Category Archives: Gallery

This features recent work and exceptional images for display and discussion.

Maine Central’s Rockland, Maine Roundhouse—August 1980.

I was just a kid with a camera. Luckily, the camera was a Leica 3A.

I’d loaded it with Tri-X and exposed a few views around the Rockland, Maine roundhouse during a visit there with my family in August 1980.

Months later I processed the film in Microdol-X (not the best choice of developers, but it’s what I used at the time) and made a few tiny prints. Then I put the negatives in a paper envelope and mostly forgot about them.

Rockland, Maine in August 1980.

Two years ago, when looking for some other photos, I re-discovered the negatives in a big batch of missing photos, and scanned them at high-resolution with an Epson flatbed scanner.

This photo required a little post processing adjustment to improve tonality and even out contrast, while removing a few dust specs.

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Click here to order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

Gotthard Pass 15 April 2016—Two Years Ago Today.

On this day two years ago, my friends and I were exploring SBB’s magnificent crossing of Switzerland’s Gotthard Pass.

This was just a few months before the official opening of the new long base tunnel, which diverted most of the through traffic away from the traditional crossing.

Today, an hourly regional passenger service is the primary way to travel of the old line.

An SBB mixed freight ascends the old Gottard line at Gurtnellen. Behind me within the confines of the mountain is one of several spiral tunnels on the line.
An SBB ICN tilting train crosses the Intschireuss Bridge on the Gotthard Pass.

I made these views using my FujiFilm X-T1.

The Gotthard route is one of many scenic journeys profiled in my new book on European railways published by Kalmbach Publishing this Spring.

Click here to order Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Interviewed in Bristol.

Today I flew from Dublin to Bristol (UK) to be interviewed by Michael Cove of Australia’s WildBear TV.

My conversations included history of railways in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe and North American among other places.

Although it may not be used, I gave my new book a plug.

Here’s a few Lumix photos from the trip.

Boarding at Dublin Airport.
My new guide book on European Railway Travel on the plane with a cup of Barry’s Tea.
The weather is foul in Bristol.
There I am waiting for the cameras to begin rolling. Photo by the camera crew.

I haven’t seen any steel wheel vehicles, but I made a photo of a bus.

I’m waiting for the hop back to Dublin; Bristol airport has free wifi!

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Santa Fe in the Tehachapis: On This Day 25 Years Ago.

This was one of dozens of Kodachrome slides I exposed in California’s Tehachapi mountains on April 3, 1993—25 Years ago today.

Fellow photographer Brian Jennison and I were on an epic excursion making images of Southern Pacific and Santa Fe trains.

For this view I’m standing on a hillside near Tunnel 2 looking toward Bealville of a westward Santa Fe intermodal train. It was a beautiful Spring morning and the purple lupin flowers were in bloom.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a 35mm perspective control lens (with adjustable front element).

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Tracking the Light EXTRA: Happy Birthday Conrail!

The Consolidated Rail Corporation began operations on April 1, 1976.

During the 1980s and 1990s, I made thousands of Kodachrome slides of Conrail operations. Conrail was divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX in Spring 1999.

In August 1988, I exposed this view from Tifft Street in Buffalo of a westward Conrail intermodal train working the Water Level Route.

Tim Doherty and I authored a book on Conrail in 2004.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 and 90mm Leitz Elmarit lens. I cross-lit the train in an effort to emphasize the Buffalo skyline and help distinguish the four track line.

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NI Railways Celebrates 50 Years Today!—1 April 2018

NI Railways marks 50 today!

The other day, I made a few views of the celebration stickers and posters.

Lumix LX7 photo.

To help celebrate, I’m also posting a view I made of an old 80-class railcar at Whitehead back on 19 April 2000.

19 April 2000 at Whitehead. Fujichrome photo exposed with a Nikon.

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Dublin by Night: 1000 shades of Dark.

I’d use ‘gray’ in place of ‘dark’, but apparently the phraseology has assumed new meanings.

I could just say ‘Dublin in Black & White’, but that isn’t really correct either.

Working with my Nikon F3 loaded with Foma Classic 100 black & white film, I made these photos during March 2018 wintery weather in Dublin.

