Tag Archives: Amtrak

Keystone with Blossoming Trees

Sunday afternoon, Kris & I went for a wee drive. This was neatly planned to coincide with the passing of a westward Amtrak Keystone at Jefferson Drive in Lancaster.

For a week, I’d been eyeing the Spring blossoms on decorative tress along Jefferson drive, but was discouraged by the ‘Irish’ weather we seem to have brought back with us.

Since Sunday was bright and clear, I recognized the time was ripe to make the most of the light and the trees.

Photos were exposed of Amtrak Keystone 665 on its approach to Lancaster, PA.

Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm lens.
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm lens.
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm lens.

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Amfleet Article in May Trains Magazine

Among the magazines waiting in our post box upon our arrival back in Lancaster, PA, was the May 2024 Trains Magazine.

Pages 49-50 featured my monthly travel column. I focused on Amtrak’s Amfleet in a personal retrospective titled ‘Last chance to ride Amfleet.’

Below is a short list of out-takes from the photos I selected for my May column.

These were exposed with my various Lumix LX-cameras.

Lumix LX3. Amcafe at New Haven, Connecticut.
Amcoaches at Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Exposed with 16:9 aspect ratio.
Quiet car on Amtrak 95.

Snow and Moonlight at Leaman Place.

The combination of a low ceiling, a bright moon and the blanket of snow covering the ground made for interesting evening light.

While there really wasn’t enough light to stop a fast moving Amtrak Keystone, I felt the ambient lighting conditions were still conducive to photography.

I set up my Bogen tripod in the snow and attached to it my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series lens.

After a few test photos at ISO 200 to check my angle and lighting, I set the ISO to 2000 and waited fo the Keystone to zip by at speed.

The final pair of photos were exposed a f4, for 1.6 seconds with the lens set to 24mm.

Test photo, ISO 200, f4.0 15 seconds..
ISO 2000, f4, for 1.6 seconds
ISO 2000, f4, for 1.6 seconds

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Two for One at Christiana

Fortune was with us on Saturday.

After lunch, we drove the back way over to Christiana, Pa., where I hoped to catch Amtrak 670 in the afternoon sun.

The tracks are oriented on a south-north alignment at Christiana, which makes it a good place to photograph eastward train on a sunny day, if you mind the shadows.

Where Keystone 670 was pretty much ‘on the advertised,’ Amtrak 42, the eastward Pennsylvanian had fallen down a bit, and was just a few minutes behind.

So for the effort of one eastward train, we caught two! One electric and one diesel.

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Look Ma No Pans!

High winds on Tuesday resulted in some unusual activity on Wednesday.

Norfolk Southern’s New Holland Branch is a line that runs near (and ultimately connects with) Amtrak’s electrified former Pennsylvania Railroad Harrisburg Line. At Jefferson Drive in Lancaster, the lines are in sight of one another. While I was waiting for NS’s branch local, I was surprised by late running Amtrak Keystone that passed under wire with a P42 diesel leading an ACS-64 electric with its pantographs down.

I was out of position to photograph the eastward Amtrak train, but I made my photos of the Norfolk Southern freight (for a later post). Afterward I made a few inquiries to learn about Amtrak’s situation.

From my understanding the high winds on Tuesday had damaged the overhead lines in the Philadelphia area. To keep its trains running, Amtrak assigned P42s in the lead. Give credit to Amtrak for doing what was needed to get trains over the road!

Later in the day, during the lunch hour, Kris and I went trackside at Bird-in-Hand, Pa., where we caught westward Amtrak 643 Keystone running ‘behind the advertised’ with a P42 at the Harrisburg-end and an ACS-64 with its pans down on the Philadelphia end.

I made these images using my Nikon Z7-II. The NEF RAW files were adjusted for contrast, exposure and saturation in post processing.

Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
Amtrak 643 at Bird-in-Hand, Pa.

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Amtrak 643 at Gap

After days of gray cloudy skies the sun emerged. Kris and I paused at Gap, Pa., to roll by Amtrak’s westward Keystone, train 643. This was operating cab-car first with an ACS-64 electric at the back of the consist.

Working with my Nikon Z7-II and 24-70mm zoom set to 70mm, I exposed a series of images. I cropped these in post processing to emphasize the horizontal perspective.

