Wheels of Time Blog
« More of Robert Diepenbrock's Harriman Headend Cars | Main | Pike-Size Passenger Trains to Model: Southern Pacific’s “The Coast Mail” No. 71 - 72 »

Anticipation. Union Pacific Extra 844 East

Waiting for Extra 844 East to arrive. Enthusiasts jocking for the best photo spot. You hear the chirping of crickets and grasshoppers in the fields near the tracks. A jack rabbit scurries past. A bee sweeps the air around you: you wave it off. Someone appears casually walking along the tracks ... if Extra 844 East appears now, your photo will be totally ruined with this person there. You hear the scanner go off. It's 5 minutes away ... sigh of relief.  Can this person hear all the grumbling photographers muttering under their collective breath, "Get out of the way!". Somehow our collective prayers are answered, and they duck out of the way into a thicket, just in time for us to hear the deep bellow of the whistle announcing the coming of Extra 844 East. Two long whistle blasts, followed by one short one, and finally one really long one. It must be at a grade crossing. Not far away now. Your hands get sweaty. You double check your camera settings:  shutter speed - check,  aperature -  check, depth of field -  check. Thinking now about the best moments to release the shutter. Steady now. Your heart is starting to race. Smoke on the horizon. Hear the reciprocating chug-chug-chug-chug becoming louder as Extra 844 East grinds it's way up a grade. Then it suddenly appears in your camera's field of vision: Extra 844 East. Click. Hear again the melodic deep whistle blow. Click. Swoosh. You pivot your position catching the train going by at speed. Click. A sea of yellow with the singing steel wheels on steel rails. Click. Then as suddenly as it appeared, it's gone. You hear the wailing of the whistle echoing into the distace. The chorus of crickets and grasshoppers starts up again as though they didn't miss a beat. Everyone smiling. Ah, can I experience that again?

Below, the animated sequence of photographs: UP Extra 844 East taken by Matthew in Niles Canyon California for your enjoyment.


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.