The day before Winterail in Corvallis, Oregon a special train was ran in the Willamette Valley on the Albany and Eastern Railroad. Winterail attendees as well as regional photographers descended upon the small town of Lebanon, Oregon to ride or photograph this unique passenger rail excursion. Leading the train out of Lebanon down the branch to Sweet Home, Oregon was a former Southern Pacific SD9, painted up in historic SP Black Widow paint, complete with Mars light. Under a dreary Oregon gray skies, rain soon began to fall over the group as passengers boarded the train at the depot in Lebanon.
Following the SD9 was a series of passenger cars followed up with a Albany & Eastern unit that would lead the train back after reaching Sweet Home. There were a few brave passengers that endured the rain by standing out in the open-top passenger car as the train plodded its way along passing farmer fields and old mill sites. The convoy of cars followed special on the highway that paralleled the tracks, jumping from shot to shot ahead of the train.
After reaching Sweet Home, the train paused for a brief minute before reversing direction back to Lebanon. Most people gave chase, cameras in hand. Some of the others, including us ventured west to find another train to photograph. The goal was the Portland and Western American Turn that was switching the mill site at Halsey, Oregon.
Justin Franz and Brian Schmidt waiting in the rain for the American Turn outside Halsey, Oregon.
Overall the day was peppered with rainfall, it was a great opportunity to photograph a unique train, with unique power, through the fantastic scenery of the Willamette Valley.