Relic of the Crescent—Daily Post

August 1986.

Exploring the former Central Railroad of New Jersey Elizabethport Shops, I found this decaying former Southern Railway E8A, still dressed in the railroad’s white, green and gold.

New Jersey Department of Transportation (antecedent to today’s NJ Transit) acquired this locomotive among others for commuter services, after Southern conveyed its passenger services (including the Crescent) to Amtrak in 1979.

Exposed on black & white negative film with a Rolleiflex Model T using a 645 size ‘super slide’ insert.
Exposed on black & white negative film with a Rolleiflex Model T using a 645 size ‘super slide’ insert.

I’d never seen Southern’s Crescent and in 1986, I was delighted to find this rusting vestige from an earlier era. I made a few studies of the locomotive on black and white film and with color slides. I wonder what became of this locomotive?

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Tomorrow: not the Crescent, but a full moon!

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Historic Trams: Porto.

Classic four-wheelers.

Porto is an ancient and attractive city built along the River Douro. It was urbanized in Roman times, so relatively modern features such as electric trams, are really just a contemporary gloss on a place with a long history.

I think it’s important to put the timeline in perspective. There’s old, and there’s ancient! Car 131 is a one hundred year old Brill. While car 218 dates from the World War II era. Both add to the city’s charm.

Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Trams congregate in Porto. Car 131 on the right is a Brill product, now more than 100 years old. Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.
Technology from an earlier time. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

There are three historic routes in service. Two wind through steep and narrow streets in the city center. The third works the river-front. The sound of the clanging bells is a thread to another era.

While riding one of the cars, I overheard an elderly British woman explaining that her great grand-parents lived in Napoleonic times. Napoleon was routed from Porto by the British Duke of Wellington.

Wellington was born in Ireland (although he famously disparaged his birthplace) and in the Dublin’s Phoenix Park, across the river from my apartment, stands the Wellington Testimonial (that celebrates his military victories). I can view this giant obelisk from my window. So there you go!

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.
Real old tram; really interesting ancient city. Canon EOS 7D with 100 mm lens.

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Eiffel Bridge, Porto.

Tram Metro and a Magnificent Span.

Gustav Eiffel is best known for his iron tower in Paris. However, he was also a prolific bridge builder and his iron bridges share characteristics with his Parisian tower.

 On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist no only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.

On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist not only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

Two of his bridges span the Douro River in Porto, Portugal, and both of these have railway histories. One bridge is presently closed and once carried 5 foot 6 inch gauge tracks for mainline trains while the other is open to foot traffic and Porto’s tram metro on its top level, while its bottom level carries a road.

In early April, I made many photos of the more prominent bridge, called Ponte Luiz I, built in the 1880s. Porto enjoys impressive verticality, and I used the city’s natural geography to find some great angles on the span.

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

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Tomorrow: old trams in an ancient city!

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Porto’s Metro

In the Rain and Underground.

Tram_bursting_out_of_Fog_Trindade_station_Porto_P1630253
Trindade Station, Porto. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Ah yes, sunny Portugal! Wall to wall blue skies . .  Er. . . wait, no, actually it was cool, dark, and pouring rain in Porto.

Portugal’s second city. As Cork is to Dublin; Porto is to Lisbon. And with a really long history too. The Romans were here a while back.

In 2002, Porto opened its Metro, which is what I’d call a trolley-subway. Or, tram-subway, if you prefer.

It is well patronized, and well run.

On the day I visited, it was also exceptionally wet! But heavy rain can make for interesting photos, so I made the most of the circumstances.

Trindade on Porto's Metro. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trindade on Porto’s Metro. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Pan in the Metro. Canon EOS 7D.
Pan in the Metro. Canon EOS 7D.
Tram interior, exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Tram interior, exposed with a Lumix LX3.
At Senhora de Hora in the rain. Canon EOS 7D. My Canon didn't like the rain.
At Senhora de Hora in the rain. Canon EOS 7D. My Canon didn’t like the rain.
Seta Bicas. Canon EOS 7D.
Seta Bicas. Canon EOS 7D.
Bursting out of a tunnel near central Porto. Canon EOS 7D.
Gliding into a tunnel near central Porto. Canon EOS 7D.

Porto_tram_map_P1630229 Porto_tram_interior_P1630223

 Tomorrow: Porto and Paris have this in common . . . 

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International Train Hotel-Entroncamento, Portugal

April 3, 2014.

Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.
Entroncamento Station, Portugal on the evening of April 3, 2014.

Portugal shares the broad Iberian standard gauge with Spain: rails are five feet six inches apart. Despite this commonality, today there are relatively few international services between the two countries.

One of the few cross-border trains is the nightly combined Lusitania/Sud Expresso connecting Lisbon with Spanish cities. The Lusitania runs Lisbon-Madrid, while the Sud Expresso is a vestige of the old Wagon Lits luxury express that once connected Lisbon with Paris, but now only goes as far as Irun on the Spanish-French frontier.

The train operates with RENFE (Spanish Railways) TALGO train hotel equipment, which makes it anomalous compared with the majority of Portuguese passenger trains.

On April 3, 2014, I planned to photograph the eastward Lusitania/Sud Expresso (train 335/310) during its station stop at Entrocamento, Portugal.

This is a big station, adjacent to freight yards, shops, and Portugal’s National Railway Museum.

Portugal.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lisbon-Spain train hotel approaching in the distance. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO.

The train departed Lisbon Santa Apolónia at 9:18 pm, and arrived at Entroncamento a little more than an hour later. I had less than five minutes to make photographs.

I worked with three cameras. First exposing digital time exposures using my Lumix LX3 positioned on a mini Gitzo tripod. I made several images using my standard night photo technique (see: Lumix LX-3—part 2:  Existing Light Digital Night Shots).

Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.
Entrocamento Station with the nightly Lusitania/Sud Expresso paused for its station stop. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 set at 80 ISO. I used the self timer set at 2 seconds to minimize vibration.

Then I quickly swapped the Lumix for my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm lens loaded with Provia 100F, and made a three exposure bracket. With film, I find it difficult to gauge night exposures, so I aided my efforts with my handheld Minolta Mark IV light meter.

Provia 100F has a filtration layer that minimizes undesirable color spikes caused by fluorescent and sodium lighting.

In the middle of this time-exposure exercise, I also made several handheld images using my Canon EOS 7D set for a high ISO. I figured that covered most of the angles.

I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.
I exposed this view of the Lusitania/Sud Expresso using my Canon EOS 7D handheld with a 20mm lens; ISO 4000 f2.8 1/50th of a second. While not as critically sharp as the tripod mounted Lumix image, it has a nice feel to it. Also, for me it’s a fast and easy ‘safety’ shot, in case my more elaborate technique using the Lumix failed to work as hoped.

I was distracted during my efforts by the arrival of a Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel (powered by an EMD 16-710 engine) hauling a container train.

As soon as the train hotel pulled away, I repositioned to photograph the diesel-hauled container train.

Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.
Takargo Vossloh E4000 diesel rumbles in the sodium vapor gloom of Entrocamento. Lumix LX3 photo.

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Tilting Train: Portugal’s Alfa Pendular Service.

Photographing a tilting train at speed in curves.

My first experience with the Italian Pendolino design was in Switzerland more than 14 years ago when I was researching for my book Bullet Trains—a survey of high-speed trains and railways (published by MBI in 2001).

Here’s an excerpt from my text:

The Pendolino’s tilt system provides a luxurious, smooth ride, on sinuous track. The effect of the tilting is subtle and scarcely noticeable as the train glides a long at speed. The Pendolino has proven a successful export item, and have been ordered by Finnish, Czech, and British railways. The appeal of the Pendolino, and other successful tilting designs, such as the Spanish TALGO and Swedish X2000  is the ability to increase running speeds without a massive investment in new infrastructure.

Since that time, several additional European countries have added Pendolino trains to their fleets. I’ve photographed them in a half dozen countries, most recently in early April this year, in Portugal where they are assigned to premier services between Porto, Lisbon and Faro.

A gate keeper signals a passing Pendolino as it races through the country station at Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A gate keeper signals a passing Pendolino as it races through the country station at Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Trailing view of a CP Pendolino passing Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Trailing view of a CP Pendolino passing Mato de Miranda, Portugal on April 3, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

 

Comboios de Portugal (Portugal’s national railway, known by initials ‘CP’) has ten train-sets which work as Alfa Pendular services.

A challenge when photographing Pendolino trains is catching them mid-tilt. I’ve found one  way to capture this is working from the outside of a curve using a long telephoto lens. This is most effective when the front of the train has tilted but the rear remains level with the track structure.

It helps to level the camera with an obvious line-side vertical object such as electrification masts, signals or buildings.

Another technique is to catch the train on the inside of a curve with a wider lens, but still leveling the camera with line-side vertical elements.

A CP Pendolino glides out of the fog near Coimbroes, Porto on the last lap of its run northward from Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A CP Pendolino glides out of the fog near Coimbroes, Porto on the last lap of its run northward from Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

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Tomorrow: Night Photography, Iberian Style.

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Portuguese Country Station at Riachos T Novas Golega—Daily Post

April 2, 2014.

A visit to Portugal’s national railway, Comboios de Portugal (known by initials ‘CP’) proved rewarding and photographically productive.

After arriving at Lisbon airport, I visited the rural station at Riachos T Novas in Golega. This place is a gem. Classic manned station building with freight sidings and all the trappings of another era, but very few of the intrusions of modern construction (in other words, no wire fences, overbuilt footbridges, etc.)

 

Locals gather on the platform at Riachos T. Novas station. April 2. 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Locals gather on the platform at Riachos T. Novas station. April 2. 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
A sand train was being loaded on the siding when I arrived. As the last car was filled, the crew made an air-test an pulled away—Not a minute wasted. Lumix LX3 photo.
A sand train was being loaded on the siding when I arrived. As the last car was filled, the crew made an air-test an pulled away—Not a minute wasted. Lumix LX3 photo.

The station is on the busy double-track electrified mainline between Lisbon and Entroncamento. This carries a variety of freight and passenger trains, including through trains to Porto, and Spanish border crossings. Trains passed every 10-15 minutes.

At one point the sky opened and rain fell hard for few minutes. When it passed, a double rainbow graced the sky for a few minutes. My images of a suburban train with the cosmic weather were exposed on Fujichrome and remain latent pending processing.

A classic clock keeps time at the station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A classic clock keeps time at the station. Lumix LX3 photo.
A local electric pauses to discharge passengers, its windows reflecting a dramatic sky. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A local electric pauses to discharge passengers, its windows reflecting a dramatic sky. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

A camera club was snapping all angles at the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega. The passing CP container train was just one of their many subjects. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D with 200 mm.
A camera club was snapping all angles at the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega. The passing CP container train was just one of their many subjects. Exposed with Canon EOS 7D with 200 mm.
A potted plant displays the CP logo, which reminds me of the old Irish Rail logo, except in royal blue instead of orange. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
A potted plant displays the CP logo, which reminds me of the old Irish Rail logo, except in royal blue instead of orange. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Storm clouds over the old freight house/goods store. Where was the camera club now? They'd jumped a train when it started to rain. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Storm clouds over the old freight house/goods store. Where was the camera club now? They’d jumped a train when it started to rain. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

 

You need rain for a rainbow. This one held in the sky for several minutes. Lumix LX3 photo. (And yes, I caught a train under it, but that's on film!).
You need rain for a rainbow. This one held in the sky for several minutes. Lumix LX3 photo. (And yes, I caught a train under it, but that’s on film!).

Interestingly, when I first arrived, a local camera club had descended en masse and was snapping away at everything. Unfortunately for the club, they departed before the rain and thus missed the glorious evening light! This was pity for them. By contrast, I worked through the best light and made the most of it.

