Category Archives: railroads

Decades of Difference: A Compound and an ICR.

My first visit to Killarney was in February 1998. It was dark and damp.

It was my among first encounters with a class 201 diesel.

By contrast, Friday, 6 September 2019, Killarney was warm and pleasant.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Cravens led by 4-4-0 Compound no. 85 was in the sidings, having arrived earlier from Dublin with annual Steam Dreams excursion. A scheduled Irish Rail train was just arriving.

I like the contrast between the steam locomotive and the ROTEM built InterCity Railcar. There’s more than 70 years between the two train designs , yet they co-exist on the same modern railway.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

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Irish Rail 222 with Mk4 x 2.

That’s right!

First time I’ve seen something like this.

Just luck, I was on my way to the LUAS.

(Just in case it’s not obvious: Irish Rail’s Mark 4 sets have been typically seen at Islandbridge Junction with more than just 2 carriages.)

Photograph exposed with my Lumix LX7.

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BUOI in the Snow, Future CP Adrian.

Although it was more than 25 years ago, it really doesn’t seem so long since I made this Fujichrome Velvia slide of Conrail’s BUOI (Road freight from Buffalo to Oak Island) along the former Erie Railroad in the Canisteo Valley.

I’d followed the train east from Rock Glen, New York. Steady snow made for slippery road conditions so I took it easy.

Here I’d caught up with the train, which had reached the newly created siding east of Adrian, that would soon become ‘CP Adrian’ (CP for dispatcher Control Point).

Work was under way at the time, but the new color light signals hadn’t been commissioned and the old semaphores that had governed movements under rule 241 (current of traffic) remained in place, but deactivated.

Working with my Nikon F3T and 105mm lens, I exposed this view as the train waited for permission to proceed east.

Velvia was a finicky film and it was tough to nail the exposure in some conditions Getting the snow exposure right was tricky, but since the train wasn’t moving I made a bracket—in other words I exposed several slides with slight exposure variations. You can see that it was relatively dark by the illumination in the number boards on 6118.

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Redstone Special

Panoramic composite photo of RDC 23 at Pudding Pond in July 2019.

One of the hidden gems of the Conway Scenic Railroad is their ‘Redstone Line’.

This is the former Maine Central Mountain Division trackage that runs compass east from Mountain Junction near Intervale, New Hampshire.

This summer I had several opportunities to catch RDC number 23 Millieworking Friday afternoon specials to Redstone.

I’m now 4,000 miles from Redstone, but this weekend will be a very rare opportunity to travel the full length of Conway’s Maine Central trackage on a special run scheduled to depart North Conway at 9am.

This special Notch Train will run to the Saco River Bridge east of Redstone and then proceed back west to Mountain Junction and continue all the way over Crawford Notch to the west-end of Conway Scenic trackage at Hazens near Whitefield.

It will also be an opportunity to catch steam locomotive 7470 on the branch and over the mountain.

I’ll have to have one huge telephoto to catch the action from Islandbridge (in Dublin!!)

See: https://www.conwayscenic.com/events/

RDC 23 on the Redstone Line at Pudding Pond in North Conway.


RDC 23 near Redstone in July 2019.
Redstone line along North Conway’s North-South road.

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Conrail SD70 Roars West at Batavia!

From late 1998 through early 2000, I was almost continuously on the road.

I made lots of photos, sent them for processing, plucked out a few choice slides for books, slide shows, etc, and then put the rest in a carton which I promptly mis-placed.

I recalled photographing this Conrail westward freight at CP406 in Batavia, New York in January 1999. I’d been traveling with GVT’s local freight with an Alco RS-11. Although one of the photos from this morning was recently published in September Trains Magazine as an illustration for my discussion on Alco diesels, I couldn’t locate the rest of roll, or most of the other photos from that trip! 

In fact many others from 1999 were also beyond reach.

So, Monday (Aug 26, 2019) in my continuing quest for Conrail images, I finally found the long lost box, in it were a great many photos that have remain unseen since the demise of Conrail at the end of May 1999. Twenty years ago.

Conrail’s ‘convention cab’ SD70s were short-lived on the Water Level route east of Cleveland. These were built to Norfolk Southern specs during the Conrail split, assigned NS numbers and then all went to NS following the divide (as intended). This view was one of the only photos I ever made of a Conrail SD70 on the CSX side of Conrail before the split.

