Fire up 610! Hey, if they could raise the millions to restore and operate Norfolk & Western 611....without a contract for a place to operate, surely someone could come up with the scratch to get this beast back in action. Well, we can dream, but for now, here's the next best thing. On the first night of our 2019 charter, Pete Lerro brought out his hot lights and the smoke bombs and for just a few minutes, the old girl looked like she was alive once again. It's very unlikely that the 610 will be anything more than a static display for the foreseeable future. For although it looks like she has a 25-mile railroad to run on, the truth is that the Texas State Railroad does not need a locomotive of this size and weight, and the wyes at either end would probably need to be reconfigured, as the curves are probably too tight for an engine with a wheelbase like this one.
Photographer's note: Looking at a photo like this one, folks might get the impression that creating the illusion of live steam with a dead locomotive is an easy task. Slap some lights down, touch off a few smoke bombs....take some pictures.....right? Well, not quite. Unlike a live steam engine, which vents steam under some degree of pressure, smoke bombs just create wafting clouds of smoke. It's just not the same. Add in a little wind and the result can look anything but realistic. In fact, on most of these deals, you have to shoot a ton of frames and hope/pray that one or two of them will ultimately look believable. Such was the case on this particular night, when I shot 81 frames, the vast majority of which ended up on the cutting room floor. Some are really good for a laugh. I think I ended up with perhaps 3-5 that I really liked.
This is dedicated (with permission) to the skilled and gifted photographer - Chase Gunnoe - who regularly posts and is on staff with RP. I believe he deserves a gallery showing of his remarkable work. This is for you Chase! (More great photos to come!)