An A1 Visit to the Strasburg Rail Road! 21 photos.

Last week, when TEC Associates’ Wayne Duffett visited, we took a trip on the Strasburg Rail Road.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 475 was working.

We traveled in style, riding in parlor car Marian, and each enjoyed a Tröegs beer on the way to Leaman Place.

We passed some Amish farmers at Blackhorse Road.

Wayne commented on the height of the corn and the wonderful pastoral scenery.

As we arrived at Leaman Place, we met Strasburg Rail Road’s SW8 that was departing with a very short freight.

That’s not something you can experience on very many railroads: meeting a revenue freight on a steam hauled tourist excursion.

After we arrived back at the railroad’s East Strasburg Station, I made photos of Wayne with the locomotive, before headed out the line by road to photograph the next run.

Photos exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

A parting view of parlor car Marian at Blackhorse Road.

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Thunderstorm at Blackhorse Road

Friday evening we went out ahead of an approaching thunderstorm to watch Strasburg Rail Road’s 7pm train on its outward run to Leaman Place.

As we waited the sky grew dark and flashes of lightning lit the horizon.

The dark clouds caught up with us just as the train approached, which made for some bizarre lighting conditions.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7 and Nikon Z7-II. The exposures were tricky because of the dark sky, low light and rain.

In this telephoto view looking west, you can whisps of smoke from Strasburg No. 89 as it approaches Esbenshade road in the distance. Soon that dark cloud was over us, making for eerie lighting conditions. The specks in the sky are birds flying for cover.
An elderly Amish couple were out for an evening stroll ahead of the thunderstorm. Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm lens.
It was just starting to rain as No. 89 approached. We could hear thunder in the distance. Nikon Z7-11 with 70-200mm lens.
Lumix LX7 photo. Thunderclouds loomed omenously over the fields at Blackhorse Road.
The chocolate sky had reached us making for some pretty dim lighting conditions. Nikon Z7-11 with 70-200mm lens.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo. And yes, I was getting rained upon for this photo. To get an idea how dark it was, look at the glowing firebox.

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Wayne’s Main Line Visit

Owing to its lineage along the route of Pennsylvania’s original Main Line of Public Works, the former Pennsylvania Railroad trunk is known as ‘The Main Line’. This historic route runs just a few blocks from our new home.

Last week our friend Wayne Duffett-TEC Associate’s Bridge Inspector and Conway Scenic Railroad steam locomotive engineer (and Tracking the Light reader) visited Kris and I in Lancaster, PA.

After dinner at the Outback Steakhouse, we brought Wayne on a short tour of the railroad, hitting several highlights of the old Main Line.

Using the Amtrak realtime phone app, we were able to time the passage of an eastward Amtrak Keystone to just a few minutes, and watched the train zip by at nearly 90mph.

Photos exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad stone bridge over the Conestoga River in Lancaster, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wayne posing with some goob in at PRR hat. Photo by Kris Solomon.
Amtrak Keystone races eastward on the old Main Line.

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Meet near Cove, PA.

A slow moving westward Norfolk Southern freight had crossed the former Pennsylvania Railroad Rockville Bridge in the evening light. After Kris and I made our images of the train on great span, we motored west on Highway 15 to catch it again.

Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

A few miles west of Marysville, near Cove, PA, we spotted a stopped eastward train, and set up up to catch the two trains passing in the evening light.

Imagine if it were 1953, and these were trains led by Pennsylvania’s impressive M1 4-8-2 Mountains types.

Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

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Kempton Contrasts

Saturday, I made this view of a former Reading Company caboose at Kempton, Pennsylvania on the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern.

It was shortly before 3pm and the sun was still high in the July sky.

Using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm I exposed the photo in both JPG and RAW. Then in post processing using Adobe Lightroom, I adjusted the camera RAW (NEF format) so that I made full use of the camera’s dynamic range.

Notice how in the adjusted versions you can see detail inside the caboose.

My Nikon Z6 is prized for its dynamic range, in other words its ability to capture detail at the extreme end of the range from dark to light.

Nikon Z6 in-camera JPG with ‘vivid’ color profile.
Nikon Z6 in-camera NEF (RAW) file, unmodified except for necessary scaling and watermarking. No changes to gamma, color or sharpness.
Nikon Z6 in-camera NEF (RAW) file, following the first round of adjustments to shadows, hightlights, color and contrast.
Nikon Z6 in-camera NEF (RAW) file, following the second round of adjustments to shadows, hightlights, color and contrast, including localized exposure and contrast control on the window at upper left.
Adobe Lightroom work- window showing the positions of the exposure control sliders for the second round changes. Missing are the localized adjustments.

