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coborn35 12-30-2012 05:35 PM

Top 10 of '12
I am surprised no one has started this yet! With it being that time of year to reflect on what we have shot.


In 2003 (IIRC) the last train ran down the Barron Subdivison in Wisconsin. It was a former Soo Line and then Wisconsin Central branchline. In 2012 Superior Silica entered an agreement with the Canadian National (WC) to ship millions and millions of tons of frac sand from a plant in Poskin. This meant the CN needed to rehab a good 40 miles of track, at a cost of 43 million dollars. Brand new welded rail, fresh ballast, and 6 months later the the line was open in much better shape than it had ever seen before. Owing to all the crossings ripped out by the CN, and the public outcry, they decided to run their Santa Train up to appease the masses. Two of my long time friends were selected for the 3 day job and the train is seen here posing just before departure as the sun popped out at Barron.


In late October fellow RPer Steven McKay was headed my way for a visit and we decided to do a private night photo shoot on the railroad I manage. We grabbed the two Missabe engines and put them in position. It was really nice having just two guys, besides all the work, because we knew what we wanted and were able to set it up without any interference. Anyone that knows me knows that I hate those stupid cliche posed photo shoot shots of a guy with a lantern in front of the engine staring blankly into space, or the guy cleaning the headlight with a Carhartt on or something that looks just out of whack. Case in point would be this photo: [photoid=379311] Literally awful pose. What I was trying to accomplish with this photo was something that could pass the quick look over test of being the Missabe in the late 1980's. We tried to make it as authentic as we could, flannel and overalls, Missabe hardhat, authentic safety glasses from the era. I was going for a glazed over look conductors so often get when told bad news, and since we had both engines wanted to have one in the background, as engines side by side in Two Harbors was not an uncommon thing. There are a few things I would have done better but overall I really like how it turned out.


This train is the widest load ever handled out of the Twin Ports and was fascinating to watch.


With the Missabe being my favorite railroad it is definitely cool to still see maroon operating 8 years after the CN takeover.


One of the best chases of the year, and my girlfriends first. Chased this thing all over MN with great sun, a happy crew and nice looking engine!


This ended up being one of the only E-Rails (they go to Escanaba, MI) of the year and I have always loved the sag at Rockmont. This was the first shot I have of the sag with glass long enough to show it!


I was lucky enough to be able to shoot the WSOR roundhouse at Janesville this year, and even more luckily the WSOR #101 was inside, which is unusual, and there was an open stall next to it allowing a nice broadside. I will keep my thoughts off of a public forum, but with WSOR having new owners I am unsure how long the E unit or chances to get shots like this will last, so I am very thankful I got the opportunity.


Another place I was able to tour is Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops. The 10+ building complex is just massive. I really liked this view of a Superliner just suspended in the air.


I have always said that my railroad is more short-line than tourist, what with our 28 miles of track, heavy winter freight operations, and frequent moves into CN and BNSF yards for various movements and trains. Being in management doesn't give me a whole lot of time (or drive) to shoot stuff I see everyday but I do like to showcase our line when I can. Here is a little shot spot off of I35 showing our two Missabe horses holding coal empties back as they head for the BNSF.


Finally, essence of the Missabe.

bigbassloyd 12-30-2012 08:52 PM

Here's my personal top 10 of photos I put on here.

As I say goodbye to my two home signals, I captured the best photos of them in 2012.

I found an interesting new photo opportunity deep in Great Bend Tunnel:

And took several trips away from home territory to mark shots off the "to do list":

Loyd L.

jnohallman 12-30-2012 09:04 PM

I've only got 16 shots to choose from, but then again, that's the most I've put on RP in one year. So, does Top 10 mean the 10 with the most views, or my 10 favorites? I guess it'll have to be a bit of each.

My two most successful photos of the year in terms of views were largely the result of happenstance. I was in Roanoke with my family on the way back from "Foamfest" in Spencer, and we were about to head out of town when I decided to drive along the tracks a bit to see what was going on. It just so happened that the Virginia Museum of Transportation and NS were in the process of shuffling some equipment, which allowed me to catch a couple pics that seem to have interested people some. (They also gave me my first ever To24s).



