Sunny Morning at Creek Hill Road

A ten minute drive will take me to the Creek Hill Road crossing of Norfolk Southern’s New Holland Branch.

I’d been eyeing this location for a few months. Finally on a bright morning, I timed it right to catch the New Holland local freight with a pair of SD40E (former SD50) diesels in classic three-quarter sunlight.

I exposed a couple of Provia 100F color slides, which I am waiting to be returned from the lab. Then I used my Nikon Z7-II to make a series of images of the passing train.

These are part of my ongoing Conrail SD50 retrospective. These locomotives were built between 1983 and 1986, the first of which were delivered during my senior year at Monson Jr-Sr High School. I think it’s really neat that these familiar aged beasts regularly pass near my new home.

Nothing lasts forever, and I wonder how much longer I’ll have the opportunity to catch the old Conrail locomotives on the move!

Winter Afternoon Excursion at Blackhorse Road.

There hasn’t been a lot of snow this winter in Strasburg, Pa.

So, when about six inches fell a couple of weeks ago, Kris and I decided to make the most of it.

These photos were made braving the cold at Blackhorse Road to capture Strasburg Rail Road’s 4pm excursion to Leaman Place.

There’s such a contrast in the seasons, it’s hard to fathom that this is same crossing where we made many photos during the summer months.

I converted one of the images to monochrome for dramatic effect. All were exposed digitally using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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The SD50—my first glimpse

In January 1984, I’d driven my parent’s 1978 gray Ford Grenada to Palmer, Massachusetts.

A set of Conrail light engines blitzed past me, and I chased after them.

In consist was a couple of brand-new EMD SD50s and a few new GE B36-7s.

This was pretty exciting stuff! I was 17 at the time.

I chased east on Routes 20 and 67. At Kings Bridge Road east of Palmer I turned toward Conrail’s Boston & Albany line, but the Conrail engines were too close for me to get a lineside photo. So, I stopped the car in the middle of the road, raised my 1930s-era Leica IIIA and shot through the windshield of the Ford.

My camera was loaded with Kodak Tri-X— film that I later processed in Kodak Microdol-X developer.

Conrail GP40 number 3214 leads a set of eastbound light engines at Kings Bridge Road. This is near the location that later became Conrail’s CP79, about three miles east of the Palmer, Massachusetts yard. Kodak Tri-X with Leica IIIA.
I was very excited to catch a glimpse of Conrail 6703, a brand new EMD SD50!
I was very impressed by the length of the SD50s compared with Conrail’s older EMD diesels, including SD40 6268 seen trailing SD50 6718.
At the rear of the set of light engines were these three B36-7s.

Tracking the Light Looks Back 40 years!

Brooks Avenue—Spot my Scamp!

During 1987 and 1988, I spent a fair amount of time around Rochester & Southern’s Brooks Avenue Yard.

This was a former Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh yard and located near the Rochester, NY airport, on the southwest side of the city.

On January 27, 1988, I made this black & white photo on 120 size film Tri-X using a Rolleiflex Model-T with a 645-size insert. My goal was to overexpose the film and then underprocess it to maximize tonality.

I processed it using a diluted mix of Kodak D-76. It was a good effort, but I was still learning to master this technique.

The primary subject was R&S’s recently acquired SW1200 number 107, a former Southern Pacific switcher that still featured SP’s distinctive full lighting package (including both white and red oscillating lights, visable above the cab).

Upon scanning the original negative the other day, I was delighted to see that my old Plymouth Scamp is also featured. I’d parked the car in the yard, and it is visable in the distance to the left of the switcher. That Scamp was my first car. I drove it for tens of thousands of miles in the mid-1980s making photos across New York and New England.

Tracking the Light Posts new material every day!

Ongoing site technical problems

Over the last few days the WordPress platform has developed glitches.

WordPress is the host platform for Tracking the Light and handles the email subscriptions among a great variety of other functions related to the presentation of Tracking the Light.