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Intermodal Crossing Old Arches

On our visit to Rockville Bridge last weekend, a few minutes after we caught a westward autorack train, we heard an eastward train approaching.

By this time, I’d swapped lenses and had my Z7-II set up with the 70-200mm zoom that I normally use with my Z6.

From our position near the boat launch on the west bank of the Susquehanna, I made this sequence of the second freight crossing Pennsyvlania Railroad’s iconic bridge—the third bridge at the this location.

Having lived in northern New Hampshire for several years, where freight trains are as rare as hens teeth, it was thrilling to see freights with almost no waiting time.

Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series-zoom set at 70mm; f4.5 1/800, ISO 100. RAW file adjusted in Lightroom.
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series-zoom set at 70mm; f4.5 1/800, ISO 100. RAW file adjusted in Lightroom.
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series-zoom set at 125mm; f4.5 1/500, ISO 100. RAW file adjusted in Lightroom.

The ONE boxes on this double stack train reminded me of a day in Dublin about five years ago when I’d walked up to Cabra to catch the outbound IWT Liner that was carrying several of these hot-pink containers. That seems like a world away and a long time ago.

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Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern

In 2007, I’d made several trips to the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern while I was working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania.

I thought it was time to revisit this classic all-American tourist railroad This is a little more than an hour’s drive from our new home, so on our way to the Philadelphia suburbs last Sunday, Kris and I made a wee detour.

It also of special interst to me now. Although my old ‘Wee Reading Company’ is but a memory, I’m looking for ideas for my new railroad. I don’t have space yet, but someday it will be time to revisit the building of another HO-scale Reading interpretation.

The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern will celebrate its 60th Anniversary later this year. The railroad operates a bit of the Reading’s Schuylkill & Lehigh Branch, a rural branchline cast away by the Reading more than a decade before the coming of Conrail.

I exposed these photos at Trexler with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Nikkon Z-series zoom.

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Good Luck! Bad Luck. . . Rockville Bridge

The famous Pennsylvania Railroad Rockville Bridge across the Susquehanna River is about an hour from our new home.

Saturday afternoon was clear and bright, so Kris and I made the short foray over to Harrisburg and north along the west bank of the river.

Thanks to our smart phones, navigating the turns off Interstate 81 and over to the bridge is now a relatively easy task. Back in the days of paper maps this had been a real challenge, because you have to make something like a double reverse figure eight up and over to get to the bridge.

Anyway, we arrived at the boat launch near the western piers of the great bridge, and within 30 seconds we heard a westbound Norfolk Southern freight coming. ‘Wow what perfect timing!’ I delighted at our good luck. A westbound in perfect light, and no waiting!

I reached for my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. Unfortunately, I discovered that the switch was already in the ‘on’ position, and found that I’d forgotten to turn the camera off after the previous evening’s photography. The batteries were flat. No electricity, no photos.

‘Oh no . . .but wait!’

As the train got closer, I reached for my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

It always helps to have a back up camera!

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Glinty Light at J-Tower

Friday evening Kris and watched Strasburg Rail Road’s 4-8-0 #475 run around its train at J-tower at the railroad’s ‘East Strasburg’ Station opposite the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Late sun made for golden glint as the engine changed direction. So, in addition to some classic three-quarter style photos, I made a few photos that highlight 475’s running gear.

I’ve been writing about steam locomotives for an upcoming book project, and I was keen on observing the engine’s Baker valve gear in motion.

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NS Local and a Crescent Moon

Toward the end of dusk, Kris and I, went out to watch the Norfolk Southern local freight that serves the inustrial shippers near our new home.

As the local was getting ready to make a drop, I made this pair of photos of the train underwire on Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line near Greenfield, in Lancaster, PA. A crescent moon graced the western sky.

I was working with my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens, hand-held with the ISO set at 20000.

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Keystone, Tiguan and Strasburg Road.

This is a variation on yesterday’s theme, but on a different day with a different Keystone, and another road.

I’d made a sunset silhouette of the on-coming train; then turned around to make this going away view of Amtrak Keystone 618.

Gap, PA: ACS-64 626 is powering the train from the back. Kris is filming the passing train from her silver Tiguan using her iPhone 13. While, the empty lanes of Strasburg Road on the left.

