Connecticut Southern Crosses the Farmington River at Windsor.

Here’s a follow up from Saturday’s post about traveling on CT Rail.

My CT Rail train had overtaken the southward CSOR freight south of Springfield. So when I got off at Windsor Locks, I drove to this location and waited for the freight to follow.

High water in the Farmington River made for a mirror-like reflection.

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Sugar Beet on the Move, October 2005.

The sun peeks through a laden sky after an Autumnal shower as Irish Rail V250, a sugar beet train from Wellingtonbridge to Mallow rolls along the Cork main at Shinanagh near Buttevant.

I exposed this view on Fujichrome Velvia100 using a wideangle lens.

My intent was to capture the dramatic light and textured sky.

This was to be Irish Rail’s final sugar beet season. The traffic ended forever in January 2006.

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Steam Trip at Killucan—April 2003.

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland engine No.4 approaches Killucan Cabin in the loop, as Driver D. Renehan leans out to deliver the train staff.

I made this view on Fujichrome Sensia slide film using my Nikon in April 2003.

At that point Killucan Cabin was still open as a block post and worked the level crossing gates (seen at right).

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CT Rail Hartford Line from Windsor Locks to Springfield.

On Monday February 4, 2019, I took a spin on CT Rail from Windsor Locks, Connecticut to Springfield, Massachusetts and back. The fare was a reasonable $4.00 in each direction and I bought my tickets from the fare machines at the stations.

Traveling by train presented an opportunity to visit with my old friend Jack May, who had traveled up from the New York metro area.

XT1 photo.
CT Rail train interior. Lumix LX7 photo.
Connecticut Southern freight seen from the cab-car of the Northward CT Rail train. I was riding in the coach and photographed through the windows. The freight is shoving back from West Springfield Yard in preparation for its southward journey toward Hartford.

Restored Springfield Union Station. Lumix LX7 Photo.

Restored Springfield Union Station. Lumix LX7 Photo.

I made a few photos using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras. It was a nice bright day! I scoped additional line-side locations from the train.

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Irish Rail Bubble Cement 26 May 2005.

It was a bright overcast afternoon on 26 May 2005, when I photographed Irish Rail 077 leading an empty bubble cement train from Conyngham Road in Dublin looking toward platform 10 at Heuston Station.

I made this photo on Fujichrome slide film using my Nikon F3 with 180mm Nikkor ‘prime’ telephoto lens.

The telephoto compression has the effect of making the distant mountains seem closer while foreshortening the appearance of the cement train, which makes the individual four-wheel cement wagons seem even shorter than they were.

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Steam and Strawberry Fair—County,Wexford, July 2001.

On July 7, 2001, I traveled with the late Norman McAdams to photograph an Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Strawberry Fairsteam special led by locomotive 171.

During the course of the day we caught this colourful excursion at a variety of locations on the Dublin & Southeastern route south of Dublin.

In the afternoon, typical Irish summer weather closed in on us, with heavy skies and haze.

I made this telephoto view of the northward trip at Killurin, County Wexford along the River Slaney. I opted to photograph the train at distance to show the full consist and the snaky track alignment.

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In the Shadow of the Hiawatha: CP Rail’s Former Milwaukee Road at Wyocena.

Trains Magazine’s Brian Schmidt and I were making the most of sunny frosty weather in central Wisconsin.

We arrived at Columbus to refuel.

Upon exiting the gas station, we spotted a westward CP Rail train making its way over the old Milwaukee Road mainline. Soon we were in rapid pursuit.

I navigated using my iPhone and we found our way to an open crossing near Wyocena.

“Hey, I know this place” I remarked upon arrival at Salisbury Road. “I caught Milwaukee Road 261 here back in 2004.”

As we waited for our westward freight, I imagined what it would have been like to see Milwaukee’s famous streamlined Hiawatha  race through at 100 plus mph.

Wow. That would have been exhilarating. An Otto Kuhler styled 4-6-4 in yellow, orange, gray and maroon. 

Before my time . . .

So we happily settled for a BNSF former Santa Fe SD75M leading two CP Rail units on a long drag freight.

Photo exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm pancake lens; ISO 400, Velvia Color Profile.

We were rewarded by a following westward freight a few minutes later, and then an eastbound! 

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February Sunrise and Headlight on the Horizon.

This morning, February 6, 2019, my photography began with this westward view at CP64 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

‘Headlight!’ I announced, as I watched the sun tickling the distant hills.

Exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

Paul Goewey and I anticipated the passage of an eastward CSX autorack train.

Sometimes the thrill of photography is that distant twinkle on the horizon and wondering how it will play out.

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Loram Ballast Cleaner on the Move: the ghost of an old GP.

What is that roar?

Brian Schmidt, Chris Guss and I didn’t know what to expect at Hamilton Road when we heard an old EMD grinding away up CN’s Byron Hill south of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

I still didn’t know what to expect when I first spotted a mustard yellow machine belching black smoke.

It was a Loram ballast cleaner on the move!

Now that was unexpected!

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Vintage Chrome: Millers Falls High Bridge—Then and Now.

You’ll need to click on Tracking the Light to see the vintage photo.

On January 25, 2019, Pat Yough and I were aiming to catch New England Central 611 on the Millers Falls high bridge over the Millers River. This stunning 1905 pin-connected deck truss has been one my favorite spans to photograph in Massachusetts.

New England Central 611 at Millers Falls, Massachusetts on January 25, 2019 Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 27mm pancake lens.

