Busy Day on Pan Am Southern’s West End—ten new photos.

I’ve said it before, I’ll write it again: If you don’t make the effort, you won’t get any photographs.

Yet, there have been many times where I’ve driven up the valley of the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts and was rewarded with only pleasant weather and fine scenery; not a bad thing, but . . .

On the morning of May 28, 2016, an early start allowed me to catch five trains between East Deerfield Yard and the Hoosac Tunnel.

My familiarity with this railroad and the terrain gave me the insights to act, while some clever driving allowed me to make the most of the opportunities that the railroad provided.

It helped to have fine Spring weather, which aided in creation of some satisfying images.

An empty auto rack train was tied down on the siding between Soapstone and East Portal. I exposed this view using my Lumix LX7 with the HDR setting that combines three images exposed in rapid succession and combines them. HDR infers 'high dynamic range', which is one tool available to digital photographers for working in high-contrast settings.
An empty auto rack train was tied down on the siding between Soapstone and East Portal. I exposed this view using my Lumix LX7 with the HDR setting that combines three images exposed in rapid succession and combines them. HDR infers ‘high dynamic range’, which is one tool available to digital photographers for working in high-contrast situations..
The East Portal of the famed Hoosac Tunnel.
The East Portal of the famed Hoosac Tunnel.
I heard a whistle deep in the valley to the east. Curiously, this was a second empty auto rack train that was overtaking the train I'd photographed earlier. In the lead was Norfolk Southern 6900 which features a modern variation of the Safety cab. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 at East Portal.
I heard a whistle deep in the valley to the east. Curiously, this was a second empty auto rack train that was overtaking the train I’d photographed earlier. In the lead was Norfolk Southern SD60E 6900 which features a modern variation of the Safety cab. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 at East Portal.
I exposed this grab shot of NS SD60E 6900 as it roared by, moment before it entered the gloom of the tunnel. I adjusted the contrast in post-processing to make for a more pleasing image. Notice the profile of the locomotive cab.
I exposed this grab shot of NS SD60E 6900 as it roared by, moment before it entered the gloom of the tunnel. I adjusted the contrast in post-processing to make for a more pleasing image. Notice the profile of the locomotive cab. Panasonic LX7 Photo.
An eastward freight approaches East Portal.
An eastward freight approaches East Portal.
Once a week Pan Am runs a unit clay slurry train from the connection with Vermont Rail System at North Bennington/Hoosick Falls to Maine. This often runs with Pan Am locomotives.
Once a week, Pan Am has run a unit clay slurry train from the connection with Vermont Rail System at North Bennington/Hoosick Falls to Portland, Maine (symbol NBPO). This day it was later than usual. (So I’m told).
Pan Am 617 leads the clay slurry train eastward at Charlemont, Massachusetts. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan Am 617 leads the clay slurry train eastward at Charlemont, Massachusetts. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
While waiting for the clay slurry train, I was delighted to catch this westward move, Norfolk Southern symbol 11R that runs from East Deerfield to Enola, Pennsylvania.
While waiting for the clay slurry train at Shelburne Falls, I was delighted to catch this westward move, Norfolk Southern symbol 11R that runs from East Deerfield to Enola, Pennsylvania.
Trailing view of Norfolk Southern DASH9-40C 9258 at Shelburne Falls. (That's the Shelburne Falls trolley museum at the right).
Trailing view of Norfolk Southern DASH9-40C 9258 at Shelburne Falls.
I was looking for long sections of tangent track to best feature the effect of the clay slurry train which carries white tank cars full of clay used in the paper making process. Here I photographed it a Shelburne Falls (Buckland).
I was looking for long sections of tangent track to best feature the effect of the clay slurry train which carries white tank cars full of clay used in the paper making process. Here I photographed it a Shelburne Falls (Buckland). That’s the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum at the right.

Omya_cars_Shelburne_Falls_DSCF8067

Norfolk Southern 11R was held at Buckland. The next siding (Soapstone-East Portal) was occupied by an empty auto rack train. The only eastward freight I'd seen was the once-per-week clay slurry train. 'Do the math' as they say; there must be another eastward freight! So I drove as fast as I could (with in legal parameters) back up to the east portal of the Hoosac Tunnel. I arrived about three minuted before Norfolk Southern 28N (loaded auto racks) exited the mountain. Not bad for one morning's effort! (PS, it isn't always this busy).
Norfolk Southern 11R was held at Buckland. The next siding to the west (Soapstone-East Portal) was occupied by an empty auto rack train. The only eastward freight I’d seen was the once-per-week clay slurry train. ‘Do the math’ as they say; there must be another eastward freight! So I drove as fast as I could (within legal parameters) back up to the east portal of the Hoosac Tunnel. I arrived about three minutes before Norfolk Southern 28N (loaded auto racks) exited the mountain. Not bad for one morning’s effort! (PS, it isn’t always this busy).

Tracking the Light posts every day.