CSX Freights on the former Boston & Albany in New York State.

Clear Blue Dome on May 17, 2013.

When possible I combine trips to take care of both business and errands, while leaving appropriate intervals for photography. Ideally, I’ll organizing my time so I can conduct business during the heat of the day, while leaving the mornings and evening free to make photos when light is the best.

Last Friday May 17, 2013 was a perfect execution of this philosophy. I’d arranged to meet my friend and fellow railway photographer, John Pickett at 10:30 am to review some material for up coming book projects. John lives near Albany, so I departed Massachusetts in the early hours and aimed to work the far-west end of CSX’s former B&A route west of the Massachusetts-New York State line.

My first location was State Line itself. This is conveniently accessed by a grade crossing within sight of the railroad’s state-line marker. I’d made a nice photograph of a Conrail eastbound here 25 years ago, and I wanted to repeat the effort with a CSX freight.

Mass Line
The former Boston & Albany mainline at the historic location on the Massachusetts-New York State Line on the morning of May 17, 2013.

Patience rewarded me with an eastward CSX intermodal freight, probably train Q022 (Columbus, Ohio to Worcester, Massachusetts), lead by former Conrail SD60M 8774. Since the line is a single main at this location, I moved west to Chatham, New York to wait for the westward Q019 (carries freight from Worcester to Chicago), and intermodal train that typically passes in the mid-morning. Along the way, I reviewed known locations, checking for places to photograph in the afternoon.

I was happy to catch this Conrail-era EMD SD60M leading at State Line. Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens.
CSX freight
Trailing view of the eastward freight passing the old State Line marker. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Chatham, NY.
CSX Q019 passes the former Boston & Albany passenger station at Chatham, New York on May 17, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.


Old B&A railroad station
Old Boston & Albany station at Chatham, New York. Lumix LX3 photo.


After 5pm, having finished my business with John (which incidentally included some photography along the Hudson River that will be featured in a later post), I returned to Chatham, picking a favorite location mid-way along the dispatchers controlled siding that extends east of town to the old ‘Bottleneck Bridge’ where the line crosses the New York State Thruway Extension. Here, I waited for the westward Q423 (Worcester to CSX’s yard at Selkirk, New York), which passed shortly after 6 pm.

An SD70ACe leads CSX’s Q423 at milepost QB173.7 east of Chatham, New York on May 17, 2013. Canon EOS 7D w 28-135mm lens set at 105mm. Exposed manually: ISO 200 f7.1 at 1/500th sec.

I consider myself very fortunate that in this situation my past experiences combined with an appreciation for CSX’s contemporary operations actually produced results. Not every effort yields ideal results; so despite planning and knowledge, I may have been skunked if trains didn’t show up when I anticipated them.


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