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While y'all were at Winterail... The Railfan Experience

While y'all were at Winterail...

(Click photos to see a larger image)

KCS trains meet at Ponder
KCS trains -- both with run-through power -- meet on the BNSF at
Ponder, Texas on Winterail Saturday. (March 12, 2005)

In railfan circles, the second weekend in March is well-known as the weekend of Winterail, the annual railfan get-together in Stockton, California, featuring -- among other things -- the grand-daddy of all railfan slide shows. Winterail seems to be the standard by which all rail-themed conventions are judged, and the popular opinion seems to be that it's kind of the railfan version of Mecca: every fan should make the pilgrimage at least once.

As for myself, I have not yet been to a Winterail, though I hope to make it there someday. This year's date conflicted with other scheduled activities (my daughter's spring break, my wife's obligations at work) and fell neatly between two of my scheduled weeks of vacation. Thus, 2005 ended up being just another year that I couldn't go... a situation which brought to mind my favorite phrase by filmmaker Warren Miller: "If you don't go this year, you'll be one year older when you do." Indeed.

But all was not lost... here in north Texas, Winterail Saturday was a textbook example of one of our gorgeous, early spring days: temperatures in the 70s and plenty of sunshine. So as soon as I got home from work that afternoon, I loaded up my cameras, radios, and my son Matthew.. and we hit the road and headed for the tracks.

Here's what we saw. Enjoy, and maybe we'll see you in Stockton one of these years...


  KCS train CLAT on BNSF at Ponder   KCS train ATLA approaching Justin
  BNSF 5007 south of Krum, TX   BNSF 6360 south of Metro, TX   another satisfied railfan
  trio of SD40-2s approaching Ponder, TX   SP 163 leads MNEWFTW at Ponder

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