For my 1,000th picture on RP.net I really wanted to do something a little special. Just about every Montreal River photo I ever took on the ACR/WC had a little story to go along with it due to the remoteness of the location and the usual difficulties that went along with getting there. On this bright fall day I had departed my home in Trout Lake, MI at 5:30AM. That was normal procedure when heading up to do the morning passenger trains departing Sault Ste. Marie. The forecast for today called for sunny in the morning with increasing afternoon cloudiness. Everything seemed to point to a great morning with the possibilities of getting zapped by a cloud in the afternoon. The plan for the day was as usual to follow train 3 as far as Searchmont, double back to Heyden for train 1 and follow it as far as Searchmont. Then I would head back to the Soo to get the HC job that normally departed mid-morning for Sudbury and follow it east to Thessalon. Then head back to Searchmont to take a nap, read the paper, and await the southbound passenger trains, if the weather held. All was going according to plan as I followed train 3 the canyon tour powered by 5 F's north to Searchmont. I then returned to Heyden and set up for train 1. On this day the Hearst job was powered by an Ex ACR GP38-2. I made my way north following along until Searchmont. The train made an increasingly rare stop at Searchmont to pick up a few northbound passengers. I walked over and the Conductor who I was fairly well acquainted with struck up a quick conversation and he began to needle me about buying a ticket to Montreal Falls to set up and shoot the southbound canyon tour that was powered by the 5 F's on the big bridge. I was more concerned with the weather situation than the $40.00 for the ticket and he put my mind at ease by radioing number 3 that was by then near mile 92 and getting a sky condition report. All was reported clear at the time and not a cloud was to be seen farther north. Inspired I bailed on and was off on the ride north. As I was getting off at Montreal Falls the Conductor on #1 told me to enjoy my wait and that he would tell southbound train 4 to make sure and drag his feet on the bridge and also to make sure they crossed while the sun was fully out so I didn't get zapped with a small cloud after all this trouble. He also told me he would let #2, to make sure they picked me up going south. After I arrived at the Falls I was struck by the fact that while every other time I had been there I had normally never seen more than a couple people, but on this day it seemed there were people all over the place. I kind of kept my distance and made my way up the road that ran up to the overlook where I set up my shot. Before long a couple ladies about 10 years older than me made their way up to my location. It seemed on this particular day a retirement party was being held for one of the power company workers and being I was there I was invited to the party. I respectfully declined as I didn't want to miss my photo. They disappeared and soon were back with drinks. Before long I had about enough, and was beginning to wonder if I could even focus on getting the photo. Soon thankfully the tour train showed up with 1756,1751,1754,1755,1753 leading 25 cars. As promised the train crept across the bridge in perfect sun. I staggered down to the south end of the bridge and awaited #2 for the ride back to Searchmont. As soon as I was on the train I dozed off and in what felt like no time I was being shook awake and told a mile until Searchmont. I never forgot this day as it provided me with one of my best photos plus the added benefit of attending what what was probably the biggest(and only) bash in Montreal Falls in years!
Photos by some of the best railroad still photographers in North America. These photographers must have a significant impact on the art form and have been shooting (or shot in the past) for at least 10 years.