Got up around 7 this morning (7-8-12) and checked ATCS. East Easton to West Ellensburg was lined up but I wasn’t getting anything from Kanaskat to West Easton. How frustrating is that?! I waited about 15 minutes and finally saw that Kanaskat was indeed lined up with greens and the eastbound was not by there yet.
Got in the car and was determined to see if I could get to Tunnel 4 before the train. Of course there’s just 1/4 tank of gas in the car so I had to stop to fill up first. When the choice comes to running out of gas on Stampede Pass or missing the train, I’ll take missing the train.
Crossing Snoqualmie Pass I could see clouds drifting around the summit and to the east (afternoon thunderstorms were predicted) and figured that would probably factor into the shot somehow. Soon enough I was taking the Stampede Pass exit and on my way up the road which had some potholes galore down below and a washboard effect further up. Still the Focus made good time and a short while later I was parked above Tunnel 4. Getting out I could hear a faint sound to the west so I started quickly up the road. Big mistake as it was warm out and soon I was huffing and puffing and had to slow down. Which was fine as the sound faded away.
I got down to the tracks and walked up to the snowshed at the east entrance of Tunnel 4 and waited. I have wanted to photograph an eastbound exiting the snowshed in good sunlight for years and my best chance so far looked like it might happen today. In about 5 minutes I could hear GE’s working upgrade and soon it got very loud, you could hear where it was coming from and follow it along on the other side of the valley but the trees blocked the train completely. Soon I saw two BNSF GE”s slowly pass by in a small opening. They rounded the lower loop and came past below and around the curves and out of sight. I watched the empty grain cars slowly roll by and saw then it was just the two units, no DPU. No wonder I beat it so easily. Soon the entire train was out of view and it was just me and the clouds drifting by, and by, over the east entrance. Soon I could hear the power enter the tunnel just as a clouds shadow drifted away from the snowshed. Looked like I was going to get the shot with sunshine.
Here BNSF 5711 and 5702 roar out of the tunnel at 9:06 am.
As the train rolled out of the tunnel more clouds came over and made the scene a bit darker.
Soon the rear end came out and I watched it head out of sight around the curves.
Walking back upgrade, I found the angle I should have taken,
Can’t complain to much though. I finally got the shot and know I’ll be back before the winter snows return.