Third in number of views for me was a shot that originally got rejected for foreground clutter, and was accepted on appeal. Others have shot the location before as well, but I was pleased with the result I got. The view is taken from the Great Shiplock Park in Richmond.


Fourth in views was a shot from "Foamfest" - but not a shot of one or more of the NS heritage units. The AMTRAK I grew up with was the AMTRAK of the F40PH, so I was happy to get a decent shot of this end of the 40th anniversary train.


Now that we reach number five in terms of views, we start to get into my personal favorites as far as the photos are concerned. I grew up little more than an hour away from Strasburg, and may have ridden the trains at Strasburg more even than I've ridden Amtrak. I liked the lighting and the juxtaposition of power in this photo.


I don't get to shoot nearly as much steam as I would like. Living in Virginia doesn't help - the state barely has a tourist railroad (theoretically, there's one on the Eastern Shore, but they're trying to sell their passenger equipment). However, the NS 21st Century Steam program gave me the opportunity to ride as well as to shoot some steam power in VA. This shot came after the trip from Winston-Salem to Roanoke.


Yes, I was at "Foamfest" in Spencer along with hoards of others, and yes I shot all of the NS Heritage units. But I've only got one shot from that collection of stuff on RP.


Another shot from Strasburg didn't pull in huge views, but I liked the lighting, and I've always been a fan of the SRC's classic Baldwin decapod.


I was also very pleased with the results of this shot from "The Center of the Universe" even if it didn't draw lots of RP attention.


Finally, my favorite shot of the year came from my first trip to the Potomac Eagle (or South Branch Valley Railroad, if you prefer), where after a pleasant ride I was able to capture this image. It just so happens that the "young railfan" in the caption is my own little boy.



WMHeilman 12-30-2012 10:28 PM

Where to begin?! 2012 was a fun year for me. Without any real stories or explanation, here are my ten favorites from '12.


Coloradorailfan 12-30-2012 11:57 PM

It has been a fun year for me. It was a tough pick, but here are my 10:


DWHonan 12-31-2012 01:50 AM

I posted far less than I shot, but here are my favorites that made it onto RP...


The woman I would marry in September (and her horses):

Our honeymoon in Ireland and Scotland created memories that will last a lifetime:

Kyle Korienek 12-31-2012 05:48 AM

2012 will be the year that I got my first photo accepted on Railpictures, so that was kind of cool for me. I know one thing: I have a long way to go in my growth as a photographer, which motivates me to continue.

This photo was a winner of the People's Choice, my most successful photo here and my favorite of these.


I hope 2013 is even better...

jdirelan87 12-31-2012 09:44 AM

Since graduating college three years ago (wow!), the time I've spent railfanning has really nosedived. Its gotten so bad, I actually went out more in my last year of school in Pittsburgh than I have my entire time in California. Of course, I've also been deployed or away training for 20 of the last 42 months, so that doesn't help either.

I tried to make a serious effort to make it out more, or at least check off alot spots on my list that I've been meaning to go to. I didn't do so hot on the going out more, only had 15 days of railfanning this year. But, on the plus side, I did see a fair amount of new territory. I'm really gonna dial it up and try to get back to 30-40 railfanning days this year. Once you get your fill of the hot spots down here (Cajon, Tehachapi), the options are few and (very literally) far between. Looks like 2013 will be a bad year for keeping miles off the car.

Angle I've been meaning to get for a bit.

Afton Canyon had been on the 'to do' list for a long time, I finally made it there. Didn't exactly crush it, but got a few good shots. I really want to go back, but if I don't, at least I have something to show for my efforts.

Not a great shot, but this location is pretty cool; its the lowest point on the US rail system. The spot is easy to get to, its just taken me three years to pony up and make the six hour round trip to get to it.

Again, not a great picture but an awesome life experience. The stars aligned and I was able to 1) leave my deployment a bit early, 2) get routed via Tokyo out of Cambodia and 3) have a long enough layover to check out Tokyo and ride the bullet train a bit. Highly recommend checking it out if you get a chance!

