A Better Attitude

Steve burst into the kitchen, slamming the screen door behind him. As he stomped past his mother, up to her elbows in greasy dishwater, she cried out, “Hey! Improve your attitude!”

I’m not sure if this exact scenario ever occurred, but my parents told me on several occasions to “improve my attitude” when I was throwing a fit about something that had gone wrong. Usually I was mad about someone who had wronged me, or some situation that seemed entirely unfair to me. Probably my parents wanted me to be quiet, but they also wanted me to gain a little perspective and realize that things weren’t so bad after all.

I was thinking about that recently as I was travelling from Fredericton to McAdam, New Brunswick to do some night photography at the historic station in McAdam.

It was a beautiful late summer night, with clear skies and a mostly full moon. Conditions were ideal for some station shots with a backdrop of stars.

As I was driving toward Harvey, roughly midway between Fredericton and McAdam and the point where the NB Southern Railway crossed the highway, I was dreaming that I might be so lucky to catch a train in McAdam.

Descending the hill into the heart of Harvey, I was surprised to see the crossing lights flashing and an eastbound train thundering through the sleepy town. I stopped short of the crossing arms and jumped out to take a few quick photos of the last few cars in the train. There went my chance for a train in McAdam.

I was initially annoyed that I didn’t see the locomotives – I really want to see one of the “new” SD70 locomotives that the NBSR acquired – but I quickly gave myself an attitude adjustment.

I was lucky to see a train at all.

If you consider the odds that the train would happen to be in Harvey in the few seconds that I was near the crossing, it was a stroke of very good luck that I caught it.

With that “new and improved” attitude, I continued on to McAdam to secure some decent night photos.

Thanks, Mom and Dad , for that important lesson so long ago.

8 thoughts on “A Better Attitude”

  1. I was just in McAdam last Sunday afternoon. I had seen photos of the station and wanted to see it and since we were on our way to Grand Falls decided to stop there. As luck would have it a crew was just climbing onto a CP inspection train headed to Saint John. An eastbound freight had just arrived but couldn’t find a spot to shoot it as there were no access roads at the east end but did catch a glimpse of the two green SD 40’s. Just wish the station had been open. Hope you share your photos of it.

    • Hi Don, I’m glad you caught the CP inspection train! Good catch indeed.

      The station is magnificent and well worth a visit; I’m glad you made the effort.

      I will share my night photos soon.

  2. That’s always such a powerful lesson and that always serves us well. It’s so easy to get lost in our plans that we lose sight of our opportunities. It sounds like the chase worked out in the end and I’m looking forward to seeing the photos.

    And, I totally need to spend more time railfanning in New Brunswick.


  3. I would love to say I have the same attitude when I happen across a train mid-train. Seeing as how I often go months without seeing a true mainline freight, I do find I sometimes opt for a miserable attitude when I miss the head end. But then, when life hands you lemons, I always consider rolling stock. There’s always something to shoot on a train. I guess that’s the most positive I can be.

    • I hear you, Michael. When I lived in train-less Fredericton, when I happened to stumble across a train, missing a train’s head end meant missing any chance of seeing locomotives that day. Disappointing for sure, but you make lemonade where you can.


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