Harrisburg, PA
July 1 & 2, 2006
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approx 1024X768)

We started our trip working our way up along the line from Hagerstown, MD. There was no action until lunchtime when we caught 55Q at CP Spring heading toward Harrisburg.

Just on the outskirts of Harrisburg we caught 203 at CP Ross.

Neither of us had railfanned Harrisburg so we didn't know the best spots. We wanted a view of trains coming off the Rockville Bridge and after a good bit of searching we scaled the rocks above CP Mary.CP Mary controls the West side of the bridge and the approaches to the Northern end of Enola yard which is off to our right. The container train here has left Harrisburg Yard on the East side of the Susquehanna and is approaching CP Banks on its way to Altoona or farther West.
This is definitely a Winter spot for photography -- the trees just block too much. The action is more than adequate though.

A river-level view of the Rockville Bridge can be had in Marysville. The Susquehanna River was high when we visited, having flooded earlier in the week with this Summer's unseasonable rains.

On the South end of Marysville is a street overpass aptly named "Overview Bridge." With little traffic and viewing ports through the chain-link fence it's a good place to watch trains and switch jobs at the North end of Enola Yard.

Sunday (day two for us) we decided to catch the early morning light on the old Reading RR bridge in Harrisburg. At 20 minutes before seven we were rewarded as an Eastbound 202 pulled onto the bridge and stopped.

The dispatcher routed 204 around the waiting 202 so we moved to the North side of the bridge for that shot. The place we're shooting from is a waterfront park about 20 feet above the water that provides plenty of safe angles, even when the Susquehanna is flowing muddy and high as it did this weekend.

After 204 passed 202 a Westbound(Southbound?) 37Q was routed through providing us with this nifty, middle of the bridge meet.

With 37Q out of the way 202 was finally cleared to proceed, but with another train hot on its heels.

While waiting for the trains to pose for our cameras above, we noticed a pair of beavers busy below. Apparently the phrase "busy as a beaver" is correct -- they were rebuilding their home in a pile of debris washed up by the flood. When we returned much later that day the water level was 2 feet lower and the beavers had abandoned that temporary home for a another elsewhere.

Mid-morning we went up to a popular railfanning spot at Cove, PA. The is between CP Banks and CP Cannon along the line to Altoona and it sees a lot of action.

We initially stopped at a spot near a curve about 300 yards Northwest of the nearest signal bridge. This provided adequate angles but Eastbound trains usually caught us by surprise as this one did coming around the curve from CP Cannon.

While the nearest track is really a passing siding, the amount of traffic dictates that they be treated as three mains and trains can be routed either direction on any track -- great from a railfan's standpoint.

With the Sun approaching its zenith, track-level shots like at Cove suffer boring, harsh light. We decided to move back to Overview Bridge to watch the action there for a bit.

Back at the river-level angle on Rockville Bridge we were annoyed by a parade of Eastbounds giving us "going away" shots.

Finally, something appeared from the East. It was followed closely by Amtrak.

Actually, we didn't have to wait long, it's just that a railfan grows complacent with all the traffic.

Back up above CP Mary we were greeted by clouds, a spattering of rain, and even occasional thunder.

This rather fuzzy shot was of a coal train approaching Rockville Bridge from CP Banks. All weekend long I'd noticed with a great deal of annoyance that my 70-210mm AF Nikkor lens was starting to suffer from ten years of my abuse. At infinity it would always focus incorrectly and when I tried manual focus without a tripod the results were less than perfect. I decided then and there to replace that lens.

Meanwhile, my railfanning partner Nathan decided on a more direct approach to upgrade his array of lenses. While getting these shots I heard a clatter, scratch, clatter sound. I turned around just in the nick of time or the lens cap would have been lost over the edge of the 40 foot cliff we stood on. I can't say as much for the attached lens though as it disappeared below...

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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir