Amtrak train named California Zephyr.

The California Zephyr

Amtrak train named California Zephyr.

This past Saturday I lucked out with a few hours to go out shooting.  The family had decided to take naps so I jumped on the chance to head out.  Sunday would be busy and offered little chance of getting out, so “seize the day”.

My original plan was to shoot the Tempe Arts Center.  Figured I would try for some sunset shots of it as it is a rather odd shaped building like most art centers.  Upon arriving I quickly saw that a wedding was scheduled to begin shortly, so that shot most of my plans.  Grrr.

With the arts center located on the Tempe Town Lake I decided to take a walk and see what would come my way.  As I strolled down the walkway I noticed an Amtrak train passing overhead.  Normally this would not of caught my attention except for the cars it was pulling.  These all had a vintage style and look to them.  Whoa!

The train was slowing as it passed overhead so I started running.  All the while hoping and praying it would come to a full stop just up the way.  As I rounded the curve I saw that the train had indeed stopped.  Woohoo!  I set up my tripod and started grabbing brackets as fast as I could for fear that it wouldn’t stay long.   One thing to know about trains and the people/security that run them.  They don’t like you on the tracks.  I was “ushered” away several times while getting my pics.

Eventually the passengers started deboarding the train and walking around.  I knew then the train would be here for awhile.  Ahh, time to slow down.  I spoke with one of the travelers and come to find out the train had started in California and was making it’s way to Texas.  They had stopped in Tempe for the Mumford and Sons Railroad Revival Tour concert that night.   How appropriate.

I finished grabbing my shots (and ducking security) and then took a few minutes to just enjoy seeing something like the Zephyr.  Luck was on my side, but I can make an argument for “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.  I’ll take it either way.

Until next time…

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  1. Great shot! Never seen a neon sign on the front a train before. The why this thing is built along with the sign gives it an almost steam-punk feel. Love it!

  2. Besides planes, trains are so cool to shoot. In my town the whole rail yard is fenced in so its impossible to get a decent shot without getting into big trouble.
    I really like the effort you put into this shot. It paid off big time. Great shot!

  3. Glad to know we’re not the only ones you might see running down the road to catch a shot… the hubby and I did that a LOT this weekend. Once to outrun a storm, but that’s besides the point. 🙂 Great shot!

  4. My grandfather was a conductor on this train many years ago. Thanks for sharing this, it brought back a lot of wonderful memories.

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