A double-headed empty coal train blitzes the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega bound for the port of Sines, south of Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
A double-headed empty coal train blitzes the station at Riachos T Novas, Golega bound for the port of Sines, south of Lisbon. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Evening light makes for a nice study of the class railway station. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Evening light makes for a nice study of the class railway station. Canon EOS 7D photo.
The village beyond the station was pretty sleepy. Lumix LX3 photo.
The village beyond the station was pretty sleepy. Lumix LX3 photo.
Another northward container train passes heading toward Entroncamento. Canon EOS 7D photo with 200mm lens.
Another northward container train passes heading toward Entroncamento. Canon EOS 7D photo with 200mm lens.

Stay tuned for my further exploration of Portuguese railways.

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BNSF on the old Frisco

Rock and Roll Railroad.

On August 18, 2011, Chris Guss and I were driving northeast across Missouri, aiming for St. Louis, when we intercepted this BNSF potash extra working the old Frisco route.

It was a hot and sunny day, and new territory for me. But for Chris the line was old hat, and we had a very productive chase.

Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 100-400 image stabilization zoom lens set at 135mm; f8 at 1/500th of second, ISO 200.
Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 100-400 image stabilization zoom lens set at 135mm; f8 at 1/500th of second, ISO 200.

We made this view near Swedeland, Missouri, where the line passes through a sag and some S-bends. This offered a great place to portray the long and snaky unit train.

The way the line hugs the rolling landscape reminded me a bit of Ireland’s Westport line.

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Tomorrow: last week’s time warp: a country station largely unspoiled by time.

 

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Mullingar, Now and Then.

Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin, 14 years Difference.

Here’s a view of steam locomotive 461 on a Railway Preservation Society Ireland trip in April 2000, compared with similar views of the same locomotive from the same cabin, in March 2014.

In the interval, the railway has changed, and Mullingar has expanded. The junction was simplified in 2003, and mini CTC signaling installed in 2005.

Locomotive 461 shunts a carriage in Mullingar on April 21 2000.
Locomotive 461 shunts a carriage in Mullingar on April 21 2000.
Compare this view from Mullingar cabin exposed on March 25, 2014, with the above image made 14 years earlier. Both were made of the same locomotive, from the same window, at essentially the same place.
Compare this view from Mullingar cabin exposed on March 25, 2014, with the above image made 14 years earlier. Both were made of the same locomotive, from the same window, at essentially the same place.
An overall view of the scene at Mullingar framed in the window of the signal cabin on March 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
An overall view of the scene at Mullingar framed by the window of the signal cabin on March 25, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3. The ‘double junction’ for route diverging at the right for the Galway road were removed with the 2003 simplification. The old junction was a carry over from when Mullingar was on the main route from Dublin (Broadstone) to Galway as built by the Midland Great Western. (In modern times, trains from Dublin to Galway have run from Dublin Heuston via Portarlington to Athlone.)

 

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Steam to Mullingar, March 23, 2014, Part 2—Daily Post.


Views at the old Midland Station

Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.
Locomotive 461 arrives at Mulligar on March 23, 2014.

In its heyday, Mullingar was an important station on the old Midland Great Western Railway. Here, the large signal cabin controlled the junction between Sligo and Galway routes. There were goods yards and locomotive sheds. It was a busy place.

Today, it’s little more than a big station serving Irish Rail’s Sligo Line. Yet, vestiges of its former glory remain. While the double line junction at the Dublin-end of the station was removed in 2003, and the signal cabin ceased to function as a block post on the Sligo line in 2005, the cabin remains. So do the platforms for the old Galway Road.

The Galway road continues toward Athlone, but vanishes into the weeds after it leaves the station. It has been more than a decade since the last train traveled the line, and that was only the annual weed-spraying run.

Semaphores and other antique infrastructure dot the plant.

The arrival of locomotive 461 allowed me opportunity to photograph the signal cabin and the old Galway side of Mulligar Station.

For me this was a flashback. Not to the glory days of the Midland Great Western, but to the late 1990s early 2000s, when I first visited Mullingar. So much had changed since then, yet so much more remains at Mullingar than many other places on Irish Rail.

Here’s just a few photos from the many images I exposed on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Levers in Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Locomotive 461 as viewed from Mullingar Cabin.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
Driver Ken Fox at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
On the platforms at Mullingar.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
Looking west on the old Galway Road, Mullingar cabin and station on the right.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 navigates the old yard. Here a few mechanical semaphores remain active.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
461 goes for spin on the turntable at Mullingar.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
The light changed from sunny to hazy. 461 works back up through the old yard.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Resting on the disused Galway side of Mullingar station, 461 takes water in preparation for its run back to Dublin.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
Visions of another era. Lumix LX3 photo.
On the footplate.
On the footplate.

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Tomorrow: views at Mullingar 14 years apart!

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Steam to Mullingar, March 23, 2014—Daily Post.


A View along the Royal Canal.

When photographing a special train, I like to make the first photograph of the day count as one of the best.

Railway Preservation Society Ireland operated locomotive 461 with an excursion from Dublin Connolly Station to Mullingar on the old Midland route.

This railway was built along the banks of the Royal Canal, and canal-side running characterizes the line.

Locomotive 461 works west along the Royal Canal near Enfield on March 23, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 20mm lens and firmly mounted on a Bogan tripod. Focus and exposure set manually.
Locomotive 461 works west along the Royal Canal near Enfield on March 23, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 20mm lens and firmly mounted on a Bogan tripod. Focus and exposure set manually.

Hugh Dempsey and I set out from Dublin about an hour ahead of the train, and selected this spot as one of the best.

The sun and clouds cooperated nicely. Yet, the extreme contrast of the scene require a bit of post-processing to control contrast. I made a variety of small changes to adjust the image, including both global and localized contrast adjustment.

More 461 photos tomorrow!

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Trams in the Rain, March 21, 2014.

Making the most of a Gloomy Evening.

Who said a dull rainy evening isn’t a good time to make photos? I beg to challenge that!

On the evening of March 21, 2014, I was at the corner of Abbey and O’Connell Streets in Dublin just as the final hints of daylight were about to mopped up by heavy low clouds.

I exposed these photos with my handheld Lumix LX3 set at ISO 200. Dublin’s LUAS trams provided a handsome subject and the rain added a bit of gloss.

