Category Archives: Gallery

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

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited in the 1980s.

Amtrak 448 approaching milepost 84 in Monson, Massachusetts. March 1986.

On March 16, 1986, I hiked west of milepost 84 on Conrail’s Boston & Albany route to photograph Amtrak train 448, the eastward Lake Shore Limited(Boston section).

This was just a few months before Conrail single tracked the line between Springfield and Palmer, Massachusetts.

I was keen to document the Boston & Albany’s line that passed through the northern reaches of my home town, Monson, Massachusetts, in the railroad’s traditional directional double track configuration.

This lone image is part of my much more extensive project to document the Boston & Albany route on film.

I exposed the photo on 120 roll film using my father’s Rollei Model T. In May 2019, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner. For presentation here, I adjusted contrast and exposure using Lightroom.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Steam and Smiles: 7470 on the Move!

Yesterday, Friday June 14, 2019, Conway Scenic Railroad fired up locomotive 7470 (its former Grand Trunk 0-6-0) and assigned it to an afternoon run down the old Boston & Maine line to Conway.

This was its first revenue run on a scheduled train in many years.

There were surprisingly few people around to witness the event.

Railroad President David Swirk took the throttle on the return run which arrived under sunny skies. His grin from the cab beamed liked that of the Cheshire Cat!

Today the plan for 7470 was to display this engine at Conway for an event.

Photos exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

First Trains of the Season at Crawford Notch.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 12mm lens, file adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.
Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 90mm lens, file adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.

Monday June 10, 2019, Conway Scenic Railroad operated an employee-special to Crawford Notch in preparation for commencement of its regularly schedule excursions, which began the following day.

Trains to Crawfords station from North Conway, New Hampshire operate on supremely scenic and steeply graded former Maine Central Mountain Division.

Last used for regularly scheduled freight in 1983, this route has been a highlight of Conway Scenic’s excursion program since the mid-1990s.

I made these views at Crawfords station of Monday’s excursion using my FujiFilm XT1. Compare the relative perspective offered by a wide-angle versus that with a medium telephoto from a distance.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

Conway Scenic’s Notch Train—low and wide.

The other evening I made this view of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Notch Train at North Conway, New Hampshire.

I wanted to make the most of the low sun, while featuring the railroad’s former Maine Central GP38 and the lower quadrant semaphore at the south-end of the yard.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with my super wide angle (12mm) Zeiss Touit, I used the camera’s adjustable rear display to compose my image while holding it at arm’s length close to the ground.

Tracking the Light posts Daily!

Quiet Evening on The Mountain

At the end of May 2019, I paused briefly at Crawford Notch, New Hampshire to expose some photos in the evening light of the former Portland & Ogdensburg (Maine Central) Crawfords station.

This classic resort station is now seasonally served by Conway Scenic Railroad, and that season is about to begin!

Stay tuned!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Conway Scenic 7470 Awakes From Hibernation.

On June 1, 2019, after several years of slumber, Conway Scenic Railroad’s 0-6-0 7470 made its first steps, moving under its own power around the railroad’s North Conway , New Hampshire yard.

The sights and sounds of this former Grand Trunk 0-6-0 have delighted visitors and residents of North Conway since the early 1970s, so having the locomotive back under steam represents a milestone event for the railroad’s 2019 operating season.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7.

Among the challenges of photographing excursion railroads is working with high-summer light. Operations favor the schedules of the majority of the visiting public, and during summer often this tends coincide with the dreaded midday sun.

Black steam locomotives make for an extra challenge as the drivers and other reciprocating gear tend to be masked by the inky shadows of the highlight.

In this circumstance high-thin clouds diffused high-sun and resulted in better contrast than on a completely clear day. Working with my RAW files in Lightroom I made further adjustments to shadow areas in order to make my images more appealing.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Maine Central 573 at Bartlett—Two Days, Two Photos.

Here’s two photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s former Maine Central GP7 573 running around the Valley Trainat Bartlett, New Hampshire on the old Mountain Division.

One was made from the train on a cloudy day, the other from the road near the section house as the engine was cutting off from the train.

Some contrasts: Cloud versus sun; vertical versus horizontal; traditional versus interpretative; road versus rail.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Some viewers commented that they were unable to see the ‘cloudy’ photo. For this reason, I’ve rescaled and re-uploaded a version of the original vertical photo plus an EXTRA horizontal image from the same sequence.

Near the End of the Line.

Last week, I made these photos of disused former Boston & Maine tracks north of Littleton, New Hampshire.

This had been B&M’s line that ran from Wells River, Vermont via Bath and Littleton to Whitefield, New Hampshire.

