Erie October Morning

Western New York & Pennsylvania HNME growls westward toward Columbus, Pennsylvania, shortly before sunrise on October 8, 2009. This was one of several locations where Erie maintained separate alignments for eastward and westward tracks. Conrail abandoned one of the lines in the 1980s, and today only one track remains.

Since the mid-1980s, I’ve made a project out of the former Erie Railroad. (See posts:  Curiously Seeking Erie Semaphores and Erie Semaphores Revisited). For more than two decades, I’ve examined the old Erie route on film, exploring its lines across its old network. While the Erie has been gone for more than half a century, the context of this historic property lends continuity to my photography, despite a variety of different modern operators. In addition to photos of moving trains, I’ve documented structures, bridges, as well as both active and abandoned lines. I spent a week in October 2009 photographing along the Erie between Hornell, New York, and central Ohio. On the morning of October 8, 2009, I followed Western New York & Pennsylvania’s westward freight HNME (Hornell to Meadville) from Niobe Junction to its terminus at the former Erie yard in Meadville, Pennsylvania. It passed Niobe Junction at 6:45 am, and my first photos that day were made in the early twilight. Speed restrictions on the line made for ample opportunities to photograph the freight as the sun brightened the sky. Changeable October conditions lent for a cosmic mix of low light and ground fog. Working with my Canon EOS 3s and color slide film I produced a variety of satisfying images that fit in well with my greater body of Erie photography.

Alco's in the fog.
At 8:14 am, Western New York & Pennsylvania M-636 637 (a former Quebec Cartier locomotive) and C-430 430 lead 17 cars west of Union City, Pennsylvania. Ground fog make for a stunning morning silhouette. This image appeared on page 70 of my book Vintage Diesel Power published by Voyageur Press in 2010.

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