Category Archives: railroads

Westward Freight at Rockville Bridge

Google Maps makes it much easier to navigate to the west shore of the Susquehanna River at Marysville, Pennsylvania to reach the famed Rockville Bridge.

I recall pouring over maps in the 1980s, trying to locate the correct sequence of turns to get to River Road. The challenge of this location is that the path is indirect and the main highways running parallel to the river and railroad do not facilitate straight forward exits.

On my most recent visit, I followed Google Maps instructions to my map ‘pin’ situated at the westend of Rockville Bridge. I approached the bridge just as a Norfolk Southern freight was easing across the 48 stone arches.

I returned to the vantage point on the north side of the bridge that Kris and I had visited nearly a year ago. This allowed me to make a long telephoto view of the train and capture the dramatic sky to the east.

Photo exposed using a Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. Nikon NEF RAW file adjusted using Adobe Lightroom.

Photo exposed using a Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. Nikon NEF RAW file adjusted using Adobe Lightroom.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Christiana Station from both sides of the Main Line.

Amtrak Keystone train 643 passes Christiana westbound.

Last week, I caught up with fellow photographer, author and Trains contributor Dan Cupper, who offered to spend the day showing me railroads in the Lancaster/Strasburg area of Pennsylvania.

Among the places we visited was the archives/meeting house of the Lancaster Chapter, Inc., National Railway Historical Society which is located in the old Pennsylvania Railroad freight house at Christiana, Pennsylvania.

While I’d visited this the passenger station earlier in the week, the day our our visit had much better weather. Also, it was my first ever visit inside freight house where we were met by the chapter’s Stephen Himpsl.

Among the things we explored were views of the freight station and the old passenger station from both sides of the former PRR Main Line.

The passenger station hadn’t served in its intended role since the 1950s, but had been restored and was in good shape.

I made a variety of images using my Nikon mirrorless cameras including those presented here. Most received post-processing adjustment using Adobe Lightroom to better present the data captured by the camera’s NEF RAW files.

More to come on our explorations at Christiana and other nearby locations.

Pennsylvania Railroad sign on the old Christiana freight house.
Lancaster Chapter NRHS has a variety of artifacts and memorabilia on display, including this Lionel GG1 electric locomotive.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Plow Extra Preview

Winter has finally made its footprint in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

After weeks of unseasonable weather that led to speculation that snow was a thing of the past, a series of snow storms has brought plently of snow.

Following a heavy snow fall that lasted most of the day on Monday (January 23, 2023), Conway Scenic called a plow extra on Tuesday to clear its lines.

I made these views of Work X255 in the yard at North Conway as the crew was getting ready to head west to Attitash.

I worked with the NEF RAW files in Adobe Lightroom to make the most of the dramatic sky. Adjustments included my standard repertoire; lighten shadows, darken highlights, adjust color temperature and color saturation and scale for internet presentation.

Later I followed the Plow Extra west to make photos of it clearing the tracks.

Stay tuned!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

1980s-Retro passes Gap, Pennsylvania.

I was lucky last Wednesday as Amtrak P42 number 145 wearing ‘Phase III’ heritage paint was leading train #42, the eastward Pennsylvanian.

Although the so-called Amtrak Phase III was introduced in the mid-1970s, for me it represents the predominant scheme that adorned Amtrak locomotives during the 1980s. I made countless color slides of F40PH diesels, and AEM-7 and E60 electrics in this scheme.

Amtrak repainted a several of its P42 Genesis diesels in 2011 to mark the railroad’s 40th Anniversary. In addition, several of Amtrak’s dual-mode 700-series Genesis units have also been painted in this scheme.

I was delighted to catch Amtrak 145 working the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line at Gap, Pennsylvania, and made a series of digital images using my Nikon Z-series digital cameras.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom. Photo cropped for effect.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z-series zoom.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Amtrak Keystone train on the Main Line at Leaman Place.

Tuesday morning in Strasburg was cloudy and dull. I made my way over to Leaman Place where Strasburg Rail Road’s line connects with Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line to Harrisburg.

