Steamscape: Cold Spring Hill. Amid a sea of fall colors, Mt. Washington Railway #2 claws its way up Cold Spring Hill with the noon-time steam trip, destined for the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast US, at 6,288 ft. above sea level. Cold Spring Hill is the first hill the train climbs after it departs Marshfield Station and it features grades that exceed line's average of 25%. As you see it here, the train is just about to reach the top of Cold Spring, where the grade will ease for a while. It will shortly be stopping for water at Waumbek Tank. If you tried to hike from Marshfield Station to Waumbek, it will kick your butt unless you are in very good shape. That stretch is about a mile of track and a thousand foot vertical climb. It's like doing the Empire State Building....by the stairs. Even at Waumbek, only 1/3 of the trip is done. This particular day featured a low overcast, which you can see obscuring the higher reaches of the mountain at the top of this photo. Although the summit of Mt. Washington is indeed in the clouds about 2/3rds of the time, that was not the case this day. When the crew returned from the noon-time trip, they reported that they broke out of the clouds in the homestretch, and things were actually sunny and beautiful up on top, with relatively light winds. I was really looking forward to riding the last trip of the day.
Landscape photography is difficult due to the challenge of combining good light and good scenery. Good railroad photography enters another level of complexity since it requires the first two while there is a train in view.