A Visit with Jim Shaughnessy and West Warren Then and Now.

My Visit with Jim Shaughnessy—February 2016.

The other day Jim Shaughnessy invited me over to look at some photographs.

Over the years Jim has contributed many excellent images for my books. I’ve lost track of the many different books of mine that feature his work, but at least 20 titles.

Presently, I’m gathering material for a detailed look at the Boston & Albany and Jim has hundreds of images of the B&A route in the New York Central and Penn Central eras.

Personally I find these photographs fascinating. Decades before I found the B&A and made photographs, Jim had been there to explore many of the same locations.

Jim holds up a photograph that he made of the westbound New England States at West Warren in 1970. The PC E-unit is long gone but the waterfall and old mill buildings survive.
Jim holds up a photograph that he made of the westbound New England States at West Warren in 1970. The PC E-unit is long gone but the waterfall and old mill buildings survive.

Compare the above view with a photo I made on December 28, 2015 of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited at the same location.

Amtrak 449 The Lake Shore Limited passes West Warren on December 28, 2015. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Amtrak 449 The Lake Shore Limited passes West Warren on December 28, 2015. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

In the 45-year interval between images, the railroad was reduced from directional double track to a single main track and the old road bridge over was replaced with a modern span that is slightly higher.

In recent years, CSX has undercut the line and cut back much of the brush along the right of way.

Jim’s Penn Central photo is just one of the many I’ve borrowed for consideration in the B&A book.

While I was visiting Jim, my friend Dennis LeBeau phoned from East Brookfield and set up the next day’s adventure which has ties to the B&A project among other things. Stay tuned for more!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

4 thoughts on “A Visit with Jim Shaughnessy and West Warren Then and Now.”

  1. My favorite memory of Jim was many years ago up at the late but great Colonie Shop of the D&H. Sometime 1967-71, during one of those fondly-remembered times when a friendly management was in place and you could have run of the area simply by signing in and borrowing eye protection and maybe a hard hat. Apparently someone alerted Jim that there were railfans in the area and after about a half hour of taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the massive main building someone came up to us and told us to “go to the north end doorways and look for a red Ford Galaxie – the guy has a bunch of books and photos for sale that you might be interested in.” Sure enough it was Jim, who I recognized through photos I’d seen of him. He had the trunk lid of his sedan opened and his portable store was ready for business. My first good railroad book was his “The Rutland Road” that I had received on my 14th birthday – one of the earliest books of that style of combining photos and historical documentation with a well-written text. I told him how much I enjoyed that book and suggested that I sure would by a similar one on the New Haven Railroad if he were to produce one. I did purchase a few postcards and prints that day, but meeting him certainly made an enjoyable day even better.

  2. Brian, I have the scanned Image of the B&A passenger train WOLVERINE, detoured on the B&M in 1955 due to flood damage on the B&A it’s an official B&M photograph, made by B&M’s publicity director GEORGE HILL, and shows the train leaving North Station behind two NYC E-8s. Contact me if you think you need it. You might also contact WAYNE D. HILLS of Wilmington MA. His Father, the late Donald G Hills, took a few pix of B&A passenger trains detoured over the B&M. Of course the defying photo of this (perhaps you’ve seen it) is a Shaugnessy shot of the westbound NEW ENGLAND STATES, blasting out of the West Portal at North Adams.

  3. I met Jim in the fall of 1964. He was signing his D&H book at the old RPI model RR on a Friday evening. He added some ballast to the yard tracks by flicking the ash off of his cigar.

  4. Great comparison, Brian. I’m looking forward to your book on the B&A and I know how pleased Bob Buck would be! Keep up the good work.
    Dave

Comments are closed.