Abbey Street, Dublin. The Grand Central Bar on the right. Exposed at f2.8 1/15th second ISO 200.
Abbey Street, Dublin. The Grand Central Bar on the right. Exposed at f2.8 1/15th second ISO 200.
A cyclist negotiates O'Connell Street. Pan photo exposed at f2.8 1/6th of a second at ISO 200.
A cyclist negotiates O’Connell Street. Pan photo exposed at f2.8 1/6th of a second at ISO 200.
Exposed at f2.8 1/8th of a second ISO 200.
Exposed at f2.8 1/8th of a second ISO 200.
Looking west on Abbey Street.
Looking west on Abbey Street.
Waiting for the lights to change.
Waiting for the lights to change.
Crossing O'Connell Street.
Crossing O’Connell Street.

Click here to see my Dublin Page for more photos and check my Ebook: Dublin Unconquered custom designed for Apple iPad available from Apple iTunes.

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Sun, Blue Sky and Palm Trees.

Cal-Train at San Mateo, California.

Cal-Train exposed on color slide film, August 24, 2009. In two months time, I'd receive my first digital camera.
Cal-Train exposed on color slide film, August 24, 2009. In two months time, I’d receive my first digital camera.

I made this image using my Canon EOS 3 with a 20mm lens. This outbound Cal-Train commute had just discharged passengers at the old Southern Pacific station at San Mateo.

I want an iconic modern image that said ‘California’. What better way to do that, than focus on the Cal-Train logo while incorporating the warm blue sky, palm trees, and a reflection of the sun in the window of the train?

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Southern Pacific at Emigrant Gap—Daily Post

Appearances can Deceive.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using a Leica M2 fitted with a Leitz 135mm Elmar.
Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using a Leica M2 fitted with a Leitz 135mm Elmar.

At first glance this might look like a train heading downgrade toward the camera. In fact it is an image of rear-end helpers working the back of a eastward freight ascending Donner Pass.

In December 1989, I was familiarizing myself with SP operations on Donner Pass. I had just recently moved to Roseville, California and this made for a good base of operations to explore ‘The Hill’.

I’d been following this eastward freight. Although it was December, California was in a drought and there was very little snow in the Sierra.

I parked at the rest area off the westward lanes of Interstate 80 and walked down to the snow-shed that protected Switch 9—located east of Emigrant Gap.

I framed this trailing view to take in I-80 as well as the railroad.

How can you tell this the locomotives are trailing? There are three clues: SP normally assigned more than two locomotives to the head-end of trains on Donner Pass. The train is working the normal eastward main (although this was CTC territory, so in theory train could have used either track). For me the real tip off is the headlight, which has been dimmed, a standard practice for helpers.

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Amtrak Pepsi Can, Jack London Square—Daily Post.

August 9, 1992.

It was a clear morning, an azure dome from horizon to horizon, but not much was moving on Southern Pacific at Oakland, California, except for Amtrak.

Amtrak had recently introduced its Sacramento-San Jose Capitol Corridor and some of these trains were working with its new General Electric P32-8BWH diesels, colloquially known as ‘Pepsi Cans’ because of their distinctive livery.

 Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm perspective control lens.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm perspective control lens. I adjusted the front element to keep the verticals parallel while including lots of the rich blue sky.

For me these locomotives were a refreshing change to the ubiquitous Electro-Motive F40PHs that had been the rule on Amtrak long distance services for years.

At Oakland’s Jack London Square, Southern Pacific tracks shared the street for several blocks. The most interesting location on this section of street trackage was SP’s signal bridge that spanned First Street.

I set up here to catch Amtrak train 721 Capitols working from 16th Street Station toward San Jose. This was before Amtrak closed 16th Street and developed a new station at Jack London Square a few blocks from the location of this photo.

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Amtrak RDCs depart Springfield, Massachusetts

Spring 1974.

Amtrak RDC's depart Springfield, Massachusetts in Spring 1974. Nearby were a pair of bright yellow railroad snow plows.
Amtrak RDC’s depart Springfield, Massachusetts in Spring 1974. Nearby were a pair of bright yellow railroad snow plows.

My father and I had spotted a northward Penn-Central freight near Hartford, Connecticut. We hopped on I-91 and raced north to Springfield.

My photos of the freight were poor efforts. However, a little while later this pair of Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs) departed Springfield for Hartford and New Haven.

While not my first railroad photo, it is among my oldest extant color images.

I exposed it on Ektachrome.

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Tomorrow: An Amtrak Pepsi Can at Work!

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Glinty Sunrise, Niagara Falls, New York, April 1989.

Rays of Sun Above the Storm—Daily Post.

The Great Lakes can produce dramatic climatic effects, especially at dawn and dusk.

On this day, I drove west from Rochester through torrential Spring rains. However, it was dry when I reached Niagara Falls, the line of showers having stayed well south of Lake Ontario.

I made this image of Amtrak trains laying over in the Niagara Falls yard as the sun was rising above a dark and stormy sky. The lighting was totally surreal, like a scene from the cover of a science fiction novel.

Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica M2 fitted with a 200mm Leitz Telyt lens using a Visoflex (through the lens viewing attachment for Leica rangefinders) and bellows arrangement mounted on a Bogen 3021 tripod with ball head. Although a peculiar selection of equipment, this had less to do with capturing the image than my exposure and flare control techniques.
Exposed on Kodachrome using a Leica M2 fitted with a 200mm Leitz Telyt lens using a Visoflex (through the lens viewing attachment for Leica rangefinders) with bellows arrangement mounted on a Bogen 3021 tripod with ball head. Although a peculiar selection of equipment, this had less to do with capturing the image than my exposure and flare control techniques (see main text below).

In the distance, in what I believe was the former Lehigh Valley yard, was hundreds of stored 50 foot box cars lettered in the blue and white “I Love NY” scheme.

Here’s my trick: to reduce undesirable flare, I shaded the front element of the lens using the extendable lens shade and my notebook, while I calculated exposure manually, using a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell in its ‘reflected light’ mode. I made several exposures before the light changed.