I made these photos of westward and eastward Keystone trains zipping along under wire. The typical operation has an Siemens ACS64 electric at one end and a Budd-built former Metroliner cab control car at the other.

Both images were adjusted for color temperature, shadow and highlight detail and contrast in post processing.

Amtrak Keystone train No.646 eastbound at Leaman Place. Exposed using a Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens at 74mm. ISO 800, 1/4000th sec f2.8.
Amtrak Keystone train No.641 westbound at Leaman Place. Exposed using a Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens set at 200mm. ISO 800 1/2000th sec at f2.8.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

Norfolk & Western J at Strasburg, PA

It was frosty on Monday morning when Kris & I visited the Strasburg Rail Road. Among the equipment we photographed was the famous Norfolk & Western J-Class 4-8-4 number 611.

In recent years this magnificent late-era steam locomotive has made guest appearances on the Strasburg Rail Road.

The enormous streamliner seems a bit out of place on the rural branchline, but it was great to see and photograph this machine again.

The big locomotive was cold. We were not so fortunate to catch it in action, although over the years, I have photographed 611 on various occasions under steam.

All photos were made with a Nikon Z7-II with Nikkor Z-series 24-70mm zoom lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Buffalo & Pittsburgh GP38-2 at White River Junction

Yesterday, Kris & I visited White River Junction, Vermont, where I photographed a pair of EMD diesels on Genesee & Wyoming’s New England Central, including Buffalo & PIttsburgh GP38-2 No. 3511.

To emulate an image I made here in the 1980s of a Boston & Maine GP7, I framed B&P 3511 in the station canopy using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens.

Below are two versions of the NEF file. The top version is scaled but otherwise unaltered. The bottom version has been adjusted with changes to shadow and highlight density, color temperature, and contrast, with nominal sharpening.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Covered Wagons—Crew and Photographers.

A week ago Saturday (January 7, 2023), Kris and I participated and observed in Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts’s Covered Wagons in the Snow, a trip I helped plan and organize.

Previously, I presented photos of the train. Here, I’m displaying photos of the train crew, Mass-Bay’s car hosts, and a few of the dozens of photographers that participated.

All photos were exposed using my Nikon Z6 and Z7-II digital cameras.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Twin Cities & Western at Hoffman Avenue

On January 13, 1994, I braved frigid temperatures at Hoffman Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota to photograph the eastward Twin Cities & Western freight on Kodachrome.

In the distance is a former Milwaukee Road diesel stenciled for Soo Line.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with Nikkor f4.0 200mm lens.

Tracking the Light Looks Back!

Canadian Pacific Six-motor MLWs in Montreal.

Another classic from my files: this Kodachrome slide was exposed on my epic trip to Montreal with Tom Carver 30 years ago.

Among the inspirations for the trip was a tip that Tom received that CP Rail had placed back into freight service several of its ‘Bigs’- a nickname for its six-motor Montreal Locomotive Works diesels.

These classics had been stored owing to a downturn in traffic, but placed back into service in early 1993, which presented an opportunity to see and photograph these rare diesels at work. So, despite exceptional cold, Tom and I had braved winter in Montreal.

Only about a dozen or so of the six-motor MLWs were working at that time and mostly in relatively short-haul freight services. We followed one freight to the Port of Montreal. I made this view using Tom’s 28mm lens in Hochelaga neighborhood of Montreal on the afternoon of January 12, 1993.

Kodachrome 25 slide exposed with a Nikon F3T and borrowed Nikkor 28mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Hojack Swing Bridge, Jan 10, 1988.

Thirty-five years ago, I made this view of a Conrail coal train working the Charlotte Running track at Charlotte, Rochester, New York. At that time, a short vestige of the old Hojack Line (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg) still crossed the Genesee River.

This was exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using my Leica M2 rangefinder fitted with a 50mm Leitz Summicron lens.

It was among the images featured in my 1989 article on the railroads of Rochester published in Railpace Newsmagazine.