It was the last of the Conrail SD70s and only about two months old when I made this photo in January 1999. I think it is safe to say that 2580 was the last New locomotive built for Conrail (as a Class 1 mainline carrier). Thoughts?

Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon N90s with 80-200mm zoom lens, scanned with a Nikon Coolscan 5000.

Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon N90s with 80-200mm zoom lens, scanned with a Nikon Coolscan 5000.

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Using the Amtrak App to Save Time

I was having dinner last night at Palmer’s Steaming Tender. I wanted to photograph Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited and hoped only to invest the minimum amount of time away from my meal.

I brought up Amtrak’s App on my iPhone and clicked the ‘status’ icon, then entered ‘Springfield’ in the slot for ‘station’ and under ‘train number’ I entered ‘448’ (the number for the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited.

The first time I did this, it estimated 448 departing about 4 minutes late. So I checked again in ten minutes. By that time 448 had departed Springfield about 7 minutes late.

I then switched to the asm.transitdocs.com site that offers a ‘live map’ of Amtrak and VIA Rail trains across the continent, and clicked the window for 448. Among the features of this app is that it will show you the actual speed of the train at the time of its last update. The program updates about every five minutes.

I learned that about four minutes after departing Springfield Station 448 was traveling just under 60 mph (it’s maximum allowed speed on the Boston & Albany to Palmer).

From experience, I know that it takes 448 about 18 minutes to reach Palmer from Springfield if nothing unusual occurs. So 15 minutes after its Springfield-departure, I excused myself from dinner and casually walked to my preferred location near the diamond at the westend of the station.

I waited about 30 seconds and the train passed.

This was the photo I exposed using my Lumix LX7.

Amtrak 448 at Palmer, Massachusetts on August 25, 2019.

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Clear Signal CP83—December 27, 1997.

At 8pm on December 27, 1997, I exposed this view looking west at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts.

Mike Gardner and I were returning from one of our all day photo adventures in the Albany area and we decided to make a few more photos before heading home.

The signals lit and there was a green on the mainline, indicating a westward train was near.

This back in Conrail days, when the Boston & Albany route was still very busy with freight. It was years before the old Union Station was transformed into the Steaming Tender restaurant. And there were a few more buildings and businesses on Palmer’s main street.

It was more than a decade before I bought my first digital camera and I exposed this using my Nikon N90S on Provia 100F color slide film.

CP83 at Palmer, Massachusetts on December 27, 1997.

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Busy Afternoon at Palmer, August 22, 2019.

Yesterday I met fellow photographer Mike Gardner at the Steaming Tender restaurant in the old Palmer Union Station for lunch.

I had iced tea and the Reuben.

Except for the New England Central switching all was quiet for the first couple of hours.

Just after 2 pm, I said “Let’s head outside, I have a feeling it’s all about to happen.”

Luck, intuition or experience, call it what you like.

At first the trains didn’t favor the light. A New England Central local crossed the diamond northbound. CSX B740 was working deep in the old Boston & Albany yard. The Mass-Central came down from Ware long-hood first. Then everything stalled.

“I’ll bet everything is waiting for the Lake Shore.”

At 3pm Amtrak 449, the westward Lake Shore Limited appeared at the east end of the long tangent on the old Boston & Albany. On queue Mike announced, ‘Headlight!’

I made a series of photos of enthusiasts on the old station platform rolling the train by.

After the Lake Shore, the illusion of a lull continued, and most everyone else got bored and left. CSX B740 had pulled up and was poised waiting for signal. Mike and I decided to hold on. And sure enough 15 minutes behind the Lake Shore was a westward CSX freight—Q427.

After this passed, B740 pulled ahead through CP83 and then reverse back into the yard, meanwhile the Mass-Central was getting ready to head back north again.

All in all in was a very successful day in Palmer. But the keys to our success were timing and patience. If you left after the Lake Shore rolled west, you missed most of the show.

Amtrak 449 westbound.
CSX Q427.
CSX B740.
Massachusetts Central 1751 with interchange traffic.

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Conrail at Olean—November 6, 1988.

Yesterday I scanned this 30 year Kodachrome  25 slide using a Nikon Coolscan5000 operated with VueScan 9.6.09 scanning software.. 

The unmodified scan is a bit on the dark side. I’d been chasing Conrail ELOI (Elkhart to Oak Island) eastbound on the former Erie Railroad on typically dull western New York November day.

