Trackside with Erik and Mike, Vol. 37: August 22, 2005

Mike Yuhas and Erik Bergstrom photograph trains with their Canon Digital Rebel cameras... you vote for the best shot!
Mike Yuhas says: It's been a busy fortnight, but we're eager and ready to share a pair of notable railroad photos with the readers of But before I get into mine...
ISO 400, 1/400 sec. at F6.3, 48mm. August 19, 2005.
Mike Yuhas
ISO 400, 1/400 sec. at F6.3, 28mm. August 19, 2005.
Mike Yuhas
You may have read on the August 17, 2005 News Wire that Union Pacific's third "Heritage" SD70ACe was unveiled last week. It's decked out in a paint scheme inspired by a red scheme worn by Missouri-Kansas-Texas early diesels. Wisconsin & Southern painted the unit, but unlike the previous two heritage diesels, the Katy engine was delivered to UP on Friday morning in plain view of anyone with a camera. (The previous two units were delivered to Omaha under tarps. See the first two units in the August 1, 2005 News Wire.) Luckily for me, I had a camera on Friday. First, here are two shots of Wisconsin & Southern's train HM (Horicon-Milwaukee) just south of Ackerville, Wis.:
ISO 200, 1/250 sec. at F10, 32mm. August 19, 2005.
Mike Yuhas
Then at lunch I ran out to see it being picked up by UP at the WSOR interchange point of Granville, Wisconsin:

Erik Bergstrom replies: Nice catch! Too bad Mother Nature wasn't cooperating more that day.
ISO 200, 1/250 sec. at F7.1, 75mm. July 8, 2005.
Erik Bergstrom
You showing a Union Pacific unit on the "Wizzer" is a great compliment to my photo for this week's voting competition. Without planning, we've come across a "far away from home" theme for this week's column. My portion of this theme comes to us from west-central Illinois, just north of Galesburg. I was on my way to visit family in July when I noticed a southbound train leaving the siding in Alpha. It was 7:32pm and the sun was perfect. As I started composing my shot, I noticed the lead unit was a former Illinois Central locomotive. As they approached, it appeared as though all three of the train's locomotives were all black. Sure enough...

...three Illinois Central locomotives, all untouched by the (paint shop) hands of the current owner, Canadian National. It's very common to see units from other railroads venturing far from their home road, but to see three that are not only from the same railroad, but also the same fallen flag, now that's something! For you big power enthusiasts, it also was cool to see a diverse mix of locomotives: SD40Q no. 6015 on the point, SD40-2 no. 6007 in the middle, and SD70 no. 1018 in the rear. It's like the mid-to-late 90's all over again!

Mike: Wow! For a minute there I thought you were talking about the CSX unit you shot at Alpha that was featured in Volume 36!
ISO 200, 1/800 sec. at F9, 195mm. August 21, 2005.
Mike Yuhas
Other than the above "far away from home" SD70ACe shots, my theme for this installment is "tanks a lot," which revolves around a pair of trains I saw just yesterday morning. First off was this photo of a train of loaded molten sulphur tank cars on Union Pacific's Adams Subdivision, headed east between the Twin Cities and Milwaukee:

So I got pretty lucky with this -- a nice shot on a line that's not particularly busy. It would be hours before those rails were polished again! A pair of GE Dash8-41Cs lead 63 tanks past Rock siding near Lebanon, Wisconsin.
Mike Yuhas's photo for the Volume 37 voting competition. ISO 200, 1/1000 sec. at F6.3, 155mm. August 21, 2005.
After this train, I headed over to Canadian Pacific's Milwaukee-Twin Cities mainline, where I figured there'd be more action. As it happens, one of the trains I saw was this empty molten sulphur tank train:

A single AC4400CW easily handles the 75 empty tanks.

Now, I know what you're thinking -- "what awful lighting" -- and you're right! The nose of the locomotive is in shadow, because I'm pretty much looking directly into the sun. But I'm struck by the symmetry of the 75 near-identical cars as they travel along the jointed rail of CP's main track 1 near Astico, Wisconsin. A nice moody photo I'd hang on my wall!

Erik: That photo got me thinking... how would you like to be the person in charge of loading that train? One down, 74 to go. Next time you complain about your lush job, I'll remind you of that train.
Erik Bergstrom's photo for the Volume 37 voting competition. ISO 200, 1/200 sec. at F5.6, 300mm. July 8, 2005.
Since you've already seen the locomotives that participated in my photo for this week's voting, how about seeing the actual photo...

I enjoyed watching this train slowly snake its way out of the siding as it headed for Galesburg and (I'm certain) points beyond. It was fascinating to watch three units work to put a huge train into motion, and to watch that huge train work its way from the siding to the mainline. It was powerfully graceful.

Let's head to the polls!
Time to vote!

Vote for your favorite photo in the reader forum and share your comments with fellow readers. We'll have the official voting results next week in our e-mail newsletter (to receive our newsletter, register or update your profile and select our Railroading e-mail). See you next week!

PLEASE NOTE: This story appeared on the old prior to our July 12, 2006 redesign. Therefore, the voting and comments are no longer available. Read the Trackside with Erik and Mike Volume 37 Recap story here.
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