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PCC grain train in the Palouse
Mornings in the Palouse are well-known for the interplay of light and shadow amongst the hills that so readily identify the region. Incomprehensibly vast acreages of cultivated fields supply the grain products that feed a hungry nation; golden stalks chopped down to ground level are remnants of the summer's harvest, while the faint tint of green on freshly-tilled dark earth indicates the first growth of winter wheat. Tiptoeing through this incredible land is the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad's PV Subdivision, 32 miles of paired steel rails weaving through valleys and across ridge lines from Winona to Thornton. On the second day of autumn, engineer Larry peers into his mirror to see what lies ahead as he lifts a half-dozen loads up to the summit of the climb out of St. John. Visible behind the house on the far side of Pleasant Valley, less than a mile away by crow but nearly three by rail, the PV Sub continues its northward trek as it climbs back out of the valley, bound for the elevators at Juno, Sunset and Thornton.

(It took more than two years of effort and patience before I was finally able to put everything together for this image.)
A typical railfan would have shot the train zoomed in a lot closer. A typical railfan also would have missed the shot...

By showing the train in context, along with the grain fields that create the product the railroad hauls, Dave has, quite literally, given us the big picture.
 
Bob, you nailed exactly what my fundamental philosophy is for composing railroad images: Not to specifically highlight the train, but instead to show the train within the greater context of its surroundings. Every mile of railroad has a story -- why it was built, what purpose it serves, why it was built where it was built, et alia -- and it's impossible to tell that story if you simply take a "hey, look, it's a train" photo.
 
Great shot.  I am a '72 grad of Washington State University and love the Palouse.  When I attended WSU, the Palouse and surrounding area contained a myriad of branch lines that were hard to follow, even with a good railroad map.
 

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Rail Transport
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