Portions of the email subscription list no longer appear to be receiving the daily updates.

I have no ability to correct this problem. The technical problems are both beyond my reach and my understanding.

If you have stopped receiving the daily emails, try checking and bookmarking the Tracking the Light homepage at:

I’m sorry for these ongoing technical problems.

Brian Solomon

Most Trams

On 27 January 2009, I visited the industrial city of Most, Czech Republic with photographers Tim Doherty and Denis McCabe.

We briefly photographed the city’s trams where I made these images on Fujichrome using my Canon EOS-3.

Most was a stark contrast from Prague. Where the Bohemian capital is famous for its beautiful and intricate classic architecture, cobble-stone streets and culture, Most was mostly concrete and heavy industry.

Both places making for interesting settings to photograph railway vehicles!

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Test Pattern

Every so often Tracking the Light suffers from a technical problem.

Over the last few days a number of regular subscribers have let me know that they stopped receiving the daily email notifications. However, many of TTL’s subscribers have continued to receive them. I don’t know why this has happened, nor do I know how to best address the problem.

Over the last few hours, I’ve implemented a variety of changes to WordPress, which is the Tracking the Light platform. These changes have included installing a host of updates and installing a new Theme. The ‘Theme’ affects the visual presentation, and as a result of this change Tracking the Light should look different. In conjunction with the new theme, I deleted many of the older themes, which was among the actions recommended to improve security and performance.

I am hoping that the changes and updates will address the problems, however I’m am not a computer wizard and I’m not fluent on the details of how to correct all problems facing my WordPress platform.

I’ve included a photo for your enjoyment. Thank you for your patience!

Brian Solomon

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day! (or at least aims to)

475 crosses an Arctic Landscape.

Paradise Lane was being whipped by a razor’s wind. Although the ambient temperature was 20F, with the windchill it felt much colder.

Strasburg Rail Road 4-8-0 No. 475 was working its way back toward the East Strasburg Station,

Braving the wind and cold, I made these photos with my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom

The fine blowing snow and locomotive exhaust made for more dramatic images.

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Snow and Moonlight at Leaman Place.

The combination of a low ceiling, a bright moon and the blanket of snow covering the ground made for interesting evening light.

While there really wasn’t enough light to stop a fast moving Amtrak Keystone, I felt the ambient lighting conditions were still conducive to photography.

I set up my Bogen tripod in the snow and attached to it my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series lens.

After a few test photos at ISO 200 to check my angle and lighting, I set the ISO to 2000 and waited fo the Keystone to zip by at speed.

The final pair of photos were exposed a f4, for 1.6 seconds with the lens set to 24mm.

Test photo, ISO 200, f4.0 15 seconds..
ISO 2000, f4, for 1.6 seconds
ISO 2000, f4, for 1.6 seconds

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Clear Morning at Semmering—24 January 2009.

Fifteen years ago, I was on a ten-day clockwise exploration of central Europe with photographers Denis McCabe and Tim Doherty.

Fresh snow and bright sun at Semmering, Austria made for ideal photographic conditions.

We arrived in Austria the previous evening and we poised for a day of photography on ÖBB’s famous Semmering Pass, which is one of the oldest mountain railways in the world.

This view looking down on Semmering station made it look like a model railway. Check out all the switches!

Working with my Canon EOS 3, I exposed these photos on Fujichrome. I scanned the original slides last night using a Nikon LS5000 slide scanner. I made minor adjustments in Lightroom to my TIF scans then scaled the files using Lightroom for presentation here.

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Blowing Snow

Here’s a lesson in snow photography:

Bright snow, black locomotive and arctic cold. The contrast between light and dark was a challenge, but the largest difficulty was the fine snow blowing across the open landscape, which blurred the hightlights and muted shadows in unexpected ways.

The raw cold hit me like a razor which made it difficult to think straight.

