Christmas Convergence at West Cressona

I like it when I can tie several themes together. This post is special because it ties together many loose threads in one neat knot.

Catching CNJ 0-6-0 passing through the former Reading yard at West Cressona a few weeks ago is a perfect example.

Back in 2015, on a trip to photograph 113 in Christmas train service with photographer Pat Yough, I met photographer Oren Helbok.

This seasonally-themed train was working the prototype rails that had inspired my HO-Scale Wee Reading Company.

Researching the Reading in November 2021 led Kris and me to Pennsylvania, and it was a significant factor in considering our move to the state earlier this year.

In March 2022 on visit to Pennsylvania to explore the Strasburg and Harrisburg areas, Kurt Bell introduced us to author/photographer and fellow Trains correspondent Dan Cupper.

In October, Dan Cupper and I had visited West Cressona to photograph a Reading & Northern local with a pair of EMD SW8 diesels

Earlier this month, both Dan and Oren encouraged Kris and me to photograph this season’s trips with 113.

During our photography of the 113 trips, Pat Yough had phoned to say that the elusive Reading & Northern SD38 2003 was in the yard at West Cressona. (See earlier posts on Tracking the Light, including:

After catching 113 passing Becks, Kris and I made our way to the yard, which had been a feature of my model railroad, and caught 113 working its way through the historic trackage and passing 2003.

Back in 1986, I had photographed 2003 in an earlier incarnation as Grand Trunk Western 6253, which had arrived in my old haunt of Palmer, Massachusetts on a fiber-optic cable laying train. This stuck in my mind because it was the first time I’d ever seen a six-motor diesel on the Central Vermont.

My now-defunct Wee Reading Company HO railway. This was my interpretation of West Cressona Yard.
This angle was the inspiration for the model. I first stood here in 2014. This photo was made a couple of weeks ago.
Central Railroad of New Jersey 113 works past Reading & Northern 2003 at West Cressona, PA
Reading & Northern 2014 was at the back of the Santa excursion. In 2014, I made first visits to West Cressona and Minersville to photograph 113.
And there is the elusive 2003!
Central Vermont cable laying train at Palmer, Massachusetts in August 1986. I made my first photos of Palmer from this location in September 1977.

Merry Christmas from Tracking the Light!