If I captioned this post, ‘23K passes Shirley’, would you have looked any way?
The other day when Paul Goewey, Bob Arnold and I were photographing trains at Shirley, Massachusetts, I exposed these views of the daily westward intermodal train symbol 23K that originates a few miles to the east at Ayer.
The Lovely Trees: These two massive trunks have fascinated me for years, and make for an excellent means to frame up a photo. Here, in the first view the intermodal train is almost incidental to the scene.
Which of these views of Norfolk Southern/Pan Am Southern’s 23K do you prefer?
Are these elements insidious intrusions or compositional aids?
The other day I was inspecting a nature photography magazine. Each and every photograph featured a stunning landscape free from the hand of man. Waterfalls and luscious skyscapes, arctic views and verdant forests.
Nowhere were there poles, wires, or tarmac roads. This magazine had portrayed a world free from industry, electricity, commerce, and railways!
Fear not good citizen! Tracking the Light will fill these photographic omissions!
Take for example these images of Pan Am Railways/Norfolk Southern’s intermodal train symbol 22K, photographed in November 2015 near its Ayer, Massachusetts terminal.
A ruinous landscape? Just imagine this scene free from roads, wires, and the hand of man. What would be left to photograph?
Often I look to put trains in their environment by trying to find angles that show context. Not every railway scene is scenic. And, in the North East, more often than not, the environment around the railway is pretty rough looking. But that is the scene, isn’t it?
On Wednesday May 29, 2013, Rich Reed and I were making photos of trains on former Boston & Maine lines around Ayer, Massachusetts. Rich has lived in the area for many years and is well versed on the history of the area.
Among the trains we saw was this Pan Am Southern local switching a set of autoracks. In the 1970s, a GP9 would have often worked Boston & Maine’s Ayer local. Today, Pan Am Southern runs the railroad, and the local is a pair of Norfolk Southern GE six-motor DASH-9s working long hood first.
I made several images east of the Ayer station. One of my favorites is the view looking down the street that features a parked postal truck and cars with the train serving as background instead of the main subject. It’s an ordinary everyday scene, yet it’s part of the history, and someday it will be different. Everything changes.
Which of these images will be more memorable in 50 years time? Someone might wonder why the Post Office needed a delivery truck, or what all the wires were for. You just never know.
Yesterday (January 17, 2013), Rich Reed and I spent a productive day photographing along the old Boston & Maine. B&M to Pan Am: a traditional New England road, Boston & Maine was melded in to Guilford Transportation Industries in 1982. Guilford acquired the rights to Pan American Airways in 1998, and during 2005-2006 the railroad became known as Pan Am Railways. In 2008, the railway engaged in a joint venture with Norfolk Southern involving the former Boston & Maine route (now coined the ‘Patriot Corridor’) between greater Albany, New York and suburban Boston. As a result, Norfolk Southern locomotives are usual assigned to intermodal and automotive traffic operating over the old B&M route; in addition Pan Am operates a pair of through freights in conjunction with CSX between Portland, Maine and CSX’s Selkirk, New York yard (Pan-Am’s symbols SEPO/POSE; CSX’s Q426/Q427). These typically operate with CSX locomotives. Other traffic includes, coal trains originating on Providence & Worcester and traveling north via Pan Am rails to Bow, New Hampshire which run with P&W’s locomotives. Pan Am runs a few trains with its own locomotives; however while a number of Pan Am’s locomotives have been painted for the railroad, a good number of older locomotives still serve the railroad in Guilford paint.
The long and short of this essay is that lately, I’ve found it challenging to photograph Pan Am painted locomotives hauling trains on their own line, since the predominance of daylight traffic tends to feature locomotives from other lines. Yesterday, we caught six symbol freights, one of which was the westward POED (Portland, Maine to East Deerfield, Massachusetts), which was led by Pan Railways 610, a former Southern Pacific SD45 rebuilt to SD40-2 specs. Pan Am on Pan Am! Yea!