My most "acclaimed" shot this year, unfortunately I associate alot of bad stuff with it. This was about a week before deploying (bad enough) and about two days before breaking up with my at the time girlfriend because of said deployment. To make matters worse, I tripped and ripped my finger open while climbing down from this spot, then promptly got my car stuck in the soft sand trying to shift with my banged up hand wrapped in my tee shirt. After waiting hours for a tow truck, I made to the Barstow Hospital around midnight to get seven stitches in my index finger.

My first crack at green Tehachapi. Can't wait for that magic month again this go around, I doubt I'll go back any other time of year now. This time I'll do it right and over night a weekend or two.

I've gotten somewhat burned out of Cajon, but I was proud with myself for finding (aka, stealing off RP) this unusually shot of the heavily photographed pass.

Nice shot of the new local power I've been meaning to get. San Diego is pretty dead when it comes to railroad photography, so I've largely overlooked it the last couple years. Did a somewhat better job of that in '12.

This was a great place I finally got around to checking out. I was able to pitch it as a hike to some non-railfanning friends, so it turned out to be an awesome 'male bonding' day. If you like hiking, I highly recommend checking Goat Canyon out. Its about a 16 miles round trip hike along the tracks, 8-10 pretty strenuous miles if you go over the back of the mountain.

Not a hard shot to get at all, but one I've been meaning to snag. Normally if I'm in Barstow, I'm just passing through on the way to somewhere else or getting a room for the night. I spent a day poking around town and it was really worth it. Great railroad vibe, second only to Altoona.

Mr. Pick 12-31-2012 01:40 PM

I didn't even know there was a "Top of the Past 24" until I got an email earlier this year telling me I had one. Of the few pictures I posted this year, four were apparently posted on really slow days and made the TofPast24. In order of appearance:

The north portal of the Cowan, TN tunnel:


A prison work detail landscaping on the grounds of the Cowan Railroad Museum. This was my personal favorite this year:


Until the foamer bug bit last year, I rarely ever took train pictures, but here's one I found from the "blizzard" of 1985. Taken on Kodachrome 64 with a Nikon FG.


And my 4th Top of Past 24 was a picture I posted on a whim of a ditch cleaner.


Other favorites of mine this year:







Great year! I learned a lot and still have a lot more to learn!

railfanzone 12-31-2012 02:02 PM

A good portion of what I ended up adding here was taken prior to 2012, so I'll limit my selections to what I actually took in '12 - and I think you'll notice an underlying theme. And because I'm lazy, they're in order from newest upload to oldest.

My tribute to Richard Steinheimer's Christmas Tree shot

Probably my favorite reflection shot of all time, never mind night shot (and thanks for the PCA votes!)

An experiment that in some ways worked very well, and in others failed miserably. But I still like it...

A little juxtaposition in the subject matter - an ethanol train passing by a liquor store

One of those "in between shots" shots during a staged night shoot on the Grafton & Upton Railroad

A people shot from the Lerro Productions Valley Railroad Photo Charter and night shoot

A zoom pan from the second day of the Lerro Productions Valley Railroad Photo Charter

Rails make nice leading lines

And my last two picks prove that you don't have to have the sun at your back (nor see underframe/truck details) to take a good railroad photo.

First is a shot of a joint NECR, P&W and CN office car special along the French River in Thompson, CT

And a northbound Providence & Worcester freight along Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...


Joe the Photog 12-31-2012 02:14 PM

A few years ago I did az year byyear analysis of my RP contributions and now I can't seem to find it. If we put my ten years being a RP member on a list, 2012 would not be one of my best. True, I got 81 images (taken in 2012) accepted, but they were in hindsight by and large quanity shots, not quality. Money and medical issues kept me close to home. All of my shots were taken in the Carolinas. A few highlights for me was finally shooting the Air Force train down in Sumter.


This is moy most viewed shot of teh year which tells you a lot about my year.