Looking at Google Earth last night, I gather there’s very little left of this scene today!

On January 10, 1988, I made this Kodachrome slide of Conrail SD50 6779 leading a coal train at Charlotte, NY.

Tracking the Light Looks back!

Boston & Maine F7A’s in the Snow—Telephoto views.

Saturday, Kris and I traveled on the Mass Bay Special, “Covered Wagons in the Snow” that worked Conway Scenic from North Conway to Notchland. We went out on the headend, traveling with Train Master Mike Lacey on GP38 252, then traveled eastbound on the passenger cars where we participated in a few of the photo runbys.

I was working with three cameras; my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens; my new Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens; and a Lumix LX7.

Someone asked me how many camera’s I had. “Here? Or in total?”

“All of them.”

I lost track at 13. That’s probably bad luck.

Below are a selection of images that I made using the Z6 with 70-200mm lens. All were processed digitally using Adobe Lightroom and scaled for internet presentation here.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

January 7, 1994

Snow was falling on Conrail’s Southern Tier route on January 7, 1994. This portion of former Erie was alive with through freight

I made this view of the westward OIBU passing the old station at Silver Springs, New York, where Erie had maintained an interchange with the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh, later B&O. Since 1986, this facilitated a connection with G&W’s Rochester & Southern.

Conrail OIBU (Oak Island to Buffalo) at Silver Springs, New York. Exposed on Fujichrome Velvia slide film. This was back in the days when Fuji printed ‘Velvia’ right on the mounts of the slides to distinguish their flagship slide film from other varieties .

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Main Line Crew Change 35 Years Ago.

On the afternoon of January 29, 1988, Conrail TV7 was changing crews at Buffalo’s Frontier Yard on the old New York Central Water Level Route.

Compositionally, this photo has always both intrigued and annoyed me. I wish I’d either got a little closer or framed in a way so that the top of the locomotive hadn’t been cutoff.

As it stands the image is awkward and imperfect, yet it serves as a window in time to another era.

Inbound and outbound crews were preserved for posterity.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Leica M2 fitted with 50mm f2.0 Summicron. Scanned with a Nikon LS5000 scanner.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

SD60 at Clyde

Here’s another slide from the ‘3rds file’.

October 17, 1987: I was set up along the New York State Barge Canal at Clyde, New York and photographed an eastward freight led by SD60 6841.

At the time this was one one of only a handful of SD60s on the Conrail system. It was originally an EMD demonstrator. I deemed it unusual and in my notes I wrote. ‘SD60!’

Unfortunately, I’d over exposed the slide by at least a full stop, and it was this defect that landed it in the junk pile for more than 30 years.

Scanning allowed me to easily correct for most of effects of overexposure, while postprocessing in Lightroom enabled color and contrast corrections.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

This is a ‘Bad’ Photo??

Recent news of exceptional snowfall in western New York State led me to review some of the photos I made during my years in Rochester, NY in the 1980s.

I was digging BIG box of slides lettered ‘3rds’—those that had been deemed unworthy during an edit many years ago and put aside. Certainly some of those slides are poor interpretations. But mixed in are some gems.

On January 27, 1988, I made this photo of a westward Conrail Trailvan piggyback train west of downtown Rochester, New York at milepost 374 (included in the image a lower left) at Lincoln Park. The train was kicking up snow as it raced along the former New York Central Waterlevel route.

My camera of choice was a Leica M2 rangefinder fitted with a 90mm Elmarit that was loaded with Kodachrome 25 slide film.

The most likely reason that I rejected this photo was because it was partially overcast. Other than that it looks pretty good to me today!

Scanned at 4000 dpi with a Nikon LS 5000 scanner and VueScan software. I imported the TIF file into Lightroom and outputted three versions; the top is scaled but unaltered, the bottom two versions benefit from a variety of minor corrections to level, color temperature, exposure and saturation. The middle version is warmer than the bottom.

