30 years ago today: Conrail Meet at Sunrise on the Water Level Route near Batavia, New York.


Looking at this Conrail photo makes me feel that March 23, 1989 wasn’t that long ago.

I’d left my apartment in Scottsville, New York before dawn and headed west on Rt33 in my white Toyota Corolla.

I knew I had a westbound climbing Batavia Hill—the nominal rise of the Water Level Route that ascended the Niagara Escarpment on the way toward Buffalo.

My Leica M2 was loaded with Kodachrome 200 ‘Fast Kodachrome’ (three stops faster than K25, which was my normal film in 1989).

I parked the car west of Batavia near CP406 (where New York Central’s 1950s track re-alignment to avoid downtown Batavia rejoined the historic railroad route). With time running short, I hike east beneath the code lines and set up my Leica with a 200mm Leitz Telyt telephoto on my Bogen 3021 tripod.

I could hear the slow moving westbound as the sun glimmered above the horizon. But then behind me fast moving eastward stack train blasted for Donahue Road. . .

The headlight of the westbound appeared and over the next few seconds I captured a running meet between the two Conrail trains. K200’s warm color balance and grain structure made for the perfect combination to distill the moment.

Rolling sunrise meet on Conrail’s Water Level Route west of Batavia, New York.

I’ve run this photo in various publications and it’s one of my favorite Water Level Route views.

I spent the rest of the day photographing along the former Erie Railroad, which was alive with trains. I remember it all as if it was yesterday.

Also see my earlier post: ‘The Curse of the Code Lines’ http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2014/11/24/the-curse-of-the-code-lines/

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!