Thursday, January 31, 2019

The observation cattle car

I mentioned the train yesterday. My last train trip I had the observation car completely to myself for nearly the entire round trip. No, you haven't seen any photos of that; they're part of the backlog and nothing really stunning jumped out at me as I was importing them. That's not to say it's not a stunning trip, just that photography from a train is really difficult.

For this trip you need to book in advance. Vacation is often about sleeping in, but not always. We wanted to get to bed a bit early, but there was this amazing sunset to watch. That's the view from the deck.


So this trip across the Alps I was mostly expecting to be alone in the observation car. Except, not. Firstly, was the bossy tour guid that wouldn't let anyone else board the car till his group was loaded, in the order as needed to be to fill the seats. Another couple tried to get on as they were getting it together and got yelled at.

The first hour of the trip is pretty blah, unless you like farmland. It reminded me of Fraser Valley. I was hanging out in the observation car, then as it filled up wedged myself into the railing at the end of the car. I unfortunately guessed wrong which side would have the scenery.

The car was swarmed by the tour groups. There was lots of jostling. If there was a body count limit for the car I'm sure it was exceeded. As each bit of scenery appeared, mostly out the right, people waved their iphones at it, trying to see between the heads. There were only a few of us with real cameras, and we all rolled our eyes at the show.

At one point, and I thought this was pretty funny because I wasn't involved, I watched one person wiggle their iphone around someone else to get a clear view out, and then someone dropped an iPad in front of it. I'm pretty sure I know what Cantonese swearing sounds like now. There was some pushing and shoving.

I mostly didn't worry about trying to get photos, and enjoyed both the scenery and the people watching. There were a few jerks about sharing. Some people having no sense of personal space whatsoever. There was an outraged 'Hey!' at one point and a minute later a girl stormed out of the car. One mom used her kid as a battering ram.

At the top of the pass all the tour groups left and the observation car was ever so much more civilized, though there were some grumbles when the staff cleared the car for the tunnel. There is a 8 Km tunnel, and for safety they want everyone in their assigned seats. Once we were allowed back in we got a chance to actually take photos.










Here we are in Greymouth for a late lunch at an excellent cafe. I'm sure the locals know not to come in when the train is there.


On the way back there were even fewer people. I spent much of the trip chatting to a couple of the other photographers, in between pointing out nice vistas and taking photos of them.



In the tunnel on the way back I got the idea for a reflection shot.

Much of it reminds me of Kamloops, but not all. There lots of lakes and rivers, and some serious mountains. I think doing the trip in the winter would make for some excellent snowy peaks shots. If you didn't freeze your fingers.


That's the front of the train going over a bridge with these huge fences on either side. The view between the slats is amazing! There was a cry of outrage when people saw that the first time. The people with actual cameras rolled their eyes and put the cameras down. the iPhone/iPad users kept filming.

On the way back we found out there is an actual reason. The winds can be so strong they could blow the train off the bridge, so the fence is actually a wind break. Who knew?

It was a longish day with nowhere near as much walking as usual so we were a little still stiff getting home, but we could sleep in today. Except I was up early and got this sunrise. Life is so hard.


1 comment:

  1. I am sorry to hear you are having such a hard life, with only an occasional lovely sunrise to soothe the pain. Cheers, Sean
    PS - well there is French to study - I will catch up another day

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