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
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...