Today’s Post: Another Day, Another Bridge

Sculpting with Light: CSXT Eastbound Freight Emerges from the Cut at Charlton, Massachusetts.

 

I thought I’d follow up on theme of yesterday’s post: sometimes the infrastructure is more interesting than the train.

On the morning of February 22, 2014, I met Paul Goewey in Palmer, Massachusetts. We were on our way to Fitchburg. He tells me; “An eastbound train came through about ten minutes ago.”

“We’ll get that. Hop in.”

I know that from many years of photographing on the Boston & Albany route, it is easy enough to catch an eastbound after it’s passed Palmer. The railroad loops north through the Quaboag Valley to Warren. And after passing the Brookfields, it climbs over Charlton Hill.

By contrast, the Mass-Turnpike and Route 20 offer a much faster and more direct route. So we drove to Charlton posthaste.

Old milepost 57 (as measured from Boston, Massachusetts), located at the east end of the cut in Charlton. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Old milepost 57 (as measured from Boston, Massachusetts), located at the east end of the cut in Charlton. Canon EOS 7D photo.

I have a long favored location east of CP57 at milepost 57 (pardon any sense of gratuitous redundancy) where the line exits the rock cut constructed in the 1830s. In 2011, a new road bridge was built here to improve clearances on the railroad to allow for operation of taller double-stacked container trains.

A window of morning sun on the tracks was nicely illuminating the new bridge while leaving a good spot to feature the leading locomotive.

We could hear CSXT’s Q436 (Selkirk, New York to Framingham, Massachusetts) climbing Charlton Hill when we arrived. For ten minutes we listened to modern General Electric Evolution-Series diesels chug up the old railroad grade.

Then a headlight came into view. As the train exited the cut, I used my pair of digital cameras to expose a sequence of images featuring the new bridge.

A view with my Lumix: CSXT's Q436 exits the cut at Charlton, Massachusetts. Which is the subject: the freight or the bridge?
A view with my Lumix: CSXT’s Q436 exits the cut at Charlton, Massachusetts. Which is the subject: the freight or the bridge?
I made this closer view with my Canon EOS 7D. The Evolution-Serie locomotive has entered a nice patch of morning sun. A moment later the nose of the locomotive hit a series of obtrusive shadows that disrupted my intended composition.
I made this closer view with my Canon EOS 7D. The Evolution-Series locomotive has entered a nice patch of morning sun. A moment later the nose of the locomotive hit a series of obtrusive shadows that disrupted my intended composition.
Trailing view of CSXT's modern GE diesels as the descend the old grade toward Worcester. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trailing view of CSXT’s modern GE diesels as they descend the old grade toward Worcester. Lumix LX3 photo.
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