Union Pacific train schedules for photography

wsanman Nov 4, 2020

  1. wsanman

    wsanman New Member

    Hello, i'm a new member and this is my first post. I'm in Portland, Oregon, and I'm a hobbyist photographer, and occasionally shoot photos of trains. i have a photo I'd like to shoot of a train on the Union Pacific train on it's line on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. I don't mind waiting a bit for the train, but I was wondering if there are any resources online or elsewhere that show how often the train goes by, or even the time schedule. Can anyone help me?
  2. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

    While UP and other Class 1 carriers operate their versions of 'Precision Scheduled Railroading' - each has its own schedules that, ideally, are scheduled to their customers needs and benefit. Schedules are considered proprietary information and are not normally placed on the web. Contact rail fans in your area who will have developed their own understandings of how and why the carrier operates the way it does.
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    This is a common question from new hobbyists and the short answer is that freight train schedules aren't available to the public because of security reasons. You might find help from a Facebook page however, as local fans will message sightings when they are trackside. I'm not familiar with the train density on line you hope to capture trains on, but I'll bet someone here does.

    Stay safe trackside and good luck. There's a thread here with prototype photos and it'd be great to see your work. (y)
  4. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    Schedules are also not as closely adhered to, a train may be anywhere from 4 hours ahead of schedule to 8 hours behind schedule. The most critical trains are intermodal trains, they are typically closer to schedule or ahead of schedule. On the other end of the spectrum are bulk trains (coal, grain, potash, rock, etc) which, from the standpoint of the OP's question, don't have a schedule. They just run whenever the train is loaded and ready to go. Probably if you ask your local railfans if they know when trains come through or can find a web cam and observe when trains tend to come through (there is a pattern).
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    You'll likely find a few Facebook groups for Portland railfans. Even in my remote section of North Dakota, I'm on a few groups for BNSF, CP & DMVW train info. Watching train activity helps, seeing patterns of the style of train (manifest, intermodal, oil, grain, etc) and noting the time of passage is one way to learn. Another is to buy a radio scanner. This site on the net will provide channels by state, railroad and subdivision. They use AAR channels. Here's North Dakota's for example. https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=5771
    By listening to the radio, you can often hear train symbols or numbers, and learn where those trains go. You'll hear the dispatcher talking with crews, automatic defect detectors, MOW, track inspectors, and more.
    Hardcoaler likes this.

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