What I Did On My CRPA Vacation

A wonderful benefit of going to the Center for Railroad Photography and Art’s yearly conference is that it’s a great excuse to go to Chicago, meet up with some friends, and shoot trains. This year, I met up with Mike Johannessen (known for his excellent nighttime pans) and later in the week, Alex Lang, for some travel, excessive Dunkin Donuts consumption, and overall fun.

Every year, Alex and I endeavor to concentrate on one of the many aspects of Chicago railroading – in 2009 we shot extensively in northwestern Indiana, last year we shot one of the two remaining EJ&E “J Ball” units in Joliet, and explored that area’s many great spots. The focus this year was on documenting some of the disappearing searchlight signals on the former CB&Q and ATSF mainlines that point westward from Chicago, and to that end, we were very successful. Signal bridges still stand on both lines, and the trains (at least on the Santa Fe) were plentiful.

This was also the first year that I made an effort to shoot the CTA in downtown Chicago. Mike’s current passions¬† lie very much in the transit-at-night realm of railroading, and it was fun to be swept up into his world for a few days, as we spent two very late nights shooting the L from many vantage points throughout the city.

Here are some photos from my week in Chicago. Enjoy!