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Messages - Kevin Madore

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As to the wooden car argument, the Strasburg Railroad has wooden passenger cars and crosses several state highways with flashing lights, but they may have steel frames (I'm not sure).  Another thing to consider is the length of the ride.  Familys with small children, pregnant women and old geezers with BPH (I know one) might not necessarily enjoy a longer ride.  I don't think your coaches have rest room facilities, do they?

All of the crossings that the Strasburg Rail Road's regular tourist trains use are both lighted and gated.  

Work and Events / Re: Portable Platforms for Special Events
« on: November 11, 2016, 09:21:23 AM »
Photographer trains have to deal with step boxes just like every other railroad.

That's correct.   The portable platforms idea is great for events with the public, when there are lots of passengers who are not used to getting on/off century-old equipment at relatively primitive (by today's standards) station locations.   Those passengers just want to get on and off safely and easily and really don't care what things look like.   On photo trains however, most of the photographers are pretty used to loading and unloading where there are next to no facilities at all.   Even some of the older folks amaze me with their ability to make the big steps.  Heck, I'm only 5ft. 6in. and I've yet to find a location where I can't get on without a step-box.   For photo trains, the regular step-boxes are generally fine.   It certainly helps to have a trainman on the ground to help the folks who are older, or perhaps carrying a lot of gear.   The key thing is that when the train pushes back, there should be nothing left on the ground that is not more or less historically accurate.   Equally, it is important to make sure there is nothing showing on the platforms that wouldn't have existed on a historic train.

A couple of years back, a new tourist line in south central PA decided to install permanent steps at a historic depot at which President Lincoln stopped on his way to Gettysburg in November of 1863.    While I suspect that these steps do enhance the efficiency and safety of the normal tourist operations, the railroad's inability to temporarily remove them for a 2014 Carl Franz Charter pretty much spoiled this historic site as a photo location.

The shot from the other side is even less appealing, as there are multiple yellow steps visible.

Here is the Brady shot allegedly depicting Lincoln at this location.

No steps back in 1863.   :o


General Discussion / Re: All Female Steam Loco Crew
« on: October 29, 2016, 10:19:26 PM »
Strasburg Railroad has a female employee who is a machinist as well as qualified as a fireman (firewoman) and an engineer.

Strasburg actually has a couple of ladies who are cab-qualified.  Both participated in Pete Lerro's "Rosie the Riveter" shoot in August of 2015 and will likely do that again when we go back there for another Rosie shoot next weekend. 

Here are Shelley and Andrea (aka "Sparkee") putting on a welding demo in the Strasburg Shops

There are actually a number of tourist railroads and museums with female cab crew members.   For years, Amy Beck fired for long-time Cass Engineer Dirk Caloccia.   Out at Railtown 1897, Stephanie Tadlock is a fully qualified Engineer on Sierra #3 as is her husband Dave.

I think that being a Steam Locomotive Engineer is a bit like being a Fighter Pilot.   For whatever reason, not many women are attracted to either job, but those that are seem to be very capable people.

/Kevin Madore   


During the week of October 1-8, I traveled to Colorado and OD'd on steam engines and fall color BIG TIME! This was a really manic trip involving visits to 4 railroads, and including a pair of 2-day charters. I basically ran myself ragged and went home with my first head cold in about 2 years. Having made my first pass through the photo take however, I'd have to say that all of the air miles, road miles, heavy exercise and lack of sleep was probably worth it. The combination of steam and fall color made for a great take of photos. I've created a few Flickr albums for those who would like to see what it all looked like. Feel free to browse as you'd like.

Saturday, October 1st: After landing in Denver, I spent a few hours at the Colorado Railroad Museum. While I had seen Goose 7 a few weeks earlier at the NG Rendezvous, I had never seen any other pieces of this collection before. I was very fortunate this day as the K-37 #491 just happened to be running around the loop. The time of day and the position of stored equipment around the grounds made photography just a bit challenging, but I did manage one back-lit shot of the 491 on the back side of the loop. That was my first live K-37. I've now seen at least one example of all of the running D&RGW classes.