Many of my photos from that chase were exposed on black & white film using my father’s old Rollei Model T. At least one of those appeared in CTC Board as a Conrail new illustration back in the day.

When I reached Olean, I wanted to feature the crossing with the former PRR route to Buffalo, which was then also a Conrail secondary main line, and I made this panned view of ELOI’s lead locomotive crossing the diamonds.

I exposed this at f5.6 1/30 second to capture the motion of the locomotive.

Unmodified scan, except for scaling for internet presentation (the original is about 110MB).

After scanning, I imported the slide into Lightroom and made a variety of corrections to improve the appearance of the image. This included slight cropping to improve the level; color correction, lightening of the shadow areas and over-all contrast control.

I’ve include both the unmodified scan and corrected image here.

Corrected scan outputted as a JPG file for internet.

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CSX Before the Storm.

Monday afternoon, August 19, 2019 was hot and humid as I rambled through Massachusetts’ Quaboag Valley completing errands.

Driving west on Route 20, I reached the flying junction with Route 67, where I saw the head-end of CSX Q264 roar below me with two modern GEs in the lead.

The train had a good roll-on, so I knew it was making a run for the grade up through Warren. I diverted from my path west, and drove post haste east on Route 67 to find a location to picture this eastward freight.

In the afternoon there aren’t a lot of options. The old B&A has become unpleasantly overgrown with brush, and the back lit summer sun doesn’t offer a flattering  portrayal of modern GE diesels.

I opted for the overhead bridge at West Warren, where I made these views with my Lumix LX7.

Although it was still sunny, I could see the storm approaching from the west. Shortly after I arrived home there was lightning, thunder and a violent deluge.

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No DPU (mid-train remote control locomotive) on this train. Just about a mile and a half of loaded auto racks bound for the East Brookfield & Spencer at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

October 2019 Train Column Photo Considerations

Yesterday, August 19, 2019, I received my author’s advance copy of the October Trains Magazine that features my column titled ‘Getting on board with rail transit.’

Is it ironic that today I’m scheduled to get new tires for my automobile?

Cover of October 2019 TRAINS, photo by Samuel Phillips.

This is the opening spread to my column; you’ll need to obtain a copy of the magazine to see my photo.

To illustrate my column, I selected a digital photo that I exposed in May 2010 using my old Lumix LX3—my first digital camera.

To view the image that I chose, you will need to obtain a copy of the magazine. However, here I’ve included a few of the other railroad images exposed at the same essential location that same evening.

At the time a volcanic eruption in Iceland had filled northern skies with fine layers of ash. While this brought havoc to European air travel (I was waiting in Stockholm for a friend to arrive from Addis Abiba who had been delayed by more than 24 hours because of the ash cloud), the ash produced some stunning sunsets owing to the greater high altitude light refraction.

I was just learning to make use of digital photography. Luckily, my Lumix LX3 had a superb lens and lent itself to making great low light photographs.

Stockholm suburban train in May 2010. Lumix LX3 photo.
Swedish X2000 intercity tilting train in Stockholm.

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Sunset over Stockholml in May 2010. Lumix LX3 photo.

Conrail BUOI at West Cameron, New York.

In Autumn 1988, I exposed this Kodachrome 25 slide of Conrail’s BUOI (Buffalo, New York to Oak Island, New Jersey) rolling through the Canisteo Valley near West Cameron, New York.

During the late 1980s, the Canisteo Valley was among my favorite venues for photographing Conrail freights.

This is among the legions of Conrail slides that I considered for my upcoming book ‘Conrail and its Predecessors’.

I’m entering the final stages of photo selection and have begun the captioning process.

This is the same scan, but here I’ve lightened the image and warmed it slightly for improved internet presentation.

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There has to be Rain for a Rainbow.

One week ago, I was sitting in the North Tower of Conway Scenic’s North Conway Station. To the west the sun was shining. To the east it was pouring rain, and the rain was still falling all around. I said to Conway’s operations manager, Derek Palmieri, ‘There must be a rainbow.’

And there was!

Briefly it was a full, but faint, double.

Outside I went, where I made a variety of photos with my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 cameras.

This one is from the Lumix.

Sometimes where there’s a rainbow is a sign of change. A fortuitous signal for the future. And this is how I see it.

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30 Years Ago at Rockville Bridge.