I used the light meter to carefully gauge the amount of light reflecting off the Amfleet passenger cars to avoid loss of highlight detail, while allowing the shadow areas to appear comparatively dark. This was a judgment call on my part that resulted in a more dramatic image.

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Tomorrow: 40 years ago!

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Conrail’s Birthday—Daily Post.


Conrail was Created April 1, 1976.

On this day 38 years ago, the Consolidated Rail Corporation assumed operation of various bankrupt railroads in the northeastern United States, including Penn-Central, Erie-Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley, Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the Lehigh & Hudson River.

Conrail was bought and divided by CSXT and Norfolk Southern in the mid-1990s, and ended its independent operations in Spring 1999.

During the 23 years that Conrail dominated northeastern freight railroading, I made tens of thousands of photographs of its operations and equipment. In 2004, the book that Tim Doherty and I authored on Conrail was published by MBI. I believe this is something of a collector’s item now.

In July 1988, Conrail SD40s, working as head-end helpers, lead a westward Trailvan train around the famous Horsehoe Curve (west of Altoona, Pennsylvania). This landmark of the Pennsylvania Railroad was reduced from four tracks to three in the Conrail era, but remained a vital artery for freight. I’ve used a variation of this photograph in several publications including my book Railway Masterpieces.
In July 1988, Conrail SD40s, working as head-end helpers, lead a westward Trailvan train around the famous Horsehoe Curve (west of Altoona, Pennsylvania). This landmark of the Pennsylvania Railroad was reduced from four tracks to three in the Conrail era, but remained a vital artery for freight. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Leica M2 with a 50mm Summicron lens. I’ve used a variation of this photograph in several publications including my book Railway Masterpieces.
On October 31, 1996, a westward Conrail container train roars across the cornfields west of South Bend, Indiana. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using a Nikon F3T with a 28mm lens. A variation of this image was published in TRAINS magazine some years ago.
On October 31, 1996, a westward Conrail container train roars across the cornfields west of South Bend, Indiana. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film using a Nikon F3T with a 28mm lens. A variation of this image was published in TRAINS magazine some years ago.

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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic at Windy Point—Daily Post

Steam Working in a Stunning Setting.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic is one of America’s treasures. This timeless railway is always a joy to visit and photograph.

The combination of its sinuous and steeply graded line with stunning Rocky Mountain vistas and authentic Denver & Rio Grande Western Baldwin-built Mikados makes for endless opportunities for dramatic photographs.

Cumbres & Toltec steam locomotive
Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado excursion train works near Windy Point on the ascent of Cumbres Pass. Exposed on Fujichrome with my Nikon F3T. By including the out of focus tree on the lower left and the patch of sunlit fields at upper right, I’ve created a greater sense of depth; while the column of exhaust smoke draws the eye to locomotive, which is the primary subject.

I’ve used this image in several books and calendars.

For more steam photos see my book: Steam Power published by Voyageur Press

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Tomorrow: a look back at Conrail!

 

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Daily Post: Art Deco Masterpiece: Cincinnati Union Station

A Foggy Night, October 25, 2002.

 My first visit to Cincinnati was brief and focused. I was driving from Madison, Wisconsin to Roanoke, Virginia and I stopped off with the specific purpose to photograph Fellheimer & Wagner’s Cincinnati Union Station.

During a low ebb of appreciation for architecture, this magnificent building nearly succumbed to the wrecking ball.

On this night it looked to me like a dark vision from a Batman comic.

16mm Hologon view of Cincinnati Union Station.
16mm Hologon view of Cincinnati Union Station.

I made a few photos with my Nikons in color. But my more successful images were exposed on Fuji Acros 100 using my Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with the super wide-angle flat-field 16mm Hologon.

That night I took a motel in Covington, Kentucky, where I watched television news reports about a horrific theater hostage situation in Russia.

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Tomorrow: Rocky Mountain Narrow Gauge.

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Irish Rail Trip to Co. Mayo—Part 3

Ok, so this was really a detour into County Roscommon.

After photographing Irish Rail’s Ballina Timber, Noel and I cut cross-country via Knock and Ballyhaunis, to Castlerea, County Roscommon, to intercept the train a second time.

I hadn’t paid a visit to Castlerea in several years, but I recalled a visit to the old signal cabin before the Mini-CTC was installed (in 2007). Back then, mechanical semaphores and electric train staff instruments had been the rule.

Irish Rail at Castlerea.
Castlerea’s premier railway enthusiast, Sean Browne. The old signal cabin survives, but it no longer controls train movements on the line. Lumix LX3 photo.
Through careful planning and expeditious driving, Noel and I were able to catch the Ballina timber a second time. It is seen here approaching Castlerea station on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D  with 100mm lens. I also exposed a series of colour slides of the timber passing the signal cabin with my Canon EOS 3. The structure at the left is the old water tank, a vestige of the steam era.
Through careful planning and expeditious driving, Noel and I were able to catch the Ballina timber a second time. It is seen here approaching Castlerea station on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. I also exposed a series of colour slides of the timber passing the signal cabin with my Canon EOS 3. The structure at the left is the old water tank, a vestige of the steam era.

While waiting for the timber, Noel phoned Castlerea’s foremost railway enthusiast, Sean Browne. Sean’s Hell’s Kitchen railway themed pub is a local attraction.

Sean dropped down to Castlerea station and we caught up on old times. Then, following passage of the Ballina timber train, we went for an impromptu visit to Hell’s Kitchen that Sean opened specially for us.

This claims to be ‘the only pub with a train in the bar.’

This ‘train’ is, more precisely, a locomotive. Irish Rail’s A55—one of the surviving 1950s-era Metropolitan Vickers-built diesel electrics—is the Hell’s Kitchen center-piece display.

Sean has collected an impressive collection of railway memorabilia, most of it from Ireland. A Conrail hard hat on display impressed me! Every item of historical value comes with a story, so we had a good visit with Sean.

This was interrupted, when Noel learned that the IWT liner from Dublin to Ballina was getting close. We said farewell to Sean and went back trackside to find a suitable photo location! (As you do).

