Old 11-18-2006, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Whats the fascination with...

What's the fascination with clean locomotives? I've seen many posts in the forums as well as many comments and remarks on photos in the DB regarding clean locomotives. Maybe I am missing something, but I've always believed that freight railroading was a dirty job while passenger trains were suppose to look spiffy (not only in the steam era). Personally, I'd rather see a diesel that looks like its actually been working rather than one that looks like it should be on display at a museum. Is there something I am missing here? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2006, 11:57 PM   #2
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Steam engines look good when gritty and dirty - diesels, well, it depends on the paint scheme. There would be no point in painting an engine in any other color then black unless it was meant to be seen clean.

One exception to steam, take the SP 4449 - that wouldn't look right dirty!

Regarding diesels - I have had more then my fair share of UP photos tossed into the shoebox and locked away due to the grime on the engine. When a diesel is painted in a bright color with a descent logo but shows up dirty you loose contrast and brilliance in an image. One possible exception to this for me may be a switcher or "non-flagship" mainline engine.

Note - the "Wash me" was Photoshopped in.
I was not happy when this guy came into my frame!


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Old 11-18-2006, 11:57 PM   #3
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I don't know. I like them dirty, too. SP was great for this back in the good ole days.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kV
I don't know. I like them dirty, too. SP was great for this back in the good ole days.
You mean, black in the good ole days?

Here, just for you and Andrew, here's a shot that is straight from my "dirty shoebox", in time, as BNSF continues to paint everthing under the sun orange, I will begin to really appreciate this dirty diesel. Had the weather been more cooperative, I think the photo could've escaped the "box".

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To view some of my cleaner engine photos click right Here
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
When a diesel is painted in a bright color with a descent logo but shows up dirty you loose contrast and brilliance in an image.
Good point, but while you may lose the brilliance in the photo you gain much more, powerful feeling. Again, this is just my opinion, but photos stop action (most of the time) so you make up for that with the dirty showing its not just a static display.

Quote:
I was not happy when this guy came into my frame!
But...but...but...you were in the mountains. Aren't there tunnels and tough grades in the mountains? In a photo that shows those mountains, dirty engines would be fitting regardless of the scheme and regardless of if there are even tunnels on that line. I think the two just go hand-hand.

This is all just another part of making the scene believable to me.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
You mean, black in the good ole days?

Here, just for you and Andrew, here's a shot that is straight from my "dirty shoebox", in time, as BNSF continues to paint everthing under the sun orange, I will begin to really appreciate this dirty diesel. Had the weather been more cooperative, I think the photo could've escaped the "box".

/Mitch
To view my some of my cleaner photos click right Here
Mitch,

That photo made my night. Its awesome!

As for the discussion, hmmmmm. I dont mind filthy engines, and I agree with Andrew that they can look powerful. I think this photo illustrates my point well.

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


For me, that engine has a cool "dont mess with me" look to it. What do you all think?

As an MRL fan, one must put up with filthy engines to appreciate them, as MRL helper engines are dirty, even though they wash them almost every other day. Still, I love F45s, no matter how filthy!

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Yet, something about a clean engine. I dunno. These come to mind when considering clean power.

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


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Old 11-19-2006, 03:30 AM   #7
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Clean's good for photo ops, but it's not a good representation of the lifestyle, IMO. I like the dirtier engines just to see what's written in the grime!
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:25 AM   #8
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For me i like the little dirty locos too as i can feel with the powerful in them specially if i saw them in frieght action.

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Old 11-20-2006, 04:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Clean's good for photo ops, but it's not a good representation of the lifestyle, IMO. I like the dirtier engines just to see what's written in the grime!
I prefer clean engines for picture taking, but you are correct about about remarks written in the dirt. One livery that I do not like much is this one

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 140513
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


it is too bland and shows up any dirt pretty quickly, I once saw a very grubby example with "also available in grey" written in the grime.
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:46 PM   #10
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I dont waste my time with dirty locomotives, i will not take pictures of them unless its like a SP locomotive, even that is not enough.

The reason being for me is that it takes the intensity and 'glow' out of the photo. The sun has no reflection and the dirty pannels just dull the photo, plus, i have the same rules about trains as i do cars, who takes a picture of a dirty corvette or a dusty dodge viper, its got to be clean to make the pictrure worth while.

I guess the way i see it is that railroads spend millions of dollars on paint, and paint design, why would you want to see them full of mud, grime and dirt?