Yet, through it all, I persevered and made this sequence of Strasburg Rail Road 475 running tender first leading a mid-day train toward Leaman Place, Pennsylvania.

The lessons are: keep at it, get your focus point set where you need it, over expose by at least 1/3 of a stop, and don’t give up!

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January 22, 2009—near Prague, CZ.

It was a dark frosty morning on January 22, 2009, when photographers Tim Doherty, Denis McCabe and I explored the Prague (Praha) suburban station at Praha-Rusyne located to the east of the city center.

I made this photo on Fujichrome. I scanned this with a Nikon LS5000 scanner and then processed the TIF file using Adobe Lightroom. I enhanced the contrast and saturation for dramatic effect.

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Icy Afternoon at Safeharbor

The magnificent bridges at Safeharbor make for great subjects.

I’ve yet to see a train at this location. And much to my regret, in all likelihood, I will never see a train on the taller of the two bridges—since this now carries a rail trail instead of a railroad.

Kris and I have paid visits to Safeharbor in various seasons. Winter yields stark lighting ideal for making silhouettes of the great spans.

I made these views using my Nikon Z7-II with 28-70mm Nikkor zoom, and Kris’s Fuji XT4 with my 50-140mm Fujinon telephoto.

I’d like to think that, decades ago, some photographer braved the elements to make a wintery silhouette of Pennsylvania Railroad E44 or P5a electrics leading an Enola bound freight over the top bridge from this vantage point.
In the winter, Norfolk Southern freights using the lower of the two bridges are largely nocturnal owing to the limitations imposed by a freight curfew on movements over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (which connects with this route at Perryville, Maryland).
Nikon Z7-II with 28-70mm Nikkor zoom
Nikon Z7-II with 28-70mm Nikkor zoom
Nikon Z7-II with 28-70mm Nikkor zoom
Nikon Z7-II with 28-70mm Nikkor zoom.
Fuji XT4 with 50-140mm Fujinon telephoto
Fuji XT4 with 50-140mm Fujinon telephoto

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Newark—Penn Station, Holiday Wonderland-1988.

I was working with Ektachrome du Jour in my Leica M2. I think this was EPP (ISO 100), which was provided to me by Kodak as a sample when I was studying photography at the Rochester Institute of Photography.

My pal TSH and I were photographing the North East Corridor over the 1988 winter holidays. During a stop over at Newark—Penn Station, I made this festive photo.

Notice the Solari board showing that Amtrak’s Broadway Limited was running 50 minutes late. Can’t take that train today!

Kodak Ektachrome from December 1988.
Enlarged section of the above photo.

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Pan Am Sunset

On March 4, 2007, an eastward Pan Am Railways freight rolled through Greenfield, Massachusetts at sunset.

Maine Central 505 was one of the first Guilford Rail System locomotives to be rebranded in Pan Am paint. This was dressed in a livery similar to that once used on Pan Am Airways jet planes. Most of the later Pan Am painted locomotives were dressed in a darker navy-blue shade.

I exposed this photo on Fujichrome and scanned it with a Nikon LS5000 scanner powered by VueScan 9.8.22 software, then adjusted and scaled the hi-res TIF with Adobe Lightroom.

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Foray to Lykens, PA.

Early in the winter, we drove north into coal country.

I was curious to visit Lykens, a comparatively remote Pennsylvania town, that was once at the end of a Reading Company line which had included a switchback near Tower City.

Upon reaching Lykens, we found little evidence of the old Reading, now many decades gone. However, we located the old Pennsylvania Railroad station and yard.

The station is now a museum, although it was closed on the afternoon of our visit.

Market Street in Lykens, where a branch of the PRR once crossed.
The tracks were lifted a long time ago, but the old PRR station at Lykens survives.

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Sun and Semaphores—Ballinasloe, Jan 2000.

Twenty four years ago this month, I exposed this pair of Fujichrome Sensia II color slides of Irish Rail’s down Galway accellerating away from the station a Ballinasloe led by a class 201 diesel.

