Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Canadian Pacific’s waterfront running

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Thursday, August 25, 2011

GE-built ES44AC and EMD-built SD40-2 team up to bring train 498 east with 50 cars, on its run from Moose Jaw, Sask., to Chicago’s Bensenville Yard on August 15, 2011.

Throughout the month of August, I want to try a photography project that focuses on the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be taken in a circle extending 10.27 miles from downtown Waukesha, Wis.?

There are few places in southeastern Wisconsin more pleasant or relaxing to watch trains than the village of Pewaukee (just northwest of Waukesha), where Canadian Pacific's Chicago-Vancouver main line skirts the bank of Pewaukee Lake.

The 2,400-acre lake has been a popular draw for visitors since the 19th century, and at one time streetcars from downtown Waukesha even ran out to a lakefront beach and amusement park.

While visitors today can still find repose at the water's edge, Canadian Pacific attends to business, hustling by at a cool 50 mph (60 for intermodals, and 79 for Amtrak). There are countless angles to be found by the lake, but early on a summer morning you can get this view from a hillside north of the tracks.

Here, a GE-built ES44AC and EMD-built SD40-2 team up to bring train 498 east with 50 cars, on its run from Moose Jaw, Sask., to Chicago’s Bensenville Yard on August 15, 2011.

A month before this photo was made, crowds gathered at the lakefront for July 4 fireworks, which is how I framed this bonus image of a CP grade crossing with fireworks behind it. No trains ran during the evening festivities. If I had to guess, they were deliberately held, since Canadian Pacific likes to be a good neighbor to the communities it serves. CP has even brought the Holiday Train to Pewaukee a few times, and it's always a crowd-pleaser.

CP grade crossing with fireworks behind it

What I like: Pan shots are hard to pull off. I must have spent four or five early mornings at this spot, panning from zero to three trains each time, trying different shutter speeds and focal lengths. This is one of my better efforts.

What I don't like: There are poles and wires from this vantage point that could intrude on a still photo of a train here, although perhaps they enhance the drama of the train rushing by in a pan shot. What do you think?

Galleries:
Flickr: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS' backyard album
Facebook: Trains Magazine Facebook Page

Comments
To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.