Tuesday, November 06, 2012

SP 4449 Steam Locomotive, No. 1

What can be more American that a vintage steam locomotive on the move? You, on the move to vote, that's what. Get out and vote!

On Friday, October 19, my brother Howard had flown into town from Mississippi for a visit. He's a game guy, so it didn't faze him one bit when I suggested that we get up very early on Saturday morning and catch mass transit in order to be at Union Station to watch the SP 4449 pull out with her train of vintage cars. Didn't faze him one bit!


The last car in the line of vintage rail cars. I took this photo at 7:28 a.m. We had arrived well before the scheduled departure time of the Deschutes Steam Special, took a quick and most-likely-not-allowed trek across the rail yard at its south end so that we could get on the other side the train, away from the station, and walk northward.

I zoomed in and quickly took this photo at 7:31 a.m. and began to concentrate on successfully following my brother's advice--look like you belong here and keep walking--until we could get away from where we really shouldn't have been, crossing the tracks in an operating railroad station. We looked and listened, then thankfully ended up on a regular sidewalk beside a building and even found somewhere to wait out of the rain.

In a few minutes, we saw people gathering to the north at an intersection between a street and the tracks. Then we decided that the SP 4449 must be on the other side of the line of cars from our vantage point, completely out of sight from our vantage point! By 8:07 a.m., we had hurried north to NW 9th and crossed the tracks heading west, just in time to see the locomotive steaming towards us so that it could make the change from the track it was on to the track it needed to be on in order to be connected with the line of vintage rail cars.

The sold out special excursion left Union Station in Portland, Oregon, went to Vancouver, Washington to pick up more passengers, and then headed east in Washington alongside the Columbia River until time to turn south at Wishram where it crossed the Columbia River so that it could go to Bend, Oregon, along the Deschutes River. Folks were transported from the station in Bend to various lodging sites, then returned to the train on Sunday for the return trip.

Here's the back story: I had contemplated buying myself a ticket, but by the time I made up my mind, the ticket selection I could splurge on had sold out. Still and all, getting to stand beside the tracks and see, hear and feel this locomotive that I love made up for not being aboard. Plus, I would have missed my brother's perfect visit--we had a blast, my sons, my brother and I.

Link to a post from someone on the excursion, with a fantastic photo of the train going over a trestle!

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