It was a bright and hazy August 1989 morning, when my old pal TS Hoover and I set up on the east bank of the Susquehanna River to capture this view of the famous former Pennsylvania Railroad Rockville Bridge.

I made this Professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM) slide using my old Leica M2 with a 90mm Elmarit.

It was just one of many Conrail photographs exposed on one of our great adventures in the 1980s!

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Rare Move During My Signing—GP9 works the yard.

Sometimes when engaged with one task, something unexpected occurs that demands your attention.

Such was the situation last Friday while I was standing on the platform at North Conway, New Hampshire during my book signing event.

Conway Scenic’s GP9, 1751, still dressed in a New York Central inspired livery applied by former owner Finger Lakes Railway, was engaged to switch a few freight cars out of the North Yard.

In more than two months at Conway Scenic, the only freight car that I’d seen turn a wheel is a tank car that has been rigged up to supply water for steam locomotive 7470. So when I saw 1751 moving the two ancient flats in the yard, I excused myself from book signing tasks and made a few photos with my FujiFilm XT1.

There was gorgeous afternoon light bathing the North Conway station. The Valley excursion train was out on the line, so in one of the odd moments, the platform was almost empty and there few cameras in sight.

Later in the day, in a related incident I had a close encounter with an alarmingly large bear, but I’ll get to that in a future post.

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Rhonda Lee Summer Sunset.

Last night, August 8, 2019, I traveled on Conway Scenic’s Dinner Train for the second evening in a row.

The purpose of my trip was in preparation for some more involved filming in the coming days.

However, when we arrived at Bartlett, New Hampshire we were greeted by a stunning summer sunset, I reached for a camera. Well, actually three cameras. I reached for three cameras.

I then arranged with conductor Derek Palmieri to make a few photos.

Budd Vista dome  Rhonda Lee (née Silver Splendor) has only been recently re-lettered and made for a fine sight catching the summer sunset.

These images were the products from my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a Zeiss 12mm Touit lens.

I also exposed a few images with my Lumix LX7. I’m sure someone will groan when they read that I made black & white views on Ilford HP5 with a Nikon F3.

You’ll have to wait for the film photos, as it might be a few weeks before I have the time or facilities to process them.

Bartlett is one of my favorite places to catch Conway Scenic, and it seems I’m here almost every day, by road or by rail!

Don’t forget, today August 9, 2019, I’ll be signing books on Conway Scenic’s 1330 (130pm) Valley Train to Conway, and at the North Conway Station from 230 to 5pm!

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Headline: Author Brian Solomon at Conway Scenic Railroad

Thanks to Ireland’s Colm O’Callaghan for the portrait of me in a narrow gauge locomotive.

Tuesday’s Conway Daily Sun featured a short story about my books to highlight my book signing event tomorrow afternoon, Friday 9, 2019 at the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Although short, this article covered some of the highlights of my published work including my European Railway Guide, columns in Trains Magazine, and photos in the Journal of the Irish Railway Record Society!

Conway Scenic’s Susan Logan gave me a copy of the article, which I read while traveling on the 6 pm dinner train in preparation for a video/photo shoot this weekend.

When it rains it pours, and it did!

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Yesterday I Witnessed History at North Conway.

Sunday, August 4, 2019 was the 45thanniversary of Conway Scenic Railroad’s first revenue run.

To celebrate this event and to honor Conway Scenic’s founder, Dwight Smith, Conway Scenic’s president and general manager David Swirk presided over a short ceremony at the North Conway station to name locomotive 7470 after him.

In 1968, Dwight purchased former Canadian National 7470. Several years later he helped found the Conway Scenic, and in its early years this heavy 0-6-0 switcher was the heart and soul of the railroad.

Over the decades, Conway Scenic has carried hundreds of thousands of passengers, and locomotive 7470 has entertained countless visitors and is dearly loved by many people. Now it carries the name of the man who saved it and founded a railroad on which it could run.

North Conway, the State of New Hampshire, and the railroad’s many friends, guests and visitors are richer for Dwight’s foresight to preserve and present this precious bit of living history.

Today engine 7470 is the  Dwight Smith

Dave Swirk, Dwight Smith and George Small pose in front of 7470 during the locomotive’s naming ceremony on August 4, 2019.
Dwight Smith enjoys a trip on Pullman observation parlor car Gertrude Emma.

