Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited East of Palmer, Massachusetts

 Difference of Decades

About four miles east of the center of Palmer (Depot Village) CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline passes a bucolic setting at the bottom of a broad sweeping field as it heads up the Quaboag River Valley. This is best viewed from Route 67, not far east of the split with Route 20.

One summer’s evening more than 30 years ago, my father and I stood out in the field to make a photo of Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited (train 449). Since that time I’ve returned many times to photograph trains.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited.
On March 15, 1986, Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited heads toward Worcester and Boston on Conrail’s former Boston & Albany main line. Exposed on 120 sized black & white film using a Rollei Model T equipped with an f3.5 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens.

I’ve paired two sets of images here. The black & white photograph was made on March 15, 1986 (‘Beware the Ides of March!’). The color images I exposed a week ago Sunday (July 14, 2013).

Among the changes to the scene over the years has been an increase in undergrowth. A more dramatic change was the recent installation of a voltaic farm (solar panels) on the northside of the field. This alteration has greatly changed the character of the place.

According to an article in a recent Palmer Journal Register, perimeter fencing may soon encircle the voltaic farm. Undoubtedly this progress will further improve the photographs made here beyond all previous measures of aethetic virtue.

Passenger train with voltaic farm.
Approaching CP79 (at the east end of the Palmer controlled siding)Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited—train 448, catches the golden glow of evening as it passes the field along Route 67 east of Palmer, Massachusetts. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 40mm pancake lens.
Amtrak with solar panels.
The recently installed voltaic farm adds a lovely rustic quality to this bucolic New England scene. Soon electricity will be pulsing from these panels to the electric power grid reducing all forms of polution in the region.