Hell's Kitchen of Castlerea.
Hell’s Kitchen of Castlerea.
This shunt signal is among the displays that caught my eye. Lumix LX3 photo.
This shunt signal is among the displays that caught my eye. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail's A55 is the locomotive on display in the Hell's Kitchen pub. Although the pub was closed, owner Sean Browne opened the doors for Noel Enright and I.
Irish Rail’s A55 is the locomotive on display in the Hell’s Kitchen pub. Although the pub was closed, owner Sean Browne opened the doors for Noel Enright and I.
Steam gauges, old badges, photos, and signaling apparatus and diagrams are among the many items on display.
Steam gauges, old badges, photos, and signaling apparatus and diagrams are among the many items on display.
Mixed in with ephemera from long closed Irish lines is a Conrail hard hat. Hooray!
Mixed in with ephemera from Irish lines is a Conrail hard hat. Hooray!

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Irish Rail's Dublin-Ballina works west of Ballyhaunis on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina works west of Ballyhaunis on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

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Irish Rail Trip to Co. Mayo, Part 2—Daily Post.


Ballina Timber at Ballyvary.

I’d arrived at Foxford, Co. Mayo having traveled from Dublin by train. Noel Enright collected me there, and we immediately began discussing a location to photograph the Ballina Timber that would depart the Ballina yard upon arrival of the 2800-series that I traveled on to Foxford. Got all that?

South of Foxford near Ballyvary, the Ballina branch runs along the base of some low hills. In previous years, I’d explored some of these location, and Noel had a spot in mind. If we could find it quickly.

Although it was overcast, I was keen on an elevated broadside view of this train in order to show its cargo. There isn’t much bulk rail freight on the move in Ireland, and the pair of weekly Ballina timber trains are well worth the effort. But they’re not as impressive head-on.

We found our hillside. And after a few minutes we could hear the 071-class General Motors diesel in the distance. Noel said, ‘It’s 078.’ Ah! That one. Over the years I’d made dozens of photos of this diesel. But this was the first time I seen it in its new grey livery.

Soon we spotted the headlight and the timber train came into view. I made a series of photos with three cameras.

Irish Rail 078 leads the Ballina Timber near Ballyvary, County Mayo on March 13, 2014. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens.
Irish Rail 078 leads the Ballina Timber near Ballyvary, County Mayo on March 13, 2014. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens.

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Tomorrow the adventure continues! Stay tuned!

 

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Looking Back on the End of an Era—Daily Post.

Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York, January 8, 1986. 

B&O GP30 works at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York on 3:15pm January 8, 1986. Exposed with a Leica 3A rangefinder on Kodachrome 64.
B&O GP30 works at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York on 3:15pm January 8, 1986. Exposed with a Leica 3A rangefinder on Kodachrome 64.

It was a cold afternoon with more than a foot of fresh snow on the ground. Soft wintery sun made for directional pastel lighting, ideal for railway photography.

I found this Baltimore & Ohio local freight working sidings adjacent to Conrail’s former New York Central mainline. At the time, what interested me was the GP30 still wearing B&O blue with the classic capitol dome on the nose, and the caboose. By that date both types of equipment were getting scarce.

Technically, CSX had been the umbrella over Chessie System (the marketing name for the affiliated B&O, Chesapeake & Ohio, Western Maryland railroads) for several years. But this didn’t seem important to me. I was blissfully unaware of CSX, or that it planned to soon sell B&O’s former Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh lines to Genesee & Wyoming.

In fact, by summer, B&O operations would be conveyed to G&W’s newly created Rochester & Southern, and two years later remaining BR&P lines to G&W’s Buffalo & Pittsburgh.

Even more dramatic, in 1987 CSX would meld B&O into its new CSX Transportation; a system-wide rebranding that would soon affect all of CSX’s railroads. Ironically, one of the first locomotives I photographed in CSXT paint was a former B&O GP30!

See my new book North American Railroad Family Trees that traces corporate changes to railroading during the 20th century. Available now from Voyageur Press!

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Tomorrow: Continuing adventures on the Ballina Branch!

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Washington Union Station—Daily Post.

May 2002, Hologon View.

It’s always fun to play with a new piece of equipment. I’d just bought a 16mm flat field Hologon super wide angle lens for my Contax G2 and I used this to make some dramatic photos inside Washington Union.

Washington D.C. Union Station as it appeared to me in May 2002. Exposed on Fujichrome slide film using a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens.
Washington D.C. Union Station as it appeared to me in May 2002. Exposed on Fujichrome slide film using a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens.

This lens is specially corrected to eliminate barrel distortion (commonly associated with super wide lens design) but it must be kept completely level to avoid perspective convergence to vertical lines in the image. A bubble-level is provided in the clip-on viewfinder to aid with the leveling process.

For this image, rather than make any effort to keep the camera level, I happily embraced the effect of perspective convergence to make for a dramatic image of Washington Union’s magnificent barrel-vault ceiling.

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Tomorrow: looking back at the end of an era!

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Jamaican Sunset—Daily Post

Long Island Rail Road, March 2003.

Jamaica, Queens, New York looking west on the Long Island Rail Road. I exposed this photo on Fujichrome using my Nikon N90S with a 80-200mm Nikon zoom lens. To capture the silhouette effect I exposed for the sky, allowing detail in the shadows to fade to an inky black.
Jamaica, Queens, New York looking west on the Long Island Rail Road. I exposed this photo on Fujichrome using my Nikon N90S with a 80-200mm Nikon zoom lens. To capture the silhouette effect I exposed for the sky, allowing detail in the shadows to fade to an inky black.

It is one of America’s busiest railway junctions; LIRR at Jamaica, Queens hosts hundreds of trains daily and rush hours can be especially intense.

In March 2003, Pat Yough and I visited in the afternoon. We concluded the day’s photography by making images looking in to the rosy sunset.

I’ve always liked the arcing from the third rail, which seems to add a bit of life to the image.

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Irish Rail Trip to Co. Mayo—Daily Post.

Traveling Across Ireland by Train.