I liked this next shot for a couple of reasons. 1.) It's the circus train. 2.) I like this location here in Columbia, but it's hard to get a train here in good light. 3.) It's a Norfolk Southern with CSX power. 4.) And I was very lucky to catch it. I was working on my old TV job then and I had somewhere to be, but I decided to test my luck and at least see if I could see the train. Only thing is if they were heading out in typical fashion, the train would have been backlit. So I was very surprised to see they were shoving the train around the wye and doing it slow enough to let me navigate traffic and get this shot.


I always love shooting off the bridge in Cayce that overlooks CMC Steel especially on those two or three times a month they use the Alco RS-1.


And I managed to catch the NS transfer to CSX from nearly the same spot on a day they weren't using a GE wide nose but were using three old Southern high hoods!


I still find it fun to chronicle my hometown railroad even with all of the changes they have gone through. This was the first time I caught an L&C train with no blue engines.


I like shhoting shortlines and branch lines and this was the first time I had shot this line in six years.


More branch lineage.


And my first acceted pan. Next time I want to slow it down and get more blur. But I was pleased with it and feel I really lucky up with the placement of the cars and the road down below.


And, of course, my favorite from Foam Fest.


EMTRailfan 12-31-2012 02:46 PM

This is an easy one for me. I've only been out for a chase once this year with exception to a few happenstance sightings which weren't RP worthy execpt for the last WNYP photo and a special project in which my list starts with.

Sold a one-time useage of this one to a Facebook page for their cover photo. Not sure why they chose to cut the loco out, but hey $25 is $25:

Watain 12-31-2012 03:34 PM

This year has been a terrible year for me, with railfanning being in the back of my mind due to the plethora of personal issues. I don't even have 10 taken from this year to post. :lol:

My first accepted night shot. Granted, it was the only one I attempted (of a train) in my 4 years of posting here. It was also my first, and the only NS heritage engine I would see all year.


My favorite from the CSX Santa Train.


Crowds are cool, as long as I am not in them. Also the most views I've gotten this year.


What I thought was a throw away shot, until I processed it.


Well past the peak of fall color, but the trees were still holding on to some.


Just happened to be out Christmas shopping and turned the scanner on.. I nearly got cloud screwed..


First decent shot of the CSX local since 2008, with a recently painted GP38-2


My last shot of the year, also my second night shot on RP.


And of course the one that I love, that RP didn't.:)


kszok 12-31-2012 03:48 PM

It's been great reading the various descriptions and viewing the images that accompany them.

RP only accepted 13 of my images this year. Lots of rejects this year, and I have been busier covering my daughters swim team, which allows me less time to get out track-side. What I have to share are my favorites from what RP allowed into the data base in 2012, but not necessarily my favorites from 2012.

In the order of being added to RP:











Flowing 12-31-2012 05:51 PM

In no particular order...











Bob Pickering 12-31-2012 07:13 PM

Good day and Happy New Year!!!

Myself and Maryann had all sorts of railfan adventures in 2012. Some planned some were not.

So with that said, here are my top 10 based on views from least to most:

<b>Number 10</b>
FEC 714 leading a special in New Smyrna Beach.

<b>Number 9</b>
FEC's Toy's for Tots special looms through the fog in St. Augustine.

<b>Number 8</b>
Amtrak's annual Safety Patrol Special slides through Sanford. Kinda surprised me this is a highly viewed picture, but there it is.

<b>Number 7</b>
A trip to Bone Valley was way overdue and one of things I wanted to catch was CSX crossing the diamond in the grade crossing. And we did.

<b>Number 6</b>
A trip to California for Maryann to see her daughter's family revealed all sorts of railfanning opportunities along the southern California coast. Here Maryann after getting her pictures waves at the crew of the Coaster and whenever she is in my viewfinder for some reason, the hits go up. :)

<b>Number 5</b>
FEC 714 was in my camera again, this time at the famous bridge in St. Augustine.

<b>Number 4</b>
This was San Clemente California one of my most favorite places to watch trains.

<b>Number 3 </b>
Another lucky catch, after dropping off Maryann at the airport for her job training in Vegas I railfanned the A line in Orlando and caught a rock train passing Auto Train in Sanford.