The section from Littleton to Woodsville and Wells River had been abandoned and lifted in 1996.

Abandoned railways make for forlorn photographs, that are sad yet compelling.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Rails Along the Old Connecticut River.

North from White River Junction the former Boston & Maine line runs toward Wells River and Newport, Vermont.

It’s been nearly a century since B&M conveyed the line north of Wells River to Canadian Pacific, but I’m old enough to remember B&M operations White River to Wells River, although I don’t have many photos to show for it.

Last week I followed Vermont Rail System’s freight operating northward from White River Junction. Unfortunately for photos, many of my preferred locations were suffering from excessive vegetation.

Here’s a few photos exposed digitally. More to come.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Bellows Falls ‘Dusty Diamond’ Found!

Several days ago, I posted a view of a dusty diamond in the Bellows Falls, Vermont yard that I exposed way back in 1978. Tracking the Light readers wrote in and wondered if this disused section of track survived, and one suggested that it did still exist.

So, the other day, I stopped over in Bellows Falls while driving northward and searched for the old diamond at the southeast area of Vermont Railway’s former B&M/Rutland yard.

I’ll admit that I drove over the section of  track in question before I finally spotted it, well buried in dirt and partially covered by a puddle.

Making matters difficult, was that in my youthful focus on the diamond, I completely cropped the building next to it, which if I had included in my earlier photo, would have made finding the location easier.

Below are several comparison views plus a scan from the original slide.

Site of the ”dusty diamond’ in May 2019. This is as close of an angle as could manage and is nearly a direct comparison. Keep in mind the 1978 view was made in late autumn and in the afternoon, while the above photo was exposed on an overcast morning.
1978 view at Bellows Falls.
Close-up view of the diamond, which has been nearly absorbed by the road since my 1978 photograph.

An overall view showing the factory building at left. Apparently this factory didn’t impress me at age 12, and I completely omitted it from my 1978 view. It would have made a good reference point had I included it.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Conrail Classic: Caboose Rolls West.

Check out my selection of Conrail photos on Flicker at:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/163833022@N05/n8ua9g

Conrail westward freight passing the old Boston & Albany station at Warren, Massachusetts. Notice the old freight house at the left. Today there’s a lot more vegetation around the railroad than back in 1984.

On April 18, 1984, I was photographing Conrail’s Boston & Albany at Warren, Massachusetts, an activity that undoubtedly coincided to a visit with my friend Bob Buck at Tucker’s Hobbies.

Early in the afternoon, I caught a westward train with three (then new) SD50s rolling by the old Boston & Albany Warren station.

This was in double-track days, when Conrail still operated train in the current of traffic in accordance with rule 251 and the long established automatic block signals that protected movements on the line.

Cabooses were still the norm on through freights, but not for much longer. Within a few months caboose-less freights would become standard practice on the B&A route and across the Conrail system.

I made this view on Kodak 5060 safety film (Panatomic-X) using my 1930s-era Leica 3A with 50mm f2.0 Summitar lens. I processed the film in the kitchen sink using Kodak Microdol-X and then made the unfortunate choice of storing the negatives in a common paper envelope, which is where they remained until last week.

Panatomic-X. Now if there was one great black & white film, that was it. Slow as molasses, but really great film. It was rated at 32 ISO (or ASA as it was called in those days) and tended to result in some thin negatives, but it gave great tonality, fine grain, and scans very well.

I’m glad I have these negatives, ignored and stored inappropriately for all these years. If only there was still a Conrail, cabooses on the roll, and Bob Buck at Tucker’s Hobbies to tell you all about it!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Check out my selection of Conrail photos on Flicker at:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/163833022@N05/n8ua9g

My Amtrak Photos on Flicker


I recently opened a Flicker account under the name: briansolomonauthor.

Among the various albums is one devoted to Amtrak. This features a very modest selection from the tens of thousands of images I’ve made of Amtrak trains during my travels since the 1970s.

Even if you do not have a Flicker account you should be able to enjoy my Amtrak photographs.

This is a work in progress I hope to post new selections on a regular basis.

Click the following link to go directly to my Amtrak Flicker page:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/163833022@N05/sEJb24

In addition to Amtrak images are more than a dozen other rail albums with lots of wonderful images.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tracking the Light Extra—Conway Scenic 7470 Fire Lit.

Tracking the Light is on location at North Conway, New Hampshire.

For the first time in more than four years Conway Scenic 0-6-0 7470 (former Grand Trunk) has a fire in its boiler.

Gordon Lang, who on August 3, 1974 was the first to light a fire in 7470 on Conway Scenic, did the honors again just after 3pm today (May 31, 2019).