I made my first photographs of the bridge nearly 33 years ago: On May 14, 1986, I’d followed Central Vermont 447 north from Amherst (where I was enrolled at Hampshire College). The train was running at an abnormal time, which gave me the opportunity to make a late afternoon photo at Millers Falls.

Although I made some nice sun lit photographs on Kodachrome 64 of the CV GP9s and CN M-420 diesel working across the bridges, two problems vexed me and resulted in these slides spending more than three decades in the ‘seconds file’.

As the train rattled across the bridge, a huge flock of pigeons soared in the sky, which at the time ruined the image for me, since many of the birds looked like dark blobs that resembled dust on the emulsion. The other difficulty was more serious.

Central Vermont Railway 447 northbound at Millers Falls at 4:50PM on May 14, 1986.

I was using an old Leitz 50mm collapsible Summitar  lens which had a loose front element and had lost its critical sharpness. Although on a small scale the photos made with this lens appear ok, when enlarged they are unacceptably soft. I’ve electronically sharpened the photo here to make it more appealing for internet presentation.

Ultimately, I discontinued the use of the soft lens, but it took me several months before I recognized and accepted the problem, and found funds to rectify it.

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Dublin’s DART: Twenty Years Ago.

Here’s a late 1990s view on Amiens Street in Dublin in front of Connolly Station.

The 1980s-era DART electric suburban train isn’t remarkable; except for a nominal change of paint and end lights, these cars look much the same today.

However, so much else has changed, which makes the photo look dated, and fascinating now.

I exposed this Fujichrome colour slide using my Nikon F3 with 135mm lens, probably in the Spring of 1998, and no later than Spring 1999. At the time of exposure, the scene seemed so unremarkable, I didn’t bother to put a date on the slide mount.

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EMD’s Racing the Sun at East Northfield.

After catching New England Central’s local freight at White River Junction (featured in Friday’s Tracking the Light), I figured we had time to zip down I-91 to Brattleboro, Vermont and catch road freight 611 on its run south to Palmer, Massachusetts.

Rolling down Cotton Mill Road, I spied 611 led by five vintage EMD diesels pulling across the causeway south of Brattleboro Yard.

Pat Yough, visiting from Pennsylvania, wanted to try for a photograph at the Junction in East Northfield, on the Vermont-Massachusetts state line, so after a cloudy day photograph near Vernon, we overtook the slow moving freight.

Shortly before the train arrived, the clouds parted for a few moments, and a brilliant ‘sucker hole’ illuminated the tracks.

Working with my 18-135mm zoom lens, I quickly adjusted my composition to make the most of this sunny opportunity. And made several nice sunlit telephoto shots.

By the time the train rolled below us, the clouds had dampened the morning light. Yet, the chase was on . . .

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New East Deerfield ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ January 2019 Up date!

Over the last two years, I’ve posted progress on the replacement of the McClelland Farm Bridge over the west end of Pan Am’s Boston & Maine East Deerfield Yard near Greenfield, Massachusetts.

See: December 2018 Update

A visit toward the end of January 2019 found the new bridge open to traffic in both directions and nothing left of the old bridge except the concrete bridge piers.

New photographer-friendly fences were in place on the west side of the bridge, while temporary chain-link fences were on the east. Presumably these will be replaced as the new bridge reaches completion.

Photographer friendly fences in place on the west side of the bridge. It is easy enough to take photos from between the fence posts and the new sidewalk (footpath) is a welcome change. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view over the chain-link fence looking East toward the yard and the abutments of the old bridge. Lumix LX7 photo.
Although it isn’t a pretty picture, this shows the temporary chainlink fences on the east side of the new bridge along with remaining vestiges of the old ‘Railfan’s’ bridge, where so many photos were made over the years. Lumix LX7 photo.
Looking along the old alignment of McClelland Farm Road; East Deerfield Yard at the right, and the abutments of the old bridge to the right (east) of the new bridge. Lumix LX7 photo.
Pan Am’s symbol freight 16R arriving from the West as viewed from the new ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ over the west end of East Deerfield Yard. Lumix LX7 photo.

The view west offers several good angles of the tracks; while (as previously discussed) the view to the east of East Deerfield Yard suffers from the installation of new power lines with heavy electrical cables that interfere with photography.

More updates to follow in the Spring!

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March 2019 Trains Features ‘Silver Lining for Silver Splendor’

March 2019 cover photo by Steve Smedley.

Pages of 16 and 17 of the March 2019 Trains Magazine features my column titled ‘Silver Lining for Silver Splendor’ and discusses my experiences traveling cross country by Budd Vista Dome.

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White River Junction in the Snow!

Last week, Pat Yough and I drove to White River Junction, Vermont, seeking photographs of Buffalo & Pittsburgh 3000, a classic EMD-built GP40 that works the New England Central (NECR) local freight based there.

We found the engine, and shortly after we arrived a snow squall allowed us to exposed some very wintery images.

It had been several years since my last visit to White River Junction, which historically was among the busiest freight locations in Vermont.

Why is a Buffalo & Pittsburgh engine on the New England Central? My short answer: since both B&P and NECR are Genesee & Wyoming railroads it seems logical that engines from one railroad might be loaned or conveyed to another. However, the detailed particulars of the B&P 3000 arrangement are beyond my knowledge at this time.

Finding B&P in White River was only the beginning of our day photographing NECR operations; Stay tuned for more!

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