We got a friendly toot toot from the headend as the train passed.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. RAW file cropped in post processing for lateral emphasis.

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Parallel Perspectives

This is not all about the train, nor the railroad.

I purposefully placed Jefferson Drive to de-emphasize Amtrak’s Keystone racing along to the right.

I’ve inserted a bit irony with the placement of the ‘speed limit 35’ sign. The train was gliding along at about 100 mph.

The green grass of summer contrasts nicely with the sky at dusk.

And don’t forget the two railroad boxes alongside the track. At least one of these house equipment for a lineside defect detector.

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Reading & Northern 2014 panned.

My father made pans of Pennsylvania Railroad’s Baldwin shark’s on the New York & Long Branch in the 1960s using a Leica and Kodachrome.

I made these photos of Reading & Northern 2014 on the move at Jim Thorpe, PA using my Nikon Z7-II and 24-70mm lens.

The trick is using a reasonably slow shutter speed, fixing a point in the frame and panning with the subject in a complete and uninterrupted motion. In other words don’t stop panning when you release the shutter.

Panning on a dull day is a great way to give a photo a bit of zing!

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set at 54mm, f16 1/40th second ISO 200.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set at 54mm, f16 1/40th second ISO 200.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set at 54mm, f16 1/40th second ISO 200.

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The March of a Twelve-Wheeler

Over the last month of so, Kris and I have paid weekly visits to Pennsylvania’s Strasburg Rail Road to observe and photograph their trains.

During this time, former Canadian National Mogul-type 89 has been the star attraction. However, on Friday, we observed the 5 and 7pm trains that ran with former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 number 475.

I really like the way this locomotive looks and sounds. It had a long tapered boiler and smoke box that gives it a classic appearance, while its whistle makes a low mournful cry that stirs a vision of the past.

We waited at Esbenshade road for the return of the 7pm train, listening to the engine work upgrade and sound for the crossings.

I made this sequence of photos with my Nikon Z digital cameras as the train approached.

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Electric Sunset

On our way home, we paused along Jefferson Drive in Greenfield, Lancaster, PA, to roll by Amtrak Keystone 620 on its run from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.

The sun had dropped under a textured evening sky, making for a stunning display of natural color.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/800th of second at ISO 2000.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 2000.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/160th ofa second at ISO 2000.

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Location Unknown—Reading Mystery Solved! (And re-photographed)

On February 27, 2021, I posted ‘Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown’, that featured a photograph my father made back in May 1963. Previously, I’d run this photo across the gutter as an opening spread in my book Locomotive (published by MBI in 2001).

At the time I was preparing the book, I quizzed my Dad about the location of the photo, and he was unable to recall the details, except that it was a Reading Iron Horse Ramble ‘somewhere in Pennsylvania’.

In the two and half two years since I first posted “Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown” on Tracking the Light, I’ve received considerable response regarding the location of the photo.

In the meantime, I built an HO-model railroad based on the Reading (my ‘Wee Reading Company which included a model of 2102), got married to my fiancée Kris, and then during May and June this year we moved New Hampshire to Pennsylvania . ( And I had to sacrifice the Wee Reading Company in the process).

Several readers acted as detectives and narrowed the location of my father’s photo and provided me great detail . As it turns out location is less than an hour from our new home in Lancaster.

The other day, Kris and I drove to the crossing in the photo and I made a sequence of ‘Now’ photos to pair with my father’s original slide.

I didn’t have a copy of the photo with me and had to work from memory. (I’d hoped to use the image as posted on Tracking the Light, but the signal in the Brandywine Valley was poor and I could pull up TTL on my phone).

Interestingly, the first photo I made matches up nearly perfectly with my Dads. I sent him a phone photo with my iPhone once we signal, and he wrote back, ‘Yep! That’s the place’.

Special thanks to everyone that helped find location Pop’s ‘Unknown Location’, including Robert Mastrippolito, George Legler (who also supplied the vintage 1/4 mile map), John Hartman, Scott Snell and Chris Bost. Thanks guys!

Back in May 1963, Pop stood at the crossing south of Coatesville near Embreeville in Newlin Township, PA., where Youngs/Harveys Bridge Road, crossed the Reading Company tracks. The view is looking south toward Harveys Bridge, which was located between milepost 26 3/4 and milepost 27 on the former Reading Company’s Wilmington and Northern line, a line now part of the East Penn shortline system.

