Oregon Steam Charters
For our first photo charter, we spent two days at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad with the Polson Logging Co. 2-8-2 #2 and the Heisler Craig Mountain Lumber #3 as our motive power. Both days were planned to feature both locomotives, but due to mechanical issues, the Heisler didn’t join us until toward the end of the first day. The railroad fired up a third engine, McCloud Railway 2-6-2 #25, but unfortunately, that engine had mechanical issues as well. The Polson #2 and its freight train put on a great solo show for the photographers at various locations along the line. The weather was mostly cloudy, so we saved the best locations for the next day when the sun was forecasted to come out. Our afternoon ended with all three engines lined up under steam in Garibaldi. In the evening, both trains met up and we had a great night photo session at a wooden bridge south of Garibaldi. We performed staged shots and run-bys with both trains during the night session.
On the second day of the OCSR charter, we had two trains, Polson #2 again on the freight, and Heisler #3 with a train of log cars. The morning fog lifted at the second photo location and both photo trains performed run-bys under sunny skies throughout the rest of the day.
Our second two-day photo charter took place at the Albany & Eastern and featured Santa Maria Valley 2-6-2 #205. The first day of the photo charter featured the steam engine pulling flat cars with large logs loaded at a local mill. Our photo train traveled the Mill City branch and performed several run-bys at locations that can’t be reached by road. The owner of the railroad brought out his vintage truck and the GM also bought out his horse to help enhance one of our locations where a covered bridge runs parallel to the railroad’s own bridge. It was cloudy in the morning, which worked to our benefit so we could hit more locations that would normally not be shootable if the sun was out. In the afternoon, the sun did come out and we got a few more run-bys in at a wide-open field north of Lebanon.
For our night photo session, we staged the owner’s vintage truck near a large, wooden bridge. The photographers were treated to both staged shots and night run-bys at various speeds.
On our 2nd day, things got off to a shaky start, literally. A magnitude 4.4 earthquake hit while photographers were arriving at the depot. Some of us felt it while others were still driving and didn’t realize it happened. It was the talk of the morning.
In typical Oregon fashion, a thick fog rolled in at dawn and we didn’t get a sunrise. However, the thick fog gave us a very moody atmosphere to work with. After our sunrise location, we made our way to the street running scene in Lebanon. The railroad went all out and brought in a bunch of vintage vehicles. They also brought in a tent, space heater, and a porta-potty for photographers and vintage car owners. With a lot of cooperation from the local homeowners, we were able to clear the streets of modern cars and stage our vintage vehicles up and down the block. For the next two hours, we enjoyed photographing steam in street running, which is extremely rare. During a break from the steam engine run-bys, the railroad had their former Southern Pacific black widow-painted SD9 #5399 come down the street, much to the delight of some of the patrons.
After we finished our street running scene, we went back to the night session bridge and performed run-bys with the steam engine and the SD9. From there, we did several run-bys at the Lebanon depot.
Due to sun angles and traveling times, we opted to take the afternoon off and meet back up for evening run-bys. We were treated to a spectacular sunset with the sun setting behind the distant mountains while silhouetting the photo train.
The Albany & Eastern went all out for our photographers and we look forward to going back in 2024. The Polson Logging Co. 2-8-2 #2 will also be calling the A&E home, so we’ll have both engines to shoot the next time we return.