Winter In The Blues

by Steve Eshom on December 9, 2007

Many people get “the blues” in the winter. This year I got the blues too….more specifically Oregon’s Blue Mountains.

I just returned from a three day railfan adventure along the Union Pacific in eastern Oregon where Robert, Richard, Steve and I photographed whatever UP threw at us in various weather conditions ranging from sun to snow and ice. It was a fabulous trip that not only included plenty of trains and great photos but a bit hijinks to spice it up.

Mother nature cooperated with a nice a 6″ dumping of snow Thursday night followed by some cold temperatures that held the snow in place for the weekend. Sunday morning’s 8 degree temperature at Kamela marked the lowest temperature of the trip but the 30 mph wind with a 30 degree temperature at North Powder felt much colder! Either one of them is colder than I’m used to so I’m still working on warming up.

The grade between La Grande and Kamela summit is lined with various conifers and they were loaded with snow! In this first photo a westbound manifest crawls upgrade between Motanic and Nordeen through one of the rare straight sections. For the most part railroad operations didn’t have much trouble with the weather save for one stall and a switch heater or two that malfunctioned. Both were easily overcome with manned helpers and a signal maintainer.

Winter At Motanic

Winter At Motanic

East of La Grande there are few trees and the amount of snow deposit was much less. The winds out there kept things interesting with frequent snow drifts over the road. Just like on the west end things moved smoothly except for a couple of stalls and some switch heater issues. In this photo an eastbound Z train stops at the Pleasant Valley to await the arrival of an uphill manifest.

Meet at Pleasant Valley

Meet at Pleasant Valley

Look for more coming soon…

[tags]blue mountains, oregon, photography, railfan, railroad, the blues, trains, union pacific[/tags]

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