Conway Scenic road foreman of engines Mike Lacey sits in the engineer’s seat of 7470, now named for Dwight Smith.

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August 4th, 2019 is Conway Scenic Railroad’s 45thAnniversary!

On August 4, 1974, Conway Scenic carried its first revenue passengers from its historic North Conway, New Hampshire station south to Conway on the old Boston & Maine Conway branch. Locomotive 7470, then carrying abbreviated number ‘47’, did the honors.

Today, August 4, 2019 is a special day for the railroad and steam locomotive 7470.

See: https://www.conwayscenic.com

Since the locomotive was restored earlier this year, it has been among my regular subjects at Conway Scenic, and I’ve filmed it for several short videos.

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TV Crew Films Conway Scenic

Arethusa Falls grade crossing.

Among my assignments this past week on the Conway Scenic Railroad was to guide a TV production crew from Boston’s Channel 5 WCVB.

After they enjoyed a ride and a meal in dome car Rhonda Lee, I collected the crew midway up the mountain, and Conway Scenic’s President and General Manager Dave Swirk and I brought them to some of the most scenic vistas on the line to film the train.

They were able to benefit from my weeks of location scouting in order to film a segment on Conway Scenic that is expected to be broadcast in the coming weeks.

It was a beautiful bright day on the mountain, and they were able to get views of Mount Washington with Conway Scenic’s Notch Train.

Conway Scenic’s President and General Manager Dave Swirk describes the line at Crawford Notch as the TV crew prepares their equipment in anticipation of the train.


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Book Signing Next Week!

One week from today, I’ll be signing books at the Conway Scenic Railroad!

Book Signing: Meet the Author!

On Friday August 9, 2019, I’ll be conducting an ‘on-train and at-the-station’ book signing on the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, New Hampshire.

I’ll be traveling on the 130pm train to Conway with a pen in hand, and then visiting the Brass Whistle Gift Shop in the North Conway station from about 230pm until 5pm

Notice the author’s shadow? Friday, next week I’ll be at this station signing books from 2:30pm to 5pm. Where is this? North Conway, New Hampshire! That’s Friday August 9, 2019.
Platform view at Conway Scenic’s North Conway station exposed last night, August 1, 2019. Next Friday, August 9, 2019, I’ll be at this station signing books!

The Conway Scenic’s Brass Whistle Gift shop has a host of my titles for sale and ready to be signed by me.

My titles for sale will include:

Vintage Diesel Power

Electromotive E units & F units

Streamliners

Railway Guide to Europe

Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals

GE & EMD Locomotives

Classic Railroad Signals

I only do a couple of book signings a year, so this is a great opportunity to travel on Conway Scenic’s Valley Train and buy a signed book!

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Conrail’s OIEL—April 7, 1989.

I’m reviewing thousands of Conrail photos to make final selections for my new book on Conrail. Among the images I’m considering is this one (and similar views) of Conrail’s OIEL (Oak Island, New Jersey to Elkhart, Indiana) that I exposed on the former Erie Railroad in New York’s Canisteo Valley.

For me this image distills what was cool about Conrail’s Canisteo. The sinuous trackage with multiple-tier code lines and semaphores along a green tinted river against a backdrop of shadowy dark hills. Milepost 311 near Cameron, New York April 7, 1989. Kodachrome 25.

I like this photograph because it captures the essence of the old Erie Railroad as it winds along the Canisteo River. In the distance, you can see one of the many upper quadrant Union Switch & Signal style-S semaphores that governed train movements through the 1980s.

Will this slide make the final cut? I have hundreds of color slides exposed in the Canisteo Valley back in Conrail days.

Tough choices will be made.

Regardless, someone might complain, ‘there’s too many scenic views with semaphores in the Conrail book!’

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Thalys at Antwerp.

In February 1999, I exposed this view of a Thalys TGV-style high-speed train at Antwerp, Belgium using my Nikon N90S with Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO).

To make the most of the angular high-speed train against a backdrop of traditional brick buildings, I used a moderate telephoto lens and a relatively slow shutter speed (probably about 1/60thof a second). This has the effect of keep the train sharp while softening the background and foreground.

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Sunrise at Cookshire, Quebec.

The other day on the Conway Scenic, I was telling film student Adam Bartley about a photograph I’d exposed on the former Canadian Pacific at Cookshire, Quebec.

