Sunday, February 22, 2015

SPSF: "Shouldn't Paint So Fast!"

Whenever I had to go down the I-5 from Portland to California for either business or pleasure, I deliberately planned to lay over at Railroad Park in Dunsmuir. It was about half way to the Bay Area, which made it an excellent place to enjoy a cool one, watch some mountain railroading, whilst spending the night in either a boxcar, caboose, or foreman's cabin, and enjoy good food in the Park dinning car.

For gawds sake - what more could a person wish for?

My companion and I enjoyed an old fashioned breakfast in the dining car at Railroad Park, and drove over to the station at Dunsmuir, arriving just in time to catch a northbound freighter.

This place is so wonderfully accessible and accepting of rail buffs, as long as you keep out of the way. I think some of these crews checked their make-up before the rolling crew change took place!

SP 8530 (SD40-2T) and her cohorts had spent the morning working up 2,000 feet (610 meters) from the Sacramento Valley, shoulders against the 1.3% gradient at Dunsmuir Station, 322.1 miles (518 km) north of Roseville, where a rolling crew change would take place.

The lead locomotive is a dash-T "Tunnel Motor." Tunnel motors were built to reduce shutdowns caused by overheating whilst operating in tunnels in mountainous areas in the western United States.

The locomotive is modified so that radiator-cooling air intake is lowered to the walkway level, and the cooling fans themselves moved under the radiator cores, instead of on top. Notice the "blanks" welded to the former intakes.

The paint scheme, combining yellow, red and black, came to be called the Kodachrome paint scheme due to the color's resemblance to those on the boxes that Kodak used to package its Kodachrome 35mm slide film, which favored by rail fans of the time because of slow ASA and crisp color accuracy.

On July 24, 1986, the merger between Southern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe was formally denied. But so confident that the merger would be approved, approximately 306 AT&SF locomotives, 4 AT&SF cabooses, 10 AT&SF slugs, 96 SP locomotives, and 1 SP caboose were painted in the new "Kodachrome" paint scheme. Spacing was left to add either "SP" or "SF" on rolling stock when the merger was approved!

The two railroads made a frantic effort to repaint locomotives in their standard paint schemes when the merger was denied. Santa Fe repainted all Kodachrome's still on roster by 1990, though some engines "escaped" - were sold, in Kodachrome "SF," scheme!

Rail fans joked that "SPSF" stood for "Shouldn't Paint So Fast!"

12,800 hp on the nose, another 9,000 hp on the rear!
Once the crew change was executed, the northbound crew faced a grueling climb up through 2.1% at the Cantera Loop past Mt. Shasta to the Cascade Mountain Crest at Grass Lake, elevation 5,073 ft (1,546 meters) at MP 368.5. Thence across the Moduc Plateau to Klamath Falls, ascending the Coast Range at Willamette Pass, continuing north to Eugene and Portland.

Railroad Stuff:
• Southern Pacific 8530, Built as General Motors SD40-2, 3,000 hp (2,237 kW), December 1978. SN: 786174-32. Modified as SD40-2T, April 13, 1991. Became UP 8836, 9/1996. Retired 2001.
• Southern Pacific 9686, built as General Motors GP60, 3,800 hp (2,800 kW), March 1990, SN: 8960022. Became UP 1988, 9/1996. Retired 2001.

See Also: 

Google Railroading, analyzing the Cantara Loop.
Robert Morris Photography features a treasure trove of Southern Pacific at Dunsmuir, they way we wish to remember it!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Report Card

Back in November 2014, Food Channel's "Restaurant Impossible," hosted by Robert Irvine, undertook renovation and upgrade of Zoog's Caveman Café in Port Hadlock, Washington, ~ 15 minutes from my home.

As a retired Instructional Designer and videographer/producer, I was anxious to visit the location; to witness a multi-camera shoot, and meet Robert Irvine.

Thwarted on both counts.

The Food Channel made sure security was tight and the set "closed" to all but "credited press."

However, I did manage to cobble together and publish two articles:

•  Restaurant Impossible!
•  Restaurant Impossible!: Zoog's Relaunch.

Patrick Sullivan of the Port Townsend Leader recently published a detailed follow-up, which I euphemistically sub-titled "Report Card, " giving us a exceptional behind the scenes look at a "Restaurant Impossible" episode, shot here in our back yard. The emphasis is mine:
Reality TV shows are, by definition, a mixture of "reality" and "artistic license." The challenge for reality program producers is; how do we make something as mundane as digging a hole for gold exciting and suspenseful.

Some are more effective than others.

For me, the "law and order genre" are more accurate in their portrayal - the producer cannot stop the chase or arrest an yell for "Take 2!" On the other hand, as with Zoog's cited above, stretching and bending reality seems to be intrinsic in the creative process.

I find the most egregious reality programs are the "House Wife's of xx" series. How many of you remember your mom traipsing around the house in high high heels, boobs flapping, with a glass of designer wine in hand?

The only series worse than House Wives is Duck Dynasty, a gross waste of production time, effort and expense.

Years ago, my video production company got involved with members of the pioneer reality program, "Cops" whilst it was being filmed in Multnomah County, Oregon.

Our production company was in the midst of producing a series of Hazardous Materials training programs for First Responders, when we go involved with John Bunnell at the Multnomah County Sheriff's office.

In a conversation with his staff, the question arose, "what do you do with your clothing that becomes contaminated at a drug house bust? "We simply throw them away," was the common response.

After spending time with our producers and fire training officers, they quickly switched to wearing HAZMAT clothing and adopted appropriate decontamination processes!

For the most part, I've ceased watching the majority of "reality TV."

After all, how many crabs does it take to fill a vessel?