Another afternoon of railfanning began with confusion; I had spent the whole morning watching the ATCS to see when train 214 was getting close by. 214 was the catch of the day, with NS SD70ACe #1074, the Lackawanna heritage unit, in the lead. The railroad was dead otherwise, until suddenly a route is lined up for a train in Calverton to the siding at Gainesville. A "90Q" began calling signals coming North. Fascinated, as "9" series trains are work trains, I bolted for the car and raced down to my usual spot at Gainesville.
It soon became apparent that 90Q wasn't coming my way. In fact, it took me quite a while to realize that he had holed up in the quarry tracks at the B3, to wait for train 214 to pass. Frustrated after darting back and forth to the crossing at Wellington, I set up my shot at Gainesville for 214, which passed without much fanfare. Neither the picture nor the video turned out particularly well, but a catch is a catch!
After 214 passed, I heard the Crescent coming into Manassas, and figured it was worth shifting over to the Washington District proper from the B to see that pass. Instead, as I curiously went over the crossing at Wellington, I saw 90Q sitting on the main. WHAT?!?! Perplexed, I ditched my plans for Amtrak, and set up shot at the Balls Ford Road crossing. Patience paid off, as a truck lettered for NS dropped off a crew member carrying an EOT, who walked down to the train (which pulled forward to meet him) and then the train slowly edged over the crossing, being cautious that the gates and bells fully reactivated to hold back the confused motorists. Once the head end cleared the crossing, the train reached a decent clip heading into the siding, pulling a wide variety of M.O.W. gondolas, many of which were still lettered for fallen flags!
I intended to go back to Gainesville to set up shot for 12R and/or 36Q, but instead I was treated to 90Q's power stopping right in front of me, having dropped their train in the siding. Once the dispatcher threw the switch for them, the Dash 9 scurried backwards to reach the other end of its train. I stuck around in hopes of catching a manifest, or seeing 90Q leave the siding at Wellington, headed back to spend the night at Calverton, but the light was fading and the stomach was growling. Still, a worthy enough day of railfanning, if I do say so myself!
Incidentally, we also learned today that 16 megapixels is too large for a cameraphone to react quickly. Everything just ended up being blurry. Also, taking stills with my actual camera WHILE it's recording video... doesn't turn out brilliantly. Lessons learned, and applied!