To keep my camera steady for long exposures, I used various tripods, depending on the surface and circumstance.

Irish Rail’s Loop Line bridge over the River Liffey.

My exposures varied, but most were between 1 and 8 seconds. I calculated exposure manually using a Minolta IV Flash meter (in reflective mode).

I processed the Fomapan 100 film in Ilford ID-11 stock mixed 1-1 with water at 68F for 7 minutes 15 seconds, plus pre-soak with a token amount of Kodak HC110, then scanned negatives using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

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Class 201 Retrospective: Irish Rail 204 in four photos.

The unremarkable 204.

Not as rare to my lens as 202, but not as common as say 201, 205, or the seeming omnipresent 215. Today, views of 204 on the move are still pretty neat since it’s been more than eight years since it turned a wheel.

These are all Fujichrome photos, since I never photographed 204 at work using a digital camera. Maybe someday it will return to service. But even then I might take it on slide film for old time sake.

Can you spot the ‘bad’ photo? (read the captions)

Irish Rail 204 races down road at Ballybrophy on 7 April 2007.
Nearly 12 years ago, freshly paint Irish Rail 204 passes Cherryville Junction.
One for the bin? Here we have a fascinating photo of Irish Rail in transition; I exposed this view almost ten years ago to the day: March 2008. Locomotive 204 leads Mark 3s west at Islandbridge Junction as a new Mark 4 set rolls up-road; at left is a four-wheel ballast train led by a pair of Bo-Bos (class 141/181 General Motors diesels), with another Bo-Bo at right working as a station pilot. Look to the upper right in the yard and you’ll see a set of new Rotem ICRs. But this was bad photo: never mind all the railway action, I committed a compositional faux pas; I chopped the top of the Wellington Testimonial in the Phoenix Park! That’s it, pitch the photo! Nothing to see here!
On another day, Irish Rail 204 leads the Platin-Tullamore cement. I was disappointed that an 071 didn’t work the train, but I’m sure glad I made this photo anyway!

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Snow! Steam! Action!

It was cold and snowy at Dublin’s Connolly Station last Sunday.

While snow complicated Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s planned trips to Maynooth, it made for ideal conditions to expose black & white photos.

Using my Nikon F3 with 35mm and 135mm lens, I made these images on platform 3.

My new book ‘Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe features RPSI trains in its section on Ireland.

It is due out in May 2018 and may pre-order the book from Kalmbach Books: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com

For details on  RPSI and passenger excursions see: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com

RPSI No 4.

All were exposed using Kodak Tri-X black & white film, which I processed in Ilford ID-11 (1-1 at 68 degrees F for 7 minutes 45 seconds, plus extended presoak with very dilute HC110 to pre-activate development.)

I scanned the negatives  using an Epson V500 flatbed scanner.

RPSI No 4.

More snowy steam images images to follow!

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Irish Rail 073 in Heritage Paint at Dublin’s North Wall.

Irish Rail 073 was repainted in 2017 into heritage orange paint.

When I arrived in Ireland 20 years ago, most locomotives were in some variation of this orange-livery. Today, 073 is a novelty.

The bright orange with white trimming makes for a great subject, even on cloudy days since its stands out well from the background.

I made these views last week at Dublin’s North Wall of the arriving IWT Liner.

FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.
FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

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Dublin’s Elusive Super Milk Tram.

Well it’s the only time I’ve seen it .(so far)

I was on Abbey Street, when I heard the familiar Dong-Dong warning of a LUAS tram . . .

this wasn’t a red line tram, but rather a car working the new Green Line Cross City route on Marlborough Street.

So there it was in all its creamy-whiteness; the red-white-blue Avonmore Super Milk Tram!

LUAS Tram 5010 painted for Avonmore Super Milk passes the Abbey Theatre.
Avonmore Milk Tram in the Dublin City centre.

Lucky for me I had my Lumix LX7 at the ready.

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Photography: room for subtlety?

I made this view of disused narrow-gauge industrial tracks imbedded between the cobbles on Rainsford Street near Dublin’s Guinness Brewery to demonstrate the effects of shallow depth of field.

Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using my battle-worn Nikon F3 with Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens.

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TRAINS Hot Spots on Sale in Easons

Trains Magazine’s special issue ‘Hot Spots’ with my article on interpreting railroad signals is on sale at Easons on O’Connell Street in Dublin.

I exposed the lead photo at DeKalb, Illinois on a March morning 23 years ago using a Nikkormat FTN loaded with Fujichrome.

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Irish Rail ICR and Sperry Train at Mallow, County Cork.

For me, sometimes black & white film provides the best medium for capturing a scene.

Working with my Nikon N90S loaded with Ilford FP4 black & white film, I exposed this sequence of photographs at Mallow, County Cork.

Soft afternoon sun provided some nice light; just the sort of low sun that allows for tonality and texture to be interpreted on black & white film.

Irish Rail 075 rests in the Mallow yard with the Sperry rail defect detection train.
The addition of a spoil wagon at the back of the Sperry consist was unusual and worth of a few photographs.
Filtered sun makes for contrast and tonality well suited to black & white film. I exposed these views using my Nikon N90S with 35mm f2.0 Nikkor AF Lens.

 

 

An Irish Rail ICR (InterCity Railcar) arrives at Mallow from Cork on its way to Dublin.
Here’s a contrast between the antique looking Sperry train and the sleek ICR.

Previously, I’d struggled with FP4 to get a range of tones that satisfy me. With this roll of film, I used Ilford ID11 stock solution without dilution at 68 degrees F (20C) for 5 minutes, with only a short water bath prior to develoment.

Although, my negatives still required a touch of contrast adjustment in post processing, I’m very happy with the way they turned out.

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Irish Rail Sperry Train at Kent Station Cork.

A couple of weeks ago Irish Rail’s Sperry train made a visit to Cork.

This train is essentially comprised of the weed-spraying consist with the addition of a container that carries the Sperry ultrasonic rail-defect detection equipment.

I made these views of the unusual train under the train shed at Cork’s Kent Station. The spoil wagon in the consist was a novelty.

I’ve often photographed trains under Kent Station’s curved train-shed, which is one of the most distinctive locations on Irish Rail.

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Seven Enterprising Views.

Or rather, a few views of and from (and otherwise relating to) the Dublin-Belfast 0735 Enterprise service.

All exposed using my Lumix LX7 on 8 February 2018.

Departure board Connolly Station.
Push-pull driving trailer on the Enterprise.
View crossing the River Boyne at Drogheda.
Near the border.
Electronic visual artifact on the interior sign.

Enterprise at Portadown.

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NI Railways—Lisburn Sunset: Variations on a theme.

Here are colour and black & white views at NI Railway’s Lisburn station exposed at sunset in late January 2018. Both original images were exposed within a few moments of each other.

The colour photo was exposed in RAW format using my Lumix LX7 digital camera, while the black & white image was made on Kodak Tri-X exposed using a Nikon F3 with 24mm Nikkor lens. (Film processed in ID11 1-1 for 8 minutes at 20C (68 F).

I imported the files into Lightroom and made a series of contrast adjustments to better balance the sky with the train, station and platforms.

I made my changes to compensate for limitations of the recording media while aiming for greater dynamic presentation.

Below are both the unaltered files, Lightroom work windows, and my penultimate variations, which are aimed to demonstrate the changes, the means of alteration, and my results.

Unaltered RAW file (except for scaling necessary for internet presentation). Exposed with a Lumix LX7. I have not yet interpreted the data captured by the camera.
Lightroom work window showing some of the corrections and adjustments that I’ve made to the camera RAW file. I’ve also manually leveled my image.
My final output from the altered RAW file. This shows my adjustments to contrast and exposure.
Unmodified scan of my original black & white negative (reversed to make a positive image). I have not yet made corrections to the file. Note the muddy shadows and overall flat contrast.
Lightroom work window showing level correction.
Lightroom work window showing various global contrast controls and changes. I’ve also made localized changes to the sky using a digitally applied graduated filter (shown with lateral lines across the sky) and a radial filter (not shown)  to the front of the train. Notice the relative position of central sliders at right.
Final black & white output—original image exposed on Kodak Tri-X. Notice how the film image does a better job of rendering detail in the sky.

