out chasing trains with a mate and we split the cost of fuel, so it isn't too bad. I keep telling myself that a few train photos won't make a career.

The current fuel price is AUD $143.9/litre.

There is a RailMotor Tour out West on Saturday (Anzac Day) and the weather is supposed to be decent, but I would much rather be at work earning AUD $40/hour than spending money on fuel chasing trains.
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ
The current fuel price is AUD $143.9/litre.
$143 a litre for fuel!? I feel sorry for you
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:49 AM   #14
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I've been going on more trips because there really isn't much else to do at my college. I would have to say I've went on more rail trips in '08 than I did in all of '07.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody in the WWW
$143 a litre for fuel!? I feel sorry for you
I doesn't worry me because a car offers flexibility. My car leaves when I want to leave and not at :25 and :55. Additionally, it allows me to access locations other than station platforms because they get boring pretty quickly and aren't very scenic.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ
I doesn't worry me because a car offers flexibility. My car leaves when I want to leave and not at :25 and :55. Additionally, it allows me to access locations other than station platforms because they get boring pretty quickly and aren't very scenic.
Actually I was getting at you saying it was "$143.9 a litre" . I would have guessed $1.43 a litre would be a more accurate price. If the servos in Queensland are charging $143 a litre then you are being severely ripped off!

I agree that it would be a pain trying to get to good photospots relying on public transport. Especially if you are trying to photograph on lines which only have an infrequent passenger rail service, such as your North Coast line north of Caboolture it would be quite difficult, especially if you wanted to move between spots.
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:29 PM   #17
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I get ya now! I got the decimal point in the wrong place and it was quite an expensive mistake.

The train up the North Coast is great if you love to watch scenery fly by. A ride up the front on the Tilt Train was impossible to turn down even though I prefer to chase.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:13 PM   #18
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I'm not cutting down on my trips as much as my wife is cutting down on my trips.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Damaged
3.49 a gallon this weekend here. 3.35 in Janesville.Rumors of 4$ a gallon by Memorial day
That's what worries me. We usually see the highest prices near the end of summer. But now we've got $3.49 a gallon in South freaking Carolina in April!


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Old 04-20-2008, 04:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I'm not cutting down on my trips as much as my wife is cutting down on my trips.




That's what worries me. We usually see the highest prices near the end of summer. But now we've got $3.49 a gallon in South freaking Carolina in April!


Joe
I too have quite an extensive spring honey-dew list to complete before a party at the end of May.

What I'm really getting antsy about is a Mt Rushmore South Dakota family road trip in July. I already had to book a couple non-refundable rooms at Custer State Park so I can't back out. I'm gonna try not to freak out and set a little $ aside before we go to ease my tensions.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog




That's what worries me. We usually see the highest prices near the end of summer. But now we've got $3.49 a gallon in South freaking Carolina in April!


Joe
Here in NY we got $3.67
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:03 AM   #21
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Fuel has always been cheaper in the US than here, you guys are bloody lucky!

I did a bit of a conversion at the current exchange rate and assumed an American Gallon was 3.79 litres ...
USD $3.67/gallon equates to AUD $1.04/litre

I remember the good ol' days of refusing to pay for fuel when it was over $1/litre.

Now the best way to get around it is car pool with a few fellow rail fans.
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:35 PM   #22
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Went down to Normal, IL yesterday for my nephews college graduation At ISU. 3.89 per gallon down there,3.84 here in Rockford. 75 bucks round trip. I did however get a shot of Amtrak 89 and 165 at the passenger station while we were waiting for our dinner reservations after commencement. I did spot a colorful BNSF lash-up at a farmers co-op on the way down located somewhere in nowheres-ville.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:02 PM   #23
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$3.89 for gas here in Michigan...but we're getting hit with some of the highest prices in the nation along with California. Regardless, I still used about $30 in gas yesterday while out taking pics. The same miles yesterday would have cost me $15-20 a year or two ago, but what's another $15? I'm just doing it a lot less frequently and cutting corners in other areas of my life to continue to justify spending this much on gas. Instead of eating out for lunch every day, I go to the store on Sunday and spend about $6 on lunch meat and that gets me through the entire week. Like a lot of people, I USED to spend $4-6 a day on lunch, but I just couldn't justify that any more, especially with how inexpensive lunch meat, a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce are.

Quote:
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Fuel has always been cheaper in the US than here, you guys are bloody lucky!
And in many areas of the world, gas is a lot less than it is in the U.S. It's all relative.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:28 PM   #24
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And in many areas of the world, gas is a lot less than it is in the U.S. It's all relative.
Well, it depends on how one defines "many." Certainly in the highly developed countries, those in Europe plus Japan and so forth, we are the cheapest, often by a sizable magnitude.

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Old 05-12-2008, 02:39 PM   #25
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Well, it depends on how one defines "many." Certainly in the highly developed countries, those in Europe plus Japan and so forth, we are the cheapest, often by a sizable magnitude.
Indeed - we are currently paying 1.20 a litre for diesel in the UK (roughly 4 litres=1 US Gallon) - so thats around $9.60/US gallon. Petrol is slightly cheaper thanks to the ridiculous tax regime we suffer over here. It now costs me around 60 to fill up our Land Rover Defender which will get me about 300-350 miles before it needs filling

Also Electricity/domestic gas supplies here have just about doubled in price over the past couple of years which doesn't help the household budget
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