DRGW Locomotive 491 at the Colorado Railroad Museum:

Sunday, October 2nd - Wednesday, October 5th: After a very long drive in the dark I arrived at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad for 4 days of action. During the first 2 days, D&RGW 315 made a couple of runs associated with a private charter for a small group of people. I was fortunate to be able to photograph some of that. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was a full participant in the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Fall Charter. During the 2 days, we saw 3 Cumbres Turns with K-27 and K-36 Locomotives, followed by the assembly of a 30-car freight and a round trip to Osier. The weather was generally sunny and the foliage on the run to Cumbres was nothing short of stunning. Here's what it all looked like:

Cumbres & Toltec Fall Charters:

Thursday, October 6th - Friday, October 7th: Completing the Friends Charter, I hopped in my rental car and made a bee-line for Durango on Wednesday night. On Thursday, I participated in the Willow Creek Productions Charter on the Durango & Silverton, hosted by Dave Gross. Dave's last charter in 2011 was a home run, so I wasn't going to miss this one. We had K-28 Locomotive #473 and a Silverton Mixed Train with some freight loads and Grande Gold coaches. On the first day, we ran one-way to Silverton, then stayed overnight at the Grand Imperial Hotel, before running back to Durango the following day. Once again, the weather was awesome and our crew put on a most excellent show:

Willow Creek Productions Charter on the Durango & Silverton:

Saturday, October 8th: When Dave Gross' charter finished up, I again hopped in my trusty rental and headed back north, stopping overnight in Salida. The next morning, I headed for another railroad I had never seen: The Georgetown Loop. Newly restored Baldwin IRCA #111 was running this day and once again, the weather was great. Although this is a tough railroad to chase, there are some great photo spots. I would love to see a charter there some day. Sign me up!

Georgetown Loop Railroad:

All in all, I had a great time in Narrow Gauge Land this month. I have enough photos on my hard drive to keep me playing with Lightroom for a very long time to come.

/Kevin Madore

168 is in the tear down and inspection stage.

That's a pretty good way to describe it.   I first saw the 168 last fall in Antonito, which is where it will be based whenever it becomes operational.   At the time, very little had been done with it since it was moved to the C&TS.   I saw it again in March of this year, when I was back in Antonito for the Friends Flanger Trip.   Just a few days before, it had apparently been taken outside the engine house for a quick photo shoot.   I would have hoped they'd leave it out for us to photograph, given how much we'd all spent on the charter, that would have been a nice bonus, but that was not to be.   A few days later, they started disassembling it, in an effort to develop an accurate scope of work for the restoration.   Even when that's done, they still need to raise the funds to make it all happen.   

Realistically, I think it will be a period of years before it runs....unless someone like Bill Gates or Paul Allen suddenly decides to become a railfan.

/Kevin Madore

I posted the following on the Narrow Gauge Forum tonight, but thought there may be some folks over here who appreciate standard (meaning 3 ft.) gauge railroading on the old Rio Grande.  If so, enjoy....


Last weekend, I attended the 2016 Narrow Gauge Rendezvous at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. The event ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday and featured a freight train headed by D&RGW Consolidation #315, as well as two of the Rio Grande Southern's famous Motors, popularly known as Galloping Geese. The weekend featured many events, lots of interesting equipment, excellent food and some great opportunities to socialize with fellow narrow gauge fans. If my experience was any measure, a great weekend was had by all. By my count, I shot 2,087 frames with my two Digital SLRs. In that lot were a ton of keepers. I've spent the last few days sorting through the take and running a sampling of them through Lightroom. The result is nice little album that shows some of the highlights of the event.

If you're one of the folks who's been waiting for the photos, you need only click on the link below to see what it all looked like. Once the album appears, click on the first thumbnail and the full page for that image will appear, along with the caption. For an even better experience, you can click in the upper right-hand corner and go full-screen. Arrows on the right and left sides of the images will allow you to page back and forth. If you notice any inaccurate information in captions, please PM me here on the forum and I'll correct as needed.

