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A Day of Train Photography northeast of La Plata 1/02/2011

by Chris Guenzler

Drew Miltchem had contacted me on my birthday via Private Message on that he and his friends Jeff Morhaus and Rick Wangelin were going to come up here from the St Louis Area and asked me if I wanted to join them on this train photography trip. I said "Yes" and was told to be ready at the Depot Inn & Suites at 7:30 AM. I got up, showered, dressed and had a quick breakfast before checking things on the Internet. At 7:32 AM they arrived and after a quick drive through town we ended up west of the La Plata Depot in view of the crossover signals at La Plata. I crossed the tracks and got out of sight of the other photographers when we heard the eastbound approaching.

BNSF 7609 East at the La Plata Crossovers west of the Depot with DPU's on the rear end.

Next the BNSF 4008 West came by the La Plata Station. From here we drove east to the bridge on Route E.

BNSF 7301 West at Route E. From here we took Banner Road north to State Highway F which we made a right on. We took that then turned east onto State Highway V and made a left on to Grade Lane which we took north then turned onto Missouri Highway 6 then stopped at the bridge over the BNSF mainline.

BNSF 5451 West at the Missouri Highway 6 Bridge.

Next came the UP 7667 West and met the BNSF 4178 East at the MO Highway 6 Bridge.

BNSF 4178 East.

Two more views of UP 7667 West with DPU 7813. Back on the move we continued east on MO Highway 6 to Hurdland and took County Road 8 which became Route J taking it to Road 132. We made a mistake turning right onto Road 110 before we reversed taking Road 110 north to Road 129 which we took to Road 112 into Kenwood. With no trains here we reversed out of here taking Road 129 into Route P then east on Missouri State Highway 11 before turning on State Highway 15 to a bridge of the tracks at Baring. With no trains we headed back north to Road K out east to Road M which we took north.

The strangest moment of the day was passing this church where every car was colored black. He headed to Rutledge and parked next to the grade crossing.

BNSF 5218 East at Rutledge.

UP 7683 East at Rutledge with DPU 7772. From here we went east on Route A but just south of Gorin we noticed we had a westbound on Drew's ATCS Screen on his phone and reversed to the bridge over the BNSF on Route A where we set up for a few trains here.

BNSF 5218 West came by our photo location.

Next the BNSF 4392 East came under the Route A Bridge.

Drew's truck which took us around northeast Missouri today.

Union Pacific 7836 East with midtrain DPU 8410 came by next.

BNSF 7230 West at the Route A Bridge outside Rutledge.

BNSF 7230 West met BNSF 7819 East just to the west of the Route A Bridge.

BNSF 7819 East the final train at the Route A Bridge. From here we took Road Y north then east to the grade crossing. There Drew made a phone call and we learned that there would be no more westbounds until after dark. Knowing we had a late running Amtrak we headed back west the way we came but took Road EE south to MO Highway 15 which we took in to Edina and a needed bathroom and food stop at the Casey's there. Amtrak left La Plata at 1:25 PM and a goof by all of us made us miss that train by about 8 minutes when Drew dropped the three of us off at the Route 15 Bridge over the BNSF mainline while he went to Baring for his videoing. The wind was blowing strong and cold as we waited for the next eastbound train movement. At times like this I sometimes wonder what am I doing here but once the train is spotted that feeling always goes away.

BNSF 5372 East at Baring.

Right behind him was the BNSF 7841 East. From here we drove back to Kenwood.

The new BNSF signal bridge at Kenwood that is replacing the older signal bridges on this rail line. After a while we continued our way back but made a right on Clemson Way and found the old CB&Q grade here.

The most interesting thing was this old Southern Railway Trailer 206873 in a yard on the old grade. From here we took Clemson Lane south to what would be a great picture of a BNSF cut here. We took Clemson Lane south to Knox Lane south then we went west on Salt River Lane which we took west to State Highway V and went west on State Highway E. We returned to our former route at Banner Lane but stayed on Route E to Mockingbird Lane which we took the Archer Lane as I wanted to show the guys the unique crossbuck with bell here.

The unique crossbuck with bell ringer attached.

The bell ringer.

Chris and the unique crossing protection.

We finally had green signals heading east as we heard the horn from the next train passing through La Plata.

BNSF 5311 East at Archer Road.

Sunset on a great day of train photography. We swung by the Depot Inn & Suites so I could pick up my computer before we drove out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point so that Jeff and Rick could experience it. We had two more eastbounds and I showed them my La Plata and Winterail Programs while we waited. After that the four of us had dinner at the Red Rooster before they dropped me off for the night back at the Depot Inn & Suites. I worked on about half of the story that night and finished it up the next morning out at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. It had been a great day of train photography and I called it a night.

Click here for Part 3 of this story