Unadjusted Scan, Kodachrome 25 exposed with Leica M2 and 90mm Elmarit lens.
Adjusted version of the above photograph with changes aimed at improving overall appearance.
Slightly cooler color temperature.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Moment in Time-August 14, 1988.

Conrail and the town of Palmer, Massachusetts were replacing the old South Main Street Bridge immediately east of the signals at CP83.

I made this view from the old bridge that was in its final weeks. New retaining walls had just been installed and machinery was working near the old Palmer Union station as Conrail’s eastward SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester) took the conrolled siding to make a meet with a set of westward light engines holding on the main track.

The old bridge featured classic wooden decking and makes for an interesting foreground. To make the most of the bridge and railroad code lines, I framed the scene with my Leica M2 rangefinder fitted with an f2.0 35mm Summicron.

A Central Vermont local freight was working the interchage track to the right of the Conrail freight.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Telewedge at Council Bluffs

It was a heavy hazy day at Council Bluffs in August 1998, when I made a few photos of Union Pacific E9 949.

Working with a Nikon N90s fitted with a Nikkor f2.8 80-200mm lens, I first made a ‘telewedge’—a cute name for a three-quarter ‘wedgie’ style roster shot that was exposed with a telephoto lens.

Then I made a few close ups from essentially the same vantage point, but using a even longer telephoto setting.

I scanned these Provia 100 RDP II slides using a Nikon LS-5000 slide scanner powered by VueScan 9.7.96 software using the ‘fine’ mode and 4,000 dpi, and ‘autolevels’ color balance. Although scaled for internet presentation, I made no adjustments to color balance, color temperature, contrast, exposure or sharpness.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

Christmas Evening

Last night, December 25, 2022, I made this view looking across Schouler Park toward the North Conway, NH railroad station.

The park was once property of the Boston & Maine Railroad.

I exposed the photo in the ‘Night’ setting using ‘Scene Mode’ on my Lumix LX7 which creates a photo using a composite of several high-iso images exposed in rapid succession and combined in-camera.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Conway Scenic X255

Yesterday morning, Conway Scenic Railroad assigned former Maine Central GP38 255 on a Work Extra sent to Conway, NH., to collect a flatcar for the maintenance-of-way department.

Working with my Nikon Z6, I made this view of the train returning to North Conway, climbing the 3 percent on the approach the yard.

My goal was to capture the cool, wintery sky.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Random and Familiar Part 2!

Last night, I continued my sort of slides from 1997 and 1998, two very productive years for me photographically.

On August 26, 2022, I posted: “”

This described how Mike Gardner and I had chased a Vermont Rail System’s Florence Turn—a local freight that ran from Rutland, Vermont to a quarry at its namesake. The significance of the post was the locomotive: Clarendon & Pittsford GP38 203. This was former Maine Central 255, and is now Conway Scenic Railroad 255.

Last night, I found another never opened box of Fujichromes exposed of 203 on that same chase.

I’d exposed the slides, then sent them out for processing, but boarded a flight for London Heathrow before they returned. One thing led to another and I didn’t get home until August 1998, and before I had time to look at the slides, I was off to Colorado and New Mexico for a month, and from there into yet another adventure.

Now, almost 25 years after I exposed these photos, I’m finally looking at them! Pity, I can’t find my notes from the day. However, during the course of my job at North Conway, NH I walked past old 255 yesterday morning!

Below is yet another view of old Maine Central 255 that I located and scanned last night; this one exposed more than 40 years ago in October 1982 at Greenfield, Massachusetts.


Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

California Zephyr at Pinole

In the early 1990s, Amtrak’s F40PH was the ubiquitous long distance passenger locomotive.

When I made this photo on the evening of February 22, 1992, the F40PH seemed very common.

Amtrak had more than 200 F40PHs. I have thousands of photos of them from New Hampshire to California; from Quebec to Florida. Yesterday morning on my way to work I wondered, ‘Did I photograph them all?’

I scanned this Kodachrome slide using VueScan software and a Nikon LS5000 ‘Super Coolscan5000’.

