Monday, August 28, 2006

Cook Road Poles

I had to drop my mother off at the Columbus airport at 3 pm on Sunday. Since my wife would be at a bridal shower, I figured I could get in a few hours trackside somewhere in town. Unfortunately it started to rain on the ride west, and I figured my trip would be just a quick look at the Cook Road signals and then the hobby shop near by.

But by the time we got to the airport, the sun had come out. I left my mother in the care of Delta Airlines and headed west. I figured I could stop at the local railfan hang out Cook Road and check the signals, and then see if the hobby shop had anything interesting in stock.

Back at Cook Road, it wasn't too too long before the yellow nothing-around signal went red, indicating a southbound on NS. And then it was an hour before the train showed up. Since there was a big puffy cloud to the north, I decided to try a photo I had tried before, a low down shot of poles and sky. So I slipped and slide down the embankment between the CSX and NS, coming to a stop in waist-high underbrush. I waded through it, picking up various stickers and seeds until I was below the pole I wanted to include in the photo. A pair of bushes had sprung up since my last attempt, one where I wanted to stand, and one at the base of the pole. They were sturdy bushes, too, which precluded me adjusting them by the time the train came, which at that point, was blowing for the crossing and sure to burst into sight at any second. It did, obviously, a manifest zipping along pretty well, thundering past 10 feet above my head.

The train was mostly cars from the CN family, a train I have seen before, thick with W'S cars. There was a cut of sulfur tankers at the end of the train, and an aging DWP boxcar not far from the head end.

Then it was back to normal for a Sunday. Two yellow signals, which usually means a wait before the next train. So I fiddled around, reading the May issue of CTC Board and taking pictures of the peeling, Conrail-era trespassing signs on the CSX relay box.

I started to think about finding somewhere else to find trains, but then my wife called, shortly after the signals went red (indicating a southbound) and green (indicating a northbound) indicating I would stick around until they came and head home.

First up was the southbound, another manifest, this one heavy with gondolas. Back when I lived on Conrail, I would have been able to tell which train was which when they had recognizable cuts like the two trains I had seen today, but I don't know any NS train numbers.

The train snuck up on me, as I was paying more attention to the clouds covering the sun than the train. The high summer brush makes it harder to see the headlights down the tracks from the 'railfan' parking lot, too. But the shot was what I was planning, using the NYC-era signals on the CSX line in the foreground. A typical view of Cook Road. The sun filtered through the clouds just enough to light the train a little.

So much for wandering around Columbus looking for trains. It was time to head home, Chipolte in tow.

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