September 20, 2007

Latest Railfanning Excursion

Waiting patiently for the ACE (Altamont Commuter Express) train to cross the Alviso Slough around 7:32, I am pleasantly surprised by the Amtrak Capitol Corridor F59PHI 2010 whizzing by at 7:15, just ahead of the ACE train. Both are making their next stop at the Santa Clara-Great America station after coming from the Fremont/Niles Canyon area.

A shot of the bridge over the Alviso Slough. This was taken at 7:21 am just a few minutes after the Amtrak passed.

As I pass the time waiting, I notice that the railing running along the bridge (seen in the picture above) is a heavy cable and is secured with a sturdy support. An old piece of track is used as a support for the cable. A hole has been drilled through it and it has actually been welded to the bridge structure.

Nice to see they don't just leave all the old track laying alongside the road bed to rust away and that they actually recycle it and put it to a good use. However, just on the "other side of the tracks" there is the rusting away rails I mentioned. The shot below has a section of track that has been replaced but not removed.

My ACE train finally arrives and in trying to do some fancy schmancy shot I end up being less than prepared. Hence the cut off locomotive.

Trying to recover from my photo faux paux (pun intended), I took this trailing shot of the ACE so I didn't go away empty handed.

I then left for the San Jose Diridon train station in downtown San Jose. There were quite a few trains idling on the tracks to keep me interested. The picture below is the southbound #332 express train MPI MP36PH-3C 923 "Baby Bullit" that arrived in San Jose at 9:58 waiting for the return trip up the peninsula to San Francisco. I believe this will be the northbound express #365 which departs at 4:25 pm

The maintenance shed at the south end of the station busy with activity. This MPI MP36PH-3C 927 locomotive is having some heavy work done on it's engine from the looks of it.

Here's a better shot of the tear down. I'm not too sure of what they are actually doing but those big holes in the engine are about the size of basketballs.

This is the sister unit to MPI MP36PH-3C 927, she's MPI MP36PH-3C 928 who looks like she's getting some type of lubrication maintenance. There are barrels nearby that appear to be axle grease. The cart on the left contains jugs of fluids as well.

Below is a portable welding unit that looks ready to go into action on the EMD F40PH locomotive #918 named the County of San Mateo.

This is the Amtrak Capitol Corridor #521 being pulled by F59PHI 2010 that had surprised me earlier at the Alviso Slough when I was waiting for the ACE train to pass by. It's sitting idle waiting for it's return trip to SAC as the #532 at 12:20 pm.

This is the Amtrak Coast Starlight pulling into San Jose on track number one at 10:37am Thursday September 20, 2007. Pulled by P42DC 115.

September 19, 2007

Alviso, California A.C.E. Train

Here's a shot I took in Alviso at at 6:14 am Wednesday September 19, 2007. This is Altamont Commuter Express train number one on it's way to the "Great America" station. The name of the station is due to the fact that it is located adjacent to Paramounts Great America amusement park. The station platform is situated beneath the Tasman Avenue overcrossing.

I set the camera to overexpose the shot. I wanted the streaks of light to show motion. It worked fairly well however I didn't have a tripod with me so there is a bit of movement that hinders the crispness. I'm going to try again in the next day or so. Next time I'll have with me a small tripod. I'm hoping to get a good impression of the signal lights without any bluriness or movement.

September 18, 2007

Sunnyvale CalTrain, Part Deux

This shot has a more pleasant feel to it than the previous "Southbound CalTrain at 45 Mph" post. Even though this is also a moving train shot, it has more vegetation and just looks more comfortable. The angle of the trees combined with the lines of the train and the blue tree-cropped sky have a nice flow. This was taken the same morning, Friday September 14, 2007 at the Sunnyvale boarding platform on the southbound side looking north around 9:45 am. You can just barely make out the Mathilda Ave. overcrossing at the rear of the train at this resolution. The guy with the bicycle on the left side of the picture in the passenger shelter is plucking a banjo. He showed up a few minutes after I got there. He didn't know too many different chords but it seemed a fitting soundtrack for railfanning that day.