70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.
70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.
70mm view, f4.5, 1/1250 second, ISO 200.

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Out of the Mist at Windsor Locks.

Amtrak 494 was running a bit behind the advertised when we arrived the ‘station’ in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

I had time to set up my tripod, make an assessment of the lighting conditions, and frame up my photo before the train came into view.

The two car shuttle from New Haven made a very brief stop. I exposed this sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens set at ISO 8000.

After just a moment the train was on its way toward Springfield, Massachusetts.

ISO8000, f4 1/125 second.
ISO8000, f4 1/200th second.

More than 38 years ago, I made a black & white photo of an Amtrak painted Budd-SPV2000 stopping here. See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/spv2000-at-windsor-locks-may-1985/

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Square Mount—January 1, 1980

I made comparatively few color photos prior to 1980 and I have precious few ‘square mount’ Kodachrome slides.

On January 1, 1980, I traveled with my family from The Bronx, New York back to our home in Monson, Massachusetts. On the way, we stopped at New Haven, Connecticut to take a look at Amtrak GG1 4935 that had been repainted into the Raymond Loewy designed PRR scheme.

Using my old Leica 3A rangefinder I made this Kodachrome color slide of a Chevy pickup truck parked next to the antique electric locomotive.

I don’t know what became of the pickup but today the old GG1 is preserved and displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Pa. I’ve featured this locomotive in several recent Tracking the Light posts.

This Kodachrome slide was exposed 44 years ago!

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Slowing for the Curve at Gap

Amtrak Keystone 666 was slowing for the restrictive curve at Gap, Pa.

Siemens ACS-64 electrics were fore and aft. White lights forward, red at a rear.

Working with my Nikon Z mirrorless cameras, I exposded this coming and going sequence as the train glided east toward Philadelphia.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom.

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Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian Crosses the Conestoga

Not far from our Lancaster apartment, Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line to Harrisburg crosses the Conestoga River on an impressive multiple-span stone arch bridge.

Fellow author and photographer, Dan Cupper had shown me how to reach this bridge before Kris and I relocated. Since our move last Spring I’ve paid several visits to the western bank of the river, but I hadn’t caught Amtrak’s diesel-hauled Pennsylvanian here until the afternoon of Halloween Day.

The combination of late-season foliage, polarized sun and relatively clear autumn air, made this an ideal time to picture the train on the bridge. I checked various angles along the riverbank before deciding upon this place to make my images.

Amtrak train 42, the eastward Pennsylvania crosses the Conestoga on October 31, 2023.

Photos exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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Sunset on the Susquehanna—a few views of the old PRR bridge at Havre de Grace, Maryland.

On our brief visit to Havre de Grace, Maryland in mid-October, I made these views of Amtrak’s late-running train No., 120 gliding across its early Twentieth Century bridge over the Susquehanna River. Leading the train was ACS-64 No. 633.

This antique bridge fascinates me. It’s an old-school pin-connected deck truss. And it’s an impressive imposing structure for its size and length. Word to the wise: get your photos because it is soon to be replaced!

While nothing lasts forever, I’ll miss this old bridge when its gone.

I aimed to get the Amtrak electric passing the rising moon.
Adobe Lightroom work window showis the details of this image.
I like this telephoto view, which best captures the immense size of the old bridge.

I made these photos with my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom.

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Nice Light on Amtrak 642 in Veteran’s Paint.

Of Amtrak’s 70 Siemans ACS-64 electrics, only No. 642 wears the special paint scheme that honors American veterans.

Thanks to Dan Cupper for alerting me that Amtrak 642 was working Keystone train 652, which I caught passing Gap, Pennsylvania.

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Amtrak’s Crescent Under Wire

The Crescent is Amtrak’s daily long-distance train that connects New York City with Atlanta and New Orleans.

Nearly five years ago, my father and I traveled overnight on the Crescent between Wilmington, Delaware and New Orleans as part of a three-day Amtrak epic that began at Windsor Locks, Connecticut and concluded at Houston, Texas.

