Conrail SD80MACs Near Middlefield, Massachusetts.

Twenty Cylinder Monsters Roar West on July 19, 1997.

General Motors SD80MACs
On July 19, 1997, a pair of Conrail SD80MACs is roaring westward (but progressing at crawl) on the 1.67 percent climb just passed Milepost 130 near the old Middlefield Station location. It is here that the 1912 line relocation rejoined the original 1840s Western Rail Road alignment. (seen disappearing into the trees immediately to the left of the SD80MACs) Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon N90s and Nikon 80-200mm zoom lens.

Between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, I made many trips to the old Boston & Albany ‘West End.’ I often focused on the east slope of Washington Hill, where the combination of scenery, ruling grade and traffic patterns was especially conducive to my photography.

In 1995, Conrail ordered a small fleet of SD80MAC diesels from General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division. These were Conrail’s first AC traction locomotives and specially painted in a new white and light blue livery. (Later also applied to a small order of SD70MACs).

They were also the only modern GM diesel locomotives delivered domestically with the 20 cylinder 710 engine.

From early 1996 until CSX assumed operation, pairs of SD80MACs were common on the old B&A route. I made a concerted effort to make images of these machines. I exposed this color slide in the summer of 1997 when the locomotives were still relatively new.

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