Photo exposed in July 2023 with a Nikon Z7-11, 24-70mm set to 70mm.

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Jim Thorpe Diesels: A Study in GP38-2s

Two weeks ago, Reading & Northern’s Class T-1 4-8-4 2102 was the star attraction that captured most of the pixels that day.

I think back to the photos my dad made of a Reading Iron Horse Ramble led by a T-1 back in 1959. This was assisted by a pair of Reading Company Baldwin diesels. The T-1 is still with us. The Baldwins have been gone for a half century.

So, in another 60 years, I’ll bet 2102 is still around, but how about the GP38-2s that were also in excursion service that day.

There was a time when a GP38-2 was just about as common as diesels get. I hardly paid them any notice at all. But these days, some of those GP38-2s are now a half century old.

I made a fair few photos of Reading & Northern’s GP38-2s in between bursts of pixels of T-1 2102. Here are a few for your consideration.

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Steam in the Evening-Ten NEW photos!

Last weekend, Kris, Boomer-the-dog and I, timed our arrival at Blackhorse Road in Strasburg to catch the 1900 (7pm) evening train that only runs relatively infrequently.

I like the evening run because it is relatively quiet and the light tends to be better. Midday sun in July is a bit harsh and rarely results in optimal photographic conditions. Although it was partially cloudy, the softer light allowed good photos in both directions without harse contrast.

I made these views with my Nikon Z digital cameras of the evening train coming and going on its way to and from Leaman Place where it runs around to change directions. There’s no wye on the Strasburg Rail Road so the engines face westward.

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Zzzzip! Oh No!

On our evening drive we nipped over to Leaman Place to roll-by a Philadelphia-bound Amtrak Keystone.

Last week I picked up two new pairs of glasses. One is a general pair of progressive tri-focals that I wear most of the time. The other pair are tinted, polarized sunglasses designed to correct my long range vision and intended as my driving glasses. They do little for my near vision, and are useless for anything close up.

As I waited a Leaman Place, having checked the ASM tracking app to check the progress of the train, I tried to make some adjustments to my Nikon Z6. However, I found to my frustration that between the polarized lenses and the lack of close-up lenses, I really couldn’t see what I was doing.

While I was mucking with the Nikon’s menus, the rails on the Harrisburg Line started to sing.

I’d hoped to take a burst of images with the camera in ‘H’ (Continuous High’ release mode. However with my driving glasses induced functional blindness, I’d set the camera to ‘S’ (single frame). An error I discovered as the train raced by at 100 mph with the locomotive at the rear

I made two frames; one chopped the trailing cab on the engine, the next frame is more distant than I would have liked. By the time I realized what went wrong the train was a half mile down the line.

You can’t win all the prizes. I’ll try again, using my normal glasses!

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Weighty Sunrise Strasburg

Last week in the early hours the air was thick with moisture, yet the sky was clear above. As the sun rose, mist clung to the ground as billowing clouds formed before our eyes.

The lighting conditions were cosmic, compelling and rapidly changing.

As we drove through the fields around Strasburg, Pennsylvania, I made these images using my 70-200mm zoom lens.

I like the back lit effects of the rosy sun behind fog.

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Glint Light and a Surprise at Greenfield, PA!

On these long summer evenings, the sun sets to the north of Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line along Jefferson Drive at Greenfield near Lancaster, PA.

Kris and I pulled over to watchAmtrak Keystone 618 glide east as it caught the evening glint. Running cab car first, this trainhad a pleasant surprise for us at the back: Amtrak ACS-64 642 specially painted to honor American Veterans.

My Nikon Z6 has a rapid burst exposure setting that exposes a sequence of images in quick succession which allowed me to catch this ununally painted locomotive on the move.

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Revisiting the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridges at Safe Harbor

Kris and I paid another visit to the former Pennsylvania Railroad bridges along the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor, PA.

We have stopped here a couple of times before, but on this visit I wanted to take a look at the upper level bridge which now hosts the Enola Low Grade Trail.

A connecting trail has been built here to reach the high level trestle.

My challenge will be returning here at an appropriate time to catch a Norfolk Southern freight. Owing to a curfew on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor with which the NS line connects, most of its freight moves through here during the hours of darkness.

The bridges are very impressive and offer a great view of the Susquehanna and the Safe Harbor Dam. See the link below the photos for information the Low Grade Trail

The high level trestle at Safe Harbor was last used by Conrail in 1988. It now hosts the Enola Low Grade Trail. The line on the lower level is the old PRR Port Deposit route used by Norfolk Southern.