During mid-October, Kris and I spent the afternoon following the Susquehanna River down to Perryville, Maryland. I navigated our way to the MARC commuter rail station from memory. (I’d last stopped there in 1992). This is situated along Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Northeast Corridor. Upon arrival, I saw there was a train coming, alerted Kris and grabbed my Nikon Z6 to make telephoto views.

As the train approached, I made this sequence of digital images, while Kris filmed its passing with her phone. It was the southward Crescent with Viewliner sleepers and diner at the back.

Crosslit late autumn sun made for dramatic images as the train braked for the slow order over the Susquehanna River bridge. The challenge was capturing the light on the train between shadows from the electrification supports. (Tip: It helps to have a rapid release setting to take bursts of images.)

Another train was approaching from the far side of the river. But I’ll save that for a later post.

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Susquehanna Bridges viewed from Port Deposit

In late October, Kris & I drove down the east bank of the Susquehanna to Port Deposit, Maryland. This historic town offers some magnificent views of the river.

The four bridges in the picture from closest to furthest are: Interstate 95, CSX’s former Baltimore & Ohio, US Highway 40, and Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad bridge that runs between Perryville on the east bank to Havre de Grace on the west bank.

I made this photo with my Nikon Z6 and 70-200mm Z-series zoom set at 200mm. I wonder what I could do here with an even longer telephoto lens?

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Keystone at Bird-in-Hand

Bird-in-Hand is a classic Pennsy Main Line location.

The 1920s-era grade separation with concrete stairwells over Pennsylvania Route 340 is largely intact.

The once four-main railroad snakes through a gentle curve, which can make for a dynamic setting. I caught eastward Amtrak Keystone 670 shortly after its Lancaster, Pa., station stop.

The zebra striped cab-car works well in the autumnal scene.

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Amtrak 448 at the Warren Crossovers—1983.

This was a just a routine scene from 40 years ago: Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited (Boston section) train 448 at the Warren Crossovers.

Back in the days when Conrail’s former Boston & Albany was still operated as a traditional directional double-track mainline (under rule 251), there were manual cross-overs at strategic locations, including Warren, Mass.

Historically (pre-1960), the Warren Crossovers also served the Warren Yard and the long unsignaled eastward running track from West Warren that had allowed slow moving freights to keep out of the way of faster eastward trains.

These crossovers were removed after Conrail installed TCS signals and single-tracked the B&A east of Palmer in 1986.

I made these photos on Kodachrome using my Leica 3A during the second week of October 1983.

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Indian Summer for GE’s Genesis™

Amtrak’s General Electric Genesis™ diesels are reaching the end of their useful lives.

Yet, as of this writing in October 2023, these 1990s-vintage diesels still regularly work the Pennsylvanian between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

During the high midday light of summer, I didn’t expend time to photograph the passage of the Pennsylvanian, Amtrak trains 42 and 43, which normally pass one another not far from where we now live in Lancaster, PA. However, last week, I picked a bright afternoon to photograph both trains at Gap, similar to what I had done back in January.

Amtrak train 43—the Pennsylvanian—westbound at Gap, PA.
Amtrak train 43—the Pennsylvanian—westbound at Gap, PA.
Amtrak train 43—the Pennsylvanian—westbound at Gap, PA.
Amtrak train 43—the Pennsylvanian—westbound at Gap, PA.
Amtrak train 42—the Pennsylvanian—eastbound at Gap, PA.
Amtrak train 42—the Pennsylvanian—eastbound at Gap, PA.

Both trains were captured using my Nikon Z7II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

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Stainless Steel, Platinum Mist and the Silver Lining to a Puffy Cloud.

Amtrak Keystone 650 was running a wee bit behind the advertised.

I was set up at Leaman Place, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

There had been brilliant bright sun light— and there still was all around me—but in the interval between when the train was scheduled to pass my location and when it actually raced by, a puffy cloud had found its way between me and the sun.

There’s an (unmentionable) phrase for this.

Anyway, my going away (trailing) views made use of the softened directional light, which treated the metallic train nicely.

I made these photos with my Z7II and 24-70mm lens set at 40mm; ISO 200, f4 1/1600th sec.

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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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Two Main Track

On directional double track, trains proceed on signal indication in the current of traffic. On Two Main track, both tracks are signaled in both directions, which allows trains to proceed on either track in either direction on signal indication.

