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High Green at Hinda

November 6, 2010

A high green beckons SP manifest KCOAM/K18 westward at Hinda, CA on Aug. 23, 1987

Back in the day, I would experiment with the camera every so often. Most of the time it was in vain, but sometimes I’d get a great picture. ( I guess that’s why it’s called an experiment.)

Heading home after a day of taking pictures I came across SP 9239 West, a KCOAM (Kansas City-Oakland manifest) train, stopped for a  red signal at Hinda. Hinda is the first set of cross-overs west of Beaumont, CA.

As it was way after sunset, I didn’t intend to take any pictures. I hung around just to see what the train was waiting for.

Turns out the dispatcher wanted to run a westbound stack train, the ESMXT 21 (East St. Louis – ICTF Mitsui) , around this train. The second train arrived shortly, crossing over in front of the stopped KCOAM.

As I watched the action, I realized there just might be a photograph here. For some reason, I had a tripod with me, so I set everything as quickly as possible. I wanted to have some time to try different settings on the camera.

As I was taking the first shots, the signal turned yellow. Fortunately, but the train didn’t move. Most engineers don’t like following a train on hard yellows  on a downgrade. They’d rather let the train ahead get further away so they can have a more favorable signal.

I had taken about a dozen or so time exposures when the signal turned green. As the engineer  released the brakes, I took a final shot as the train started to move.

As each exposure was 10 seconds or so, I figured the last shot would be ruined due to the movement of the train.

As it turned out, that last shot was my favorite. It showed just enough motion of the train to complement the green signal indication.

PS- I kept detailed log books of consists back then. The KCOAM had 7 units on the point and a 4-unit helper set cut into the train.

The power was: 9239/9068/9282/9327/7485/6341/4149 with 6785/7379/7333/7447 as the helpers.

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