Freshly Painted GP38-2s on Jointed Rail at DeForest, Wisconsin
June 23, 2010—four years ago today—John Gruber and I followed CP Rail’s local freight from Madison toward Portage on a secondary line of the old Milwaukee Road.
Locomotive 4509, an Electro-Motive Division GP38-2 built in 1974, had endured the various changes in ownership and re-branding of the railroad, from Milwaukee, to Soo Line, and finally to CP Rail. Now, in 2014, this locomotive is 40 years old. Is it still working the former Milwaukee?
At the time of this photograph, I had just purchased my Canon 7D two weeks earlier and I was learning how to make the most of its technology. It took me about six-months to find ways to make optimum exposures using the built in histogram.
John Gruber and I went over to Madison’s Lake Monona anticipating Wisconsin & Southern’s (WSOR) road freight heading to Janesville. I’m working against a deadline, so I brought the laptop with me to read, write and edit, while waiting for the train thus making dual use of my time. John said, ‘You’re putting me to shame!’ All he brought was a camera.
After a 40 minute wait, we heard a horn sounding for a crossing. But it wasn’t coming Madison as we expected. This wasn’t the southward train, but the northward run! So 20 minutes from sundown a pair of SD40-2s crawled across the causeway. It was here that Bill Middleton made some iconic photos more than 60 years ago. John remembered, “His first published picture in Trains; it featured the Dakota 400 crossing the bay.”
I exposed a few slides with my Canon EOS 3, and a flurry of digital images with my EOS 7D. Then we drove over to WSOR’s Madison yard, where we found another freight ready to leave. I made a few photos with my Lumix LX-3 in the fading light.