At the time the Galway Line was still largely protected with traditional mechanical signals locally controlled by signal cabins.

In 2003, Irish replaced the old signal system with a modern ‘Mini CTC’ system controlled remotely from Dublin.

Nikkor f2.8 non-AI 24mm lens.
Nikkor f2.8 non-AI 24mm lens.

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Mannheim vs Manheim

1998 and 2024.

Like it or not, local spelling (and pronunciation) is always correct.

I visited Mannheim, Germany in August 1998, where I made this Sensia color slide of a DB class 103 electric departing the main station.

Manheim, Pennsylvania is a town on the old Reading Company that is less than half an hour from our home in Lancaster.

Fujichrome Sensia (100 ISO), exposed using a Nikon F3T with f2.8 135mm Nikkor telephoto lens.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom. Camera mounted on a Bogen tripod.

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Two for One at Christiana

Fortune was with us on Saturday.

After lunch, we drove the back way over to Christiana, Pa., where I hoped to catch Amtrak 670 in the afternoon sun.

The tracks are oriented on a south-north alignment at Christiana, which makes it a good place to photograph eastward train on a sunny day, if you mind the shadows.

Where Keystone 670 was pretty much ‘on the advertised,’ Amtrak 42, the eastward Pennsylvanian had fallen down a bit, and was just a few minutes behind.

So for the effort of one eastward train, we caught two! One electric and one diesel.

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4876 Up close

On this day (January 15th) in 1953, Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 4876 electric was leading The Federal (Boston to Washington D.C.) when the train suffered an airbrake failure as it approached Washington Union Terminal at speed.

The train crashed spectacularly with the locomotive ending up in the concourse of the station, which then collapsed under the excessive weight of the engine. This event made front page news all across the nation.

The locomotive, or parts thereof, were reassembled (or remanufactured) by the railroad. The engine kept its famous number.

In 1982, old 4876 was owned by the New Jersey Department of Transportaion and routinely assigned to work New York & Long Branch trains (also known as the North Jersey Coast Line) between Penn Station in Manhattan and South Amboy, New Jersey.

Scan of a black & white print.

In 1982, My father and I caught up with the battle-weary famous electric at Rahway Junction, NJ., where I made this black & white photo using my vintage Leica 3A, a camera that was even older than the vintage electric locomotive.

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Etherquest!—30 years later

At 7am on January 14, 1994, it was -18F in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I drove to a location that I’d previously explored at Daytons Bluff, near West Hoffman along the Mississippi River.

Icy air resulted in magenta light with a freezing mist blowing off the river.

I found that to keep my lenses from fogging up, I had to keep my cameras outside, while I stayed warm in the car. My Nikon F3T was uncooperative since the battery didn’t fare well in the cold. Luckily, I had an F2 that I’d borrowed from fellow photographer Brian Jennison, and a Nikkormatt FTN, both of which were fully manual cameras.

It ultimately warmed to a flat 0 degrees by midday, but the lighting remained surreal and ethereal.

That evening as an icy dusk settled over the Twin Cities, I coined a mission and a name for my transcontinental winter adventure: Etherquest!

Dawn at Hoffman Avenue—’West Hoffman’—Daytons Bluff, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 14, 1994-Kodachrome 25 slide film, exposed using a Nikon F2.
Westward Burlington Northern freight catches the morning glint at West Hoffman, St. Paul. Kodachrome 25 slide film, exposed using a Nikon F2.
Eastward Canadian Pacific-Soo Line freight crosses the ice clogged Mississippi Rive against a frozen sky. Kodachrome 25 slide film, exposed using a Nikon F2.
Northtown Yard at dusk.

Over the remainder of my overland trip to Los Angeles, I focused my photographic efforts on capturing railroads in ethereal light, especially around sunrise and sunset, and I named the whole trip Etherquest!

