Railfanning California's central valley on the hottest day of the year so far.

Railroadforums.com is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
Since these aren't my normal east bay area shots, I will put them in a separate thread. So yeah, it wasn't the best day to head over the hill from my place, but it was the only Saturday I have off this month and I had it free, so with super big gulp, a good hat and a couple of cameras, off I went!

Just south of Stockton, I saw a southbound mixed freight heading out of town and get ahead of it a couple of miles when I caught a red signal and the end of a siding. I turned around a found a spot just in time for this northbound mixed freight. It was about 10:45 and over 90, and the air quality not so great.
8991911039_4e69cbc42f_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8398 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

8991910941_3645a64d22_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8405 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

8991910885_cbe0b2ef8d_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8407 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

8993104404_33f6616d79_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8422 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

Soon enough after the northbound passed, the train I originally saw back in Stockton showed itself. The train wasn't that far away, but the atmospherics of the day make for short range for a clear shot.
8993104300_63dd4a4be1_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8427 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

8991910621_ee99190772_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8431 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

8991910403_0dc1ce9403_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8444 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

I went further down the road to Escalon, where right in front of the Taco Bell there is a nice bit of shade to wait by the tracks. The wait wasn't long though when I heard the horn what I thought was another train, but it turned out to be the same one I got earlier. There is a bit of a small yard that it must have been held at for the San Joaquin that blasted by while i was having a snack. It was pushing 100 now.
9002694690_11b32cfafe_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8450 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9002695052_1466a4bed9_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8462 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

I was not brave enough to try Escalon sushi
9001594079_0c862f3d6d_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7312 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9001641559_88a04ae2f8_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7314 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

DPUs
9002694322_ce112f5a8d_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8473 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

Escalon is on the main highway to Yosemite from the Bay Area.
9002694146_a65f240bd1_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8478 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

Heading further south toward Riverbank, I passed a slowing steel train and pulled a u turn. Not the best photo location, but I found the rolling stock really cool looking
9012446858_a745c28d1f_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8500 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9012447436_f1fcdf4e01_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8497 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

From the back end
9011262483_6b1128dab3_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8531 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

The train was holding at the south end of a siding, and soon enough the north bond traffic came by. One big difference for me is the speed at which the trains travel out here compared to the bay area. These guys flat out move!
9012446664_eb1a8959b5_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8507 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9012445498_3e5311228d_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7325 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9011262609_e637cb9ce3_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8521 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

So next I moved a bit further south and got a good vantage point of the siding from the other end. The steel train was still holding, and after only about 10 minutes, the eastbound San Joaquin rolled by in push mode

9011262369_787b6ac84a_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8534 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9012445958_899031ca27_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8540 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

I'm sure it was nice and cool inside the train.
9012445872_b46abd5772_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8550 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

The steel train was still being held after the Amtrak passed, so I moved down the road a bit to catch whatever was coming north. It turned out to be a Z train, moving a full speed. It was a very impressive sight.
9020232977_52a5b999de_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8564 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9022460394_637f0d548c_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8559 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9022460132_a493ce168a_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8569 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

Finally then the steel train got the green.
9020232751_b803843b6c_b.jpg
20130608-AQ4E8585 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

Sadly, I saw it stopped not far down the road for a crew change and it was too far out of photo range at that point. This whole stretch of road is a really cool place to rail-fan if you like the BNSF. I saw more traffic in 3 hours than I usually see all day at home. I would suggest a much cooler time of year to do it though! By the this time I had had enough and headed for home. One last treat though, as I drove through Modesto in search of a cold beer somewhere, I caught the Modesto & Empire Traction Company dragging a long string of cars right through the middle of town using an RP20BD genset.
9028627267_e332fa1a3e_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7341 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9028627061_c5fbabba01_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7351 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9030855188_aa4ed9c4b4_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7352 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

9030854956_f84769633e_b.jpg
20130608-IMG_7356 by lennycarl08, on Flickr

After maneuvering around the traffic backup caused by almost every grade crossing in town blocked, I found a chili's and pulled in for a cool one before heading home. All in all a hot, but fun day of train chasing in the Central Valley!
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
The heat of the Central Valley drove me out of Sacramento nearly 30 years ago. :cool:

There is something incongruous about rear DPUs on trains passing through terrain which is as flat as a table.
 

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
The heat of the Central Valley drove me out of Sacramento nearly 30 years ago. :cool:

There is something incongruous about rear DPUs on trains passing through terrain which is as flat as a table.
I hear you Bill, that is why I live in the bay area proper. Some people pay thousands less for housing, but it is not worth it to me. As far as the DPU's, yeah they seem to be on almost every train I saw except for the "Z", which tend to be overpowered in the first place. Maybe some of the BNSF guys know why.
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
I hear you Bill, that is why I live in the bay area proper. Some people pay thousands less for housing, but it is not worth it to me. As far as the DPU's, yeah they seem to be on almost every train I saw except for the "Z", which tend to be overpowered in the first place. Maybe some of the BNSF guys know why.
I read an article in an old Trains magazine about the Santa Fe's first experiments with DPU's. Apparently the distributed power makes for smoother train handling at higher speeds, even in the flatlands.
 

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
*AAAAAH chooo* I just sneezed on you, I think you're getting sick now. :cool:
LoL. As it happens, I got really sick on Friday and had to stay home, but I managed to haul my butt out of bed on Saturday (yesterday) and headed up there. I got some pretty good pics, but not as many as I would have liked. It's been years since I have been up that way, and when I was up there before, I was under a helmet on a pretty fast motorbike (Hwy 70 is a renowned motorcycle road) and wasn't paying attention to the trains. Now that I know where the better spots are, I will be more prepared if they ever have to do a re route again. I will post some pictures when i get them processed.
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
Lots a great photos there! I don't mind the heat in the central valley, its much drier than I am use too... First time I went out that way, I went to watch my cousin's in a Rodeo near Clements (south east of Sacramento). It was 105, never expected it to be that warm. Crazy thing when its that dry, it cools off really fast. If its 105 here, it will still be 95 at 10 pm, out there the delta breeze kicked in and its 70 in no time!
 

Itsed65

Well-Known Member
Thanks Brad! Yes, I know the heat out this way can pale to the humidity of the midwest or south. I have just become spoiled by the bay area weather we have here. And the beauty is, if you don't like it, you can drive 30 minutes and it will be totally different. I was stationed in Panama and South Carolina, so I have dealt with more oppressive weather in the past, I just am getting soft I guess :rolleyes:
 

jkinzel

Member
Soft or wise? I know living in the PNW, i.e. western Washington (the state) with mild summers and soggy winters, anything over 80 degrees is a killer.
 




RailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

Top