The number one item on Operation Lifesaver's "Safety Tips and Facts" is, in bold letters, "Always expect a train." While the message is meant for those not versed in railroad operations, it applies equally to those who are, in fact, looking for trains already.
I was visiting the Oregon Rail Heritage Center with correspondent Justin Franz on Sunday. As we were wrapping up our visit, we paused outside to photograph MAX light rail Orange Line trains passing the facility. (In fact, visitors who drive there must cross the Orange Line when walking between the Center and its parking lot.) There are a number of great angles there as MAX joins with the Portland Streetcar to cross the new, transit-only Tillikum Crossing bridge over the Willamette River. It's easy to get lost in the moment there. However, the sharp sounding of a horn and the rhythm of EMD 645 prime movers soon brought us back to reality.
Looking west over our shoulders, we spotted the Portland & Western's Brooklyn Hauler, a regular train that interchanges with Union Pacific at the nearby former Southern Pacific Brooklyn Yard, rolling north by the Center. Justin just shrugged it off, figuring we'd already had a good weekend of photography. I wasn't so ready to release this opportunity, however. So I spun around looking for an "away" shot. Framing the train between Water Avenue and the streetcar overpass, I was able to come away with a distinctive image when my traveling companion saw no opportunity.
Always expect a train.