Last week, I made these views of the westward Amtrak Keystone train 647 on the close track at Leaman Place, PA. From what I could ascertain, it had run around another train on the far track near Parkesburg.

While this move was fully signaled, I thought it was comparatively unusual in that it was the first time I’d seen a regularly scheduled Amtrak westbound using the near track at this location. This made for photo opportunities that I might not have considered if the train was on the far track.

I made this motor drive sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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Stopping 649 with 1/2500th second

Crisp evening light.

Amtrak Keystone 649 was two minutes down from the advertised and cruising to make up time to reach its Lancaster, PA station stop on schedule.

I made this view at Leaman Place using a Nikon Z7II with 24-70mm lens, my shutter was set to 1/2500th of a second.

My drive was set to ‘turbo flutter’. As the train approached, I made this burst of images.

ACS-64 610 leads Amtrak Keystone 649 at Leaman Place, PA.

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Sunset and a Clear aspect at Greenfield

The days are getting shorter. You can see it in the evening sky.

Yet, the sunsets are vivid.

I’ve been looking for ways to better feature the color position light signal at milepost 64.5 near Greenfield in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I made this view with my Nikon Z7-II and Nikkor Z-series 70-200mm lens of Amtrak Keystone train 653 racing west by the signal. This train had Amtrak’s ACS-64 electrics at both ends; locomotive 621 was leading westbound; and 668 was at the back.

I’d guess that something was amiss with the former Metroliner cab car at the westend of the train.

In this instance because the signal is the subject, I picked a trailing angle and selected a slower ISO setting and comparatively slow shutter speed to allow the train a little bit of motion blur, while keeping the signal sharp.

When I try this again, I may zoom in tighter on the signal.

ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/160th second. 70-200mm lens set to 98mm.
ISO 200, f3.5 at 1/320th second. 70-200mm lens set to 98mm.

This is just a cropped and adjusted view of the photo at center above. However, it approximates how large I’d like to frame the signal in a future image.

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Contrasts at Gap

Amtrak Keystone 656 departed Lancaster, PA on time.

We drove to intercept it along the Main Line at Gap.

This time of year evening trains at Gap are coming directly out of the sun. This can be a challenge or a feature, depending on how you make your photographs.

I like to work with contrasty evening light. In my black & white film days, I’d adjust the contrast in the processing and use a relatively weak (dilute) solution of a highly active developer at comparatively high temperature with minimal agitation.

With my Nikon Z cameras I can achieve similar results in color with post-processing adjustments of the RAW files in Lightroom.

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens. Exposure; f6.3 at 1/2000th second, ISO 200.
Adobe Lightroom work window showing the position of slider corrective controls. (Ignore the prefix ‘auto’ before each slider control).
Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

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Electric, Steam and Diesel in 45 minutes!

Last Thursday morning, I photographed four trains in 45 minutes. Three were scheduled.

I caught eastward and westward Amtrak Keystone trains at Gap, Pennsylvania, then made a short drive over to the Strasburg Rail Road, where I waited for the 10am scheduled excursion to Leaman Place. As this steam hauled train approached Blackhorse Road, I could hear a second horn to the west.

I surmised that Strasburg’s local freight might be following the excursion. My guess was close; Strasburg’s SW8 diesel was leading a ballast hopper toward Leaman Place where it would clear for the excursion to return.

I can’t recall any time in the recent past in America where I caught electric, steam and diesel trains over such a short span of time.

Photos exposed with my Lumix LX7.

Amtrak Keystone train 646 eastbound near Gap, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Trailing view of Amtrak Keystone train 646 eastbound near Gap, PA with ACS-64 665 at the rear of the consist. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Amtrak train 641 working cab car first rolls through Gap, PA. ACS-64 667 electric is working at the back of the train.
Trailing view of Keystone 641 with ACS-64 667 electric as it passes Gap, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Strasburg Rail Road 2-6-0 number 89 crosses Blackhorse Road with the 10am excursion. Lumix LX7 photo.
Strasburg 89 up close and personal!
Strasburg Rail Road’s former New York Central SW8 leads a ballast car eastbound at Blackhorse Road.
Trailing view of Strasburg Rail Roadl SW8 8618 eastbound at Blackhorse Road.Lumix LX photo

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Wayne’s Main Line Visit

Owing to its lineage along the route of Pennsylvania’s original Main Line of Public Works, the former Pennsylvania Railroad trunk is known as ‘The Main Line’. This historic route runs just a few blocks from our new home.

