Tag Archives: Alco diesel

DAILY POST: Lehigh Valley 211 at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York

Free Film, a Borrowed Camera and a Bit of Luck!

In November 1986, Kodak supplied me with a free roll of TMax 100 black & white film as part of a ‘care package’ of new products for students in the Photographic Illustration programs at the Rochester Institute of Technology .

Alco RS-3M at Rochester, New York
The combination of Kodak’s recently released T-Max 100 ‘T’ grain black & white film and a Canon 50mm lens allowed for a very sharp image with exceptionally fine grain and broad tonality. I scanned this 35mm negative with my Epson V500 scanner.
Incidentally, at the left of the image is General Railway Signal’s Rochester plant.

The T-Max black & white films were brand new at the time. They were significant because they used a new ‘T’ grain that featured flat silver halide grains that were supposed to reduce the visual granularity in the film (and lower the film’s silver content).

On this bright sunny morning, I went trackside in Rochester to expose my free film. I had Kodachrome 25 in my Leica M2, so I borrowed my roommate’s Canon A1 for the film test.

I photographed a variety of Conrail trains on the former New York Central Water Level Route. I made this image of Rochester & Southern’s Belt Line local crossing the former Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh bridge over Water Level Route at Lincoln Park, west of downtown Rochester. (In 1986, Genesee & Wyoming’s Rochester & Southern assumed operation of the former BR&P 4th Sub-division from CSX’s Baltimore & Ohio.)

Leading R&S’s local was Alco RS-3m 211 leased from the recently formed Genesee Valley Transportation.

The locomotive has a long and colorful history. It featured both a large steam generator and dynamic brakes (thus the high short-hood) and was one of only five RS-3s were built this way:  four served Western Maryland, while this one went to the Pennsylvania Railroad but later was traded to the Lehigh Valley, becoming its 211. After 1976, Conrail replaced 211’s original Alco-244 diesel with a recycled 12-cylinder EMD 567 engine.

Since I made this image, the locomotive has been preserved and restored at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in Rush, New York.

This cropped detail gives a hint of the fine grain afforded by T-Max 100 film.
This cropped detail gives a hint of the exceptionally fine grain afforded by T-Max 100 film.

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View From The Second Cab, Delaware Water Gap, October 13, 2005

On Assignment, Eight Years Ago Today.

Delaware Water Gap
View from Delaware-Lackawanna’s westward PT97 at the Delaware Water Gap, west of Slateford Junction, Pennsylvania on October 14, 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T and 24mm lens.

In October 2005, I arranged through official channels at Genesee Valley Transportation to ride Delaware-Lackawanna’s trains PT98/PT97, and interview railroaders about their work as part of research for my book Working on the Railroad (published by Voyageur Press in 2006).

On the morning of October 13, 2005, I joined the crew in Scranton for their run to Slateford Junction near Portland, Pennsylvania. After a bit of switching we were on the road. The weather started out dark and damp, and didn’t improve any throughout the day.

The primary emphasis of my trip was the crew and many of my photographs from the day depict engineer Rich Janesko and conductor Shawn Palermo at work. These were featured in the book.

On the return run, I opted to ride in the second locomotive for a little while to make images of the train climbing west through the Delaware Water Gap on the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western mainline. It was on this section that my father had photographed Erie-Lackawanna’s Phoebe Snow more than 40 years earlier.

We departed Slateford Junction in early evening. I exposed this image from the fireman’s side of former Lehigh Valley Alco C-420 number 405. Leading is a former Erie-Lackawanna C-425 (running back on home rails thanks to GVT’s policy of Alco acquisition).

I used my Nikon F3T with an f2.8 24mm lens mounted firmly on a tripod in the cab and set the shutter speed at between ¼ and 1/8th of a second to allow the trees and ground to blur.

I was trying to emulate the effect that Richard Steinheimer achieved on his famous cab ride photos at night in a Milwaukee Road ‘Little Joe’ electric.

View from Delaware-Lackawanna’s westward PT97 at the Delaware Water Gap, west of Slateford Junction, Pennsylvania on October 13, 2005. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T and 24mm lens.

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Green Mountain RS-1 405 passes the Covered Bridge at Bartonsville, Vermont

Many years ago my dad advised me, ‘photograph everything, because everything changes’. In October 2002, I made this photograph of Green Mountain Railroad’s excursion train passing the wooden covered truss at Bartonsville, Vermont. At the time this was a seasonal daily occurrence. While I was fond of the vintage Alco diesel, there was nothing unusual about the scene, and there was no special urgency in capturing the moment. Today, this image is a prize, but not for the Alco, which remains in excellent condition—I photographed it again last summer at White River Junction where it was positioned to power a Vermont Rail System excursion. The old covered bridge is only a memory today. It stood here since the 1870s, but on August 28, 2011 it was swept away by flood waters caused by Hurricane Irene. Its temporary replacement wasn’t as interesting to photograph; thankfully a replica truss bridge is under construction.

Old Covered bridge with tourist train.
Exposed this image on Fujichrome with a Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with a Zeiss 28mm Biogon lens.


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