Heuston Station departure board shows the 0735 Galway train with connections to Mayo. I was heading to Foxford, one of the smallest stations on the route. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the LED sign. My exposure was f2.5 at 1/40th of a second.  LEDs are not a constant light source and flicker on and off many times a second. While this isn't perceptible to the naked eye, when photographed a higher shutter speeds the lights may be caught instead of on, which makes it hard to read the signs.
Heuston Station departure board shows the 0735 Galway train with connections to Mayo. I was heading to Foxford, one of the smallest stations on the route. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the LED sign. My exposure was f2.5 at 1/40th of a second. LEDs are not a constant light source and flicker on and off many times a second. While this isn’t perceptible to the naked eye, when photographed at higher shutter speeds the lights may be caught instead of on, which makes it hard to read the signs.

On March 13, 2014, I bought a day-return from Dublin Heuston to Foxford, Co. Mayo, and traveled on the 7:35 am Galway train. My train was well patronized, but I had no difficulty finding a seat.

Rotem-built 22000 series Intercity Rail Cars are Irish Rail's standard passenger consist for most services. On March 13, 2014, ICRs destined for Waterford and Galway were side by side on the platforms at Heuston Station. Lumix LX3 photo.
Rotem-built 22000 series Intercity Rail Cars are Irish Rail’s standard passenger consist for most services. On March 13, 2014, ICRs destined for Waterford and Galway were side by side on the platforms at Heuston Station. Lumix LX3 photo.
Another view of Rotem ICRs at Heuston. My train is the closest to the camera. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Another view of Rotem ICRs at Heuston. My train is the closest to the camera. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

It was foggy in Dublin. Ensconced in my seat, I observed that my train departed Heuston precisely on time and soon was rolling down-road at track speed.

My train was a four-piece Rotem-built Intercity Rail Car, of the type that is now standard for most Irish Rail Intercity services.

Except for some rough spots west of Kildare, the ride quality was comfortable and smooth.

Interior of the Rotem ICR at Heuston Station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.
Interior of the Rotem ICR at Heuston Station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.

At Portarlington, we diverged from the Dublin-Cork mainline and traveled on the single track branch toward Athlone. At Clara we crossed (met) an uproad train.

I changed trains at Athone. Here another four piece ICR was waiting to continue the journey toward Co. Mayo. At Castlerea we met the Ballina-Dublin IWT liner, a train I’ve often photographed.

It was as foggy in Athlone as it had been in Dublin. I changed to the ICR on the left. This was destined to Westport.
It was as foggy in Athlone as it had been in Dublin. I changed to the ICR on the left. This was destined to Westport. Notice the LED display boards are impossible to read in the photo. This is an affectation of using a faster shutter speed. A few of the LEDs are on, but many are off. Lumix LX3 photo exposed at f2.1 1/500th. Since the trains are stationary, I probably should have manually set the shutter speed to about 1/30th to better capture the destination boards.

Upon reaching Manulla Junction, I again changed trains, this time for the 2800-series railcar that works the Ballina Branch. Years ago this would have been a single General Motors class 141/181 Bo-Bo diesel electric with a short Craven set.

When I arrived in Foxford I was met by my friend Noel Enright. We spent the rest of daylight photographing trains and visiting friends. I’ll post those adventures soon! Stay tuned.

Interior view of the 2800-series railcar I traveled on between Manulla Junction and Foxford. Lumix LX3 photo.
Interior view of the 2800-series railcar I traveled on between Manulla Junction and Foxford. Lumix LX3 photo.
Foxford, County Mayo. This 2800 will terminate at Ballina, several miles to the north. Lumix LX3.
Foxford, County Mayo. This 2800 will terminate at Ballina, several miles to the north. Lumix LX3.
Noel Enright poses with the driver of my train.
Noel Enright poses with the driver of my train.

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Semaphores at Polly—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

A Nearly Literal Interpretation of the Southern Pacific Logo.

Semaphores at Polly, New Mexico; exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikormat FT3 fitted with a 28mm Nikkor lens. Exposure calculated manually using a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.
Semaphores at Polly, New Mexico; exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikormat FT3 fitted with a 28mm Nikkor lens. Exposure calculated manually using a handheld Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.

In January 1994, I spent several days photographing along Southern Pacific’s Tucumcari Line in central New Mexico.

One morning I made this image of the sun on the horizon with classic Union Switch & Signal Style B lower quadrant semaphores at Polly.

For me it is nearly the literal translation of SP’s safety logo with semaphores and the sun. The only difference is SP’s sun was setting (thus the ‘Sunset Route’) while mine is rising.

I’ve published variations of this image many places, including my original signals book titled Railroad Signaling. Presently, I’m working on its sequel, classic signaling which will focus on steam-era hardware.

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York Train Shed—Tracking the Light Daily Post

4 July, 1999.

A funny way to spend American Independence Day: I was on my way from London to Scotland, and I stopped over at York to intercept Britain’s most famous steam locomotive, engine 4472, better known as Flying Scotsman.

This was my first visit to York, and I was fascinated by the Victorian train shed. Using my Nikon N90S, I exposed a variety of images on Fujichrome.

 The unusual curved York train shed was built between 1871 and 1877. A Virgin Cross Country HST pauses at York on 4 July 1999. This was led by one of the less-common varieties of the Class 43 power units that featured buffers. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia using a Nikon N90S with 24mm lens.

The unusual curved York train shed was built between 1871 and 1877. A Virgin Cross Country HST pauses at York on 4 July 1999. This was led by one of the less-common varieties of the Class 43 power units that featured buffers. Exposed on Fujichrome Sensia using a Nikon N90S with 24mm lens.
Looking like the ribs of some ancient beast, I made this study of the cast iron members of York’s Victorian train shed. Fujichrome Sensia using a Nikon N90S with 80-200mm zoom lens.
Looking like the ribs of some ancient beast, I made this study of the cast iron members of York’s Victorian train shed. Fujichrome Sensia using a Nikon N90S with 80-200mm zoom lens.

