This "take a picture of everything"-mentality which infected me almost three years ago has been beneficial in many ways, including expanding my wardrobe and my vocabulary.
For example, before 2010, I didn't own an engineer's cap. Now I wear one almost constantly - not because I'm a chronic train-chaser but just because I like the style. Vocabulary-wise, I have learned that chronic train-chasers are sometimes referred to as "foamers". Because I am extremely passionate about picture-taking, I guess, then, that I am "a foamer" in a broader sense - not just with trains as targets, but also with sunrises, sunsets, animals, barns, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. However - I know so little about what I am doing that I will confess to being only an amateur foamer as opposed to being a professional one.
The subject of "trains" and related vocabulary occurs here because the focus of this (and probably my next) blog is "trains".
Twice in the same week I became an ATC (Amateur Train Chaser) and this blog is about the latter event, which featured the "chasing" of the initial voyage of a decades-old diesel engine (after the diesel was repainted, that is). Heretofore, the beautified engine had been only "on display". But, on July 19, 2012, it went "in service" on the small (85-mile) Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad.
"What's so special about this post-paint-job voyage?", you ask.
Well...some say that "The clothes make the man". In the same respect, it was significant to PTCs (Professional Train Chasers) to see this dressed-up engine go to work for the first time. And the uniqueness of the uniform is that it features the colors of the historic (1846 - 1976) Lehigh Valley Railroad -----> 1
For me, this "chase" could have started four stations up the line, but I only belatedly found out about it. (Did I mention that I'm a mere Amateur Train Chaser?) While returning home from refueling my car, I noticed a train beneath a highway bridge. After "U"-turning to an observation point, I next recognized some PTCs hurriedly packing up their gear as if preparing to go to another site. But the train first stopped to service a customer. Therefore I was able to converse with the PTCs.
"What's goin' on?", I asked.
"First day of work for the lead engine after its new paint job." I was told.
It was then that I learned the term "Heritage Unit", which describes a diesel painted to resemble an engine of a now-out-of-business railroad company. (See what I mean about expanding my vocabulary?)
Fortunately the Nikon was in my car and I could join in "the chase". I knew when the train was coming when I saw the PTCs "assume the position" -----> 2
And here it comes - just past Henry's Crossing -----> 3
...Then on to Stokes Avenue (which "Big Brother" recently re-named Mill Creek Road) -----> 4
This diesel engine was built in 1964 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). Sometimes ALCOs feature marginal emission control -----> 5
In the following photo the "Heritage Unit" was protected by gates at Tinkertown Crossing...but I haven't yet been able to learn any history about Tinkertown -----> 6
From its starting point near Scranton, PA, the freight train has arrived 60 miles southeast at its destination, Slateford, PA -----> 7
At Slateford, Norfolk-Southern is the cross-country rail company which is interchanged with by "short hauler" Delaware-Lackawanna -----> 8
One of my PTC-friends said that most train crews these days consist of two people: a conductor and an engineer and that even though the conductor does "the grunt work" of getting in and out of the train to disconnect and connect cars -----> 9
.....and throw switches, nevertheless the conductor is "the boss" -----> 10
When the "Heritage Unit" first arrived at Slateford, it was angled such that its appearance was very plain -----> 11
.....but as it slowly inched forward, its fancy paint scheme came into view -----> 12
.....as did one of the PTCs -----> 13
.....while an aspiring PTC seemed in awe of the power of the machine (as am I) -----> 14
OK - Below is the last view of the "Heritage Unit" as the lead engine -----> 15
For the return trip to Scranton, railroad logistics resulted in the "Heritage Unit" becoming "engine #3" and the former "engine #3" being at the front of the train. In the following photo, the caravan is at "The Point" of the Delaware Water Gap -----> 16
A more meaningful # is: D-L 3000 now in the lead -----> 17
Slightly north of East Stroudsburg, PA, the train passes beneath a defunct signal bridge in an area known as Gravel Place -----> 18
Beside the refurbished station in Cresco, PA, is much railroad memorabilia including a gate house (not shown) and a baggage canopy, left -----> 19
For me, the "train chase" ended near my home about 35 miles southeast of where the train is going -----> 20
Although "414" is now third from the front, here's one more photo after the first two engines have passed -----> 21
.....because, after all, the "Heritage Unit" was "the star" of this blog.
As mentioned in some of my 48 other blogs (a list of which can be seen after clicking on "complete archive", upper right), providing no-cost blog space to its members has become the primary attraction at this first-class, multi-faceted website; as has the thought that somebody may actually see - and comment about - this blog. Thank you when either of the aforementioned happens.
If not because of this blog, I hope that you will find many other reasons to.....