Category Archives: News

Rail Transit Photo Marathon

The other day I posted a photo of the Los Angeles Metro Rail Blue Line and noted that I’d photographed many rail transit systems but ‘lost track’ after 50.

A regular Tracking the Light reader wrote in that he was close to 90 light- rail/streetcar systems, which made me wonder how many systems I’ve photographed over the years. So the other day, while the rain fell outside the window in North Conway, I made a list of every city/rail transit system that I’d photographed.

One two occasions, I’ve photographed streetcars at Mainz, Germany. This view was made of a route 52 car in September 2019.

For this exercise I included both light-rail/streetcar and heavy-rail metro rail transit systems. I excluded purely interurban lines where the frequency and service pattern doesn’t fit ‘rail transit’.

All of the systems are electric, rail-based transit, although I included rubber-tire/tyre metros such as Montreal, since rails and electricity are involved.

Fine print: I’ve excluded trolley bus operations (in most cases cities that I’ve photographed trolley buses also have some form of rail transit. However, this qualification excluded Chernivtsi, Ukraine—and yes I have a photo of an electric bus there). I’ve also excluded cities where I may have seen rail-transit but not photographed it. As may be inferred, cities with more than one mode (light rail and heavy rail metro for example) get counted only once. However, in situations where disconnected systems serve adjacent cities get counted individually. So I’ve counted the Newark City Subway and Jersey City-Hoboken light rail as two systems. Non-electric systems are not on my list. German cities with interurban interconnections, such as Bonn and Köln get counted twice. Systems with long extensions into adjacent communities such as Charleroi in Belgium and the Belgium coastal tram get counted once. (I realize that some viewers my take exception to my counting the Belgian coastal tram, and not including some Swiss interurban electric lines.) Systems that I photographed under construction or out of service without vehicles, will not be included (that leaves out Florence, Italy, and San Juan, Puerto Rico from my total).

Trolley bus systems are not included in my final count. SF Muni Potrero garage October 1990.

Chicago’s CTA ‘L’ lines are cool—systems like this make the list! Howard Street Line July 5, 1995.
I’ve photographed in numerous cities across Eastern Europe. In 2003, I made this color slide in Zagreb, Croatia.

I’ve been photograph Boston’s rail transit for more than 47 years! (Eeek!) So I have more coverage of the MBTA than many other systems. Park Street Station on the Green Line back in the day. (December 1980).

So as of January 2020, my list of  photographed subway, metros, light-rail, streetcars, monorail, and rail-based cable car (aka San Francisco) systems total 100.

My challenge now will be locating original images from each and every of these systems. Mexico City was recently covered, so we’ll leave that one out.

Also, I may remember another system, presently off my list, and if so I’ll make note of that later.

Since North Conway doesn’t have electric rail transit, I can only wistfully look back on my photos.

Incidentally, while I have extensive photographic coverage of some cities such as Dublin, Boston and San Francisco, in others I may only have a handful of images. Kansas City, being one recent example, which I photographed from the dutch-door window of Budd dome Silver Splendor (now Rhonda Lee) while traveling East on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief in 2018.

This might take a while! (And no, I won’t be limiting my daily posts to rail transit, but will be including archive photos in the mix of other subjects).

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Colm O’Callaghan’s Irish Traction Book.

My old friend Colm O’Callaghan has recently published his first book.

This features a selection of his finest color photos of Irish Rail diesels in action.

Below is information on the book and how to obtain it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irish-Traction-Iarnród-Colm-OCallaghan/dp/1445688441/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3IBT62VUXEKCA&keywords=irish+traction&qid=1577407995&sprefix=%2Caps%2C195&sr=8-1

https://www.bookdepository.com/Irish-Traction–Iarnrod-Eireann/9781445688442

I exposed this photo of Colm on his 46th birthday standing along side a British Class 46 diesel at a Crewe open house. At the time I was working with Contax G2 rangefinder loaded with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).
Colm recently retired after many years working for An Post, the Irish postal service. About ten years ago, I made this view of Colm and his famous green van on the South Circular Road in Dublin.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

February 2020 Trains Magazine.

I’ve received my author’s advance copy of the February 2020 Trains Magazine.

This features both my monthly column and my article on railroad locomotive and signal suppliers.

In my column (pages 16-17), I discuss on-going changes in the North American railcar fleet.

These freight car photos represent some of my initial outtakes for my column prior to submission, but show the size differences between modern boxcars and the older standard cars now being phased out.

Box cars at Brattleboro, Vermont. Lumix LX7 photo.
Southern Railway 50 foot boxcars at Washington, Massachusetts. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

Tracking the Light  Posts Daily !

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).

Tracking the Light will continue to post daily!