Grab Shot: Conrail November 1984.

Here’s another gem from my Conrail files. I have tens of thousands of Conrail photos, many of them exposed in black & white.

This image caught my eye. November 1984 was a busy month photographically, and I exposed almost all my photographs that month with an old Leica 3A. (My original camera had suffered a failure, so I was using one of my dad’s.)

This was exposed mid-month, probably on a Saturday. I was traveling with some friends. We’d seen Conrail PWSE (Providence & Worcester to Selkirk, New York) working the old Boston & Albany yard in Palmer, and were heading west to find a location.

The train got the jump on us, and there was a panic as we saw the train racing west behind us: “There it is!” I made this grab shot looking down the road at North Wilbraham toward one of the few grade crossings on the B&A route west of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Conrail PWSE races across the grade crossing at North Wilbraham, Massachusetts in November 1984. Exposed on 35mm black & white film using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summicron. Photo cropped to eliminate unnecessary foreground.
Conrail PWSE races across the grade crossing at North Wilbraham, Massachusetts in November 1984. Exposed on 35mm black & white film using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar. Photo cropped to eliminate unnecessary foreground. Notice my careful placement of the locomotives in relation to the trees and poles.

For me this captures the scene. North Wilbraham isn’t the most salubrious environment, but so what? Not every place is a park and it shows the way things were in the mid-1980s. I can hear ‘The Cars’ (Boston band) playing on the radio.

Need a close up of Conrail’s B23-7s? I have lots of those too.

Now wouldn’t this have been a cool angle 40 years earlier with one of Boston & Albany’s class A1 Berkshires hauling freight under a plume of its own exhaust?

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