Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: Morning photo on the Wisconsin & Southern

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad's line from Waukesha to Janesville

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.?

We're at the small grain elevator of Williams, 6 miles west of downtown Waukesha on the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad's line from Waukesha to Janesville. This former Milwaukee Road trackage is now the regional railroad's Waukesha Subdivision.

Even in the summer months, it's a treat to see westbound train T004 in daylight. The train, which is often through before dawn, transfers cars from WSOR's northern region terminal in Horicon to its southern region hub in Janesville, and most of its consist continues on to Belt Railway of Chicago's Clearing Yard.

I caught this train at Williams at 8:15 a.m., on Tuesday, August 9. If you look behind the three SD40-2s leading, you'll notice GP38-2 3809, another of the railroad's rebuilt Geeps still in National Railways of Mexico paint. (I posted a photo of blue-painted No. 3811 leading a train earlier in this blog series.

This train needed all the power it could get. I counted 139 cars, which is the longest consist I've ever seen for this train.

What I like:

Those nice red-and-white units look classy. And the train is pouring on the smoke as it grinds around the curve by the elevator.

What I don't like:

The scene is backlit enough to make the photo appear a bit washed out, and I should have moved forward a bit to eliminate that weed protruding into the lead engine's pilot. It's always tough to shoot a train going away from the sun, and that makes photographing Wisconsin & Southern's Janesville-Horicon trains a challenge. But it's a fun challenge to have!

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

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