On Sept 1, I got the amazing experience to ride the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. This all began at the beginning of the summer when my brother asked me if I wanted to go because he got a deal on tickets and his wife gets motion sick so she could not go. So the planning went into motion. I found a baby sitter and started packing my gear. I had never shot a train rid before and I can only remember vividly 1 other train ride I had taken before. Needless to say I was super excited. The trip was going to give us a 4 hr lay-over in Old Forge NY so I had to pack light. I pack up my Rebel T2i sigma 18-50, Sigma 10-20 and a Sigma flash (I like sigma okay) Put them in my camera bag and stuffed that in a hiking bag with a swim suit, towel and my GoPro camera, I thought if I can mount it pointing out the window that would be cool.
Well the day arrive and I arose at 5:20 to shower and get dressed. At 5:45 I woke my sleeping toddler, something I never recommended, and carted him off to my mother-in-laws for the day. The day was going smoothly and for once I was actually on time. I arrive at the meeting point at the Mall in Syracuse. (I call it that because I have no idea of its actually named its changed and I cannot keep track) I was meeting my brother there because I was coming from Binghamton and my brother was coming from Rochester. The train was leaving from Utica so it made sense for use to meet and ride together that one leg. Well I get a message and my brother is running late, great I was hoping it would not be a waste of a sitter, even family isn't cheap for babysitting. Well long story short he picks me up and we make it to Utica at 9 am and the train leaves at 9:15. We get our tickets and meet up with two of my brothers friends who are Railroad enthusiast and we go to board the train. We sit down and I lament the fact I cannot open the windows to mount my GoPro camera to make a time lapse of the journey. My brothers good friend says “grab the GoPro and follow me” I do as asked and we exit the train car and go all the way up to the front engine. The conductor and engineer say hi and our friend asks if I can mount the camera in the cab with them. With a smile they say yes and I set it up. At this point I am as happy as a kid in a candy store. We take our seats and the train starts off. We chat and talk about trains and joke, usual banter for a group of guys. We then decided to get up and check out the open baggage car and look out through the doors. I snap some shots and it was fun. At this point we decide to hit the cafe car for coffee and a donut. We sit down in a table car which is right behind a really nice private car. We chat eat and banter some more. After a couple minutes a friend of one of our group asks if we want a tour of the private car. Why not sounds awesome. He takes us in and we get to see the restored wood and the sleeping cabins. It was beautiful. Then he shows us the “porch” and area with a railing on the end of the car open to the air. We walk out and it is right behind the second engine. It was exhilarating. We got wind and diesel smoke coming at us, it was loud and it was awesome. We are cruising through the mountains taking in the sights all around us until we arrive at the station. As we are departing the woman riding in the private car invites us to ride back with her since the people who rode up would not be riding back. We obviously accept.
At the station we depart and check out some of the other trains and cars they have as well as a classic car show in the parking lot. It was so interesting to see these pieces of American history around us (Well the some of the engines and cars may have been Canadian at one time but we won't hold it against them) Now came to the how to spend the lay over. I will cruise over that since this is about the train. Different friends of my brothers were at a cottage nearby and picked us up, we had lunch had some beers and went out on the boat, good way to spend an afternoon.
Back at the station I take some more pictures as our engine arrives and hooks up. We board and make our way to the private car. We sit down on the “porch” again this time there is bother behind us but rails and scenery. It was amazing. There is one crazy thing about riding there, the clouds look like they are chasing you and when you stop it feels like the rails keep moving. We had unrestricted views of the mountain scenery all around us. They even brought us beverages while sitting out there. I can now add and cross something off my bucket list, drink a beer while riding on the back of a train through the Adirondack mountains. I snap some more pictures and chat with our host and the crew. We decided to sit in the sitting room inside the car for the last half of the journey and it was very relaxing. We said farewell to our hosts in Remsen and continue on.
Upon arriving in Utica we bid farewell to the rest of the crew and climb into our car and head back to Syracuse. After a quick, late fast food dinner My brother and I depart and I head home. I make it home a little before 11pm and fall fast asleep.
This experience is one that I will never forget. The volunteers who work that line are absolutely the friendliest, knowledgeable and passionate people I have met. Photographically it gave me something new to try and it was awesome. I know I will continue to ride that train and as my son gets older it will be something we both do. I hope as you read this you think about taking a ride. My experience is not typical but being able to ride the rails and relive history is something everyone should experience.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad information
On the way up
At the Station
On the way back