Thursday, August 10, 2006

Evening Gamble

August 9, 2006

I had Wednesday night to chase the local, so of course it clouded up just before I left work. There were no coil cars waiting to go west, so I didn't know if the the local was even heading to Newark. I headed home to mull a chase.

I ended up messing around, and the train was long gone when I crossed the tracks at State Street. I followed the tracks west, getting stopped for construction twice, despite the fact that it was 7:30. The sun was in and out of the cloads, appearing through a guazy haze and then disappearing behind thicker cover. At a stop light I considered turning around, and then decided to give it a go anyway.

Problem was, the train normally leaves down town at 7:10 or so, and heads across the river to pick up the rest of the consist. Most of the time that is done by 7:30, and heads west, pausing only to pick up the brakeman. This time, with no cars to pick up across the river, it had a good head start on me.

I took the fast way west, not following the tracks, and stopped at a grade crossing. The rails looked well polished, and I feared I had missed the train. I headed further west to check out one last crossing, in the tiny village of Toboso. There was some kind of gunk on the rails- I hadn't missed the train after all. So I headed back to the previous crossing, because there was nowhere to park at the spot I had scoped out.

When I crossed the tracks, the train was visible, so I pulled a u-turn (safely, but illegally) and roared off back down the road I had came from. The train rumbled slowly along, barn in the background, hay in the foreground. The light was gone, the blue of the evening settling in.

I thought it was worth the gamble.

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