This Space for Rent

railroad picture(s) of the day

Due to several things (not just my natural laziness) I’d not gone on any longish bicycle rides for several weeks, and I’d decided that the next time the bears went down to visit their grandparents I’d try to go out and do a 100km or so loop. Well, today they were picked up by their grandparents (Russell has been sick most of the week, so he didn’t get out of my clutches until about 1:15pm,) so I bolted out of the house with the plans of running out to the end of the paved part of the Portland Traction trail two or three times.

The plan didn’t last past the Southern PacificYellow Menace mainline, because when I reached it the southbound signals were flashing caution. And it was about 2:45, so that meant that it might be the southbound Coast Starlight. So I stopped and waited. And waited. And waited. And eventually, just before I was about to give up and head east, the headlights of the Coast Starlight popped into view under the Tacoma Street bridge, followed quickly by the rest of the Coast Starlight (led by a pair of Twinkies and a ex-F40PH sled:


It was almost 3pm by the time I’d finished watching it vanish to the south and loaded up my bicycle, but I proceeded east anyway out to the end of the (paved) line, turned around, and came back into town for a brief stop at the Big Big Store. I got to the Big Big Store at 5pm, and by the time I’d picked out a snack, paid, and wedged the sugar-laden snacks down the hatch it was getting on towards 5:15, with the return of the bears due at about 7:30. But that didn’t stop me, so I headed back east to see how far I could get (at a somewhat slower speed than the first loop, funnily enough) and that ended up being Gresham Main Park, which I reached at 6:10, then – after pausing to rest my weary feet for a few minutes – departed for points west soon thereafter.

And I would have made it all the way home without stopping, except that when I reached the bridge over the Yellow Menace mainline the southbound signal was clear and I could see (a) a stopped Yellow Menace freight and (b) rapidly becoming less distant headlights. Now, about the only thing that stops a Yellow Menace freight these days is a passenger train, so those headlights were certain to be a passenger train. Which meant I had to stop again, pull out the camera, and wait to see what came down the line:


So instead of a 100+km loop, I only rode 93.5km. But I did get to see a couple of passenger trains (plus a pair of Yellow Menace freights, but I didn’t bother to try and get pictures of those) to make up for it. Maybe I’ll try for a longer loop on Saturday, if those pesky Eng!s don’t get in the way.