The passenger train I chase, or "stalk, some say, is called Amtrak by the dispatcher. There are a number of Amtrak trains around the country and this one is, or was, named the Sunset Limited. Why can't he, if he needs to shorten the name, call it the "Limited"? Come on Mr. Dispatcher, don't let history disappear into a blur of mediocrity where numbers take the place of names. These passenger trains are special and may be rolling on borrowed time since they are a huge money loser due to a long list of inefficiencies reflective of any government run entity. The feds can't run a railroad, how about your healthcare insurance and care? Those megalomaniacs make me sick.
Now that my happy intro is over, I'll tell ya what happened today.
Friday at 3:00 PM, knocked down cold with a sinus headache, I lay upon my old lazy boy dozing off. I forgot to turn off the scanner and the next thing I hear is the day dispatcher, asking "Amtrak" where they were. Then he wanted the track behind them released and so on and so on. I had planned to get a shot of the Limited today but hadn't because of impending rain.
Oops, I almost used "Amtrak" again, myself. I can't ask Mr. Dispatcher to get it right if I can't.
I'll try to get the story straight this time. I had planned to get a shot of the Limited down at Bayou Sale on Monday. Guess what, duh, it never came. I didn't check the schedule and rode 120 miles and stood in the hot sun for one hour and 45 minutes while people stopped and asked if something was wrong and could they help. I told the last guy thanks, but the only help I needed was a psychiatrist, and was he one.
At 3:05, after hearing Mr. Dispatcher request the track warrant back, I was on my bike headed down the 10 mile ride to Lafayette. I'd go to the closest location, behind the old Chastant Feed Mill (rip) and the new alligator skinning place. I got off the bike and heard the far away horn. I have never timed a meet so perfectly. Yea I did, once picking up my wife from the airport, a more interesting story than this one.
To set the scene, this is looking south from the north shore
of the Vermilion Bayou. . I didn't have a choice. The shot is
also looking south toward the Lafayette, La. airport.
She was coming.
What follows is the dramatic description of what happened.
I know the pictures look alike, but are not. Above, the train
is approaching the Vermilion River bridge. Below, the train
is on the bridge.
Knowing these differences makes the experience come
alive, once more.
The location was better than I'd had imagined. I was in
a huge vacant parking lot and had a down hill shot of the
Vermilion River crossing with a curve in front of me. I didn't
play the curve to its best advantage but I'm not complaining.
This spot is adjacent to a very busy part of Lafayette.
Who'd thunk it?
The train was slowing as it came up the hill.
My finger was nervously on the trigger. I may have done
a double pull.
Next time I'll get a straight on up close. I'll have to cut
that branch first.
There she goes headed for the depot where I tried to
catch her but the light at Johnston is unreal.
The outing was one hour exactly. When I say I live in
Train Chaser Heaven, I'm not kidding. George says I live
in my Train Chaser World, a place of personal perception.
Possibly so, but sometimes it beats the alternative.
Have a nice weekend. If you want to really have a really
great one, get a scanner, and create your own reality.