Lost & Found

This time of year is great for photography, especially when the photo subject includes a train or two! When I was able to go out Wednesday evening for some railfanning, I didn’t think that I would get the chance to go out again so soon afterward. But wonderful wife Sarah took the kiddos with her Saturday morning to go yard sale-ing (one of her “hobbies” :)) so I could finish up my lesson for Sunday morning. I finished up sooner that I thought I would and soon felt the trackside tug. It was a gorgeous day with sunny, blue, clear skies and the leaves were starting to show their colors more and more. Quite simply, it was too much to resist. I packed up my radio and camera, and headed out.

Before I go any further, I have to share a story with you. Friday night, I got lost. Yup, you read right. He of the internal compass, the human GPS, got lost. I stopped by Papa John’s on my way home Friday night and, instead of going down Electric Road to 220, I decided to try to find my way through the back section that meets up with 220 a little further south and thus avoid both the Tanglewood Mall area and the traffic lights near Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, I missed the turn that would bring me out in the Cloverdale area and kept going straight. I realized something was amiss when the road no longer had the line markings and I passed a sign that said “End 40 mph speed limit.” BUT at the same time I was driving parallel with the railroad tracks. Since I knew they crossed 220 near Boones Mill, I figured I’d keep on going and see where it led me. Sadly, I eventually had to stop at a house (once I the road turned to gravel) and ask how to get back to 220. As it turns out, I was only a less than a couple of miles from where I needed to be.

The great thing about my excursion is that, as I said, the road I was on followed the tracks almost the entire way (this, by the way, is the Winston-Salem district often called the “Punkin’ Vine Line” because of all the twists and turns.) There are some great spots for photography including trestle bridges and waterways. Even though I was lost (only for a minute, though!), I thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the scenery, and determined that I would come back for some train photography. That’s where we pick up again on Saturday.

The first spot I stopped at was the trestle bridge over Willow Branch Rd. Parking on the side of the road, I made my way up the steep hill through the trees to the tracks. If a train came from the south, I would’ve had the perfect vantage point to get a shot as it crossed the bridge. If one came from the north, though, it would be on top of me without hardly any opportunity for a picture. After enjoying the scenery and solitude for a little while and with the newly gained knowledge of a southbound train coming from Roanoke (scanners are great!), I climbed down and drove a little farther down to the next bridge, this one going over Starlight Lane. Scrambling up the incline, I found the perfect spot. It had a great view in both directions, perfectly lined by trees with a gentle curve at both ends.

**(We interrupt this blog to bring this safety message) If you find yourself wanting to go out and do a bit of railfanning, NEVER EVER EVER walk onto a rail bridge. Not only is it trespassing, it’s just plain stupid. There are plenty of spots for pictures or waiting without endangering your life by risking getting trapped on a bridge with a train bearing down on you. (We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.)

I didn’t have long to wait before the stillness was interrupted by the distant horn of the V74 Roanoke to Winston-Salem local. Even before it rounded the curve, I could hear the low rumble of the approaching engines. As it came around the corner, I snapped a few shots and then stood back to admire the view of the black (and one blue) behemoths roaring through the once-quiet glen. Knowing that the V74 had to slow down as it approached Boones Mill, I raced ahead of it to another vantage point to get a few more shots. Because of the shadows, some of the pictures didn’t turn out quite as I hoped. But for an unplanned day of railfanning, I had a great time and am eager to get out to these spots again before the autumn colors disappear.

Bridge over Willow Branch

Bridge over Stalight Lane

V74 heading South

One Response

  1. I’m so glad you enjoy trains and that you got to go out for a while and chase a few down!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: