California (and Nevada), Autumn 2013
November 8-11, 2013
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approximately 1440X900)

I met a friend early at a spot just East of Truckee, CA where we were hoping to catch a special passenger train Union Pacific was running that day.

Nov. 08, 2013
Glenshire, CA

Yea, I know... The nose is in shadow, but the side is well-lit and it's seldom anywhere that you can photograph the entire train in one shot!

Emigrant Gap, CA

Here we were hoping for another chance to catch the entire train. Close, but not quite.

Just East of Colfax, CA
The special was following a stack train that stopped for a meet in Colfax, CA. I got these shots from the Amtrak station platform in town.



Applegate, CA

Now isn't this just "typical" California? We had hoped to catch the special coming this way but the two tracks are separated by quite a distance and luck had it that it took the other track. Oh well, this freight will have to do...

Penryn, CA

The special dropped off it passengers at the station in Rocklin and that's where we ended our chase.

Rocklin, CA

We headed back East a little on the Roseville Sub to a spot we'd visited earlier, this time to check out a vantage point for trains coming across the bridges over I-80. The shot might work out in May or June when the Sun is at a very different angle, but not now!


With the Sun dropping fast we made this Eastbound BNSF manifest freight our last of the day.


These Southern Pacific searchlight signals are soon to be history -- the replacements are installed nearby with the heads turned away waiting to be put in service.

I'm not certain but I think this might be a coyote running right through the middle of the Roseville yard! We made the local railfanning "hotspot" our first stop for the day to catch what action we could and for me to photograph the rotary plows awaiting the first snows.

Roseville, CA
Nov 9, 2013
The Eastbound California Zephyr included a new locomotive for the Northeast Corridor. We chased him to a spot where the two mainlines converge for a short time.
Newcastle, CA, 11:54am

I met up with another friend who had left Virginia a few years ago and is now in California to stay. We hung out at the platform in Colfax catching up on old times and hoping to see some train action. This was the only move that obliged us.

Colfax, CA

Before the shadows grew too long we re-located a short distance to the overlook at Carpenter Road but the only move was this Eastbound. I usually hate going-away shots but this one isn't too bad.


Sunday we headed up into a place I'd heard a quite a bit about over the years – Feather River Canyon. We learned that November isn't a great time to visit with the low Sun angle, but I wanted to see anyway and we made a few good catches.

Nov. 10, 2013

I generally dislike vertically oriented shots because the majority of what I shoot is intended for the web. But the canyon lends itself to vertical so that's what I did. Here we have a Westbound UP coal train at a fairly famous location – Keddie Wye.

Keddie, CA

We waited a while for more trains and were surprised by a BNSF manifest creeping around from the Hi-Line. He held up for another Westbound UP.


All the shots I've seen of this location are the typical overhead, straight-on ones which really don't work with the low Sun we had. Frankly, the Sun really didn't work at all giving deep shadows, but I've never been here so I'll shoot it anyway.

After a bit more waiting the BNSF train finally pulled.


We raced on down the canyon to catch these two trains again and were really challenged to find a shot that was adequately lit. We saw this tunnel and hillside and parked the car for the shot but by the time the UP train arrived at 4:04pm the rapids I wanted in the river below were fully in shade.

The BNSF train showed at 4:20pm but it was barely even worth the effort. Oh well, I'll just have to come back in June some year!

Veterans' Day Parade

Reno, NV
Nov. 11, 2013
The only railfanning I did in Reno was a short visit to the Amtrak station where I shot this Eastbound autorack train in "The Trench."

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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir