On This Day; Sunburst & Contrail at Muddy Pond.

On the afternoon of February 28, 2016, I made this wintery view at Muddy Pond near CSX’s summit of the Boston Line.

This is the old Boston & Albany main line, which was once the principal lifeline from Boston to the West.

I wonder where that jet was headed?

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

AEM-7 at Niantic

I’ve been digging through slides from 2010 as part of my epic task to sort, label and file my photographs.

The other night I came across a roll exposed 13 years ago on a trip to the old New Haven Railroad Shore Line Route that I made with photographers Tim Doherty and Pat Yough.

We finished the day’s photography at Niantic Beach on the Connecticut coast where I made this view of a westward Amtrak regional train led by AEM-7 919. I like it because it is an unusual trailing photo rather than a more common head-on angle.

I’ve been searching my slides for a view of AEM-7 915, the representative electric now displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. When I find a suitable image of this now famous preserved electric, I’ll post it on Tracking the Light.

Fujichrome Provia 100F exposed with a Canon EOS-3 at Niantic, Connecticut in February 2010.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Icy Morning

Thursday, North Conway was hit by a winter storm.

Saturday, when I drove to work it was -8F.

This was good Snow Train weather.

I made photos of the train crew and of the icicles on the railcars at Conway Scenic’s North Conway Station. These are some of the icy railcar images.

Photos exposed with a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Chester Depot Revisited

Crossing Vermont from west to east in January, Kris and I paused at the old depot in Chester on Vermont Rail System’s Green Mountain Railroad.

My first visit to Chester was back in the 1970s, when this was the regular run-around for the Steamtown excursion from Bellows Falls.

Freshly fallen snow covered the ground in our most recent visit, but the old station was just the way I remember it.

I made these photos using my Nikon mirrorless digital cameras.

Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.
This is a digitally created monochrome version of the above image.
Over the years I’ve made many photos of this station.
Ok, so this is relatively new!
Snow covered siding at Chester. No CPR Pacific expected here today! (But I remember seeing CPR 1278 here!)

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Ellis River Bridge

Yesterday morning, I made this view of former Maine Central GP38 255 leading Conway Scenic’s Snow Train crossing the Ellis River Bridge in Glen, New Hampshire on the return run from Attitash.

This locomotive was a delivered to Maine Central just a few weeks after I was born. It routinely worked the Mountain Division.

I was involved in Conway Scenic’s decision to acquire the locomotive from the Vermont Rail System where it had labored for nearly a quarter century.

Today, 255 is one of the railroad’s most useful locomotives, in part because it is equipped with ‘Hotstart’ equipment. that allows the locomotive to be stored outside during the colder months

Below are two similar interpretations of the same NEF RAW file exposed with a Nikon Z6 fitted with a Nikkor Series Z f2.8 70-200mm zoom lens.

Tracking the Light Posts EVERY Day!

Trestle at River Road.

Yesterday morning, I walked from my office up to the trestle over River Road in North Conway, NH in order to photograph the Snow Train returning from Attitash.

The polarized blue dome and crusty snow made for very contrasty light. I compensated for high contrast in post processing by lightening the shadow areas and controling highlight detail. This made for a more pleasing image while make better use of the data captured by the camera.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series lens.
Trailing view of the Snow Train.

Tracking the Light!

Television Visit

Yesterday, I served as the media interface for Conway Scenic Railroad and the TV crew for New England Traveler who had come up for a wee visit.

I arranged interviews with railroad’s staff and the program’s host Greg B. In addition, I coordinated a visit of the musical duo Eastwood Station, sorted a variety of operational details including a trip on Snow Train, and made still photos for the railroad.

These photos were the producted of my Nikon Z7-II. I processed them in Lightroom for use in the company’s social media.

Tracking the Light Post Daily

February 1998-Heustion Station, First Look-Two photos six months apart & 25 years ago.

I hadn’t planned on visiting Dublin. I arrived on an ‘Arrow’ from Kildare.

When I disembarked at Heuston Station in February 1998, I found it was a construction site.

I had never seen it any other way.

I never intended to stay.

As it happened, I spent many moons around the place. But in August 1998, I aimed to recreate the same angle I’d exposed six months earlier.

Both photos were made on Fujichrome using a Nikon F3T.

Heuston Station, February 1998.
Heuston Station, Dublin. August 1998.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Conrail at West Warren-from the forgotten chrome file.

Last night I found a box of Kodachrome 25 slides from January 1998 exposed using my original Nikon N90s of trains in New England and Quebec. These were in order of exposure having never been labeled or projected.

The film was processed by A&I Lab in Los Angeles.

I made this view from the South Street bridge in West Warren, Massachusetts of Conrail light engines running west on the Boston Line. To the right of the train is the Quaboag River.

The photo was made in the late light of the day and the shadow from the bridge can be seen in the foreground.

Scan made using a Nikon LS-5000 Scanner driven by VueScan software.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using an Nikon N90S with 50mm Nikkor lens. January 1998.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Snow Train; photos, the song & music video.

Last week I produced a short music video for Conway Scenic Railroad using a song composed about our Snow Train by the musical duo Eastwood Station.

We had recorded portions of the video a week ago Saturday, and I mixed this with stock footage of the train that I’ve been shooting over the last couple of years.

Yesterday, I recorded more footage of the train to be incorporated in later versions of the music video, while making still photos to help advertise the train

Check out the video on youtube:

The musical duo Eastwood Station playing at Conway Scenic Railroad.
Snow Train approaching Intervale, New Hampshire on Saturday February 18, 2023.
Conductor Jeff at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Strasburg 8616 on the roll.

Earlier this month, Kris and I drove by Strasburg Rail Road’s engine house where I noticed that the railroad’s SW8 8616 was nowhere to be seen.

“Let’s take a run up to Leaman Place,”—where the railroad meets Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line to interchange with Norfolk Southern. (Featured recently on Tracking the Light)

When we arrived there, I started to check the Asm Transitdocs app on my phone to see if any Amtrak trains were close. Then we heard an EMD rumble. My hunch was right!

It was 8616 on its was back toward Strasburg.

I made a few photos with my Nikon Z6 and then drove to Cherry Hill to roll it by again.

Leaman Place, Pennsylvania.
Leaman Place, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Metrolink at Santa Susana Pass

During my visit to California in the summer of 2016, I spent several productive days photographing trains on the former Southern Pacific Coast Line.

On the evening of August 2, 2016, a friend and I visited Santa Susana Pass railroad west of Simi Valley, where I made this telephoto view of Metrolink Train #117 led by F59PH 857. This was one of many train trainsets operating with BNSF GE diesels at one end.

Operation of BNSF AC4400CWs on Metrolink trains was a temporary safety measure while repairs/modifications were made to push-pull cab-control cars during 2016.

I exposed this view on Fuji Provia 100F using a Canon EOS 3 with 200mm f2.8 lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Two Visits to Middletown, PA

I made two visits to the Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad about three weeks apart.

The first was on an overcast January afternoon, the second on an early February evening. On both visits, I made photos of the railroad’s antique locomotives using my Nikon Z7-II mirrorless digital camera.

The light was more uniform on the first vist, but had better color and mood on the second visit.

It has been about 15 years since I last photographed a M&H train on the move.

January 2023.
January 2023.
February 2023.
February 2023.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

25 years Ago at Limerick Junction

I made my first trip to Ireland in February 1998.

After landing at Farranfore, I spent a week in Tralee, then another driving around the West in a hired Citroen Saxo, before enbarking on a rail journey at Limerick for Dublin.

This was argueably the most significant train trip of my adult life. I never intended to visit Dublin. But upon arrival there, I realized that I’d found a special place.

All of Dublin lay in my future. For more than 20 years, I rented apartments in Dublin. And the city was my conceptual office and research library where I wrote many of my books and as used base to travel around Europe.

Between 1998 and 2019, I made tens of thousands of photographs documenting Irish railways.

I made this view of the Limerick – Limerick Junction shuttle with 121-class number 128 while waiting for the Up Cork that would whisk me toward Dublin (although, I actually disembarked at Kildare to change to a local train consisting 2600 railcars). Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T using a non-AI f2.8 135mm Nikkor telephoto.

Tracking the Light Looks Back!

Erie Landmark.

We navigated our way through Susquehanna, Pennsylvania to the town of Lanesboro where the magnificent former Erie Railroad Starrucca Viaduct spans the town.

I said to Kris, “This is one of America’s most famous railroad bridges, and probably the biggest, oldest railroad bridge still in revenue service in the United States.”

After all, there are very few railroad structures remaining in service from the 1840s.

In the 1980s, I photographed Conrail trains crossing this elegant Erie landmark. In the early 2000s, I wrote about it.

I made these photos last week using my Nikon mirrorless digital cameras.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

DL&W’s Tunkhannock Viaduct

Kris and I drove Pennsylvania Rt11 north from Clarks Summit to Nicholson to view the immense concrete bridge over Tunkhannock Creek built by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

I wrote about this bridge in my book Railway Masterpieces. Here’s an excerpt of the text:

The bridge is made of ten vast arched spans, each 180 feet across. Each arch is supported by enormous piers, some of which are set as far as 95 feet below ground in order to reach solid ground. Some 167,000 cubic yards of concrete, and an estimated 1,140 tons of steel were used in the viaduct. The Lackawanna was a busy and profitable railway through the first decades of the 20th century, but its fortunes waned as the Anthracite business declined.

I exposed these photos digitally using my Nikon Z series cameras. Over the years I’ve photographed trains crossing the viaduct from various vantage points. Those photos were all made on film.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Snow Train Radio Broadcast

Yesterday (Saturday, February 11, 2023), Conway Scenic hosted a live radio broadcast from the North Conway, New Hampshire railroad station.

I’d organized Lakes Media to conduct the broadcast across their three radio stations: Lakes FM 101.5, The Hawk 104.9 fm and Mountain Country 97.3. This included interviews with railroad employees, promotional chats, etc.

As part of this event, I’d invited musical duo Eastwood Station to perform live in the station and on the railroad’s 1:30pm Snow Train in order to help promote the railroad and film for a video of their song Snow Train.

This was great fun and resulted in numerous photo and video opportunities.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Eighty Nine: Black & White or Color

Last week on the Strasburg I made this wideangle view with my Nikon Z7-II of former Canadian National 2-6-0 No. 89 rods down at Esbenshade Road.

Soft sun, slightly backlit; stubbled corn stalks in an unplowed field, with the locomotive whistling for the crossing.

A timeless scene.

So, which do you prefer? The color digital capture; or my alterations to the that I file converted to black & white (with some clever contrast adjustments for period effect.)

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Pennsylvania Viaducts: Safe Harbor

Over the last few days, Kris and I visited several famous bridges and impressive viaducts in Pennsylvania.

Here are a few views of the former Pennsylvania Railroad bridges over Conestoga Creek at Safe Harbor along the Susquehanna River.

I exposed these using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens.

The top bridge once hosted PRR’s Enola Low Grade freight cutoff, but no longer carries tracks and is now a trail.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Views from Carpenters Cemetery

Kris and I were poised to catch Strasburg Rail Road’s return run from Leaman Place from Carpenters Cemetery—a small local graveyard adjacent to the railroad line.

This is accessed via a stone staircase off Blackhorse Road.

The train ascends a short grade on the approach to Blackhorse Road, while the cemetery offers a nice view of the landscape from a slightly elevated position.

I made this series of photos of the passing train using both my Z6 and Z7-II cameras.

It was interesting to see that a number of the graves predated the construction of the line by many years.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Against the Light at Palmyra

On Sunday (February 5, 2023), Kris and I briefly visited the old Reading Company station at Palmyra, Pennsylvania.

We crossed the tracks on Railroad Avenue and spied the headlight of an eastward freight. By the time I got the car safely stopped, the grade crossing gates were down.

Although, I made a series of hastily composed digital images of the passing Norfolk Southern freight, none were to my satisfaction.

In the evening of Sunday, February 5, 2023, I made this hastily composed view of an eastward NS intermodal train crossing Railroad Avenue in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

So I returned to the same crossing on Monday (February 6, 2023) with a vision of recreating what I saw the previous day.

Norfolk Southern provided an eastward intermodal train at almost exactly the same time as the day before. This time I was prepared. I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens and adjusted the NEF (RAW) files in Adobe Lightroom for presentation here.

On Monday February 6, 2023, I was ready with camera in hand to recreate the vision of an approaching eastward train that I’d seen the day before.
Monday February 6, 2023. Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

February 4, 2023; Two Stations, Two GP38s, Four Photos

Four hours apart, I exposed pairs of photos of antique GP38s at two New England Railroad Stations using my Lumix LX7.

Just after 10:30am yesterday, I made a couple of images of the Snow Train departing Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway, New Hampshire Station. GP38 number 255 was positioned at the back of the train for the return run from Attitash.

Sometime around 2:30pm, I made photos of New England Central GP38 number 3845 at the station in White River Junction, Vermont. This is one of New England Central’s surviving original GP38s (with which the railroad started operations back winter 1995).

These mid-1960s era machine soldier on in regular service despite their age.

North Conway, NH.
It was 7 degrees F when I exposed this view at White River Junction on February 4, 2023.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Amtrak 641 at Gap-Three Photos!

I find Amtrak’s old Metroliner cab cars a novelty.

These rolling antiques are vestiges of 1960s High Speed rail that have survived into the 2020s in regular revenue service.

On my exploration of the Lancaster area with Dan Cupper a few weeks ago, we stopped at Gap in the morning to photograph the westward Amtrak Keystone service No. 641, led by Metroliner cab car 9634 with ACS-64 634 at the back.

I wonder if I have a photo of this cab car in Metroliner service?

I made this telephoto sequence with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera fitted with a 70-200mm telephoto zoom. The yellow front works well with soft winter sun.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Portraits at Paoli

What are you supposed to do while waiting for trains?

How about take portraits of each other on the railroad platform.

That’s what we did two weeks ago at Paoli, Pennsylvania!

I made some views of my brother Sean and his partner Isabelle with my wife Kris as a westward Amtrak Keystone and SEPTA trains made station stops. Then Kris made a couple of photos of me with Sean and Isabelle using my Nikon Z7-II.

Hi ISO and auto white balance makes night photos easy!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Norfolk Southern Pan at Marysville

Two weeks ago I made these panned views of Norfolk Southern SD70ACC 1813 at Marysville, Pennsylvania using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens.

Below are a sequence of frames and the arrangement of photos as they appear in Nikon’s NX Studio sorting/editing program.

I varied my shutter speed from 1/50th of a second to 1/125th of a second.

1/50th second; 150mm; f7.1

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Strasburg Rail Road Freight

Strasburg Rail Road is best known for its steam excursions, but the railroad is a common carrier and operates a thriving local freight business.

On our visit to the Strasburg, PA area last month, I was lucky to catch one of their freights on the move. This was led by the railroad’s former New York Central SW8 diesel 8618.

This classic General Motors Electro-Motive Division swticher was built for New York Central System c1953 and carried the number 9618. It is painted in a neo-New York Central scheme, and was Conrail 8618 for many years.

In the 1980s, I made many photos of Conrail switchers, and I wonder if somewhere among my slides and negatives I may have a photo of this locomotive in its former existence.

Strasburg Rail Road SW8 8618
Strasburg Rail Road local freight viewed from Carpenters.
SW8 8618 with two boxcars at Leaman Place along Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor—the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!