Below are two versions, both scaled from the hi-res original scan using Adobe Lightroom. The top has ot been modified in post processing, while the bottom is the same scan following a series of minor modifications aimed at making a better image.

Scaled but unmodified scan of a Kodachrome 25 slide.
Scan modified to improve level, contrast, shadow and highlight detail and color saturation.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA at Norfolk; a Lesson in Capturing LEDs

Modern LED information signs have become commo place on many passenger railroads as means of identifying trains.

The challenge for photographers is capturing the messages displayed by these signs.

Many LED do not produce continous light output and pulse or flicker. To the human eye the light souce seems continuous, but when photograhing at comparatively fast shutter speeds some or all of the LEDs are between pulses and appear dark in the photograph.

Where banks of LEDs are employed these may appear in images as meaningless arrangements of spots, or missing significant portions of the intended message.

One way to capture the lights is to work with a comparatively slow shutter speed, usually 1/60th of a second or less. The difficulty is that to stop a moving train, it is normally recommended to work with faster shutter speeds (often 1/250th of a second or faster).

Another consideration is the relatively low amount of light produced by LED that full daylight these often appear dim. Photographing LED signs in low light, on an overcast day or at dawn, dusk, or evening, allows the lights to appear brighter relative to ambient lighting conditions.

On a visit to Norfolk, Massachusetts with Kris in November, I made this sequence of images of MBTA Train 2706 at various shutter speeds to show how the lights in the sign appears at 1/640th, 1/250th, and 1/60th of a second.

MBTA Train2706 pauses for passengers at Norfolk, Massachusetts. The sign was scrolling from right to left. 1/60th of a second.
1/250th of a second. Notice that most of the sign appears dark..
1/640th of a second. Only a portion of the scrolling sign is apparent in this view. The train is accelerating away from its station stop.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Classic Chrome: Conrail 1987

In recent months I’ve been undertaking a herculean effort. I’m beginning to organize my slide files.

Over the last 40+ years, I have made tens of thousands of slides, while embracing conflicting theories of photographic organization.

Now, I am attempting to consolidate and organize my slide files. In one tub of original boxes, I found a box (one of several) mis-labeled ‘Conrail, Rochester, April 1987, Ektachrome’.

This was a ‘free’ roll of film, given to me as part of photo package from Kodak to students at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Free. No cost to me. At a time when I could barely afford two rolls of Kodachrome a week!

And there was a problem. Giving Ektachrome to a Kodachrome shooter!

I took the film, and I made photos with it. Nothing urgent. Nothing serious. Nothing so important that I’d commit it to Kodachrome. 

A more serious problem manifested when I searched for the note sheet that goes with the roll of film. The box said ‘April 1987’, but in fact the photos were exposed on March 11, 1987. I should have known.

Eastward Conrail freight captured at Lincoln Park with a Leica 3A and 65mm lens on EN100 Ektachrome slide film at noon on March 11, 1987.

Take me back to 1987!

I wish I’d had more free Ektachrome!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Work Extra on the Mountain

Yesterday was clear morning in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Conway Scenic had a Work Extra heading toward Crawford, which represented a rare December move on the old Mountain Division

I followed the train west by road to make these photos with my Nikon Z6.

North Conway, NH.
Goves, near Bartlett.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Five Angles on an FL9

Over the years, I’ve photographed hundreds of locomotives, on scores of railways, in dozens of countries.

Occasionally I’ve opted for the classic ‘three-quarter’ roster angle. More often I’ve opted for various more dramatic, interpretive, or dynamic views.

A long time ago I learned that when I find some equipment resting in a accessible location, to photograph it from a great variety of different angles, because you never know what might suit a book or magazine article later on.

Two weeks ago on our visit to Cape Cod, I had the opportunity to make a sequence of photos of this former New Haven Railroad FL9 that now works for Cape Cod Central and was assigned to the west end of the Polar Express at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

I have countless photographs of FL9s in various schemes when they worked for Amtrak, MTA, CDOT and Metro North, so this was an opportunity to do something a little different.