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Tracking the Light Special: Irish Rail 071 in Heritage Paint—Now.

At 1007 (10:07 am) this morning (8 February 2018), Irish Rail’s 071 (class leader of the popular 071 class of General Motors-built diesel locomotives) passed Islandbridge Junction with the down IWT Liner.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1with 90mm Fujinon lens. It’s a bit misty in Dublin. Image scaled from in-camera Jpeg without post processing contrast or exposure adjustment.

This locomotive was repainted in 2016 into the attractive 1970s-era livery.

Although, I’ve made a number of photographs of this locomotive in heritage paint before, it’s always nice to see it on the move. I’m told it had been laid up for the last few months and it’s only back on the road this week.

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Winter at Bridge Street, Monson.

Over the years I’ve made many photos of southward trains ascending State Line Hill from Bridge Street in Monson, Massachusetts.

This one was exposed in January 2018, shortly before I left for Dublin.

Lightly falling snow and a red GP40-2L made for a Christmas card scene. This is New England Central job 608 on its return run on the old Central Vermont Railway line to Willimantic, Connecticut.

Compare this winter view with those made in Spring 2017, See: Bridge Street Monson—Two Takes, Four Views.

Exposed digitally using a Lumix LX7.

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Central Vermont Railway Ended 23 Years Ago Today (February 3, 2018)

On February 3, 1995, Canadian National Railway’s American affiliate Central Vermont Railway ended operations.

 

Shortly thereafter, the newly created RailTex short line called New England Central assumed operation of the former CV route. Since that time, New England Central became part of Rail America, which was then acquired by Genesee & Wyoming.

 

Despite these changes, a few of New England Central’s start-up era GP38s are still on the move in the classy blue and yellow livery.

Central Vermont GP9 4442 leads freight 562B upgrade at Maple Street in Monson, Massachusetts on December 23, 1986.
New England Central approaches its 23 anniversary. Another view at Maple Street in Monson.

Although exposed more than 30 years apart. This pair of ‘then and now’ photos at Maple Street in Monson, Massachusetts, helps delineate my appreciation for New England Central and Central Vermont.

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Dublin LUAS Cross City First Service Views—26 January 2018.

Over the last few years I’ve posted a variety of photos showing Dublin’s LUAS Cross City tram line under construction and trial/training runs.

In December 2017, this new LUAS service commenced from St. Stephens Green (at the north end of the original Green Line service) to Broombridge on Dublin’s Northside. But, at that time, I was elsewhere.

So last Friday (26 January 2018), Mark Healy and I went for a spin out to Broombridge and back. I made digital photos with my Lumix LX7 and colour slides with my Nikon N90S.

These are a few of my digital views.

Northward tram at O’Connell and Parnell Streets.
Broombridge terminus.
Broombridge terminus. Note the new footbridge construction over Irish Rail’s Sligo line. Broombridge is intended as an intermodal interface between Irish Rail and LUAS.
View from the tram at Broombridge.
Map of the new service on board tram 5020.
In bound tram at Grangegorman.
Out of service 4000-series tram at Grangegorman.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.
Dawson Street on Dublin’s Southside.

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Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 1.

Back in the mid-1980s, my friends and I made trips to Mechanicville, New York where the adjacent Boston & Maine and Delaware & Hudson yards lent to lots of action and a great variety of diesel locomotives.

The yard was an early casualty of Guilford’s short lived consolidation of B&M and D&H operations. By 1986 the yard was a ghost town.

In more recent times a small portion of the yards were redeveloped for intermodal and auto-rack facilities, but very little of the sprawling trackage remains

In December, I returned to Mechanicville with a Leica IIIA and Sumitar loaded with Kodak Tri-X in an effort to recreate the angles of photos I exposed in November 1984 using the same camera/film combination.

To aid this exercise, I scanned my old negatives and uploaded these to my iPhone. The viewfinder of the Leica IIIA presents difficulties as this is just a tiny window and not well suited to precision composition. (Topic for another day).

Also complicating my comparisons was the fresh layer of snow in the 2017 views.