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z7-II.

My technique for getting a sunburst and retaining definition in the sky is using a very small aperture (in this case f22) and exposing manually for the sky.
It has been more than 40 years since Conrail discontinued electrified operations and yet the catenary masts remain as a legacy to Pennsylvania Railroad’s high voltage electric operations on these lines.
Afternoon view of the Safe Harbor dam powerhouse from the Enola Low Grade Trail.

To learn more about the trail, click on the link below.

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2102 Fans, People and Portraits—20 photo special.

Last weekend’s Reading & Northern Iron Horse Ramble was more than just a trip. It was an event and a confluence of railway people, railway fans, railway photographers, train riders, and even members of the general public.

I sent my dad an SMS text with a of photo of 2102. He wrote back, ‘take photos of the fans.’

He has photos of Reading Company’s rambles with the railroad’s class T-1s surrounded by fans and photographers.

Below is a selection of my people photos from Saturday July 1, 2023.

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Great Light at Gap; Nikon versus Lumix

A few days ago, a storm had cleared away the hazy dust and for once there was some sweet evening light at Gap, Pennsylvania along the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

We’d stopped at a nearby Rita’s Ice to get a treat for Kris and pulled up to a park-like setting in view of the famous clock tower. I was tracking Amtrak Keystone train 669 and knew it was close.

When Amtrak Siemen’s ACS-64 663 rounded the bend with train 669, I exposed a sequence of photos with my Nikon Z6 and 70-200mm lens then raised my Lumix LX-7 for coming and going wide angle views, followed by another sequence with the Nikon. Kris made a phone video of me taking photos.

I’d just sat back in the car, when Kris said, ‘Look! Another train,’ as an eastward Amtrak train squealed into view. My Lumix was still in my hand and ready to go, so I made a couple of grab shots. I assume this was a deadhead move, as it hadn’t appeared on the tracker. The engineer gave us a friendly toot! as the train passed.

I love bonus trains that I wasn’t expecting!

Keystone train 669 led by ACS-64 663 catches the light at Gap, PA. Nikon Z6 with Nikkor Z-series f2.8 70-200mm.
Lumix LX7 view of Amtrak Keystone train 669 westbound at Gap. This was the first time I’d seen ACS-64 #663 in motion and so I was delighted to catch it in such nice evening light.
My Lumix LX7 is a wonderful camera. However, one of it’s limitations is a comparatively narrow dynamic range. In this instance the sun has completely washed out.
Trailing view of Keystone train 669 at Gap.
A Lumix LX7 grab shot of an unexpected dead-head move eastbound at Gap, just a minute after westward 669 had passed. The best camera is the one you have with you and ready!
Lumix LX7 trailing view at Gap, Pennsylvania.

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Reading Details

Or call it: ‘2102 Up Close’.

I like to put the railroad in the context of its environment, but I also like to make macro views of the equipment.

Last weekend I had several opportunities to get up close to Reading & Northern’s T-1 class 4-8-4 #2102 to make a selection of detailed views of the machinery.

Reading & Northern 2102 ‘rods down’ at the beginning of the day.
Headend crew viewed from the fireman’s side of the cab at Reading Outer Station, Reading Pennsylvania.
Detailed view showing the valve gear and crosshead.
Smokebox view of 2102 at Jim Thorpe, PA.

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Station Inn at Reinholds

Last week my sister-in-law Isablle phoned to say that she found the perfect place to meet for dinner. ‘It’s like a pub, it’s near an antique place, it has a train parked out front, and its only about a half an hour away from where you live!’

And she was right!

So Kris and I arranged to meet my brother Sean and Isabelle, and our friend Pat Yough (long time TTL reader).

Pat and I took turns to walk up an photograph the engines of the East Penn Railroad that were parked across the street by the old Reading Company Station.

The restaurant/pub was old school with a classic tin ceiling, big windows and pool tables.

I made these photos with my Lumix LX7. The staff were friendly and we all had a good time!

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Zooming in on 2102 or ‘Steam Compressed’

I routinely work with two or more cameras.

The other day, photographer Mike Gardner (and TTL reader) sent me a photo he made of me on a trip back in October 2004. “I think you had two Nikon F3s and a Contax G2 around your neck.” That sounds about right.

