Tag Archives: #AEM-7

Amtrak 915 in Delaware

In the fading of sun of December 22, 1992, I made this Kodachrome slide of Amtrak AEM-7 915 slowing for its Newark, Delaware station stop on its way toward Philadelphia and New York’s Penn-Station. In the distance is a Conrail local freight.

Nikon F3T with Nikon f4.0 200mm lens.

Working with glint light was always a challenge. And I’d made a series of exposures of the train. This is probably my darkest; f8 1/125 with K25.

Greatly enlarged section of the same scanned slide.

On Wednesday, I stopped by the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania to continue research for my next book, and paused to make these contemporary photos of old 915 using my Lumix LX7.

I also featured 915 then and now photos on Tracking the Light back in April. See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/amtrak-915-1981-and-2023/

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Amtrak 915–1981 and 2023

Over the last few months as I’ve continue to organize the tens of thousands of slides that comprise my collection, I been looking for a few specifics.

In January, I paid a visit to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where Amtrak AEM-7 915 is on display. I made several photos of this classic locomotive.

What I find odd, is that old 915 was nearly brand new when I paid my first visit to the museum back in 1981.

Amtrak AEM-7 915 and Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 number 4800 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg. January 2023.
Nikon Z7-2 image exposed in January 2023.

This led to a search for 915 when it was in service. Initially, I thought this shouldn’t be too difficult, since I spent a lot of time along the electrified Northeast Corridor during the 1980s and 1990s when the AEM-7s were plentiful and still wore their as-delivered paint scheme.

Yet, as I scoured my countless Amtrak slides, 915 seemed to elude me.

Finally, the other night I found a vintage Kodachrome slide of 915 doubleheaded with its sister 916 on a train at New Haven, Connecticut. I’d made this view from the front of an MTA/CDOT multiple unit.

Amtrak AEM-7s 915 and 916 at New Haven, Connecticut in December 1981. K64 with Leica 3A.

Enlarged version of the same slide.

I scanned this slide using a Nikon LS5000 scanner and adjusted the TIF scan using Adobe Lightroom.

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AEM-7 at Niantic

I’ve been digging through slides from 2010 as part of my epic task to sort, label and file my photographs.

The other night I came across a roll exposed 13 years ago on a trip to the old New Haven Railroad Shore Line Route that I made with photographers Tim Doherty and Pat Yough.

We finished the day’s photography at Niantic Beach on the Connecticut coast where I made this view of a westward Amtrak regional train led by AEM-7 919. I like it because it is an unusual trailing photo rather than a more common head-on angle.

I’ve been searching my slides for a view of AEM-7 915, the representative electric now displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. When I find a suitable image of this now famous preserved electric, I’ll post it on Tracking the Light.

Fujichrome Provia 100F exposed with a Canon EOS-3 at Niantic, Connecticut in February 2010.

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AEM-7 and an E-unit—August 1981.

My grandparents had a grand view of the old New Haven Railroad at Pelham Bay Park from their apartment in Co-op City, The Bronx, New York.

Using my old Leica IIIa, I made hundreds of photos of trains rolling along under wire.

This is among the more unsual photos from their 19th floor terrace. On a visit in August 1981, I made numerous photos of diesels underwire, as the result of a failure with the early 1900s electrification that had forced Amtrak to tow its normally electrically hauled trains with diesels.

In this photo, one of Amtrak’s few remaining EMD E8As hauls a then-new AEM-7 electric and train eastward toward New Haven.

At the center of image is Goose Island.

Exposed using a Leica IIIa with 50mm Sumitar lens.
Enlarged portion of the train showing the diesel and electric locomotives.

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Fairfield, Connecticut 1986

This morning I was sifting through a file on a hard-drive titled ‘Misc 120 B&W negatives’.

This contains a group of 120-size negatives that I exposed with my father’s old Rollei Model T in late 1986 and early 1987.

Unfortunately these were unlabeled because at the time, because I’d fouled up the processing and deemed the negatives ‘unprintable’.

There were multiple failures on my part during development;

1) I was using stainless steel tanks, which had the unfortunate characteristic of leading to an edge effect when the room temperature was substantially different than the developer temperature. In this case, the darkroom at college was too warm, and so the short-edges received more processing than the center of the image area.

2) I had my developer mix wrong and too cool, so the overall result was under processed leading to these negatives appearing very thin (light).

3) The combination of ineffective agitation and relatively cool developer combined with the warm tank sides resulted in streaking and low contrast.

Because I was dissatisfied with my results and at the time I felt the subject matter was ‘common’, I simply put the negatives away. (But I didn’t throw them away.)

While I have detailed notes from the trip, those notes are stored in Massachusetts. I am in New Hampshire.

If I recall correctly, this was late December 1986 (Dec 28?) and I was traveling with Norman Yellin and John Peters: we had photographed at Conrail’s Cedar Hill Yard, Amtrak’s engine facility in New Haven, before proceeding west along the North East Corridor. Late in the day, we paused at Fairfield, where I made these images along with some 35mm color slides.

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Five Years Ago!

On this day, January 11, 2015 I made this telephoto view of Amtrak AEM-7 944 working the back of New York City bound Keystone train passing Torresdale, Pennsylvania.

At that time, Amtrak’s AEM-7s were on the wane and photographer Pat Yough and I were capturing the relatively brief transition period between the AEM-7s and new Siemens ACS-64 electrics.

Canon EOS-7D fitted with a prime 200mm lens, ISO 200 f5.6 1/1000 sec.

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