The Shasta Route II

by Steve Eshom on January 23, 2013

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Shasta Route January 2013

The first morning of our Shasta Route adventure dawned clear and cold.  The temperature on the Yukon’s thermometer read 0.  That temperature is not uncommon at Chemult thanks to it being at 4,764 ft. of elevation and being east of the Cascades.  Both of these factors add up to a recipe for cold winter weather.  As we loaded up from the hotel we heard a southbound BNSF train pull up to a stop at Chemult.  According to radio chatter they were going to wait for a northbound UP train to clear before continuing south.  We stormed back to the signal bridge in the middle of the Chemult siding and caught the BNSF train leaving the BNSF’s Oregon Trunk subdivision and entering UP’s Cascade subdivision.

BNSF train G VBTGUC3 11A rolls under the signal bridge at control point VP 503 in the middle of the Chemult siding.

A few miles south we captured the BNSF train again at Diamond Lake.  By now the temperature had dropped to -11!  A great day for winter railfanning for sure!

Once the sun rose standing outside was pretty comfortable.   In fact the sun warmed us quite well while we waited for Amtrak’s Coast Starlight south of Modoc Point along Upper Klamath Lake.  I’d never seen any images of the lake iced over so I really enjoyed capturing the image below of the Starlight showing the icy lake behind.  Could there be an interesting angle from the icy lake?

20130116-IMG_5130-2-Edit

Amtrak’s Coast Starlight skirts along the frozen Upper Klamath Lake between Aloma and Modoc Point.  Winter is in full force here.

We spent a few hours in Klamath Falls waiting for UP to work up a southbound train for us to follow on towards Dunsmuir.  After noon we continued south catching the train at Worden, Penoyar, Grass Lake and eventually south of Mt. Shasta City.  There is so much to see between K-Falls and Dunsmuir and our drive through only really scratched the surface.

Next we headed into Dunsmuir and met with local railfan and photographer extraordinaire Bob Morris (aka Photo Bob).  He suggested we grab dinner at the Dogwood Diner next to the tracks downtown.  If you enjoy good food this is a wonderful spot to soak in the atmosphere of Dunsmuir and watch any passing trains.  If you only like Steak ‘n Shake or In-n-Out Burger this is not for you.

For our last photos of the day we headed out towards our cabin at Castella.  Castella is famous for a photo depicting southbound trains crossing Castle Creek with Castle Crags in the background.  Robert however had a wonderful idea of a photo of a northbound including the approach signal to Castle Crags siding.  I chose to take off on his idea and I captured this image of the train approaching us.  Sure, I moved over and also photographed Castle Crags, but I think I like this a bit more.

Clear Block

Clear Block!  A northbound Z train has a clear signal at the approach to Castle Crags siding.

Stay tuned for more coming soon….

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