In some places the only points of reference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ views are the electrical lines crossing the yard.

Horizontal view from November 24, 1984. An eastward B&M freight is about to cross the diamond with Maine Central 252 in the lead.
Nearly the same angle in December 29, 2017.
November 24, 1984.
December 29, 2017 at the same location.
Delaware & Hudson C-420 406 crossed Viall Avenue in Mechanicville, New York on November 24, 1984.
Looking east at Viall Avenue on December 29, 2017. Note the change of grade crossing signals.

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Frosty Morning Stafford Springs; White Balance.

I made these views of New England Central job 608 working timetable northward at Stafford Spring, Connecticut.

It was about 7:30am, and the sun was just tinting the eastern sky.

Rather than set my camera with ‘auto white balance’ (a typical default setting), I opted to fix the white balance with the ‘daylight’ setting.

Auto white balance arbitrarily selects a neutral color balance and adjusts the balance based on the conditions at hand. This is a useful feature in some situations, such as photography under incandescent lighting, or in situations with mixed lighting, such as in a museum or subway.

However, auto white balance settings have the unfortunate effect of minimizing the colorful effects of sunset and sunrise and so using the ‘daylight’ setting is in my opinion a better alternative.

But there’s really much a more complex problem; the way that digital cameras capture images is completely different to the ways the human eye and brain work in fixing visual stimuli. You could write a book on that!

Downtown Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

 

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Is the closer view better?

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Mysteries Revealed: BRIAN’S IMPOSSIBLE THREE-WAY PUZZLE PHOTO.

In my puzzle from last week see: https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5fZ

This is the un-edited JPG.

I asked viewers three questions, below are the questions and my ‘correct’ answers:

 

  1. There’s no train, but can you spot  three distinct rail elements featured in this image.

ANSWERS: The three elements are: 1) the streetcar infrastructure: tracks and wires. 2) SEPTA’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Chestnut Hill Railroad Station (behind the bus). 3) The advertisement on the bus that reads ‘Respect the Train.’

  1. Do you see what’sWRONG with this photo?

The silver Nissan automobile  in the foreground has been double exposed.

  1. How did I do it?

I was using the Lumix LX7’s HDR (high dynamic range) mode that combines several images in-camera, which exposed differently. Although these exposures are made in rapid succession, the moving car confused the camera’s combination software and resulted in a double exposure.

Thanks to all the viewers who submitted guesses! And congratulations to everyone that guessed correctly!

Sorry if the streetcar wires and tracks are counted as one answer. 🙂

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Difference of Seasons: July versus January—Two Views.

Here are two views of the same train: led by the same locomotive, at the same location, more or less at the same time of day, exposed using the same camera with the same lens.

Both photos show New Engand Central job 608 led by GP38 3845 working northward in the morning along Plains Road in Willington, Connecticut (south of Stafford Springs).

Photos were exposed digitally using a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens. The slight difference in angle may be attributed to the inconvenience of a mushy snow bank along the road in winter view that was not a problem in the summer.

New England Central 3845 north on July 28, 2017.
New England Central 3845 north on January 9, 2018.

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Mass-Central at Thorndike, January 3, 2018—See Tracking the Light for Six Snowy Views.

On the previous day, CSX B740 had interchanged a healthy cut of cars for Mass-Central at Palmer, Massachusetts. So I surmised that this would be a good time to catch Mass-Central working both of its GP38-2s together.

Paul Goewey and I arrived in Palmer early, and once we were sure Mass-Central was ready to head north up their line toward Ware (old Boston & Albany Ware River Branch), we began scoping photo locations.

Although brisk and cold, the sun was clear and bright and there was a good amount of snow on the ground.

We set up at the Main Street Crossing along the valley’s namesake river. We didn’t have to wait long before we heard the train coming up the line.

Into the sun. Post processing adjustment was necessary to maximize the detail captured in the Fuji RAW file.
A telephoto view at the same location looking timetable north.
An exposure adjustment gave me this photo.
Mass-Central’s northward train approaches Main Street in Thorndike. Camera JPG.
Adjusted file with wide-angle view point at Main Street Thorndike, Massachusetts.
Post processing adjusted RAW of the train trailing on the crossing.

