Thunder in the canyon. After completing her epic journey to Ogden for the Spike 150 celebration, UP Locomotives 4014 and 844 take their special train back east, through Echo Canyon on the return trip to Cheyenne, WY. While the two locomotives have typically been running clean stack most of the time, we were treated to a little smoke at this location, as well as a little stack talk, making it pretty clear to those of us standing trackside that both steam engines were indeed being worked a bit by the UP Crew.
I'll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of chasing trains, and quite honestly, I was especially not looking forward to chasing this particular one. I much prefer a controlled situation, as is typical on a private charter, and this chase would be the antithesis of that......read STRESSFUL. The hype on the internet foretold of major traffic problems and a general mob-scene around the tracks and at least on the runs between Ogden and Evanston, the reality lived up to the hype. The tracks in this stretch run parallel to the interstate, and there always seemed to be a few folks who insisted on pacing the train, causing a major back-up for the still photographers who were merely trying to do speed limit, in an effort to reach photo spots down the line. With the State Police leading the pacers....and not making any effort to dissuade them, the result looked a lot like the pace car leading the field at a NASCAR race. Getting more than a couple of spots on the run from Ogden to Evanston required a lot of planning and a fair amount of luck. On this particular day, I chose to try for only 2 spots, flying on the wings of two friends, Andrew and Christopher Blaszczyk. These fellows had been chasing freights in the area during the time when 4014 was in Ogden, and had scouted this location as a great vantage point for a morning sunny shot of 4014 with the red rocks of Echo Canyon. It proved to be one of the best locations I saw during my trip. I fully suspect that we'll see this one in Chris' Top 10 at the end of this year. Thanks guys for letting me tag along to this spot. You guys turned what would have been a very stressful day for me into one that was very enjoyable.