It just ruins the picture and the brilliance. If its not clean, its not worth it.

Even SP looked super good clean, that bloody nose really popped next to the gray. It stuck out like a sore thumb when they were clean, but they got lost in the scene if it was full of filth. Look at some of Steve Schmollingers SP stuff to really see what i mean.

As far a UP goes, the dirt makes a huge differeance, the dirt ruins it.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
As far a UP goes, the dirt makes a huge differeance, the dirt ruins it.
No, the fact that it's UP ruins it...but to each his own!
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:42 AM   #12
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that true too, i think this is the first time we've both agreed on something. Dont get me wrong, i think UP's approch to the railfan community has been far more extensive then the others, for instance the Heritage programs, 844 and others, there paint scheme is by far one of the top ones (and unchanged may i add). But when i see dirt and grime all over the engine it sucks the life and fun out of it, it tells me that they have no pride in there fleet. It seems all they want to do is buy new loco's insted of taking care of there exisiting ones.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:24 PM   #13
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I think UP may be starting to work on keeping our stuff cleaner due to pressure from the employees. For me after climbing around on nasty filthy freight cars a nice clean warm dry locomotive is nice to come back to.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Lorenz
it tells me that they have no pride in there fleet. It seems all they want to do is buy new loco's insted of taking care of there exisiting ones.
Another case of labor vs management. WE care about how we look, but management could care less. They dont care if all we do is slap a yellow square on some old beat up SP junk or have to deal with filthy pealing old SD 40s that should have been scrapped 20 years ago. All they care about is making $$$$ and making new rules to fire us over.

UP is the best railroad in the country period, and we should look like it. Its a kick in the balls to see nice clean BNSF power on well mantained and managed right of way while sitting in some beat up old pos SP SD40.
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tåg
They dont care if [al]l we...have to deal with filthy pealing old SD 40s that should have been scrapped 20 years ago.
::GASP:: Bite your tongue!!!!


On a side note, I will say there are some very good points being made and naturally since I'm on the other side of the fence my rebuttal. Like I have previously stated, a photograph is more than just brilliant colors in full sunshine. Railroading is a 24/7/365 job no matter what the condition of the weather and locomotives. I'll agree that a dirty UP widecab rolling along the California coast on a beautiful spring day is not very appealing, but why isn't a dusty SD40 or any other engine in the desert? Isn't that what's out there? After all we aren't out trying to get UP publicity shots, I think the majority of us are to capture railroads in action, to tell a story regardless.

If I was running an ever-expanding railroad with power shortages, I think I would rather buy new locomotives and let the dirty one's keep rolling instead of risking not having anything available to make sure it's clean. Just my thoughts on that one.

I will again agree that it is great getting a freshly painted or washed engine from time to time for documentation purposes or if it's in a "clean" area.

Thanks for all the input so far, I didn't expect all these responses!
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
::GASP:: Bite your tongue!!!!


On a side note, I will say there are some very good points being made and naturally since I'm on the other side of the fence my rebuttal. Like I have previously stated, a photograph is more than just brilliant colors in full sunshine. Railroading is a 24/7/365 job no matter what the condition of the weather and locomotives. I'll agree that a dirty UP widecab rolling along the California coast on a beautiful spring day is not very appealing, but why isn't a dusty SD40 or any other engine in the desert? Isn't that what's out there? After all we aren't out trying to get UP publicity shots, I think the majority of us are to capture railroads in action, to tell a story regardless.

If I was running an ever-expanding railroad with power shortages, I think I would rather buy new locomotives and let the dirty one's keep rolling instead of risking not having anything available to make sure it's clean. Just my thoughts on that one.

I will again agree that it is great getting a freshly painted or washed engine from time to time for documentation purposes or if it's in a "clean" area.

Thanks for all the input so far, I didn't expect all these responses!
You need to get a photo of me hanging off the side of a scrapmetal gon at 3 AM in the driving rain, soaked to the bone, and trying to put together three more rails before beans. :P
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:49 AM   #17
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Well, I really dont have a preference. WC units look great clean, look good dirty, but cleanliness is good for some things. UP units, I dont really care, because they arent my favorite railroad, and I dont go and shoot them. Clean units are nice to see, but Im not that mad about having a dirty engine. A train is a train, a well composed photo *even if its another dash 9* is still a good photo. If people shy away from a train with a dirty engine, im not seeing the point in being in the hobby. But then Im a hypicrit(sp?), as i dont really give a rats ass about a CN unit.

