Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in Central Montana. Today it is 30 and snowing. Welcome to spring in Montana!
The train in this image is a unit train from Great Falls and is headed to Pipestone pit near Whitehall, Mt. This is one of several trains expected today including the Lost local which is on its way to Moore as I write this. Since it was so warm yesterday the roads are mostly wet so getting around to photograph trains in the snow is fairly easy. Hopefully I’ll have a few more snow images from today.
Merry Christmas to all the dogcaught readers! I hope your holiday season is filled with all the things you enjoy.
Last January I was on Stevens Pass (Washington) enjoying my annual winter railfanning adventure. Like normal I was up early and on the road looking for that first railroad photograph of the day. My travelling companions, Robert Scott and Scott Lothes agreed we’d have a pretty good opportunity east of the pass to get a morning photo of Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Off the highway and down a recently plowed forest service road we went to a gap in the mountains called “The Slot”. Cautiously walking up the icy road to this location I set up for an 8 second exposure that would capture the lights from the passenger train streaking by in the very low pre-dawn light. The result is one of my favorite images from 2011.
So here we are in the middle of February. No snow, no rain, and no sun. Doldrums. Ya, the forecasters are excited that there might be some snow this week but honestly it is mid-February so any snow that falls really won’t stick around for any length of time. That’s a bummer. I was hoping for some Columbia River gorge snow photos this year but the time for that is fleeting. Instead I get dead leaves, empty branches, and gray skies.
It seems like every visit I make to the east portal of the Cascade Tunnel there are more signs on the wall. This year I noticed two milepost signs I did not see last year. On the left one reads 1700.3292 and on the right the other reads 1700.3. Pick your precision I guess? I’m sure the more precise value is important for engineering related work and needs to be that accurate. Day to day train movements shouldn’t need that level though.
I think the more important one out of the group is “Caution No Stopping In Portal”. I suppose getting caught in the door would be bad news.
Sunday out near Camas it was clear from the trees that we still have some more winter to go. I shouldn’t complain because there are others in the country who have it much worse. In fact I’m sure the folks on the train from the mid-west were happy to see our mild Northwest winter.