I have relatively few photos on the old CP line in Quebec east of Montreal, and this one is one of my favorites.

I made it with very little set up time, and using something less than my sharpest lens.

This appeared as a full page image on page 102 of Railway Photography, a book authored with the late John Gruber in 2003. We dedicated the book to the memory of our friend the artist Ted Rose, who had passed away the previous year.

Here’s the un-edited caption I supplied to my publisher for the photo:
Get up early and be ready to photograph: if you’re not there. you won’t get the shot. Photographers George S. Pitarys and Brian Solomon spent several days in January 1998 photographing Iron Road Railways’ Quebec Southern. On the last morning of the trip, they hit the road well before sunrise and followed an eastbound train in the sub-zero gloom. This exposure was made at Cookshire, Quebec at sunrise. The clouds that made for the rosy morning glow would soon prevail leaving for a flat gray day. Sometimes your first shot of the day is your best. photo by Brian Solomon
Nikon N90S; Fuji Provia 100 (RDP)

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Listen for the Click—Conway Scenic Railroad’s 45th Anniversary promotional video.

Next weekend, August 3rd and 4th, will represent Conway Scenic Railroad’s 45thanniversary of steam operations and revenue services.

To mark the occasion of the railroad’s first 45 years carrying revenue passengers and as an invitation to visit the railroad on Sunday August 4th, 2019, I put together a very short promotional video. This includes some rarely seen archive materials.

This was posted to Conway Scenic’s new YouTube channel and to its Facebook page yesterday.

Click the link to watch my 1 minute 10 second video promotion filmed on location in North Conway, New Hampshire.

If you listen very carefully, you can hear me making the still photograph that appears here.

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Videographer on the Roof!

Conway Scenic’s Valley Train arriving at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Among the finest railroad vantage points in North Conway, New Hampshire is from Conway Scenic’s station roof.

Photo exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

On several occasions over the last few weeks, I’ve made arrangements to access this rooftop to film Conway Scenic’s trains as part of on-going promotional efforts.

One afternoon a few weeks back, I was joined by Adam Bartley, a qualified Conway Scenic Trainman and film student. While he made video, I exposed a few still photographs.

Like other elements of Tracking the Light, this is a work in progress.

You can see some of the videos that I’ve helped film on Conway Scenic’s Facebook Page:

and on its new YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq6vcQzv2ys

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Pudding Pond Posed Panoramic.

If you are not viewing this on post on Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link or you’ll miss the panoramic photo.

This is the single-frame conventional view of RDC 23 Millie at Pudding Pond.

Last Friday (July 19, 2019), we traveled on Conway Scenic Budd-built RDC 23 Millie east toward Redstone, New Hampshire on the former Maine Central. On the return we paused at Pudding Pond so that I could make some photographs.

Once I was off the car, by arrangement it moved forward so the front of the RDC was catching the sunlight.

In addition to conventional photos, I also made this panoramic composite using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera. The camera has a panorama preset that requires you to make an even sweep across the scene while holding the shutter release. The camera sews together the images and outputs them as a completed panorama.

Panoramic composite view at Pudding Pond exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

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Meet at Mountain Junction

On Select Fridays, Conway Scenic operates an RDC trip for children out on its Redstone Line—former Maine Central Mountain Division running east from Mountain Junction. Last Friday, July 19, 2019, I took the opportunity to travel with the crew on this run.

At Mountain Junction we cleared for the Valley Train led by GP7 573 that was on its return run from Bartlett to North Conway, New Hampshire.

When the Valley Train passed us, I made this view from the cab of Conway Scenic’s former Susquehanna (originally New Haven Railroad) RDC number 23, named Millie.

You know, I could have named this post: The Valley Meets Millie at Mountain Junction.

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Every Day is Sunny in North Conway . . .

 . . . except when it rains!

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Last week at North Conway, New Hampshire hot humid afternoon gave way to rain forest-like torrential rains.

In the twilight of early evening, I exposed this raining view using my Lumix LX7 handheld.

The slight blurred effect is a combination of the cascading downpour and relatively slow shutter speed. For me the combination of heavy rain, dusk, and slight camera blur makes for a painterly effect that helps transcend the decades.

Distant Raging Fires Make For Rosy New Hampshire Sunsets.

Fires in Canada and as far away as Alaska have resulted in layers of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere.

During the day this has resulted in gausy skies that diffuse the sun.