And the photos:

/Kevin Madore

Work and Events / Re: 2016 Annual Picnic Photos
« on: August 18, 2016, 03:41:13 PM »

Work and Events / 2016 Annual Picnic Photos
« on: August 18, 2016, 08:25:51 AM »

It has taken a few days, but I've managed to sort through the 412 frames that I shot last Saturday at the 2016 Annual Picnic and come up with a small album of what I witnessed.   In addition to train operations, I tried to get photos of the various speakers during the noontime celebration.   The album contains a sampling, but I do have others.   I think I have most of their names, but if I have missed on any of them, please PM me and I'll fix it.

The weather on Saturday made photography a challenge.  Anytime you have a bright sky, but no sun, it's a balancing act getting exposures right.   Thank goodness for Lightroom!!!

Here is the link the album:

After you click on the first photo, you can use the arrows on the right and left to go back and forth through the album.   If you mouse over the upper right-hand corner of each image, an icon should appear that will allow you to go full screen if you like.   I think the images look better that way.

I had a great time at Annual Picnic.   Looking forward to my next trip up there.

As always, thanks for the hospitality!!

/Kevin Madore

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / Re: WW&F Visits....
« on: July 04, 2016, 03:07:16 PM »
If you're down at Cass, don't miss the "Durbin Rocket."  That's just about half an hour north of Cass in the little town of Durbin and in the past, has featured a 55-ton, 2-truck Climax.   The former Meadow River Heisler #6 is currently handling the "Rocket", while the Climax gets a 1,472 at Cass.   When the washouts are repaired and the line from Cass to Durbin is fully restored, the "Rocket" operation will come under FRA jurisdiction.   For years, the Climax operated with only the blessing of the State Boiler Inspector.    When I first rode the "Rocket" years ago, the state of the track was first-hand testament to the old saying that Climax would track two scratches in the dirt.   The track is better now. 

Someone mentioned that the crews at Cass don't fancy the Heisler.   One long-time Engineer down there once told me that he considered his duty days on #6 to be "Shay Appreciation Days."

Glad to see that James made it down there.  For those who haven't and would like to see what it looks like, here are a few photos from a couple of recent Railfan Weekends.   The only difference between what you see here and normal operations is that the locomotives normally PUSH the cars up the hill.   For the photography sessions, they put the locos on the front of the train: 

Neat place.....   And yeah, pretty remote.  Nearest civilized hotel rooms are either at Snowshoe Ski Resort, or in Elkins, about an hour to the north.


I have worked with the gentleman who made that request for photos, and am a bit familiar with the reason for this particular request.  I wish I had some photos to offer him and would really like to see some sort of photography session up there, similar to the ones that the WW&F folks did in March and April.  From what I understand, the Phillips operation may not have a lot of track, but they do have some interesting infrastructure, including a roundhouse and turntable.   They also have a fair amount of rolling stock.   If all goes according to plan, they should also have MRR#3 back up there shortly.   If the locomotive could be re-lettered for the SR&RL, and day/night photo session could be arranged, it could produce some pretty compelling images for the internet that might get more people up there, either to visit or to volunteer.   The place is largely a secret now, and the remote location makes the situation even tougher.   

I've often thought that a combination of photo events at the WW&F and the SR&RL might make it attractive for one of the well-known charter operators (Lerro, HTP, etc.) to do a multi-day event in Maine.   In order to get their diverse clients to travel from all over the country, they need to be able to provide 2-3 days of justify the airfares, hotels, rental cars etc.    To me, one of the big attractions of the Maine 2 ft museums is that they are among just a handful of places where authentic trains can be re-created. 


Museum Discussion / Re: Finding the WW&F on Facebook
« on: May 27, 2016, 10:40:16 AM »
Facebook is tightening the screws.....

