Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Train Saturday

Yesterday I went out in the hopes of stumbling across a couple trains like last Saturday. That was not the case this time. As I pulled out of the gas station, I made my way directly for Highway 549. As I drove across the crossing, I saw no lights in the distance. I would have liked to have had a scanner at that point, maybe I’ll go into town and by one today. No train, no worries. I’ll use this time to look for some picture locations. I knew of a couple from when I chased CPR 2816 Empress back in October.

So I continued on 549 until I came to a road just before cresting the hill. I should have paid more attention to what this road is called as it’s not named in my map book. I will call it “Unknown 1” for now. I drove down until I came to a driveway leading into a field. I parked the car and got out to take a few pictures of the area. This would be a great location for when the train is southbound. You can park the car and walk in closer to the tracks if need be. On to the second location I had in mind.

Highway 549 turns into Highway 582 after the turn, so I continued on until past 242nd Avenue. There isn’t much room to park your car here in the winter without worrying about getting stuck in the snow. This location favors the summer more or a snowless winter. At this location the sun favors the southbound train, but you could still get a nice picture of the northbound if you are not concerned about the sun. The northbound makes its way on a downhill ‘S’ which, if in the right position, could give you a really nice shot. On to the next photo opportunity location.

I headed north on 582, east on 226th Avenue and south on Pine Creek Road until I got to a crossing just before De Winton. I then turned north on 250th Avenue. This is a nice spot for when the sun is more into the later afternoon time frame or late morning early afternoon in the winter. There’s a spot to park the car a little further up. There is a nice flat shelf at a lower elevation than the road but it is higher than the tracks. I will definitely have to try this location. I wanted to try and get to the siding in De Winton, but the only road I could see heading toward the track looked like somebody’s driveway, so I continued to the next location.

So I made my way through De Winton and turned down this road that seemed to be a shortcut to 274th Avenue. Well I won’t be taking that road again any time soon. From where I was coming from it was a very narrow uphill drive. I wasn’t sure if a car was going to be flying over the hill and hit me dead on. Next time I’ll take the long way around.

At the forth location there are some good photo possibilities on a southbound train for just about any time of the day. You can position yourself to the east on 274th Avenue up the hill a little bit or to the west to catch the marsh in the foreground. If you go down Meridian Street, there’s a not too bad spot at the loop. The high ground to the west is more accessible than the east if you are looking for a far and wide shot. All in all, I like this location and I will have to make note to explore this area a little more. I also took this opportunity to check out and take some pictures of a switch.

After looking at my map book, the overall view showed the possibility of another couple locations along 306th Avenue. Once I arrived there, it was a different story. I wish I would have had a more detailed map of this area or even a print out from Google Earth would have given me some kind of idea as to the landscape. I drove to 3 dead ends and there were no easy possibilities here. After that I decided to head home.

Download the Google Earth kmz file.


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