Months later, I wrote this up as a feature article published in Pacific RailNews and titled Etherquest!. This unusual article was a contributing consideration in Pentrex Publishing’s choice to hire me in June 1994 as an associate editor for PRN and its sister publication, Passenger Train Journal.

Taking the job resulted in another epic drive from California to Wisconsin.

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Fine Morning at Jefferson Drive

This is the sequel to ‘Look Ma No Pans’—published on Tracking the Light the other day. (

It was a fine morning, making it one of rare few bright sunny days as of late.

I’d scoped the local railroad scene, and was in position at Jefferson Drive at Greenfield in Lancaster, Pa., to make a few photos of Norfolk Southern’s daily New Holland Branch freight.

I had an ulterior motive. My old Nikon F3 was loaded with Provia100F, and I’d been waiting for a fine day to finish off the roll that had been in the camera since Thanksgiving.

Film is expensive and I didn’t want to squander it. But with a clear sky and a train nearby, I felt this was a good opportunity to make a few nice color slides.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, while waiting for Norfolk Southern’s freight to come around the bend, much to my surprise on the nearby Harrisburg Line, a late-running Amtrak Keystone zipped by with a diesel in the lead.

The crew of the New Holland local takes it very slow approaching Jefferson Drive, which provides ample opportunity to work with multiple cameras. I made these photos digitally with my Nikon Z7-II, while also exposing slides with my antique F3.

As this being written the slide film is enroute to the lab! But, It will be at least another ten days before I can see my processed results from the F3. Fingers crossed that I got my exposures right!

Norfolk Southern SD40Es 6335 and 6312 lead the eastward New Holland Branch local at Jefferson Drive. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.
I like the juxtaposition of antique General Motors products. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

Since there was nice light and a train on the move, I zipped down the road for another set of photos . . .

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Sometimes it is just the tracks!

Some days everything falls into place and you get a train in nice light in a neat location. Other days you need to settle for a view of the line.

Last autumn, I photographed this unusual trackage arrangement on the Reading & Northern at Tamaqua, Pa.

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St Paul, MN—January 12, 1994—prelude to a photographic quest. . .

In January 1994, I made an epic cross-country journey from Massachusetts to Los Angeles.

On my way, I visited my brother in the Twin Cities, and spent some time exploring railroads in the area.

On the morning of January 12th, I made these photos at Daytons Bluff, near Hoffman Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, using my Nikon F3T loaded with Fujichrome Velvia 50. Filtered winter sun made for some interesting yellowish gauzy light over the Mississippi.

These photos were just a prelude to some better photography. That night the weather shifted as arctic air blew in and the temperatures dropped from the low 30s (F) to minus 30 (F).

The extremely cold air produced some fascinating lighting conditions, and over the next few days, I made a body of photographs that was the start of my great photographic mid-1990s quests ! Stay tuned . . .

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Look Ma No Pans!

High winds on Tuesday resulted in some unusual activity on Wednesday.

Norfolk Southern’s New Holland Branch is a line that runs near (and ultimately connects with) Amtrak’s electrified former Pennsylvania Railroad Harrisburg Line. At Jefferson Drive in Lancaster, the lines are in sight of one another. While I was waiting for NS’s branch local, I was surprised by late running Amtrak Keystone that passed under wire with a P42 diesel leading an ACS-64 electric with its pantographs down.

I was out of position to photograph the eastward Amtrak train, but I made my photos of the Norfolk Southern freight (for a later post). Afterward I made a few inquiries to learn about Amtrak’s situation.

From my understanding the high winds on Tuesday had damaged the overhead lines in the Philadelphia area. To keep its trains running, Amtrak assigned P42s in the lead. Give credit to Amtrak for doing what was needed to get trains over the road!

Later in the day, during the lunch hour, Kris and I went trackside at Bird-in-Hand, Pa., where we caught westward Amtrak 643 Keystone running ‘behind the advertised’ with a P42 at the Harrisburg-end and an ACS-64 with its pans down on the Philadelphia end.