This morning, I tried looking at several Facebook Pages, including the WW&F's.   From what I can see, non-subscribers now cannot even look at the photos.  I can see the albums, but when I click on them, I see nothing but black photos.   As of today, Facebook appears to be useless if you don't have an account.....and right now, I don't happen to want an account.

I sent a message to Facebook, but unfortunately, I think that until current subscribers start to complain, this incredibly arrogant attitude is not likely to change.   In taking this approach, Facebook is denying their current subscribers....such as the WW&F Museum....access to a segment of viewership that is probably quite large.   If I were a subscriber, I'd be upset with that policy.

As a non-subscriber, my impression of Facebook is that they are determined to shove their be politically correct.....down all of our collective throats.   I don't know about everyone else, but that sort of attitude makes me less and less likely to ever want to associate with them.


Work and Events / April Photo Excursion >>>Photo Album<<<
« on: May 05, 2016, 08:03:34 AM »

I had a great time on last week's photo excursion up in Alna.   It was so nice to have nice blue skies and just a few decorative clouds.   If someone could order perfect weather, that would be the type of day you'd hope for.   I've processed about 60 photos from the event, and it was a tough choice picking about half that number for an album to post publicly.   I posted this album last night on the Narrow Gauge Forum, but for those who don't get over there I'm going to put the link up here as well.

Have a look if you like.   The colors really pop in some of these shots.   Pretty stuff.   I hope I got all of the names and details correct.  PM me if you see any errors.

As always, nice job folks!   This was a fun day, and it was even more fun to have some of my charter friends such as Matthew, Dennis, Chris and Andrew along for the experience.   Wish I could have stayed for the SWW.  I had a Civil Air Patrol commit (we had our USAF Eval last weekend).   It looks like a ton of good things happened in Alna.


/Kevin Madore

Work and Events / Re: Spring 2016 work weekend.
« on: April 29, 2016, 08:36:06 AM »
TICK WARNING: Work weekenders, according to the local papers, the Lyme disease epidemic and the tick population growth are worse than ever this year. Also, the some ticks now transmit some diseases considerably worse than Lyme.

Recommended: Tuck trousers into socks. Use DEET bug repellent spray on clothing. At days end, check your self for ticks.

For what it is worth, I did a fair amount of walking through the weeds while participating in yesterday's photo shoot, and I did not see any ticks.   Having had a couple of relatives get Lyme Disease, I am probably as paranoid as anyone about the little buggers, so I wore a pair of old, tan khakis and I tucked the cuffs into my big boots.  I sprayed the lower pant cuffs and the boots with "Deep Woods Off" and never saw a one.  I also did the obligatory tick-check after I got home (not to mention taking a good hot bath), all with negative results.

I did hear a couple of folks mention flicking a tick or two off, but overall, the tick situation did not seem bad at all.  There is not a lot of new vegetation growing yet, so as long as you're working fairly close to the ROW and not doing a lot of bush-whacking, tuck the pant cuffs into the boots, spray 'em down with some repellent a do a timely check and a hot shower afterward and you should be fine.


Museum Discussion / Re: Sheepscot pictures for the away crowd.
« on: April 27, 2016, 06:48:32 AM »
Damn, that was an awesome day for a photo shoot!  Nice set of photos, Brendan!


Museum Discussion / Re: Finding the WW&F on Facebook
« on: April 10, 2016, 09:28:03 PM »
Hi Kevin,

Sorry you are having trouble.  Did you log in using the link posted on page 1 of this thread?  That should get you past the screen that fb sets for non-subscribers.  The museum's page is on the public side (although some controls have changed) so I wonder if going through our link would resolve the problem. 


Hi Stewart,

If you mean the link posted by Brendan, yes, that is the address that I am going to.   It opens looking just great, but within seconds, half the page is blocked with the login/sign-up "curtain" that Facebook has recently imposed.   I could understand them doing that for people's personal FB pages, but for a business, government organization or charity, it makes no sense.....other than to try and force people to give them personal information.   If that is their intent, it is rather arrogant of them.   I guess their sales technique is that if we don't take the bait, they try and shove it down our throats.....or other places.  :o)


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