MBTA Sunday October 27, 2013—Part 1

Boston, Revisited.

MBTA train.
A Franklin Line train works outbound through a super-elevated curve on the former New Haven Railroad at Hyde Park, Boston on October 27, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I spent many of my formative years in railway photography exploring greater Boston. My family lived in Newton Center from 1969 to 1973, while after that my father worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I have early memories of riding Green Line PCC cars, watching Penn-Central commuter trains from Star Market (positioned over the Mass-Pike with a view of the parallel Boston & Albany line) as well as later experiences exploring Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s transit and suburban railway lines.

As my photography improved and matured and my interest in railways developed, I explored and photographed operations ever farther from those of my earliest days.

In recent years, trips to Boston have largely been focused on Logan Airport, and I’ve made only occasional photographs in the city. Most of my recent MBTA photographs have been exposed either at South Station or at the periphery of the commuter rail network.

Without exaggeration, I can say that today I’m more familiar with Dublin, London, Philadelphia Chicago and San Francisco than I am with Boston.

MBTA allows and encourages photography as this sign on the Mattapan-Ashmont Line reveals. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA allows and encourages photography as this sign on the Mattapan-Ashmont Line reveals. Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.

Thanks to Tim Doherty, on Sunday October 27, 2013, I was reacquainted with aspects of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in and around Boston, some of which I hadn’t seriously photographed in nearly 20 years. A bright day, fall foliage, and Tim’s detailed knowledge of Boston aided our marathon photographic journey. These are among my results:

A vintage PCC car works toward Ashmont on the Red Line’s Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed line. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Mattapan-Ashmont Line’s PCC’s have been painted in classic ‘traction orange’ similar to the scheme worn by Boston streetcars in the 1940s and 1950s. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Trailing view of a PCC streetcar at Milton, Massachusetts. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
MBTA is news in Boston. Lumix LX3 photo.
MBTA is news in Boston. Lumix LX3 photo.
An inbound MBTA train on the Boston & Albany pauses at Auburndale for a station stop. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Bound for South Station, an MBTA train accelerates eastward along the Mass-Pike at Auburndale, Massachusetts. Mass-Pike used part of the B&A right of way when it was extended to Boston in the 1960s. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An outbound MBTA train pauses at West Newton along the Mass-Pike. Lumix LX3 photo.

More Boston photos in tomorrow’s Tracking the Light post!

See my new book North American Railroad Family Trees for discussion of the evolution MBTA and other commuter rail networks.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning (Eastern time).

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2 comments on “MBTA Sunday October 27, 2013—Part 1

  1. Thanks! The super elevated shot was tough. No matter what I did it didn’t seem quite right.
    Brian Solomon.

  2. Tom Warger on said:

    That first photo is the world’s best illustration of super elevation. Love the PCCs, too.

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