Watching trains is a spectator sport, maybe?

Be it either in-person or online.

Amtrak has 2 trains a day stop at La Plata, Missouri, about 80 miles from my home. There is a eastbound SWC in morning & westbound in evening. Amtrak's Southwest Chief goes between Chicago and Los Angeles by way of Kansas City, Missouri, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Flagstaff, Arizona, among other stops.
A YouTube channel named Virtual Railfan has web cameras at station at La Plata, which is on BNSF's tracks.
BNSF is result of a 1990s merger between Burlington Northern, itself a result of mergers, and the famous Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe.
YouTube live feed pages offer a chat function and quite a group of regulars shows up on LAP's chat. Some people live in the town, which has a small college nearby. Some like me live in the general region. And people around the US and the world show up to chat, India, Brazil, UK, Germany, Japan, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, are some places I remember people saying they are from.

Unlike this morning, freights on the other main of the 2 track mainline do not normally stop while passenger train is at station.
This morning they overshot the platform a bit and the sleeping car passengers had to go across the street!

And finally, back to watching trains, "railfanning", being a spectator sport, note the one fellow with cup of coffee and the lens of a DSLR visible near his elbow. There is a group of regulars who come to watch the trains. Also is a model railroad club occupying part of the depot building.

As you can deduce from the morning shadows, depot, station, whichever term you prefer, is on north side of the tracks.

Also popular in the chat are the feral cats who come out at night. The trains don't scare them away, they just sit until the trains pass.

There is a building across the tracks which houses a business for train related party supplies which is run by the couple who are also the primary station agents, Bob and Amy. She can be seen on platform as freight starts and passes.

The chat group has a core of regulars who are almost a family by now and last year a member from southern California was riding the SWC from LA to Chicago and planned to layover and visit in La Plata, so of course the So Cal gal arrived right in the middle of the heaviest snow of the season! :woot: And the viewer count for her arrival was a record high in the multiple thousands!

Some of the freights will have notable loads at times. A couple have been high-wide loads of excavation machinery parts, and once an entire subway maintenance train was transported as a load on flatcars. At least once there was a load of wind turbine generator parts.

Is nice on a PC to pause the video, tap the PRT SCR key and save a screen shot for modeling reference.
Quite handy on the YouTube video itself is the now extended "rewind" function which was recently increased from going 4 hours back to going 12 hours back.

There is a fixed camera looking east, one looking west, and at a point just a bit east of the station where a defunct railroad used to cross over the present tracks, a 360 degree camera with moderator controlled pan and zoom.
It does a nice job of setting the scene.

A bit about the station/depot building,

The La Plata Amtrak station is a restored Art Deco style depot constructed of wood and brick. The original passenger and freight depot, built in 1887, was in need of replacement during World War II, but building materials were not readily available. In 1945, after a fire burned portions of the building, the interior and exterior were remodeled and modernized in the popular Art Deco style. The remodeling actually preserved the original building within the inner and outer layers.

The station declined gradually until 1996, when a coalition of the Friends for La Plata Preservation and the NEMO Model Railroad Club began renovating the building exterior. Through volunteer labor and money from individual donations, this work was completed in 2001; the interior has also been gradually restored.

Funding for the restoration work was obtained through a variety of sources: $2,500 for technical assistance from the Great American Stations Foundation; $41,000 through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TEA-21 program, which was administered through the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission and required 25 percent matching funds; $24,250 from the Missouri legislature; and $14,000 in private donations raised by the Friends of La Plata Preservation, including $7,000 from the Surbeck Charitable Trust.

Upkeep of the station is now shared between Amtrak and the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF). ...
For other station interior photos see,

And, finally, a different topic in a different location, i'm going to tell you that this trackwork video is worth 12 minutes of your life: it begins with the workers having a pre-dawn meeting and stretching exercises.

Diamond Replacement - Deshler, OH - Time lapse!
88,176 views • Sep 17, 2018
Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for! Fascinating in real time, but more even memorizing in time-lapse. Amazed at the speed at which this crew worked, great job! Less than 6 hours before the first train runs....

amtk1.jpg amtk2.jpg amtk3.jpg amtk4.jpg amtk5.jpg


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