Last week our friend Wayne Duffett-TEC Associate’s Bridge Inspector and Conway Scenic Railroad steam locomotive engineer (and Tracking the Light reader) visited Kris and I in Lancaster, PA.

After dinner at the Outback Steakhouse, we brought Wayne on a short tour of the railroad, hitting several highlights of the old Main Line.

Using the ASM.transitdocs.com Amtrak realtime phone app, we were able to time the passage of an eastward Amtrak Keystone to just a few minutes, and watched the train zip by at nearly 90mph.

Photos exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad stone bridge over the Conestoga River in Lancaster, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wayne posing with some goob in at PRR hat. Photo by Kris Solomon.
Amtrak Keystone races eastward on the old Main Line.

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Keystone, Tiguan and Strasburg Road.

This is a variation on yesterday’s theme, but on a different day with a different Keystone, and another road.

I’d made a sunset silhouette of the on-coming train; then turned around to make this going away view of Amtrak Keystone 618.

Gap, PA: ACS-64 626 is powering the train from the back. Kris is filming the passing train from her silver Tiguan using her iPhone 13. While, the empty lanes of Strasburg Road on the left.

We got a friendly toot toot from the headend as the train passed.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. RAW file cropped in post processing for lateral emphasis.

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Parallel Perspectives

This is not all about the train, nor the railroad.

I purposefully placed Jefferson Drive to de-emphasize Amtrak’s Keystone racing along to the right.

I’ve inserted a bit irony with the placement of the ‘speed limit 35’ sign. The train was gliding along at about 100 mph.

The green grass of summer contrasts nicely with the sky at dusk.

And don’t forget the two railroad boxes alongside the track. At least one of these house equipment for a lineside defect detector.

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Electric Sunset

On our way home, we paused along Jefferson Drive in Greenfield, Lancaster, PA, to roll by Amtrak Keystone 620 on its run from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.

The sun had dropped under a textured evening sky, making for a stunning display of natural color.

Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/800th of second at ISO 2000.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 2000.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm zoom set to 50mm; f4.5 at 1/160th ofa second at ISO 2000.

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Glint Light and a Surprise at Greenfield, PA!

On these long summer evenings, the sun sets to the north of Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line along Jefferson Drive at Greenfield near Lancaster, PA.

Kris and I pulled over to watchAmtrak Keystone 618 glide east as it caught the evening glint. Running cab car first, this trainhad a pleasant surprise for us at the back: Amtrak ACS-64 642 specially painted to honor American Veterans.

My Nikon Z6 has a rapid burst exposure setting that exposes a sequence of images in quick succession which allowed me to catch this ununally painted locomotive on the move.

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Great Light at Gap; Nikon versus Lumix

A few days ago, a storm had cleared away the hazy dust and for once there was some sweet evening light at Gap, Pennsylvania along the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

We’d stopped at a nearby Rita’s Ice to get a treat for Kris and pulled up to a park-like setting in view of the famous clock tower. I was tracking Amtrak Keystone train 669 and knew it was close.

When Amtrak Siemen’s ACS-64 663 rounded the bend with train 669, I exposed a sequence of photos with my Nikon Z6 and 70-200mm lens then raised my Lumix LX-7 for coming and going wide angle views, followed by another sequence with the Nikon. Kris made a phone video of me taking photos.

I’d just sat back in the car, when Kris said, ‘Look! Another train,’ as an eastward Amtrak train squealed into view. My Lumix was still in my hand and ready to go, so I made a couple of grab shots. I assume this was a deadhead move, as it hadn’t appeared on the tracker. The engineer gave us a friendly toot! as the train passed.

I love bonus trains that I wasn’t expecting!

