Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Two trains at once — a photo I’ve waited 10 years for

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Friday, August 12, 2011

Union Pacific’s Adams Subdivision (part of its Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul main line) crosses above Canadian National’s Chicago-western Canada main line (the former Wisconsin Central).

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.?

One of the fun things about this project is that I'm revisiting some places I have not thought much about or photographed frequently since I first moved out to Wisconsin about 10 years ago.

Back then, everything was new and exciting, and every new place seemed to yield all sorts of photo opportunities, only a handful of which I've really followed up on until now.

I remember the first time I saw this spot in Sussex, Wis., 9 miles north of downtown Waukesha.

Union Pacific's Adams Subdivision (part of its Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul main line) crosses above Canadian National's Chicago-western Canada main line (the former Wisconsin Central).

On my first visit, probably like every other train-watcher who has been here, the thought crossed my mind, "wouldn't it be great to get two trains in one photo here?" Of course, that's easier said than done. CN runs about 20 trains a day underneath, but the UP line has less than half that volume.

Yet, the dream remained. So I was more than elated on August 3 when I was finally able to capture trains above and below in one frame at the Sussex bridge. Leaving work one evening with the scanner on, I heard a Union Pacific coal train (CNAWS, North Antelope, Wyo., mine to Weston, Wis.) get a warrant to head out of Milwaukee's Butler Yard. I set up here, hoping simply to photograph the UP train.

I arrived at the bridge and soon the engines roared by overhead. As I was watching the long coal train trundle across, I heard the faint but unmistakable sound of a horn above the coal train's heavy rumble. "Could it be?" I wondered. Then the CN rails began to sing, and a southbound freight wheeled around the curve.

For 10 years this photo has been on my wish list. Now it's a wish fulfilled.

What I like:
Two moving trains in one frame.

What I don't like:
I suppose getting the locomotives of two trains here would be a real coup, but I'm not going to press my luck. What do you think?

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

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