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David A. Wright

Railroad Photography

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On 1/16/2017 at 2:40 PM, MB64 said:

 Return trip was slightly better except in Chicago, the Amtrak diner car water tank dumped everything. Lots of people got sick after that happened. Then to top it off, getting close to being home the lead unit blew up. 11 hours behind schedule finally got home with a UP engine leading. Would love to do a cross country trip again, some amazing scenery along the way.

Amtrak has been trying to revive the AL and FL passenger routes.  If they want to be successful, (which I would love if development doesn't speed up at all), they might want to clean up their act. 

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A friend of mine is nearing the end of his railroad career. Started with SP, UP afer the merger. He's been all over the map as far as positions, for more than a decade now he's a mobile mechanic, working on track maintenance equipment. In the last 40 years he's been on plenty of pile-ups, including the infamous semi truck vs. Amtrak a few years ago.

By the way, just love your RR photos!

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Thank you Samuel. I've got dozens more!  This is one of the 1880s Arizona Mineral Belt line. It runs down through what are currently Lower Lake Mary and Upper Lake Mary south of Flagstaff, AZ.  The developer of this line originally envisioned it going all the way south to Mexico and north to Utah.  As with many railroads from this era, it didn't really pan out.  A large portion of it was later used by the Flagstaff Lumber Company to access timber in the Mormon Lake and Mormon Mtn area.  The line shown in the picture is a bit difficult to make out as this area is often underwater (it currently is) and the line is highly eroded. In 1917, an "incline" was constructed to access the top of Anderson Mesa which is visible to the left.  I've got some pics of it that I'll post.

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These photos are of an "incline" rail line that is roughly .3 miles long and has a maximum slope of 39%  It was used for less than a year when a locomotive rolled down it and ended up on the shore of Lower Lake Mary.  A series of switchbacks were than constructed to reach the top of the mesa.  The current road up the mesa was constructed on this line.

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Ironically, there’s one situation I neglected to address….lodging!  My start in railroad employment meant a lot of traveling if I wanted to stay working.  At first with the Milwaukee Road, my seniority district would span from Tacoma Washington to St Maries Idaho on the mainline, and lots of branch lines included.  When they folded and I went with Union Pacific…I saw myself travel and work anywhere from Seattle Washington down to Portland Oregon, and east at far as Huntington, next to the Idaho border.  Back then, it would be quite the convenience to be arranged with a bunkcar…a boxcar converted for living…some complete with kitchen, bedroom, shower…the only drawback of course was location!  All too often, these cars are parked right close to the project to minimize travel, including right next to the mainline track! I would not be lying that the first few nights take some getting used to being next to the mainline when it comes to sleeping…but you DO get used to it.  Provides  for some interesting  shots out the “front door”.

 

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16 minutes ago, Harley Kuehl said:

BTW Bob, can I declare THIS as one of my "explore vehicles"??? LOL  God knows I've put in a lot of miles on these rough riding critters....

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Looks like it would be a lot of fun seeing the countryside in one of those Harley. 

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The 1903 Southern Pacific depot here in my town. When I was growing up I remember it sitting next to the railroad tracks at Tapo Street & Los Angeles Avenue, where it was turning into a derelict wreck. Years later a committee was formed to save and restore it and move it to a new location.

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Oh boy....I'm LMAO because somehow my own "tools of the trade" (yes, my hands have seen the handle of a ...car mover peevee... and of course a spike pulling clawbar....) captured in a GREAT picture.  But....Mojave?  I'm certainly hoping that camera of yours has been possibly several miles west capturing the loop, or even Bealville and Caliente below the loop?

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Good time to go is right now....everybody has been lamenting on the rr websites about the FABULOUS green hills and all the flowers coming out right now, been making for some great photos...wish my wallet could afford a plane ticket right now....

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Now that I've found more photos (!) I can share another avenue of this sick (!) infatuation I have with railroad photography.  I want to first take this opportunity to introduce you to Hill 582 on Cajon Pass.  I have been lucky enough to cast my shadow three or four times at this location.  Again with the wide open spaces, I have an endless love for this kind of photography.  I would invite you to Google Hill 582 and I would think and hope you get overwhelmed as I did in the effort between private individuals and the Forest Service to maintain this "oasis" in the middle of nowhere.  (And yes, I've caught myself thinking "don't you have to have trees to be a national forest??!!)  The other awesome oddity of the southwest is the Combat Railfans of Arizona, and their camp at Shawmut, west of Maricopa.  This used to be Southern Pacific lines, and as I've never had the honors of the night time campfires, I have enjoyed the photography of the current resident Union Pacific and trekked around doing combination of cactus and train shots, as the cactus only grows at a particular elevation...You won't find it around Maricopa, and you won't find it by the time you get to the lower area of Gila Bend....interesting for sure!  In closing, what is humbling having traveled dozens of places, and witnessed the laziness of litterbugs, here's two locations where a handful of people taking pride in themselves to police the grounds among themselves as well as other short thinking fools.

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