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Three Seconds at Stafford

April 14, 2017

Between weather and work, there haven’t been any photo-ops in a week. Even though we’re getting into the high-sun time of year and lots of clouds out this morning, I decided to try my luck and catch Amtrak #2 this morning on its approach to Houston.

After considering a few other spots, I settled for the curve at Stafford, TX, near MP 20.5 of UP’s Glidden sub. As I got to my spot, I heard a westbound freight blow for the Gessner Road crossing one mile east of me. I wasn’t worried because I knew #2 was lined on main 2, the track nearest me, and my shot wouldn’t be blocked by the freight.

Then again, maybe I can get a meet. But the odds are not in my favor because both trains are moving, #2 at track speed and the freight train, not so much because I could hear its power struggling before it came into view.

As the block signal lit up for #2, the freight train came into view, a KCS manifest. It was struggling to do 15 mph for some reason. I knew #2 would come into view any second, so I started walking along the ROW toward the KCS train to give myself the best chance at getting both trains in the frame with the best light possible.

As I got to the block signal at CP SA020, #2 came into view, doing a good 60 mph. I started shooting #2 as it entered the big curve, this shot at 11:46:53.

I could hear the westbound KCS train right behind me, nothing to do but zoom back with #2 in the frame and see if the KCS train would enter the frame. This shot was at 11:46:55, with KCS 4686 / QJATL entering the right side of the frame an instant before AMTK 47 would have blocked it. Bingo!

A second later, a final shot at 11:46:56.

Those of you that know me know that I am my own worst critic, and that I’m rarely happy with anything. Well, I’m pretty happy with this series of images. Yeah, I know that the sun’s a little high, and a few other things that could have been better. I also know that nothing, nothing, is ever perfect!

But this 3-second sequence of images is about as close as I’ll ever get. To paraphrase BTO, “I’ll take what I can get”.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Bludworth permalink
    April 14, 2017 2:23 pm

    Got the KCS through Memorial Park; only a single lead engine and one trailing DPU – yes, they seemed to be doing hard work. Amtrak came through about 12:11 running pretty quickly still. Nice pics!

  2. Steve Tibbetts permalink
    April 14, 2017 2:35 pm

    Nice shooting. One thing I won’t see in my area are Amtrak anything. See lots of UP and BNSF around Conroe and Magnolia.

  3. David H. Bingham permalink
    April 14, 2017 5:51 pm

    Good catch, #2 also caught by another Railspot Facebook member at Memorial Park on video..

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