Friday, December 9, 2011

Chasing Trains, an example

I must admit that winter is upon us but still we can watch trains. Chasing trains has its ups and downs, and expectations. I remember chasing a steam excursion. I was in position for the first runby of the day. I had calculated the departure and how long, at minimum, it would arrive. The time came and past. I looked at the schedule and realized that I had calculated arrival on a departure of an hour later. I was too late. As it worked out, the schedule called for one short detour and a speed limit of 45. I had my speed limit of 55 plus. I eventually got ahead and had a very good chase.

Today, I was not expecting to chase but just to get out of town. As is my habit, my cameras were taken with me. I decide to head west toward Wadesboro, NC. At Lilesille, the highway crosses the tracks, via a bridge. However, just before the bridge, the road to the left crosses the tracks at a passing siding. So I decided to go back to see what I could see. After crossing over to the eastbound lane and crossing the tracks, I saw the engine. I wasn't sure if it was switching or stalled or moving. I made the turn to cross the tracks and saw the train moving west.

I U turned and made my way to Lilesville to make my first video. That began the chase. This chase include the westbound frieght passing a eastbound frieght on the siding at Poketon. I arrived at Poketon to find the train stopped on the siding. I noticed in the distance the singnal set to red. A few minutes later was the head light of the eastbound.

Every chase has interesting choices to be made. How far to chase, for instance? At this point I could chase the westbound a little more or chase home the eastbound. I decided to continue the chase and went to Monroe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

more thoghts on internert railfanning

The question about Internet pictures and video, has to do with naming files. My file naming protocol has evolved over my years of digital photography. Add to that, the thousands of slides scanned into digital format. How do I label pictures or video taken from the internet so that I can give credit where credit is due. My current protocol involve motive power and involves railroad name+lead engine number+train number(if known)+location+date. All videos and pictures are of one consist. This means that for my files off the internet video might need to be edited.

For a while I thought about adding videos to my file, by inbedding the YouTube video into a html page. I do that with this blog, embed the video that I have downloaded to YouTube. Another idea is to do a inline frame, using the html editor function, or a hypertext link to the site. Again the problem will be labeling and organizing them and finally viewing them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Railfan by way of Internet

I spent some time, working out a railfan trip of the Northeast Corridor. Now that winter is here I look to other options. What would be the difference between railfanning by Internet and railfanning in person. Being near Hamlet, NC, I use that crossroads as a favorite railfan location. Many times I have met up with other railfans. In one conversation, a fellow railfan said that his wife got impatient with him when he watched on line, while allowed him to chase trains without impatience. Go figure. Why would I travel to Boston to watch MBTA when I can find hundreds of videos of MBTA on YouTube. Here's the truth.

Most hobbies, railfanning included, is very much related to hunting. You search and stalk prey. Than you pounce. And finally you take prey. The same is with most hobbies, including railfanning. Searching sources like YouTube or Trains Magazine becomes the search and stalking part of the hunt. Today, I might do a search for it on line. That might be the taking of prey, when I see a video of the equipment. On the other hand, that may be only the stalking phase as I would prepare for a trip to take my own video and see it in person.

I wondered if I might do the same railfan trip using the Internet, rather than the out and back excursion. It might be nice to watch in the comfort of home but there is the excitement of watching in person, the chase, the stalking, and the capture of picture and video. There is, of course, the hanging of the evidence on the trophy wall and to tell epic stories of the hunt in darken rooms over beers and images flashing on the wall. It is not quite the same recounting stories of how your Internet search led you to a particular video on YouTube. There are exceptions when the video and pictures are historic.