I made these images using my Nikon Z7-II. The NEF RAW files were adjusted for contrast, exposure and saturation in post processing.

Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.

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Manheim, Pennsylvania

In the gloom of a cold winter night, we followed the old Reading Company tracks to the station at Manheim, Pa..

This preserved building is now maintained by the Manheim Historical Society. A few restored freight cars are displayed outside along with a Pennsylvania Railroad caboose, plus railroad artifacts such as historic baggage carts.

The tracks are operated by Norfolk Southern.

I exposed these photos with my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens mounted on a tripod. In post processing I adjusted the NEF RAW files to adjust color temperature, lighten shadows, control highlights and reduce contrast.

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Coming and GOing at Sunnyside, Toronto.

Do you remember Velvia 100?

In February 2010, Pat Yough, Chris Guss and I made an epic trip to Ontario.

Our days in Toronto were memorably cold, but extremely productive photographically.

Clear frosty conditions are excellent for photography, but rough on fingers and camera batteries.

We caught the evening rushhour at Sunnyside, west of Toronto Union Station.

Using a Canon EOS-3, I exposed this Velvia 100 (RVP100) color slide of passing GO Transit trains minutes before sunset.

Velvia 100 was a relatively short-lived emulsion. It had a wonderful color palate, and a softer edge than Velvia 100F that was offered about the same time. Both Velvia 100 and Velvia 100F were a full stop faster than the original Velvia 50. This one stop difference really helped when photographing moving trains at the end of the day. Velvia 50, although expensive, is still available.

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Amtrak 643 at Gap

After days of gray cloudy skies the sun emerged. Kris and I paused at Gap, Pa., to roll by Amtrak’s westward Keystone, train 643. This was operating cab-car first with an ACS-64 electric at the back of the consist.

Working with my Nikon Z7-II and 24-70mm zoom set to 70mm, I exposed a series of images. I cropped these in post processing to emphasize the horizontal perspective.

70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.
70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.
70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.

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Amtrak’s ‘Pepsi Cans’ on the Street

General Electric P32BWH

In 1991, Amtrak acquired twenty General Electric DASH 8-32BWH (Amtrak calls this model P32BH), a model were based on Santa Fe’s contemporary 500-series GE’s (built a year earlier).

As-built, Amtrak’s DASH 8-32BWH locomotives featured a novel modern paint scheme, which some observers compared to the coloration used by Pepsi on its 12-ounce aluminum cola cans, and so these were unofficially known as “Pepsi Cans.” In the early 1990s, they were often assigned in pairs to Amtrak’s West Coast services.

On February 7, 1994, I caught a pair of ‘Pepsi Cans’ leading the LA-bound Coast Starlight on Southern Pacific’s street trackage at Jack London Square in Oakland, California.

I exposed this Kodachrome 25 slide using my Nikon F3T with 28mm Nikkor wideangle lens. This image has been published several times, including as an illustration in Passenger Train Journal issue 197 that came out in the mid-1990s.

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Nocturnal Views at Lititz, Pa.

During our visit to Lititz, Pa., I made these photos along the old Reading Company tracks that bisect the town.

The caboose on display was once operated by Central Railroad of New Jersey and has been convincingly dressed to resemble similar cars that had been operated by the Reading.

Nearby is the replica passenger station, a structure that during daylight hours serves as a welcome center.

Although the end of track is about a block away, Norfolk Southern still serves this route. We caught a glimpse of a railroad HyRail truck and a rail-defect detection vehicle on the night of our most recent trip. However, we were unable to make a photo of these vehicles at work.

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Christiana Station at Night

On our evening drive, we called into the former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Christiana, Pa.