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Old 11-22-2006, 02:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisconsinCentral
If people shy away from a train with a dirty engine, im not seeing the point in being in the hobby.
VERY WELL SAID!!! I was thinkin' the same thing to myself before, and you had the...well...you know to actually say it. I'm impressed! On the contrary that last sentence (which I excluded for your sake) was hyrocritical, oh well.
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Old 11-22-2006, 04:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisconsinCentral
If people shy away from a train with a dirty engine, im not seeing the point in being in the hobby.
Alec
It depends on what mode you are in:
1) Railfanning - anything goes - even a dirty UP engine with a lease unit up front.

2) Photography - as an art. You can keep your dirt.
Anyone here ever enlarge a full color photo of your favorite railroad engine with the door open, graffiti on the side and dirt obscuring the nose? (Sounds of crickets heard in the background).

3) Photography - as photojournalism. Anything goes, preferably in B&W where the distraction is less and the emphasis on the subject is more desirable then the emphasis lost on the brilliance.

For anyone who dissagrees - Please feel free to contact me regarding pricing for the two photo's I've posted above! I will be happy to frame them if desired!

; )

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Old 11-22-2006, 02:32 PM   #20
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Agreed, i guess i see railroading from the photography stand point, but i like your categories.
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:10 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
VERY WELL SAID!!! I was thinkin' the same thing to myself before, and you had the...well...you know to actually say it. I'm impressed! On the contrary that last sentence (which I excluded for your sake) was hyrocritical, oh well.

Hahaha, ya, well like you've said a few times, some things that look old, dirty, paint chipping, and maybe a new hood door somewhere , look really cool. Like ive seen a few people say "Geez, those SOO bandits are still rolling around, paint them already" I really cant believe someone would say that, when i love seeing the old MILW colors. And im only saying that about the CN because i wish for SD45s everday

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Old 11-23-2006, 02:00 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisconsinCentral
Like ive seen a few people say "Geez, those SOO bandits are still rolling around, paint them already" I really cant believe someone would say that, when i love seeing the old MILW colors.

Alec
You wouldn't like to see them painted back to the old MILW colors? I don't think so. Personally, short of that, they are fine as they are. However, I won't be looking for frames anytime soon!

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Old 11-23-2006, 10:27 PM   #23
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What about a dirty "Clean" locomotive.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=152692

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Old 11-25-2006, 02:29 PM   #24
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Here's another Dirty clean and the infamous "Wash Me". Then as a bonus "Super Dirty" engine.

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Old 01-03-2007, 09:38 PM   #25
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Looks like things are going to change on the UP! From the UP employee site:

Union Pacific is investing several million dollars in technology, facilities, hardware and equipment to clean its locomotives. New wash racks – including some that recycle water in areas where the natural resource is scarce – are improving the way dirt and road grime are removed from the units.

Keeping a locomotive clean is more than just a maintenance item.

"The locomotives pulling a train are Union Pacific’s calling card, because they tell everyone who we are," said Ben Crandall, manager-facility planning.

The project began in 2004 with research to determine the most effective and environmentally friendly way to wash locomotives. In early 2005, a prototype run-through wash rack was installed and tested at the Roseville service track. Following these tests, equipment and design specifications were developed.

The new wash racks use a three-phase system in which soap is first applied to the locomotive, followed by a "blaster arch" spraying high-volume, high-pressure water, removing the soap and dirt in the second phase. The final step is a fresh-water rinse occurring in the final rack. The entire process takes around two minutes.

During the first half of 2006, the Mechanical Department upgraded the North Little Rock and Fort Worth locomotive wash racks. Hinkle, Roseville and West Colton were to have new, state-of-the-art wash racks and water recovery systems operational by year-end.

In 2007, new wash racks will be constructed at Proviso Shop in Chicago and Settegast Shop in Houston, with Commerce in Los Angeles, Englewood in Houston and Denver to follow in 2008.

Additionally, extensive testing is under way to develop an environmentally friendly cleaner for use in the wash racks. The new soap was expected to be in use by the end of 2006.

The focus on washing locomotives includes a video detailing the proper procedure for hand washing units. Existing wash facilities are located at service tracks, where the locomotives will be washed every time they are refueled. Locomotives will also be hand brushed every six months when they are shopped for scheduled maintenance.

These investments should significantly improve the cleanliness and appearance of Union Pacific's fleet.
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