These views were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

 

Advance Copy of Trains’ Hot Spots features my signals article.

The other day I got a nice surprise. My author’s Advance Copy of Trains’ Hot Spots arrived in the post box. (mail box).

I like advance sections of Trains. Something special. Something  Extra. Just like in olden times with timetable and train order rules. Gotta love that!

Check out my article on page 11, ‘Reading the Lights,’ about railroad signals.

See: Kalmbach Publishing.

Look for this cover at media outlets near you!
Tag line on the cover! That’s cool! Page 11, that’s me.
Signaling enthusiasts will get the subtle humor in this photo.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Posts

Every Day.

Style-S Semaphore Where You Wouldn’t Expect to Find One.

In my books on railroad signaling I’ve chronicled the history of Union Switch & Signal’s Style S semaphores.

See: Classic Railroad Signals

In the 1980s and 1990s, I made a project of photographing these three-position semaphores on Conrail’s former Erie Railroad route.

Recently a Style S signal has appeared in Palmer, Massachusetts in front of the railroad-themed ‘Train Masters Inn’.

A recent photo of the preserved US&S Style S semaphore in front of the Train Masters Inn on South Main Street in Palmer, Massachusetts. Can you spot the erroneous installation?

I asked the owner where he got it, and he indicated from a dealer in Ohio.

For point of comparison, I’ve included a few of my photos of semaphores along the old Erie.

This was a signal near Erie’s 242 milepost. The style of blade is a bit more modern than the signal in Palmer as it uses a different counterweight arrangement. However careful comparison between this blade and the preserved blade should lead to a conclusion.

Certainly, the signal in Palmer has similarities with the Erie’s; same type of blade as used on older installations, same type of finial.

Careful observers will notice the operating mistake in the way this preserved signal was installed; something that could be easily rectified.

A Susquehanna SD45 roars west at Canaseraga, New York on the old Erie Railroad mainline. Exposed on Kodachrome in May 1988.
Conrail’s BUOI is running on track 1 against the current of traffic so the semaphore is displaying ‘stop and proceed’ as this is automatic block signal territory. Believe it or not, this was exposed on May 7th, 1989 following a freak late season snow storm.
So I ask, where did this signal come from? Is it from the old Erie? And if so, where .I’d like to know.

The Train Masters Inn is a B&B located near the old Palmer Union Station. See: train masters inn.

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Tracking the Light Wishes You Happy Holidays!

Here’s my holiday card. Amtrak’s westward 449 led by heritage locomotive 156 passes West Warren, Massachusetts, Sunday December 10, 2017.

Amtrak 156 has been on my list for a long time. Of all the Amtrak paint schemes over the years, this is by far my favorite.

Although I caught 156 second unit out three days earlier (see yesterday’s Tracking the Light), this locomotive had eluded my photography for years. Apparently it had been assigned to the Vermonter for a month a few years ago, but I was out of the country.

Every other time it was some place, I was some place else.

But finally everything came together; first snow of the season, Amtrak 156 in the lead, and soft afternoon sun at one of my favorite former Boston & Albany locations; the engineer gave me a friendly toot of the horn, and I’m pleased with the outcome of the photos.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm Fujinon Aspherical pancake lens. File processed using Lightroom. And yes, I also exposed some color slides! (But no black & white film).

I hope you have a great holiday season and you find your 156 in the new year.

Tracking the Light wishes you Seasons Greetings too!

 

 

 

Housatonic at Housatonic—Revisited!

In June 2016, I posted on Tracking the Light some views of the Housatonic Railroad at Housatonic, Massachusetts (located along the Housatonic River).

See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2016/06/14/housatonic-railroad-at-housatonic-an-example-of-contrast-control/

In November 2017, I returned to this location in advance of the approaching northward Housatonic freight NX-12 that featured two early 1960s-era GP35s in the lead followed by 32 cars (28 loads, 4 empties) and another GP35 at the back.

I find the railroad setting here fascinating. The combination of the traditional line with wooden ties and jointed rail in a setting of old factories, freight house and passenger station makes for a rustic scene out of another era.

