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.
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.
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.
I had Velvia in my Nikon F3 and I was focused on the boats in the River Liffey, when the Saturday laden timber from Sligo rolled out of Dublin’s Phoenix Park tunnel and crossed the bridge in front of me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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!