At dusk the dust and ash contribute to some stunning sunsets.

Last night, I noticed a rosy glow in the west as I sat editing video in the North Tower of North Conway’s former Boston & Maine station.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views in the fading light.

The sky had a magenta hue that reminded me of Stockholm sunsets after the Icelandic volcano eruption of 2010.

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Mount Washington Cog Railway—Revisited

Many many years ago.

In the dusts of time.

Before  I carried a camera!

I traveled on the Mount Washington Cog Railway.

I was very young and it was bitterly cold at the summit, so the charms of the railway were lost on me.

Last Saturday, my friends and I revisited this world famous attraction.

The Mount Washington Cog is 150 years old this year and the oldest cog railway in the world. It is built almost entirely upon a wooden pile trestle with an average gradient of 25 percent (1 in 4).

The views get more impressive as you gain in elevation.

Although largely operated with ‘bio diesels’, there are still some steam locomotives.

I made these photographs from the base station as we were getting ready to board. I largely focused on the diesels, as the steam was only being prepped and not working the mountain.

More soon!

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Mountain Division—Bartlett Sunset.

Wednesday evening July 10, 2019, I made this sunset view of Conway Scenic Railroad’s dinner train at Bartlett, New Hampshire.

The dinner train uses largely the same consist as the railroad’s Notch Train, but operates in the evening from North Conway to Bartlett and return.

Owing to the extreme exposure contrast between the darker areas of the car’s undercarriage and the highlights in the sky, I carefully balanced my exposure using the camera’s histogram to retain the maximum amount of detail, and later adjusted the RAW file in Lightroom in post processing to allow for the most pleasing image.

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Budd Car Sunset.

FujiFilm camera JPG with color profile ‘Velvia’.

The other evening I exposed this trailing view of Conway Scenic’s RDC number 23, Millienear Glen-Jackson on its evening run up to Attiash .

On of the best kept secrets among Conway’s scheduled trains are its RDC runs for Attitash that depart North Conway on select evenings at 6pm.

I like the RDC, a typical Budd Car, that was common to New England passenger services when I was growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s.

For this photo, I was working with a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm prime telephoto. The camera color profile was set to Velvia (see photo above), but ultimately I worked with the camera-RAW file in Lightroom to adjust color temperature, contrast and saturation (see photo below).

Jpg file created from adjusted camera-RAW.

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New England Steam: 7470 SundayS and MondayS this Summer!

Through July and August, Conway Scenic Railroad plans to assign steam locomotive 7470 to their North Conway to Conway Valley Train every Sunday and Monday. 

The train departs North Conway at 1030 am and 130 pm, with the locomotive running tender first toward Conway (boiler facing the home station).

The locomotive is turned on the turntable at the roundhouse in the morning and afternoon.

For information/tickets send email to: info@conwayscenic.com

Check Conway’s website:

www.conwayscenic.com

or call : 603-356-5251

I made these photos Sunday, July 7, 2019 using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Fortuity at Bardwell’s Ferry: Lenticular Truss and an Eastward Freight.

Or call this ‘DASH-9 in the Woods’.

Friday (July 5, 2019), I was rambling about with my cousin Stella—visiting from California—when we paused at Bardwell’s Ferry,.

The ferry is long gone. Instead a well-preserved pin-connected lenticular truss bridge carries the road over Massachusetts’ Deerfield River.

While we were photographing the bridge and river, I thought my ears tricked me; the rushing water sounded remarkably like a distant freight.

Since this wasn’t a serious rail-photo excursion, I hadn’t brought my scanner.

I went back to the car to get my omnipresent notebook, when I heard a whistle!

The flashers on Bardwell’s Ferry road illuminated, and sure enough there was an eastward Pan Am Southern freight approaching!

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens, I exposed this series of photos.

I assume that this was symbol freight 16R which forwards Norfolk Southern traffic from Enola (Pennsylvania) and East Binghamton (New York) to Pan Am’s East Deerfield Yard. Without a scanner or positive confirmation, guess is all I can do.

An eastward Pan-Am Southern freight approaches the crossing of Bardwell’s Ferry Road.
I anticipated the window of sunlight east of the crossing and adjusted my exposure accordingly.

As the freight approached, I pulled back the zoom lens to widen my field of view. Not all railroad photos can be exposed in full sunlight, but in this case I think the shadowy effect works well.

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