Keystone train 669 led by ACS-64 663 catches the light at Gap, PA. Nikon Z6 with Nikkor Z-series f2.8 70-200mm.
Lumix LX7 view of Amtrak Keystone train 669 westbound at Gap. This was the first time I’d seen ACS-64 #663 in motion and so I was delighted to catch it in such nice evening light.
My Lumix LX7 is a wonderful camera. However, one of it’s limitations is a comparatively narrow dynamic range. In this instance the sun has completely washed out.
Trailing view of Keystone train 669 at Gap.
A Lumix LX7 grab shot of an unexpected dead-head move eastbound at Gap, just a minute after westward 669 had passed. The best camera is the one you have with you and ready!
Lumix LX7 trailing view at Gap, Pennsylvania.

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Gauzy Light—Amtrak 618 at Gap

We arrived at Gap, PA about ten minutes ahead of Amtrak Keystone service 618 on its way east from Harrisburg.

I made my first photos in this curve at Gap on a visit 16 years ago—June 2007.

Thick smoky-haze filled the air and filtered the evening sun.

I made this telephoto series of images as Amtrak 618 (led by ACS-64 606) glided through the curve at Gap.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/2500, ISO 400
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 74mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200 mm; f4.0 1/500, ISO 400;

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Amtrak Schedule tip! Coming and Going on the Main Line at Christiana, PA

The old Pennsylvania Railroad station at Christiana is a neat place to catch Amtrak’s Keystone trains. Over the last few months I’ve visited this location several times.

Saturday evening Kris and I stopped by Christiana to make a few photos an approaching eastward Keystone.

I track Amtrak’s trains on my phone using the ASM.transitdoc.com app, which updates about every 5-6 minutes and shows the train’s last reported location, operating speed, and indicates if it is on-time or runnng behind, while providing a full schedule of station stops.

This is often more useful than either Amtrak’s own website, which can be difficult to navigate quickly, and more up to date than 3rd party printed schedules.

We wanted to photograph Keystone Train 674. As it turned out this was operating on a special schedule owing to track work. I only discovered the train’s schedule alteration after the fact when researching the timetable for this Tracking the Light post.

However, since we used transitdoc App, the on-line interactive map provided all the information we needed and was up to date and literally at our finger tips!

So, despite the schedule alteration, we only had a short wait at Christiana and made some neat photos of the train coming and going at speed.

Trailing view of Amtrak 674 at Christiana, PA

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Amtrak on the Main Line under wire

I often wonder if titles make a difference in viewership. If I called this ‘Energised ACS-64s ‘ would you have read it?

A couple of days ago, I set up at Leaman Place where the Strasburg Rail Road meets the old Main Line and waited for a pair of Amtrak Keystone services to pass by at speed.

Amtrak 605 was westbound, Amtrak 600 was eastbound. Confusingly, Amtrak’s 600-series Keystone trains are typically let by its ACS-64 electric locomotives that are also numbered in the 600-series.

Inevitably someone will ask me what the difference is between a train and locomotive. The Keystone services are train and carry train numbers. Amtrak’s ACS-64 are locomotives and carry locomotive numbers. One identifies a service (software) the other identies a specific piece of railroad rolling stock (hardware).

Amtrak 605 passed first; while Amtrak 600 passed only two minutes later. Had 605 been running just a little late, I may have scored a running meet.

All four photos were exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series Nikkor zoom lens.

Amtrak Keystone No 605 is led by ACS-64 623.
Amtrak Keystone No 600 is led by ACS-64 622.
Tail end of Amtrak Keystone No 600.

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Dusty Sunrise at Gap—Amtrak 642

This morning, the combination of agricultural haze, moisture in the air, and dust high in the atmosphere from fires in western Canada made for soft rosy morning light.

I don’t make a habit of posting photos to Tracking the Light the day of exposure, so today is an exception.

A little while ago, I set up at Gap, Pennsylvania along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line, now Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line, in anticipation of Keystone train 642 racing east toward Philadelphia.

As the train took the curve west of Gap, I exposed this sequence of digital photos using my Nikon Z6 with Z-series 70-200mm zoom. ISO set to 400, white balance to ‘daylight auto’. All photos adjusted using Lightroom.

Although a non-conventional view, I like the last in the sequence that features the train in the distance with the focus on the wild flowers. Isn’t this how we often see trains, just a glimpse in the distance?

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