Working with a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens I made a series of black & white photos on Kodak Tri-X. And, I also exposed a sequence of digital color photos using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Freight house at Housatonic, Massachusetts. Exposed on Tri-X with a Nikon F3 fitted with a 50mm Nikkor lens. Film processed in Kodak D76 1-1 with water for 7 minutes 20 seconds at 68F.
Freight house and factories, looking north from the westside of the tracks. In today’s railroad world, this scene is decidedly rustic. 
Digital color photo exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW File processed in Lightroom with contrast adjustment to improve shadows and highlights.
Tri-X black & white photo of Housatonic Railroad freight NX-12 working northward.
Digital color photo exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1. RAW File processed in Lightroom with contrast adjustment to lighten shadows and control highlights.
Tri-X photo with 50mm lens.
Digital color photo exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1. Fuji Velvia color profile; camera Jpg scaled for Internet.
Digital color photo exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1. Fuji Velvia color profile; camera Jpg scaled for Internet.

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At the End of the Day; Twilight at Mechanicville, New York.

Here’s a photo from my lost archive.

I’d spent November 24, 1984 with some friends exploring railroads in the Albany area.

Delaware & Hudson had recently been included in the Guilford network and its operations were being melded with Boston & Maine. At the time, D&H still had a lot of old Alco diesels.

We had stopped by Mechanicville earlier in the day, and I made a selection of photos (that I’ll post at a later date) then we drove via Schenectady to Rotterdam Junction to photograph Conrail.

On the way back east, we made another visit to Mechanicville, when I exposed this twilight view. This is an evocative image that represents a symbolic twilight as well as a literal one.

Exposed with a Leica 3A on Kodak Tri-X, processed in Kodak D76 1-1.

It was twilight for the D&H Alcos; twilight for the old Mechanicville Yard; and twilight of the brief colorful and busy era on Guilford before a series of strikes changed everything.

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BNSF in the Feather River Canyon-1

On October 30, 2003, I spent a day photographing BNSF and Union Pacific trains on the old Western Pacific route through California’s Feather River Canyon.

This exceptionally scenic route has long been a popular place to picture trains.

Although photogenic, one of the conceptual problems with the canyon making the balance between train and scenery work.

Too much train, and the canyon becomes a sideshow. Too much canyon and the train is lost in the scenery.

One way to make balanced is through the clever use of lighting.

That’s what I’ve done here.

Exposed on Kodak 120-size Tri-X using a Rolleiflex Model T with a Zeiss Tessar; processed in Ilfotec HC, and scanned using an Epson V750. Final contrast adjustments were made in Lightroom to emphasize highlights and lighten shadows.

I’ve pictured an eastward BNSF climbing through Rich Bar, and by back lighting the train, I’ve helped emphasize it’s form that might otherwise be lost in the darker reaches of the canyon.

 

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January 2018 Trains Magazine Features my Column titled ‘Tickets Please!’

This is the cover of the January 2018 Trains. My column appears on page 17.

Yesterday I received my copy of the January 2018 Trains Magazine that features my most recent column.

Using my Lumix LX7, I made the photo illustrating my text on-board an SNCF TGV high-speed service from Brussels to Lille back in April 2017.

A photo of my iPhone displaying my E-Ticket is this months illustration. Note Tracking the Light business card to the left of the phone.

Below is a view of the same train at sunrise in Brussels prior to departure. Although unstated in the article, this was part of a trip across Europe during my research for my up-coming book on European Railway travel.

Exposed with my Lumix LX7; ISO 80 f1.8 at 1/13 of a second handheld at Brussels Midi. Photo ©Brian Solomon 2017.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Steam Tableau.

Last week (November 2017) I made these picturesque tableaus of the Strasburg Railroad in its classic Pennsylvanian Dutch settings.

All were made with my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

Over the years I’ve made more than a dozen visits to the Strasburg Railroad, but this most recent trip was the first time I’d exposed digital photos here. I guess it’s been a while since my last visit.

Esbenshade Road.

Cherry Hill Road.

Tracking the Light posts Every Day!