Tag Archives: Alco diesels

Delaware Lackawanna Freight Near Scranton, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1997

Lucky Photograph on the old Lackawanna Mainline.

Mike Gardner and I were poking around Scranton on October 14, 1997. Although the foliage was nearing its autumnal peak, the sky was dull, so we were mostly exploring locations.

Alco diesel
A Delaware-Lackawanna freight led by an Alco C-425 diesel passes below a former Erie Railroad bridge near Scranton, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1997.

We drove into this spot along the old Lackawanna triple-track mainline used by Steamtown excursions and Delaware Lackawanna freights. I was curious about the abandoned former Erie line that crosses in the distance on a truss.

Neither of us expected to see a train, but to our surprise this Delaware Lackawanna local returning from Moscow came down grade. Even with 100 speed Fujichrome Provia 100F my exposure was difficult. I think this image was made at f4.0 at 1/60th of second with my Nikon F3T and 80-200mm zoom.

Interestingly, a decade later I made a project of photographing Delaware-Lackawanna operations while working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania published by Voyageur Press. Between 2005 and 2007, I traveled about a half dozen times to Scranton and had several very productive chases of trains PT97/PT98 on this route.

Here’s an excerpt from  Railroads of Pennsylvania:

Visitors to Steamtown will be pleased to see the occasional passing of freight trains on the old Lackawanna mainline. These are not for demonstration but rather are revenue-earning for profit freight trains operated by Genesee Valley Transportation’s Delaware Lackawanna railroad. Since 1993, Delaware Lackawanna has provided regular freight service in Scranton. Today, the railroad operates on three historic routes. The most significant is eastward on the old Delaware, Lackawanna & Western mainline. Here D-L freights share the line with Steamtown excursions, much in the way the historic DL&W’s coal trains shared tracks with its famous Phoebe Snow. Three days a week D-L freights make a round trip eastward over the Poconos, through the Delaware Water Gap to a connection with Norfolk Southern at Slateford Junction near Portland, Pennsylvania.




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Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia, Cape Jack, July 24, 1997


A Fleeting Glimpse of a Maritime Alco Diesel Oasis.

Railway train with water
On July 24, 1997, a Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia freight rolls west at Cape Jack along the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

I featured this image of westward Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia (say it five times fast) freight in my big book Locomotive, published by MBI in 2001. The concept of the book was very large photo reproduction of classic locomotives. There were three sections; steam, diesel and electric.

In July 1997, I made this image on trip with George Pitarys and Bill Linley. George and I had flown to Halifax from Boston. We spent three glorious days photographing in Nova Scotia and did exceptionally well with the CB&CNS. At the time the railroad ran its eastward road freight in the morning and westward train in the afternoon, which favored sun angles most of the day. George and Bill’s expert knowledge of the line allowed us to make the most of every train.

I was especially fascinated by the opportunity to photograph locomotives against the seemingly endless blue waterscape. This elevated location at Cape Jack overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence was one of the best places to make watery vistas. I exposed this on Fujichrome Provia 100F using my Nikon N90s and Nikon f2.8 80-200mm zoom lens. Exposure was calculated using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell and the camera’s internal matrix meter setting.

Here’s an excerpt from my text published in Locomotive:

The CB&CNS was created as the result of CN’s desire to spin-off lightly used feeder lines. Initially the CB&CNS was part of the RailTex family of short lines and acquired by Rail America in 1999. CB&CNS operated from Truro (in western Nova Scotia) to Sydney plus a few short branches. Until 1998, this railroad was one the final strongholds for big MLW-built Alco locomotives. These were regularly assigned to daily through freights. Most were painted in CB&CNS’s attractive black & yellow paint scheme with a large red lion to reflect the region’s Scottish heritage. 


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Erie October Morning

Western New York & Pennsylvania HNME growls westward toward Columbus, Pennsylvania, shortly before sunrise on October 8, 2009. This was one of several locations where Erie maintained separate alignments for eastward and westward tracks. Conrail abandoned one of the lines in the 1980s, and today only one track remains.

Since the mid-1980s, I’ve made a project out of the former Erie Railroad. (See posts:  Curiously Seeking Erie Semaphores and Erie Semaphores Revisited). For more than two decades, I’ve examined the old Erie route on film, exploring its lines across its old network. While the Erie has been gone for more than half a century, the context of this historic property lends continuity to my photography, despite a variety of different modern operators. In addition to photos of moving trains, I’ve documented structures, bridges, as well as both active and abandoned lines. I spent a week in October 2009 photographing along the Erie between Hornell, New York, and central Ohio. On the morning of October 8, 2009, I followed Western New York & Pennsylvania’s westward freight HNME (Hornell to Meadville) from Niobe Junction to its terminus at the former Erie yard in Meadville, Pennsylvania. It passed Niobe Junction at 6:45 am, and my first photos that day were made in the early twilight. Speed restrictions on the line made for ample opportunities to photograph the freight as the sun brightened the sky. Changeable October conditions lent for a cosmic mix of low light and ground fog. Working with my Canon EOS 3s and color slide film I produced a variety of satisfying images that fit in well with my greater body of Erie photography.

Alco's in the fog.
At 8:14 am, Western New York & Pennsylvania M-636 637 (a former Quebec Cartier locomotive) and C-430 430 lead 17 cars west of Union City, Pennsylvania. Ground fog make for a stunning morning silhouette. This image appeared on page 70 of my book Vintage Diesel Power published by Voyageur Press in 2010.

Visit: Voyageur Press/Quayside Publishing for my latest railway books.