The locomotive was last steamed in January 2015, and after months of restoration and repair will soon be moving again under its own power.

I made these photos of 7470 using my FujiFilm XT1 with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Irish Rail photos on Flicker

I recently opened a Flicker account under the name briansolomonauthor.

Among the various albums is one devoted to Irish Rail. This features a modest selection from the thousands of images I’ve expose of Irish Rail since 1998.

Even if you do not have a Flicker account you should be able to enjoy my photographs. I hope to post new selections on a regular basis.

Click the following link to go directly to my Irish Rail Flicker page:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/163833022@N05/01i2r2

I’ve also assembled various other albums including those for: Conrail, Finnish Railways, Transit, Railway Stations, and New England Central.

Tracking the Light Continues to Post Daily!

MBTA Glinty Green Line at Coolidge Corner.

At the end of the day (no, really, like the sun was setting and everything) photographers Pat Yough, Tim Doherty and I set up at Coolidge Corner on MBTA’s Green Line Beacon Street route.

Soft golden glint made for some nice light.

I made these images with my Lumix LX7 in RAW format, imported the files into Lightroom where I made adjustments to lighten the shadow areas and soften the contrast, then exported as small Jpg files for internet presentation here.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

CSX Q263 at Palmer, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

I have a zillion photographs in Palmer, Massachusetts.

‘Zillion’ inferring an undetermined non-specific large quantity.

So why chase CSX’s Q263 down the Valley?

Silly question!

We arrived at the site of the old Boston & Albany freight house at the west end of Palmer yard just in time to catch Q263 (empty autorack train from East Brookfield) passing Mass-Central’s local freight.

I made these views with my Lumix LX7.

Diamond in the Dust.


Here’s another photo from the darkest depths of my archives, hidden away for decades and scanned on Monday.

From a technical standpoint it is not a great photo. It was never meant to be.

I exposed this view in 1978. I was aged 12 and the diamond on a curved section of track caught my interest so I photographed what I saw. The making of this image is not more complicated than that.

As I remember it: this view shows some disused industrial/yard trackage on the periphery of the former Boston & Maine/Rutland yard in Bellows Falls, Vermont. I exposed the photo on trip to visit Steamtown and Bellows Falls with my family. I seem to remember insisting that my parents stop the car so I could make the picture.

I’m happy that I had the foresight to expose this photo, but I wish that I could have documented this odd scrap of track in a more effective way. Yet that’s a lot to ask of a 12 year old with a camera!

Not every photo wins a prize, but some age better than others!

Exposed on Kodak Ektachrome 200 using a Leica 3A with an f2.0 50mm Summitar lens.

Tracking the Light posts Daily!

Meet at the Diamond!

Conrail’s SBSE (South Braintree to Selkirk) works west as Central Vermont local 561 waits to cross the Palmer diamond on the morning of June 25, 1985. This was 13 months before Conrail single-tracked its former Boston & Albany between Palmer and Springfield.

Or should I say ‘A diamond meet’? This slide sat for more than 33 years in a box.

At the time of exposure it didn’t seem remarkable; just a back lit view of Conrail B23-7s and Central Vermont Railway GP9s at the Palmer, Massachusetts diamond.

This was a common every day occurrence and the locomotives were among the most frequently seen in the Palmer area in 1985.

I didn’t have the best lens and my exposures were lacking refinement.

Conrail’s SBSE (South Braintree to Selkirk) works west as Central Vermont local 561 waits to cross the Palmer diamond on the morning of June 25, 1985. This was 13 months before Conrail single-tracked its former Boston & Albany between Palmer and Springfield.

Adjusted version of the above scan; color and contrast corrected for internet viewing.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Turbo Blasted!


Is this a bad photo? It isn’t what I hoped to get.
 
On January 9, 1986, I braved arctic conditions at Conrail’s Dewitt Yard in East Syracuse, New York to make photos in the snow.
 
In addition to Conrail views, I exposed two black & white photos of an Amtrak turbo train running from Niagara Falls to Grand Central Terminal.
 
The head on view is a bit distant, and my trailing exposure was exposed prematurely.
 
My only excuse is that my hands were numb with cold.
 
Worse! I seem to have misplaced my detailed notes from the day, so all I have is abbreviated notes on my negative sleeve and a few print captions to work from.
Poor show, me.
 
Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Heuston Station at Sunset_Lessons in Glint.

Adjusted TIF file.


In 1998 on a visit to the Irish Railway Record Society Dublin premises, I took a few minutes to photograph from the far end of platform five. I recall, that at the time, this area was accessible without the need to pass through the main station nor transit a ticket barrier. This was four years before construction of platforms six, seven and eight.