Five months later, I returned with my Rolleiflex to document the shed on medium format film. Both those photos and the images of Flying Scotsman may be the topics of future posts.

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Semaphore Dawn—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

Adrian, New York, May 1987.

 A thick Spring fog blanketing the Canisteo Valley acted as a sound envelope. The combination of moisture and the valley’s walls produced an acoustic environment that enhanced the railroad experience. Making this special was the almost total void of other human made sounds.

The trickle of  water from the nearby Canisteo and a light breeze through the trees was punctuated by the distant roar of an eastward train. Engine noise and the clatter of freight cars gradually swelled as it worked from Hornell down the valley on the former Erie Railroad.

I’d positioned myself at lightly used private crossing near westward signal 318 (measured in miles from Erie’s Jersey City terminus). A hint of blue in the sky marked the rising sun.

After more than ten minutes, I’d listened to the mournful warning blasted for the public crossing in the village of Adrian, two miles to the west. The roar grew louder. Then finally, there was a hint of headlight piercing the fog.

Semaphore at dawn
Delaware & Hudson’s symbol BFOA (Ford autorack train destined for Ayer, Massachusetts) blasts by a former Erie upper quadrant semaphore east of Adrian, New York at 5:20am on May 16, 1987. This vintage signal, one of several dozen protecting the railroad in the Canisteo Valley was the primary intended subject. This image was first published in Pacific RailNews in the 1990s. Images like this one will help illustrate my new book; Classic Railroad Signals that I’m now assembling for publication later this year by Voyageur Press.

My college roommate had lent me his Canon A1 35mm SLR, which I’d loaded with professional Kodachrome 25 slide film. I had this tightly positioned on a tripod.

 

When the train began to illuminate the scene, I opened the shutter. This closed again moments before the headlight of the lead locomotive left the scene, leaving a truncated streak of light to represent the train’s passage.

 

Images like this one will help illustrate my new book; Classic Railroad Signals that I’m now assembling for publication later this year by Voyageur Press.

 

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Tomorrow: Like the Ribs of some Ancient Beast.

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Canadian National at Subway Road—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in June 2004.

Ten years earlier in my Pacific RailNews days, I’d often photographed along the Wisconsin Central. By 2004, the railroad had been absorbed by CN, yet quite a few of WC’s old SD45s were still on the move.

It might surprise some regular readers, but photography wasn’t the prime reason for my visit. Rather, I was trying to make high-end audio recordings of the old SD45s working in multiple. As I’ve explained in other publications; the SD45’s 20-cylinder 645E3 produces a distinctive low-frequency sound when working in the mid- throttle positions. I wanted to preserve these sounds that had been so familiar to my earlier railroad experience.

So what does that have to do with this CN DASH 9?

A Canadian National DASH9-44CW hits the Subway Road crossing in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on a June 2004 afternoon. Exposed with a Nikon F3T fitted with a 24mm lens.
A Canadian National DASH9-44CW hits the Subway Road crossing in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on a June 2004 afternoon. Exposed with a Nikon F3T fitted with a 24mm lens.

Simple opportunity; that is all. I’ve never been one to squander a chance to make a photograph.

This CN General Electric was leading a southward freight toward the yards at North Fond du Lac, and I set up this image at Subway Road a little ways north of the yard.

Unfortunately, a thermal cloud covered the sun moments before the locomotive reached the optimum position. This would have been a greater problem if I’d been using Kodachrome. As it happened, I was exposing Fujichrome.

I’ve made a few minor post-processing adjustments to the slide scan designed to improve the contrast and color balance.

What about the audio recordings? I made most of those late at night when there was minimal interference from random noise, but that’s really the topic for another time.

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Tomorrow: Semaphore Dawn.

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Vestiges of Narrow Gauge—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

Three Foot Gauge over the Grand Canal.

On Saturday March 8, 2014, and Irish friend and I were exploring the extremities of the Bord na Mona network near Allenwood. My Ordinance Survey map showed a line with a lift bridge at the crossing of the Grand Canal, and I wondered if this was still in place.

A drive along the tow path revealed that the bridge was out of service (the lift span had been removed). On the far side of the canal an old wagon lay abandoned. Yet, the three foot gauge tracks remain—albeit buried in the muck.

Canal bridge.
Lumix LX3 photo of the disused Bord na Mona three-foot gauge railway bridge over the Grand Canal near Allenwood, County Kildare, Ireland.

Derelict railways always fascinate me. How long had it been since a Bord na Mona train last used this bridge?

I made several photos with my Lumix LX3, and a couple of colour slides with my Canon EOS-3.

Will this ruin still be there on my next visit? One never knows.

Detailed view of a chain once part of the Bord na Mona bridge near Allenwood. Lumix LX3 photo.
Detailed view of a chain once part of the Bord na Mona bridge near Allenwood. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of track. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of track. Lumix LX3 photo.

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METRA at Harvard—Tracking the Light Daily Post.

Metra F40PHs catch the afternoon sun at Harvard, Illinois.

I'd only had my Canon EOS 7D for a few weeks when I made this study of geometric shapes. Metra F40PHs at Harvard made for a colorful subject. Exposed with my Canon 200mm lens handheld at f13 1/250th of a second.
I’d only had my Canon EOS 7D for a few weeks when I made this study of geometric shapes on June 19, 2010. Metra F40PHs at Harvard, Illinois made for a colorful subject. Exposed with my Canon 200mm lens handheld at f13 1/250th of a second. I made a very minor crop to improve the level and remove an obnoxious orange highway cone at the left of the frame.

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Special Post: Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, 2014.

History on the Streets of Dublin!

I made my annual pilgrimage to view and photograph Dublin’s famed St Patrick’s Day Parade. The theme was history! Yea!

Below are a sample of the hundreds of photos that I exposed with my Canon EOS 7D.

The parade is an opportunity to work with colour and motion to capture moments in history and burst of emotion.

Click here to see my Dublin Page for more photos and check my Ebook: Dublin Unconquered custom designed for Apple iPad available from Apple iTunes.

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Click here to see my Dublin Page for more photos.StPatricks_Parade_book_signing_IMG_0688

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