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Shirley's Photofile©2010
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Dusk at St.Maries River Railroad

After a photographic assignment in Glacier Park, MT, my husband, Richard Steinheimer and I headed home for California. We took time out for a "dinner stop" and to look over the St.Maries River Railroad yard at St.Maries, Idaho as dusk was approaching. The light was rapidly fading as we attempted to find a place to photograph the railyard and then the golden glow broke through the clouds and we knew we were in luck. Our camera motor drives kept clicking off pictures as we moved about even though our stomachs were aching for food. But-- photographers have this quirky nature of never passing up an opportunity for a "career maker" shot. Well, I don't know if our careers were enhanced by this, but we will never forget that setting.

Shooting the Sheds in Donner Pass

This photo may look very strange to most, but it brings back memories of an exciting experience I had on-board Southern Pacific's snow fighting equipment in the1980's. The snow spreader cab that I'm in is one of two with engines in the middle that serve to push and pull to clear snow off the railroad tracks across Donner Pass. I am in a 70 ton Jordan spreader, peering out the window as we pass through one of the old historic wooden snow sheds first built in the 1860's. The circle in the cab window is a spinning disk* that keeps the window clear of snow so the engineer can see what he's doing when plowing through the mountainous snow drifts of the Sierra Nevada.

*During WWII the Japanese Navy first used this spinning device on submarines..

Rice Hill, OR

Southern Pacific's 4449 Daylight engine climbs Rice Hill on it's way South to Medford from Eugene, OR. The train was loaded with SP management types, shippers and my husband! He rode, I chased! ---Wanting to be at my preselected site, I arrived early and visited with the signal maintainers while waiting for the train. The SP men were watching the hill to prevent over zealous rail fans from causing trouble. At the last minute, the railroad foamer types arrived, parking their cars along I-5 and running across the freeway to get to this location. I still shudder to think what some 'boys" will do for a picture!

Tehachapi Mountains in a Blanket of White

Driving past the Monolith Cement Plant, I noticed everything was just right for a picture---blue sky, white snow and a clean Santa Fe locomotive on point coming my way, a perfect moment! But it remined me of another time I passed this way several years before on a winter day at dusk, on my way home from an assignment for SP at its sunny Needles yard. Hours later in a near blinding fog, I pulled off Hwy 58 by the plant hoping the fog would break a bit when I saw the headlights of an approaching train I jumped out of the car to take a picture noticing it had started to snow, not soft flakes, but blowing stinging needle-like snow. It was difficult see to focus my camera, no autofocus camera. I haven't seen the slides in years and don't remember being impressed with them, but sometimes with the passage of time---old train shots start to look pretty darn good. Maybe, I'll have to dig them out.
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Shirley M. Burman © 2010
Sacramento, CA