September 17, 2007

Northbound CalTrain "Baby Bullit"

It's a rather crude video actually taken on my digital camera. It's a bit jumpy but it has an antique feel to it (just like the camera). This was taken Friday morning September 14, 2007 near the Fairoaks Ave. over crossing in Sunnyvale, CA.

September 15, 2007

Southbound CalTrain at 45 mph

At least I think it was about 45 mph. I was about four feet from the track when I took this picture. I was leaning on the fence that keeps the stupid people from stepping onto the tracks when there is an oncoming train. I was wearing a ball cap that day and had turned it around so the bill was not in the way of the camera. It was a good thing, too. The blast of air would have sucked it off of my skull had I been wearing it the right way. It's quite a rush to be standing so close to a train doing that speed! Taken Friday morning September 14, 2007 around 9:45.

September 14, 2007

Sunnyvale CalTrain

This shot was taken at the edge of the CalTrain passenger platform with the "Baby Bullit" engine number 332 speeding by with commuters on their way to or from work. I would have to estimate it was going at least 45 to 55 mph. This particular train does not stop in Sunnyvale in the southbound direction. Shot was taken about 9:55am on 9/14/2007.

September 13, 2007

For My Buddy Joe

This would be an extremely "inside" post. Probably greater than 96% percent of my readers (right Mom!) would not get the connection. That's o.k. though, I'm not posting it for them, it's for Joe. It seems ironic that the logo for the railroad line pictured below could have so much significance for my buddy Joe. The dollar sign purposefully portrayed in the text, seemingly created just for him! His blog address with the gambling reference of "dice shooter" in it, an email address he has with a reference to money. Quite the co-inky-dink, huh?

Oh, and you're welcome Joe, for all of the free promotion and links I just gave you!

At The Blossom Hill CalTrain Platform

On the way to Morgan Hill I caught a quick shot of northbound Union Pacific motive power waiting for the south bound Caltrain to pass. I wasn't back in my car yet before it pulled away. I get the feeling they were waiting for me to snap the picture first (yeah, right). Engines numbered 7698 and 7638 are new GE ES44AC's. UP 5402, 4359 and 5401, which may have been dead-heading, I haven't researched yet. They were pulling about a half mile of empty box and lumber cars as they sat idle at 12:30pm wednesday 9/12/2007.

September 09, 2007

To: Bay Area Municipality "Leaders"

From: Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), On So-Called Sanctuary Cities:

"Localities that fail to cooperate with DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in identifying criminal aliens in their custody may end up paying a steep price. They ensure that criminal aliens who could otherwise be deported, are released back into the community to commit further crimes, which they do at an astonishing rate. A Government Accountability Office study found that 55,322 criminal aliens were arrested a total of at least 459,614 times, averaging over eight arrests per alien. The Department of Justice expressed its surprise at the 'extremely high' rate of re-arrests for criminal aliens when it found that that 73 criminal aliens in a study group were arrested a total of 429 times. Localities that adopt 'sanctuary' policies, in an effort to be welcoming to both legal and illegal immigrants, need to consider whether such policies have the effect of attracting and incubating crime."

Amen, brother!

September 07, 2007

Choose Your Terrorism Munitions Carefully

If you were a terrorist would you try to maximize your limited supply of funds because you never know when the forces of freedom are going to sieze your "ass"ets? Of course you would. So...when purchasing your munitions, you would be wise to consider purchasing post WWII arms. Generally the condition of the munitions is questionable when they tend to malfunction in a rather irrepairable fashion. Aquiring your arms from a reputable source also extends the value of your terrorist dinar. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the energetic young terrorist in the video embedded below may want to have his Jihadi organization dues refunded. Or at the very least file a grievance.

Thanks to Mike K. for the video link!

September 05, 2007

Out Of The Closet

One thing I have always wanted to do since I was a kid was be an engineer. I think even now if I could make a go of it I would consider doing it. I've always been fascinated by trains. Not sure what an entry level engineer would make, but it's got to be an amazing job!

Construction on the new Benicia bridge, Benicia, California.