<b>Number 2</b>
This was actually taken Dec 31st of 2011 but I included it as it was posted right at the end of the old year and start of the new. We had found out 156 was leading 91 we had planned to go to Seville but clouds chased us south. We got him at Deland but decided chase south to Orlando. Here Maryann is seen waving at Matt and crew on 91 in Orlando.

<b>Number 1</b>,
This was last March we went over to Seville to catch Auto Train and 91 which we do sometimes and this ground fog had just set up but was low enough to allow the sun into teh scene. To our surprise the sun had lit the scene up just right as train time approached. As 53 came into view this pick up truck was pacing the train a bit ahead of it. I was worried that it would get in the way, but fortunately 79 mph won out and 53 overtook the truck at the right time. This is my highest viewed shot of 2012.

Now the "catch of the year" for me goes to that one catch that will likely never be repeated that was so luck to be there to catch.

The FEC 2000 had long been in storage and then in ill repair and then doomed to work yards. It was not supposed to be leading any trains. It was not supposed to be on the mainline leading a freight. It was not supposed to get into St. Augustine before daylight either. But the train gods decreed that it lead 224 this morning that I just happened to be off work and just happened to get up early and get on line to discover it was leading. And it just happened to have mechanical problems delaying the arrival until after sunrise.... This makes this shot the catch of the year.

Now my partner Maryann Norvik has taken it upon herself to join the ranks of rp.net and threw herself into the hobby after a lifelong love of trains. Maryann always always is my railfan partner on all our travels.

Here are her shots top 10

<b>Number 10</b>
One of her favorite places to watch trains is Del Mar Ca.

<b>Number 9</b>
San Clemente California

<b>Number 8</b>
Her first Heritage unit

<b>Number 7</b>
FEC 101 near home.

<b>Number 6</b>
Del Mar Ca.

<b>Number 5</b>
A trip to San Diego allowed her to catch some BNSF action as well

<b>Number 4</b>
<b>She also caught 714 in New Smyrna Beach</b>

<b>Number 3</b>
Maryann had job training at Las Vegas allowed her to catch some UP stuff.

<b>Number 2</b>
Her first shot ever accepted in the database was a rare catch standard cabs on NS.

<b>Number 1</b>
This is her top shot and one of her favorites Metrolink in San Clemente.

We both agree on the 2000 being the catch of the year....And her view of the 2000.

JRMDC 12-31-2012 08:03 PM

Like Jon, I don't have many uploads this year, also 16 (one shot in a prior year). I did my hopefully customary outing to Hancock WV in the snow, getting a favorite shot (and favorite caption for sure):
And a new angle, previously blocked by WB tower, although I really should have taken a shot from on this spot years before with the tower, what was I thinking? :(
I tried out a new destination, the marinas at Neabsco Creek, VA, and tried some night/dawn train photography for the first time, for the most part, with my own take on light streaks (which I often don't care for at all):
Hmm, I see the dawn shot was taken just before New Years so wrong year, but I think of that group of outings in Dec-Jan as a set.

Then, I started spending time on the CSX Capital Sub, not that far from me but I have rarely gone over there:
The latter is also a summer solstice shot from the north side; another such shot is
My first reflection shot on RP, I think; not much viewed and I think it was one of those cases where it looks a lot better in person than on film, here the color range seems to be dull:
Finally, just a cool shot, the sort of thing I enjoy finding:
and... my last upload of the year (of a non-2012 shot, don't recall why I didn't upload it with the rest from that day), in which I decided to do a last minute e-holiday card on the 23rd, and then decided to upload to RP regardless of views just because I felt like doing it at that moment. So of course no one viewed it (cm'on guys!!!):
Overall, few outings, but I was frequently trying new stuff in one way or another, so rewarding other than quantity.

chench1536 12-31-2012 08:10 PM

Since I've been in college, my ability to get out and shoot consistently has been, how you say...limited. I did happen to get 12 shots on this year, much attributed to my month long trip to the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle). Even then, I did lot more documenting than actual rail photography. Anyway, here are my 10 best from 2012 on RP:

A snow squall in Marion produced some interesting material.



My first shot of MBTA's MP36 units.

A unique view of the MBTA subway system.

A different view of Steel Bridge in Portland.

A look down the 5th Avenue Transit Mall.