Perhaps the FL9’s most distinctive external attribute is the A1A Flexicoil truck at the rear of the locomotive.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

RoadRailer on the old Reading

In August 2007 while working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania, I made this late afternoon image of a Norfolk Southern RoadRailer intermodal train on former Reading Company tracks near the old railroad’s historic namesake.

A pair of NS DASH9-40CWs lead the train.

A few years after I made this Fujichrome color slide, Norfolk Southern discontinued most of its RoadRailer operations, including those in eastern Pennsylvania. It is one of only a few photos I have of NS operations near Reading, PA.

Exposed using a Canon EOS3 with 50mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Ten Years Ago at Deep River, Connecticut.

While on the theme of tourist railroads on the old New Haven Railroad at Christmas, I thought I’d present this ten year old color slide.

In December 2012, Tim Doherty and I had visited Connecticut’s Valley Railroad that was featuring its Chinese-built 2-8-2 Mikado dressed in New Haven paint on its Christmas trains.

In the late afternoon light, I made this Fujichrome Provia100F slide at Deep River using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens.

I scanned the slide last night and processed the 4000 dpi TIF file using Lightroom. Below are two versions. The top is a scaled, but unadjusted, version of the original scan. The bottom one has been altered to more closely resemble the effect of 1950s Kodachrome film

Scale JPG from original TIF file without adjustments to color, exposure, contrast or sharpness.
Slide adjust to resemble a 1950s Kodachrome.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Bad Chrome File: Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh in Transition

On the evening of Easter Sunday 1988, I visited the old Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh station and yard at East Salamanca, New York.

CSXT was still a relatively new railroad, and this southward freight from Buffalo featured former Baltimore & Ohio GP40/GP40-2s painted for CSXT component Chessie System but with CSXT sublettering.

CSXT was in the process of spinning off it’s former BR&P trunk to Genesee & Wyoming start up Buffalo & Pittsburgh. I was anticipating the change, but the sale was still several months away.

I made a series of Kodachrome 25 slides of the train changing crews at dusk using my Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron firmly mounted on a tripod. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the exposure and my slides are about one stop too dark. This one was made at f4 at ¼ second. 

Part of my problem was that my Sekonic Studio Deluxe lightmeter wasn’t accurate in low light. Another issue was that I didn’t compensate for reprocity failure, which was a characteristic of Kodachrome films in low light.

April 3, 1988. Kodachrome 25 exposed for 1/4 second at f4 with Leica M2 and f2.0 50mm lens.

I scanned this K25 slide with a Nikon LS-5000 scanner using VueScan software which enabled a multiple pass scan to maximize data capture of highlights and shadows. I imported the high-res (4000 dpi) scan into Lightroom and adjusted the file to compensate for underexposure.

File adjusted to compensate for under exposure.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Vintage Chromes: Amtrak at Meriden, CT.

I made photographs of Amtrak at Meriden, Connecticut on two occasions.

The first was in February 1979. My father brought my brother and me out for the afternoon and we stopped at Meriden’s Amtrak station to watch the arrival of a New Haven-Springfield shuttle operating with a pair of Budd RDC’s. I exposed these coming and going Kodachrome photos with my old Leica 3A. (previously featured on Tracking the Light in 2015. See:

My second visit was on January 2, 1988, when I stopped at a grade crossing just north of the station to catch a southward holiday extra that was running with F40PH 205 and borrowed MARC passenger cars.

Last night, I was able to place the location 1988 photo by carefully scrutinizing the older slides. The distinctive profiles of the buildings to the left of F40PH 205 also appear in the distance of the trailing view of the RDCs, which is how I know that the 1988 photo shows the train approaching Amtrak’s Meriden station stop.

If you look carefully at the 1988 photo, you can see the conductor standing in a vestibule door. The platforms were at the east side of the tracks for trains in both directions, as evident in the first view of the RDC at the station.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Lost Slides from Halloween 1997

The other day I was going through a carton of slide boxes from the mid-1990s. I found a roll from a day out with photographer Mike Gardner to capture New England Central in Connecticut.

