Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stampede Before the Deluge

Waaay back at the end of November I was invited to join railfans Brian Ambrose and John VanAmburg for a day of shooting up on Stampede Pass. The draw was the recent assignment of helpers out of Easton used to shove loaded grain trains over the mountain. Sadly..or in my case was a dark, foggy late fall day, and the BNSF opted not to send a grain train our way! Still all was not lost as it was very much a case of "your worst day of railfanning is still better than your best day at work."

So here's a few from that day:

I arrived at Easton before my two friends so I took advantage of the time to photograph the helper set in the foggy yard.

But we didn't drive all this way to walk around a static display of motive power. Time to do some railroading. Here the same helper set has coupled to the point of a westbound rail train and are hauling the whole mess up the grade where once stood the old Martin approach signal bridge.

Waiting for the helpers to return from the west, I used the backdrop of the east portal of the Stampede Tunnel and waterfall to pose two of the Northwest's best and brightest...Brian Ambrose to the right, John VanAmburg to the left.

The light in the tunnel materializes into the helper set returning to Easton. Engineering was friend, Greg Weirich. Nearly all the track and solid ground seen in these two photos is now washed away after the floods of January '09. Repairs are due to be completed in March.

The fog never really burned off. In fact, it seemed to be a little thicker when an empty grain train came rattling down the hill.

I shot the last train of the day, a helper train at...well where else?


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