Probably my favorite shot from this year.

A rare sunny day in Seattle!

My new favorite vantage point in Boston, and a rare doubleheader.

We'll see if I can become any more consistent in 2013.

Tgranville 12-31-2012 10:14 PM

Here is my top 10 for the year.


asis80 12-31-2012 11:07 PM

Oh I guess I'll bite :











Ben Sutton

mark woody 12-31-2012 11:20 PM

My top 10 from most to least views.











My favorites of 2012



loomus78 01-01-2013 02:54 AM

A long October night at the Boyce, VA N&W Station which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2013 produced this scene as northbound 12R approaches.

Taken in August after exploring some different angles at Harpers Ferry, WV

Mance, PA in mid March and it was 75 degrees! I'm sure it was hotter in the cab as Q375 treks slowly up the hill after a traction motor blew and no pushers helping.

This one has been on my bucket list for quite some time. Glad I could finally cross it off.

Had an opportunity to get some night shots of the GCK/WM engines in Cumberland

The short line Winchester and Western on it's original line between Winchester and Gore, VA

Private Charter on the former WM Connellsville Extension

Old Reading Lurgan across the Yellow Breeches Creek near Boiling Springs, PA

The last weekend of the B&O CPL Signal bridges on the East End.

What could be the last Winter of the N&W CPL signals along the former NS H line between Hagerstown, MD and Front Royal, VA

Thanks for looking!


cblaz 01-01-2013 03:35 AM

As always, here are quick links to the previous years' threads: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2005 (no 2006 thread).

- Chris

cblaz 01-01-2013 07:30 AM

My Top 10 Best/Favorites of the 64 pictures (out of over 40,000 shots) I added in 2012, from 10 to 1:

10. Of course, the heritage gathering in Spencer, NC was one of the highlights of the year. Obviously, my favorite shot would be of all 20, but since mine's not on RP, here's another of my favorites, proving its worth sticking around to the very end of an event, to get peopleless shots of the two namesake railroads of NS.

9a & 9b. More heritage, this time out on the mainline. Even though I got all 20 NS heritage units at Spencer, and 5 of the 6 UP engines in North Platte a few years ago, I still want to get them leading trains. This year, I was able to check off one from each group, when I caught the PC unit in central PA after chasing the 765, and the Southern Pacific unit visited my backyard on a beautiful, but cold, November morning.

8. Moving to a new town in north Jersey has put me closer to a variety of new spots I never would have considered before, like downtown Newark. I was able to explore a little bit in 2012 and now I have a checklist of shots to get in the coming year.

7. Steam returned to a Class I mainline in Pennsylvania this year, with NKP 765 leading employee excursions out of Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. I was able to chase both the eastbound and westbound ferry moves between the two cities, getting shots of steam at some of my favorite Middle Division and West Slope locations.

6 & 5. Steam also returned in NJ, with the number of operational steam locomotives in the state doubling this year, to a total of 2, with the return of Black River & Western 2-8-0 60. We were able to catch her first movements out of the yard under her own power and on the last day of excursions in 2012.

4. This year, I got to enjoy one of the most ultimate photo charter experiences, 5 full days on the Cumbres & Toltec (after 2 days on the Durango & Silverton and 1 on the Rio Grande Scenic). I got a ton of good shots, which will hopefully make it on RP in due time, but here's one of my favorites.

3 & 2. Hurricane Sandy left a lasting impression on New Jersey, and luckily I was able to get out and document a little of the aftermath and recovery.

1. My favorite shot of the year was the ultimate right place, right time. After the heritage gathering in Spencer, we decided to overnight in Roanoke on the way home on Thursday. The next morning, while checking out all the hot spots before hitting the road, we caught NS shuttling the VMT's newly repainted bicentennial SD45 and three heritage units to the former station for a photo shoot with the NS photographer. On the way back to the museum for the weekend's display, the photo train rolled past the tower and some CPLs as a local pulled out of the yard, allowing for a shot of high-hood EMDs in 2012.

- Chris

Bob Pickering 01-01-2013 06:30 PM

Some really good stuff here.... Thanks for posting folks.

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