On Halloween day 1997, we followed southward freight 608 to New London, photographed a few Amtrak trains on the Shore Line, then followed 608 on its northward return trip to Palmer, Massachusetts.

At South Windham, Connecticut, I made a view on the old Fuji Provia 100 (RDP) using my first Nikon N90S with f2.8 80-200mm Nikon zoom lens.

The soft afternoon sun resulted in a somewhat under exposed slide that never made my final cut, and so remained in the green Fuji box for more than 25 years.

I scanned it with a Nikon LS-5000 slide scanner powered by VueScan 9.7.95 (recently updated from the earlier version of VueScan that I’d been using for a few years), and then imported the high-res TIF file (scanned at 4000 dpi in ‘Fine’ mode) into Adobe Lightroom for adjustment and scaling.

Below are JPGs from the unaltered scan and from my adjusted scan to improve the overall visual appeal of the time. Adjustments included warming the color temperature, adjusting sky denisty, lightening the overall exposure, and contrast control.

I’ve also included a photo of Mike, who is a regular Tracking the Light reader.

Scan of my Fujichrome Provia 100 slide without adjustments. The slide is darker and cooler than I’d like, but captures the train in late autumn foliage.
This is the same scan following myriad adjustements to improve the appearance of the image.
Adobe Lightroom work window showing the relative positions of slider controls that implemented adjustments to my original scan.
Mike Gardner catches the action on Halloween day 1997.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Sugarbeet on the Roll—November 8, 2005.

It was Irish Rail’s final sugarbeet season, although no one knew it at the time.

We set up at Charleville Junction on the Dublin-Cork line on the Cork-side of Limerick Junction to catch V250, a laden train led by locomotive 081.

I made this view on Fujichrome. It sat in a closet in Dublin for nearly 15 years and I only recently retrieved it from storage.

Last night I scanned the slide using a Nikon LS-5000 slide scanner and then adjusted the hi-res TIF file using Adobe Lightroom to correct color temperature and color balance while making minor contrast and exposure corrections.

Below is the file before adjustment and after. In both images presented here, I scaled the files as JPGs.

Scan prior to color and exposure adjustment.
Scan after the first round of corrections.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Polish Glint

In August 2006, Denis McCabe and I made an epic tour of Poland by road. Over the course of about two weeks we drove across the country in a rented Opel Astra.

On the evening of 22 August, we photographed this PKP (Polish Railways) SU45 diesel accelerating away from the station at Zwierzyn.

I made this view on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3 with 180mm f2.8 lens.

The glint of the evening sun illuminated the train and the sunflowers in the foreground.

This was among hundreds of my Polish slides that had been stored in Ireland.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Materials Train at Drumcondra

In mid-October, I made a brief stop at Irish Rail’s Drumcondra station on Dublin’s North Side to photograph locomotive 074 leading a laden materials train toward the North Wall.

The sun and clouds cooperated nicely, and I made these digital photos using my Nikon Z6.

This was a fortuitous catch for me as I only had a few minutes to invest before moving on to my next objective. There were times in years past that I may have invested hours to catch an obscure railroad movement, so it was satisfying for me to see this relatively elusive train without much of a wait.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

DART at Dublin Pearse.

Dublin’s Pearse Station, formerly known as Westland Row, is credited as the world’s oldest city railway station in continuous use.

This has served as a passenger station since 1834 when it opened as the Dublin terminus for the Dublin & Kingstown Railway.

The balloon style train shed was built many years later.

While traveling around Dublin earlier this month, I arrived at Pearse with an aim of photographing the trainshed following extensive works to repair it. The last time I’d visited Pearse was back in November 2019, nearly three years ago.

I made several photos of passing DART suburban electric trains under the shed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera.

Then, I spotted an old friend and we caught up over a few pints at a nearby pub, as you do.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!