So, when photographing Reading & Northern’s 2102 with Dan Cupper on July 1st, I worked with my two Nikon Z-mirrorless cameras in tandem.

As previously described on TTL, I have my Z6 set up with a Nikkor Z-series 70-200mm zoom, and I made the following photos using this combination.

These are all relative long-telephoto views, and offer a contrast to the more traditional approach presented on my earlier TTL posts of R&N 4-8-4 2102 in action.

Molino, Pennsylvania.
River Road, Near Atlas Park in West Penn, PA.
Nesquehoning, PA.
Nesquehoning, PA.
Nesquehoning Junction, PA.
Nequehoning Junction, PA.
East Mahanoy Junction, PA.

Among the challenges of the July 1st chase with 2102 was haze and smoke stemming from Canadian wildfires—conditions that had affected eastern Pennsyvlania for days. This produces some unusual color temperature and made for some unusal lighting conditions.

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East Mahanoy Junction, PA.

Happy 4th of July from Tracking the Light!

To celebrate American Independance Day, I’m posting this view that I made of Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway, New Hampshire station during the July 4, 2021 fireworks display.

This was a 6 second time exposure using my Nikon Z6 mounted on a tripod. ISO 200, f9.0 24-70mm Z-series lens set to 29mm. Highlights, shadows and color balance adjusted in post processing. Photo exposed July 4th, 2021 (two years ago)

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Strasburg Storm Light and a Rainbow!

Monday evening, July 3, 2023, I’d just collected my new glasses. We were driving east on highway 741 as a brilliant rainbow graced the eastern sky. We arrived at the Strasburg Rail Road just as the colors started to fade. All around us were dramatic clouds in a stormy sky. The contrast was fierce.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7, exposing in RW2 (RAW). I made minor adjustments in Lightroom to better balance the ground and sky.

This is an enlarged crop of the above image.

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Reading & Northern 2102 in Motion!

I’ve been sifting through hundreds of photos that I made of the July 1, 2023 Reading & Northern Iron Horse Ramble to Jim Thorpe, PA.

The railroad put on an amazing show of steam and I was very impressed by the performance of the locomotive and its crew.

Below are a couple sequences made on the outward leg of the trip. These were exposed using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

My goal was to capture Reading & Northern’s 4-8-4 steam locomotive at work. In these images, I’ve tried to picture the engine in the classic ‘rods down’ position that was favored by many traditional locomotive photographers.

More 2102 images soon!

Hamburg, PA.
Hamburg, PA. Lens set at 43mm.
Crossing River Road near Atlas Park, West Penn, PA. Lens set at 49mm.
Lens set at 49mm.
Crossing River Road near Atlas Park, West Penn, PA. Lens set at 24mm.

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Magnificent Locomotive-Reading & Northern T-1 prelude.

In the 1950s and 1960s, my father photographed and traveled on Reading Company’s famous ‘Iron Horse Rambles’ over its lines in the coal country of eastern Pennsylvania.

I grew up hearing stories of these trips and viewing his many black & white and color photographs that feature the railroad’s mighty class T-1 4-8-4 steam locomotives.

I’d visited several of these engines over the years; in Baltimore, Scranton, and last year at Port Clinton, PA. But until yesterday, July 1, 2023, I’d never witnessed one under steam.

When I began my Reading Company model railroad project in 2020, among the models Kris and I purchased was an HO scale interpretation of Reading Company 2102. And this engine was a regular feature on the Wee Reading Company’s coal trains, until I dismantled the railroad back in May in preparation for our move to Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, I traveled with Dan Cupper to Reading & Northern’s Reading Outer Station (not to be confused with Reading Company’s original Outer Station) to photograph 2102.

We spent the day photographing the engine at work. These Nikon Z7-II photos at R&N’s Outer Station are merely prelude to our chase to Jim Thorpe and back photographing Reading & Northern 2012 in action. It was an exhilarating day of photography! Stay tuned . . . .

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Gauzy Light—Amtrak 618 at Gap

We arrived at Gap, PA about ten minutes ahead of Amtrak Keystone service 618 on its way east from Harrisburg.

I made my first photos in this curve at Gap on a visit 16 years ago—June 2007.

Thick smoky-haze filled the air and filtered the evening sun.

I made this telephoto series of images as Amtrak 618 (led by ACS-64 606) glided through the curve at Gap.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/2500, ISO 400
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 74mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200 mm; f4.0 1/500, ISO 400;

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