Working with a Nikon F3T fitted with an old non AI f2.8 135mm lens, I exposed this Fujichrome Sensia (ISO 100) colour slide of a two-piece 2600 ‘Arrow’ departing Heuston for Kildare.

The Spring evening sun was setting on the north side of the tracks and heavy particulates in the air made for a red-orange tint.

I exposed the slide for the highlights by carefully examining the overall lighting situation with my handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe light meter and setting the camera manually. This prevented gross overexposure and loss of highlight detail, while making for a relatively dark slide.

Recently, I made a multiple pass scan using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 operated with Vue Scan software, and then imported the high resolution TIF into Lightroom to adjust shadow areas for greater visual detail.

My intent was not to negate the effect of shadows, but simply to reduce the impenetrable inky effect and allow for better separation in the darker areas.

This is the scaled but otherwise unadjusted TIF scan file for comparison–converted to JPG for internet presentation.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Irish Rail 225 Crosses Gardner Street in Dublin.


It was just an ordinary day when I made this impromptu view of Irish Rail 225 working a Mark 3 push pull set on Dublin’s Loop Line crossing over Gardner Street Lower.

What was common in 1998 seems pretty neat today. I’m glad I exposed the slide!

To make the most of this photograph, I scanned the slide using a Nikon Super Scoolscan5000 then imported the TIF file into Lightroom for contrast and exposure refinement plus colour balance and colour temperature adjustment.


Tracking the Light posts every day!

NEW ENGLAND CENTRAL Elephant Style—Four GP38s Lead 608—Two Slides from 2004.

New England Central 608, working from Palmer, Massachusetts to Willimantic, approaches Mansfield Depot, Connecticut on October 11, 2004.

For today’s Tracking the Light, I fished out a pair of slides I made back in October 2004 during a chase with New England Central 608 south from Palmer, Massachusetts.

On that day the freight was led by four GP38s, all facing southward, and I was seeking a location to capture this unusual event. (For the record, out of the photograph, there was a fifth GP38 in consist facing north).

Although imperfect, owing to clutter and brush in the foreground, I selected this elevated view north of Mansfield Depot.

I scanned the slides last night in preparation for this post. I don’t think they’d ever been out of the box before. Luckily I’d recorded the date and particulars on the slide box which saved me have to scan through my notebooks from 15 years ago.

I do recall that a friend of mine was visiting from across the pond and he was impressed by the ‘colletion of GMs’ as he called them, working that morning’s train.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Close Cropped Caboose: Central Vermont freight at South Monson.

Northward Central Vermont freight South Monson, Massachusetts on May 16, 1986.


Thirty three years ago I made this view of a northward Central Vermont freight crossing Route 32 in South Monson.

(Historically CV had a ‘station’ in South Monson, and another at State Line and these were distinct locations in the railroad’s timetable.)

I exposed this black & white photo with my father’s Rollei Model T set up with a 645-size ‘super slide’ insert and loaded with Kodak Tri-X.

One of the challenges of working with the Rollei twin-lens reflex is that the view finder displays a mirror image. This made gauging when to release the shutter of the train especially difficult when it was rolling away, such as in this situation.

The result? I pressed the shutter release a split second sooner than I would have preferred. Of course I didn’t see the problem until after I processed the film

I scanned this negatives, along with others from the day last week using an Epson V750 flatbed scanner. I scaled the file for internet presentation and adjusted contrast in post-processing using Lightroom.

Northward Central Vermont freight South Monson, Massachusetts on May 16, 1986.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

Palmer, Massachusetts—Track Changes soon! (Four views on Tracking the Light)


On the way back from some errands this morning (May 18, 2019), I stopped at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts


Although not a wheel was turning, I was fascinated to discover some brand new points waiting for installation near the famous ‘diamond’ crossing (where CSX crosses New England Central) .

Using my Lumix LX7 digital camera I made these views of what appear to be a power derail.

Stay tuned!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA Green Line at Cleveland Circle.


Last Saturday evening (May 11, 2019), I exposed these digital photographs of Boston’s MBTA Green Line.

At this location three routes effectively converge which makes it an ideal location for shops and car storage.

Decades ago I’d photograph MBTA’s classic PCCs here. With in a few years of my making those images the PCCs were all but banished to the Red Line Mattapan-Ashmont extension. The PCC’s have since become an icon of that route.

Soon MBTA’s streetcar fleet will undergo another transition that will make last week’s photos seem historic.

Tracking the Light posts daily!

Last Saturday evening (May 11, 2019), I exposed these digital photographs of Boston’s MBTA Green Line.