With my Nikon Z7-II firmly mounted on my old Bogen tripod, and working with available light I made these photos using time exposures. Details below:

Nikkor 24-70mm lens at 70mm, 1 second exposure at f4.0, ISO 200.
Nikkor 24-70mm lens at 28mm, 3 second exposure at f4.0, ISO 200.
Nikkor 24-70mm lens at 29mm, 6 second exposure at f4.0, ISO 200.

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Out of the Mist at Windsor Locks.

Amtrak 494 was running a bit behind the advertised when we arrived the ‘station’ in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

I had time to set up my tripod, make an assessment of the lighting conditions, and frame up my photo before the train came into view.

The two car shuttle from New Haven made a very brief stop. I exposed this sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set at ISO 8000.

After just a moment the train was on its way toward Springfield, Massachusetts.

ISO8000, f4 1/125 second.
ISO8000, f4 1/200th second.

More than 38 years ago, I made a black & white photo of an Amtrak painted Budd-SPV2000 stopping here. See:

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Classic Kodachrome—Conrail 6717 leads TV9 at milepost 123.

If I wrote: ‘6717 WB w TV9 mp123 11-13-92’ would it mean anything to anyone but me?

It was a clear morning in November 1992. I’d set up west of Huntington, Massachusetts on Conrail’s Boston Line—the former Boston & Albany mainline grade over Washington Hill.

At that time, intermodal freight TV9 (Beacon Park, Boston to Chicago) routinely made its westward passage through the Berkshires in the morning.

On this particular day, the train was led by SD50 6717. While not unheard of, this was uncommon power for TV9, as in the early 1990s Conrail typically assigned sets of three and four GE C30-7A, C32-8 and C36-7 diesels to most of its Boston Line road freights.

Kodachrome 25 was my standard film. This traditional emulsion made it possible to expose dramatic backlit photos such this one. The nature of the grain structure and Kodachrome process, allowed the film to retain a degree of highlight detail while maintaining a clean edge between light and dark, even in high contrast situations such as this one.

Working with the locomotive exhaust and headlight, I made this dramatic silhouette of the train ascending the grade against a stark autumnal background.

I was working with my Nikon F3T with Nikkor 200mm lens set to f5.6 at 1/125th of second. To minimize flare, I shaded the front element of the lens with my notebook.

Today, the lack of ditchlights really dates the image. By the mid-1990s, ditch lights were standard on most locomotives.

The time was 8:10am. Conrail’s westbound TV9 met the eastbound SEFR near CP123 (just around the bend from my location). The eastbound passed me nine minutes later.

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MBTA 717 at Norfolk, Mass.

Filtered winter sun is better than rain!

Thin layers of clouds and bare early winter trees makes for a setting that reminds me of growing up in Massachusetts.

Kris and I stopped into Norfolk, Massachusetts during a brief visit with family over the holidays.

We arrived at Norfolk’s MBTA Station shortly before the arrival of westward Franklin Branch commuter train 717 led by HSP-46 No. 2013.

In its heyday, this route had been the mainline of the New York & New England, an erstwhile competitor, and later component of the New Haven Railroad.

I made these images using my Nikon Z7-II. I made a host of adjustments to the RAW NEF files to make the most of soft directional light.

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Square Mount—January 1, 1980

I made comparatively few color photos prior to 1980 and I have precious few ‘square mount’ Kodachrome slides.

On January 1, 1980, I traveled with my family from The Bronx, New York back to our home in Monson, Massachusetts. On the way, we stopped at New Haven, Connecticut to take a look at Amtrak GG1 4935 that had been repainted into the Raymond Loewy designed PRR scheme.

Using my old Leica 3A rangefinder I made this Kodachrome color slide of a Chevy pickup truck parked next to the antique electric locomotive.

I don’t know what became of the pickup but today the old GG1 is preserved and displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Pa. I’ve featured this locomotive in several recent Tracking the Light posts.

This Kodachrome slide was exposed 44 years ago!

Happy 2024 from Tracking the Light!