So, I’m sitting at a computer somewhere one day checking my e-mail (hard to believe isn’t it?) when I get a note from a photographer friend of mine that says that a railroad steam engine is coming through town the following day. While it was going to be coming through, it would make a 15 minute whistle stop on the tracks behind a strip-mall (there aren’t too many places for trains to stop on the tracks these days). Hmm, that sounds moderately interesting from a photography perspective, and I’m sure that Ezra would love it…..so we made plans for the next morning.
As we strolled over to the area that the train was supposed to be stopping, fully expecting to be nearly the only ones there (I mean, if it isn’t on the news or Facebook or Twitter, how does anyone know about these events?), and we were shocked to see about 100 other folks already lined up waiting – and that’s not including the 100+ photographers that were lining the tracks along the frontage road. So, as the crowd and scene developed, so did the anticipation level. We would hear periodic updates about the train’s location, and the kids would get all excited. But I don’t think that any of us (at least those of us that just happened on this) really knew what to expect.
The train rounded the corner and approached the crowd, it was suddenly apparent that this was really freaking cool. The train is a special one that the Union Pacific railroad keeps in Cheyenne, WY. Every once in a while, they bring it out on tour or to special events. This time, the train was headed on a two month long tour of the southwest. As the train got close, the classic noises that trains are supposed to produce – but are absent in all modern diesel rigs – became loud, and I mean really loud. The train came to a stop, the Engineers climbed out, and the crowd narrowed in. It was an extremely cool opportunity to see a working engine like this one up close. There was little restriction about climbing up to and around the train, and the Engineer for the train even got out and spoke to a group of kids that featured Ezra and the kids from our street.
There really is something beautiful about it’s steel/industrial presence. And it takes good pictures too.