Mass-Central along Route 181 in Palmer.


On the way toward the interchange in Palmer, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Central’s former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch follows and crosses state Route 181.

So often I have driven this way.

Catching a train here isn’t especially difficult since it runs southbound most weekday afternoons, but making a photo without any highway traffic in the way can be really challenging.

All it takes is one truck or a school bus to pull up to the crossing at the last minute and the whole scene changes, and usually not for the better!

On this May day, we were lucky!

Tracking the Light Posts Today and Everyday!

Irish Rail 129 Leads the Friday Norfolk Liner at Kildare.


May Friday Freight.

Years ago among the treats of Friday freight operations in Ireland were the extra moves. One of my favorites was Friday’s Dublin-Waterford Norfolk liner, which tended to get unusual locomotives and operated down-road midday.

On this day, the train had been held in Kildare during a spell of bright sunshine, but when it finally got the signal to proceed down-road clouds dimmed the scene.

Working with a Nikon N90s and a borrowed 300mm lens I exposed this Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) slide of Irish Rail 129 leading the Norfolk liner through the crossovers west of Kildare station. This was way back in May 2001—18 years ago!


Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

CT Rail, Farmington River and Fishermen.

Last Thursday, May 9, 2019, photographer Mike Gardner and I set up at the former New Haven Railroad stone arch viaduct over the Farmington River at Windsor, Connecticut to catch CT Rail ‘s southward commuter train number 4407 .

When we arrived a line of a half dozen fishermen were in position on the south bank of the river.

Shortly before the train was due to pass, most of them concluded fishing and began to pack up.

It turns out that the Farmington River bridge is more famous as a place to fish than as a place to picture trains. There’s a plaque about the fishing and everything! Who knew?

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with a 12mm Zeiss Touit.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Newton Centre—Revisited.

Lumix LX7 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.


When I was a young child my family lived in Newton Centre, an historic suburb of Boston located on the old Boston & Albany Highlands Branch, a railroad that had been converted into a trolley line in 1960.

As a five year old, I’d watch MBTA’s PCC cars pass though, typically operated in multiple sets of two and three cars.

The old B&A railroad station was a relic from former times.

On Saturday, May 11, 2019, after dropping my father on the Logan Express bus for a trip to Portugal, I met some fellow photographers and we visited MBTA’s Newton Centre station on the Green Line.

This was the first stop on our photography of MBTA’s trolley car system.

It was a rare sunny day, and I made these digital photos of the trolley cars as they rolled between Boston and Riverside.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Footbridge and a Two-Bay Hopper: Willimantic Connecticut


Here’s an everyday scene at Willimantic, Connecticut. An ordinary two-bay covered hopper and the 110 year-old pedestrian bridge over the yard.

As is too often the case in 2019, the covered hopper has more decoration than intended by its owner.

Exposed in May 2019 using a Lumix LX7.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Sun in the Ware River Valley!


Last Monday, May 6, 2019, was the first properly sunny day after many days of gloomy overcast weather.

In the afternoon, Paul Goewey, John Peters and I followed the Mass-Central Railroad’s line northward toward South Barre. We intercepted the southward freight. This was led by GP38 1750 with the short hood in the lead.

At Ware, it worked a short surviving segment of the old Central Massachusetts, which had run parallel to the former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch (the line that comprises most of Mass-Central’s present operation). This old line is used to reach Kanzaki Paper, one of several carload shippers in greater Ware.

I exposed these photos with FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Roscrea, County Tipperary—Only a Test.

Here’s a scan of one of my negative strips showing the exposure bracket.


Hiding in my negative file was a page of 12 photographs.

This was a test roll from late 2003. I believe I was testing my recently purchased Rollei Model T; and I may been testing exposure/processing for Fuji Neopan 400 film.

In either case, I’d set up my camera fixed to a Bogen tripod on the Irish Rail platform at Roscrea, County Tipperary and made photos at dusk of the signal cabin and station.

This is on the lightly used Nenagh Branch, which even today retains its old cabins and embodies the rustic charm of a rural branch line.

Tracking the Light posts EVERY day!

Rainy Day in Lille.

It was a pretty damp afternoon on my very brief visit to SNCF’s Gare de Lille Flanders.

On my previous visits to Lille, I’d changed trains at the modern high-speed international station in the Lille suburbs called SNCF Gare de Lille-Europe.

By contrast Lille-Flanders is an historic station in the city center that blends architecture from several eras.

The interior of the shed is a wonderful place to picture trains, as SNCF’s modern railcars make for a dynamic contrast with the station environs.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.

FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!F