A View From Breakneck Ridge, Cold Spring, New York, August 1989


Amtrak Turbotrain Races Southward Along the Hudson

Amtrak turbotrain
An Amtrak Turbotrain works along the east shore of the Hudson River approaching the Breakneck Ridge tunnels at Cold Spring, New York on August 1989. The historic Bannerman Castle makes for a Rhein-like prop in the distance.

I made this view from a hiking trail on Breakneck Ridge along the Hudson River in August 1989. At the time my standard camera was a Leica M2 that I tended to use with Kodachrome 25. Turbotrains were standard equipment on Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains making for common sights along the Hudson.

While common on this route, Amtrak’s Turbotrains were an anomaly in American operating practice, making them an unusual and worthy subject for photography. These reminded me of the original streamlined trains of the 1930s such as Burlington’s Zephyrs, Illinois Central’s Green Diamond, and New Haven Railroad’s Comet. 

Today I’m happy to have a nice selection of these trains at work, but I regret not having traveled on them. I was always puzzled when my fellow photographers opted not to make photos of  them. Perhaps Turbotrains seemed too common?


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2 comments on “A View From Breakneck Ridge, Cold Spring, New York, August 1989

  1. Hi George, count yourself lucky! When I was at Passenger Train Journal, in preparation for an article on Amtrak’s Empire Service (or perhaps on the Turbo Trains themselves) we put out a call to our regular photo contributors that produced very few images of the trains. We ended up ‘plunging’ through my files to illustrate the article. Despite that, and the few photos I’ve used in books, most of my Amtrak turbo train photos remain unpublished.
    Brian Solomon

  2. George Hamlin on said:


    Like you, I also never rode on these trains, but was able to photograph them prior to moving away from the New York metro area in 1978, and occasionally after that. Like you, I’m glad to have the shots!

    George hamlin

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