“Sullivans Curve is where the Union Pacific Palmdale Cutoff, and the BNSF mains 1 and 2 curve in a large horseshoe curve directly next to some large, rather impressive, rock formations. Promotional photos taken at this curve for the Santa Fe in the 1930’s through the 1950’s by photographer Herb Sullivan were fantastic, and made famous by their composition. The curve that he used so frequently was named in his honor, and rightfully so.”
September 27, 2011 – The sun begins to dip in the sky as a loaded BNSF freight train heads north up the grade in the Cajon Pass in southern California, approaching the Summit of the pass as BNSF 7726 leads the way. Shooting directly into the sun can cause many exposure issues, but if you get it right it can make for some spectacular photographs.
I shot this as a RAW file on a Nikon D700 Full Frame Camera and exposed more for the sun, but made sure I still had enough exposure in the midtones by checking my histogram.
By doing this I was able to bring the highlights down in RAW to bring the sun more in line with the rest of the photo and also used a gradient filter to help control the brightness of the sky. I also opened up the shadows in RAW to bring out the detail my sensor captured there, resulting is this final scene.
August 16, 2017 – BNSF 7608 and 7643 were a great surprise when I found them leading CSX Q028-16 as it popped out underneath the old coaling tower as it headed north on CSX’s CE&D Subdivision at Sullivan, Indiana!
Good friend and fellow railfan Ryan Scott and I headed up to this spot late in the afternoon hoping to catch some traffic under this tower that was built in 1941 to service steam locomotives with coal during their runs. Another friend, Ryan Collins had posted a picture from here earlier in the week and I knew I wanted to catch a few photos from here so I made the two hour trip north and picked up Ryan along the way.
When we got there we were listening to the scanner and became concerned that we wouldn’t get much before it got dark because Q645 had broken a knuckle and went into emergency a bit further to the north and they didn’t have one on their engine. Plus Q101 was behind them and we knew 28 was heading toward them.
Both the southbounds were in a siding and Q028 had a knuckle on their train so they pulled on up to where the conductor on 645 was waiting and dropped off the knuckle. Of course they had to replace the knuckle and make sure all the cars on their 10,000+ foot train were still upright before 28 could continue past them.
I thought sure we weren’t going to catch any southbounds before we lost all of our light at the coaling tower, but we were fortunate that the railfan God shined upon us and we caught both of them before it got too dark! I’ll post the other two photos over the next few days!
We also were fortunate enough to catch some Indiana Railroad action while we were waiting as well! Those will be coming over the next few days as well! A totally great afternoon/evening trackside!!!
August 15, 2017 – This morning about 10am CSXT 323 leading, with the L&N Herald on it, passed my house in Richland, Ky headed south toward Calvert City Loadout. I didn’t have time to give chase so I figured I give it enough time to get there and start its way around the loop.
So I headed down about 1pm, following the Paducah and Louisville line which the train takes to Calvert City, Ky. I checked Princeton Yard to make sure it wasn’t there and it wasn’t so I headed on down to the loadout.
When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find this empty BNSF train getting ready to depart toward Paducah, Ky. There was another train in the loop and so I figured the CSX train had already started around and decided to head down to the Paducah and Louisville Yard and get some shots of the BNSF train there, as it would take awhile for CSXT 323 get get back around the loop where I wanted to shoot it.
Well, I got the shots at Paducah I wanted, plus a few others that I’ll share over the next few days, and headed back to Calvert City, as I figured I had given the train there enough time for the engine to move around the loop where I could photograph it.
Well, I arrived back and a train was right where I figured it would be, but it wasn’t CSX, but a loaded P&L coal train from Warrior Coal in Madisonville! So, now I’m still trying to figure out where they put the CSX train as I checked all the accessible sidings between Princeton and Calvert City. So, I’m guessing they put it into the siding at Dawson Springs, Ky as I didn’t stop there and check of course. You can’t see the head end of a train in the siding there anyway as it’s about 1/2 mile from any crossing and around a curve.
Some days just don’t go as planned! LOL Still got a few nice shots and stopped for some great BBQ on the way home! Maybe I’ll get lucky and catch it tomorrow on its way back north!