Thursday, August 28, 2014

Putting Amtrak in the Hole

On my way back home from downtown Downers Grove August 27, I stopped in Starbucks to exploit  a gift card I had been given. When I came out, the gates on Main street went down. Since I had a view to the east and did not see a westbound commuter, there was a good chance this was not a false closing. So I found a place to put down the muffin and got the camera up. It was an Amtrak, and it was double headed so that meant either the Chief or the Zephyr. It was 5:43p. I believe the Amtraks are supposed to come through town before the dinky parade (commuter rush). Using the magic of the web, I see that the California Zephyr is supposed to arrive in Naperville at 1:43p and the Southwest Chief is supposed to arrive at 2:42p. But what really surprised me is how slow it was going. It was not making up any lost time. In fact, it was loosing more time. From the grab shots as the engines crossed Main you can see that a commuter had just arrived and that commuters were still working their way back to the buses, parking garage, condominiums, etc.

20140827 0030s, cropped

Because of the people and car clutter, I tried getting another shot of the engines.

This picture is disastrous even by my standards. (I checked the properties of the photo. The shutter was 1/200 sec. So I don't understand why it is so blurred.) But I include it because it shows that "smoke" is pouring out of both engines. My theory is that, since it was running late, BNSF held it west of Belmont in a regular holding spot rather than delay any of the commuters to clear a track for it. (The dinky parade uses all three tracks because they run the express commuters on the middle track.) And the Amtrak train was running slow across Main Street because it was having a hard time accelerating back to train speed.

I didn't bother to take pictures of the superliners since my viewpoint was so bad. But when I noticed the private cars on the end, I took several shots hoping something would come out. Note that the second car has an observation deck on the end.

When I took some pictures, the flash popped up on the camera. Why does the camera want to use the flash in daylight? Remember, last night I switched from Programmed to Auto. I checked the properties on that blurry picture above, and the camera chose ISO-100, f6.3, 1/200 sec, and flash. Stupid choices. I'm back to using ISO-400 and Programmed. Unlike my old Nikon FE, I don't have to worry about exceeding the shutter speed of 1/1000.

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