Railfanning 4/12/14

My Dad is so awesome!  He takes me railfanning even though to me he seems tired.  We went again today, starting at Valley Park.  No longer than 5 minutes after I finished setting the camera up, I saw the telltale headlights coming.  The train was a westbound UP oil train.  At least I think it was, because it was all tank cars except for the first few, which makes sense.  After all, they wouldn’t want anything from the engines igniting the oil, right?  Anyways, while Dad and I were talking about how good our timing was after the train had passed, I saw another set of headlights this time going east.  This one turned out to be a local, but hey, a train’s a train, right?  We had to go on to Kirkwood for an errand, so we left after that one passed.  Dad agreed to take me to the old Missouri Pacific passenger depot, now serving Amtrak, after we were finished.  While Dad was getting us some custards for us at a little custard joint across the parking lot from the station, I began to hear a low rumble.  Even though I didn’t know what it was, I had a pretty good idea.  I just wasn’t sure what line, since the BNSF had one nearby also.  Sure enough, I saw headlights come around the bend about 50 yards to the west.  Dad was just getting back in time to see the eastbound loaded coal train rolling by.  We contentedly ate our frozen custards watching it, wincing when the wheels on the coal hoppers screeched (which was often).  I decided I didn’t want to see another train that day, at least not there, because the train wasn’t even on the track closest to us and the wheel screeching still drove me and Dad absolutely nuts.  But on the way home, we got to the BNSF crossing just in time for the gates to go back up after a train had.  Driving away, I got an idea.  I was pretty sure it was a westbound, which would take it right through Valley Park, which also meant past my usual spot.  Dad agreed to try to beat it there.  On the way,  I looked at a nearby ridge where I was pretty sure the BNSF line cut across.  Sure enough, I saw the headlights moving along the middle of the ridge, headed right where I thought they would.  I though we had it, but when we were almost to the spot, I saw the train about to pass under the road we were on, which meant it was past my spot, which in turn meant we were too late.  Oh, well.  So ended my own version of the Great Locomotive Chase.  I guess you can’t win them all, but I can’t be sad knowing that I saw three trains in one outing, still really good for me.  I already can’t wait to get back out there next week and have some more Railside Adventures!  Thanks for reading, and happy rails!

The video from this trip is attached to this post.

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