Amtrak ‘Cities Sprinter’ ACS-64 number 633 tows one of its sister electrics with train 163 as it arrives at Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, December 2, 2017.
I exposed this view using my Lumix LX-7.
Amtrak’s line at Providence is charmless, but functional. Heavy electrification in an urban environment is rarely picturesque. To make a satisfactory image of a moving train takes patience, skill or both.
This is a routine view of American passenger rails in action, nothing sexy, and nothing complicated or tricky photographically.
Does my cross-lit midday view of a Siemens electric with 1970s-era Amfleet passenger cars work for you?
For a change, I thought I’d present a three-quarter lit view of a nice clean train on a clear sunny January afternoon. (If you are viewing on Facebook, be sure to click the link to Tracking the Light to see the un-cropped image).
Often on Tracking the Light I detail unusual or uncommon photographic techniques. I’ve discussed how to make pan photographs, how to work with graduated neutral density filters, how to expose at night or in very low light.
I made this at Old Saybrook. Pat Yough and I were wandering around Connecticut after the BIG Railroad Hobby Show, and we paused here to catch Amtrak 163 led by clean ACS-64 635.
Nothing fancy about this photo, although I’ve include the relevant details in the caption, just in case you are curious.
Consult your schedules, watch the signals, listen for the hum of the rail, and stay poised.
This is the heart of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, a raceway for passenger action. In between the fast flying Acela Express runs and Amtrak Regional trains are hourly all-stops SEPTA local runs.
Trains Under Wire.
On the morning of December 19, 2015, Pat Yough and I visited SEPTA stations north (east) of Philadelphia on the former Pennsylvania Railroad electrified four-track line. No GG1s today, but we did catch two old AEM-7s.
Tips of the day: stay sharp and remember that the long distance trains (Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Crescent, etc) are not listed in the Northeast Corridor schedule and can run ahead of the posted station times as listed in their respective schedules in the Amtrak National Timetable.
Siemens-built ACS-64 640 zips along with Amtrak train number 160 at Milford, Connecticut on the former New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.
The other day, I made this image from the far end of the station platform. I set my shutter to 1/1000th of a second, pulled the zoom back to its widest position (18mm), and had the drive set to ‘CH’ (continuous high)—which allows for a rapid burst of images.
This arrangement of settings allowed me to catch the locomotive very close and in sharp focus.
There’s something catchy about certain engine numbers. Norfolk & Western’s streamlined J-Class 4-8-4 611 is world famous.
A few months back I featured Chicago Metra’s 611, which is an EMD F40C diesel-electric.
So how about an electric with the number 611. Here’s one of Amtrak’s shiny new Siemens-built ACS-64 electrics, number 611, with train 161 at Branford, Connecticut.
It was noon at the Shore Line East station on January 10, 2015 when I exposed a rapid sequence of this modern locomotive.
The tricky part of making the photo was selecting the correct exposure for the window of sun between the overhead bridge and the platform. The sun was bright, but lighting from the side. I made several test photos before the train burst into the scene.
Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens; f4.5 1/1000th of a second, ISO 200.
It helps to be at the right place at the right time. Even on the busy Philadelphia-Washington D.C. Northeast Corridor there can be long gaps between trains..
After 20 minutes or half and hour between trains, you might wonder why the line even has four tracks!
And then ever thing seems converge upon you at once.
Pat Yough and I were at Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania on the evening of January 11, 2015. We didn’t spend much time trackside before we had two running meets a few minutes apart.
Was this synchronicity? Or just luck? I don’t know. In the case of the two Amtrak trains both were running a few minutes late, so that was luck. It would have been cool to see all four pass at the same time, but unless we were phenomenally lucky, it is doubtful that such an event would have produced good photos.
Tracking the Light presents a few views at this busy location.
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is in transition as the old battle-worn AEM-7s are being phased out and the new Siemens ACS-64 ‘City Sprinter’ locomotives gradually assume their duties.
Fellow photographer Pat Yough and I were out to make good use of the sunlight. We’d caught Amtrak 600 the ‘David L. Gunn’ (recently named for Amtrak’s former president 2002-2005) working a Harrisburg-New York Penn Station Keystone on the Main Line and were aiming for another photograph of this unique locomotive.