Unofficial Train, Plane, and Tram thread #15

Started Jul 29, 2022 | Discussions thread
RetCapt Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Unofficial Train, Plane, and Tram thread #15

This is the Amtrak Coast Starlight northbound at Chualar, CA (near Salinas).

Although we now live almost 400 miles from here, I spent a significant amount of my work time in the Salinas Valley, where these Union Pacific RR tracks run.

Since I knew we were going to be here I wanted a photo of the Coast Starlight out in open country in the late afternoon sun. I have done some tourist line photography, which I greatly enjoy, but this was my first attempt at a mainline Amtrak train at speed (79 mph).

I was able to spot the train coming from quite some distance away through my camera. It was a higher profile than the traffic on US 101 on the left side and a surface agricultural road on the right side. Given how long it took the train to finally fill up my screen I concluded that the train was moving at a much slower speed than I had expected. I took this photo just as the train filled my screen, figuring I would have enough time for at least one more shot by reducing my focal length. Not to be. Right after I got this shot, while still looking through the camera and about to reduce my zoom lens length, I heard and felt the train pass me. Then the Coast Starlight was gone.

Time and absence had dimmed my memory of just how flat the Salinas Valley is. Because it is so flat and open, with no obstacles, the tracks run quite straight. What had happened was that when I first spotted the train it was further away than I had originally guessed, made possible by the flat open valley. But it was still moving at its specified speed.

Photographically it was a one shot opportunity.

But I got what I came for.

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