Category Archives: Announcements

Three GM Diesels at White River Junction, Vermont

On Sunday evening (July 18, 2021), on our way back to New Hampshire from Massachusetts , Kris and I visited the old station at White River Junction, Vermont where we photographed three vintage General Motors diesels.

GM’s Electro-Motive Division was America’s premier locomotive builder from the late 1940s until the early 1980s.

The 1970s-era machines that we found at White RIver Junction are exmples of EMD’s locomotive zenith, when GM-EMD was synonymous with locomotive excellence.

Although it was a dull July evening, I made photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. Working with Adobe Lightroom, I made nominal adjustments to improve shadow detail, overall contrast, and color saturation.

GMTX 2617 is former Penn Central GP38-2 7925.
Vermont Rail System 202 is a GP38-2 lettered for the Washington County Railroad. Seen here on the old Boston & Maine just north of the White River Junction, Vt., station.

New England Central 437 is a former Florida East Coast GP40-2.

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Central Vermont Feature

Yesterday, my author’s copies of NRHS Bulletin Vol 83, No. 4 arrived with my feature story, ‘Growing Up with Central Vermont’.

This personal story of my experiences with the old CV includes a variety of my photos of the railroad exposed between 1977 and 1993.

The opening spread is a photo, previously unpublished, of train 444 crossing the Palmer diamond in September 1977, which I exposed using my father’s Leica IIIC.

An unexpected surprise was the cover story of the magazine, which is a detailed article on Metro North by my old friend (and Tracking the Light reader) Walter E. Zullig Jr!

CV_Ry_447_Vernon_Vt_May14_1986_Fuji50 with Leica.

Although a nice photo, the above view of Central Vermont’s northward road freight at Vernon, Vermont, did not make my final cut for photos submitted to the NRHS Bulletin.

Special thanks to Bulletin Staff Editor Jeff Smith for bringing my article to print.

The NRHS Bulletin’s email is: bulletin@nrhs.com

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My New Camera: Nikon Z6

Last week I received my latest in a long line of cameras that began with an Exakta back in 1972.

Over the last six months, I’ve been considering an upgrade to my digital cameras.

Sensor technology has progressed and my ability to work with digital photography successfully has matured. 

I considered a variety of cameras in my price range including Canon, FujiFilm, and Panasonic Lumix.

I was looking for a camera that will augment my existing cameras while providing demonstrably better or different image quality.

Two events pushed me toward my purchase: The first was the loss of service of my 18-135mm zoom for my Fuji XT1. The second was the loss of service of my Panasonic LX7. 

After careful and lengthy consideration, I ended up purchasing a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera on the recommendation of photographer Pat Yough.

I plan to continue to use my Canon and FujiFilm digital cameras as well as my film cameras. Plus, I’m in the market for another Lumix!

The Nikon’s excellent full-frame sensor and the ability to use my older Nikon lenses on the new camera, plus the price point were among my considerations. I bought the camera with a 24-70 zoom.

Below are a few of the photos from my first day out with the Z6 on a wander around western Maine with my girlfriend and photography partner Kris Sabbatino. All were made with the 24-70mm and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

Grafton Notch, near Neary, Maine.
Grafton Notch, near Neary, Maine.
St. Lawrence & Atlantic at Bethel, Maine.
St. Lawrence & Atlantic at Gilead, Maine.

I may take me a while before I obtain the full visual benefit of this new tool, as it has a lot of buttons, functions, menus and features to explore and learn.

I am not new to Nikon, as I bought my Nikon in the form of an F3T in 1990, but this is my first Nikon Digital camera.

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Farewell MG Tower?

MG Tower in 1987.

Yesterday, photographer Pat Yough sent me an article from the Altoona Mirror concerning Norfolk Southern’s planned demolition of the former Pennsylvania Railroad MG Tower (located on the climb from Altoona to Gallitzin, PA.)

Like the late, great New York Pennsylvania Station, MG Tower will succumb to corporate philistines who fail to value history and architecture. The rationale for such destruction may be justified to satisfy short term financial or safety prerogatives, but the loss is everyone’s. Once destroyed, this classic structure will be gone forever.

So much of the Pennsylvania Railroad has already been lost in the name of ‘progress’ and other abstract concepts. Have we learned nothing from past transgressions? So today’s railroad remain eager to erase the monuments of railroading’s glory days.

Of course the tower can be saved.

Of course future generations could benefit from its preservation.

Instead it will be but a memory ruined by those who fail to value history.

Well done Norfolk Southern! May the names of the persons condemning this structure to dust be enshrined so that everyone can relish in their achievement and congratulate them for their wisdom.

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Mountaineer Climbs the Mountain!

June 27, 2020 was the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer debut!

This was the big day!

I organized banners for the locomotive  . . .

And a ribbon-cutting photo-op with Dave and Rhonda Swirk at North Conway, New Hampshire.

The guests were boarded.

I departed ahead of the train by road and hiked in to the Frankenstein trestle where I caught the train on film and video. Then, I laid chase to intercept it again at Crawford, NH. A neat trick considering all the equipment I was carrying.

At the end of the day, I was interviewed on the radio for broadcast Monday.

Dave Swirk cuts the ceremonial ribbon for the first Mountaineer!
Mountaineer at Frankenstein.
Mountaineer arriving at Crawford station. Maine Central 252 is the locomotive that hauled the last revenue road freight over the Mountain Division back in 1983, and had the honor of leading the first Mountaineer from North Conway to Crawford.

George Small, Rhonda and Dave Swirk, and Bob Marquardt with the Mountaineer Banner at Crawford.
Conway Scenic Railroad’s president and general manager Dave Swirk (left) with Mountaineer’s first narrator, Steve Nickless at Crawford Station.

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My Canisteo Valley in Trains Magazine

The June 2020 Trains Magazine features my 8-page article on Conrail in New York’s Canisteo River Valley.

This features some of my favorite Kodachrome slide photos from when the line was still operated as double-track under rule 251 with classic Union Switch & Signal block signals.

One of the outtakes was this view from 1996.

By 1996, Conrail had lifted one of the two main tracks through the Canisteo and removed all the classic signals. While this forever changed the character of the railroad, Conrail continued to make good use of this former Erie Railroad mainline. On November 1, 1996, this eastward unit coal train rolled along the Canisteo near West Cameron, New York.

My new book: Conrail and its Predecessors is now available!

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

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Snow Train Day and Night

On Tuesday February 18, 2020 it snowed most of the day at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Through out the day the Conway Scenic Railroad was operating its new Snow Trains between its famous North Conway station and Attitash in Bartett.

I made these views of the Snow Train set led by former Maine Central GP7 573 paused between runs at the North Conway B&M station.

Both were exposed using a Lumix LX7.

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10 MOre Railroad Hobby SHow Photos!

As I write this, I am getting ready to return to the Amherst Railway Society’s BIG Railroad Hobby Show!

Here’s another ten Lumix LX7 photos from yesterday’s experience.

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Conway Scenic December 17, 2019—A Spin and a Surprise Twist

In a world of splashy announcements, bold publicity stunts and loud pronouncements, occasionally subtlety, allusion and understatement still have a place.

Also, I’m always curious to learn who’s paying attention and who just looks at the pictures. (Sometimes the long posts with allusive titles offer the most important messages).

Yesterday, as I was standing in the snow to record Boston & Maine F7A 4268 that was brought out of Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway roundhouse for a spin on the turntable, my friends Dave and Rhonda Swirk quietly announced that I was taking on a full-time position at the railroad in Marketing and Event planning.

And there’s the surprise twist!

Clear signals for exciting things coming down the line! (Bigger bolder pronouncements later).

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