You know this must have sounded good! Former Erie Lackawanna SD45-2s lead a loaded ballast extra westbound at the summit of the Boston & Albany at Bullards Road near Hinsdale, Massachusetts.
I made this photo on the evening of August 23, 1984 using a Leica 3A loaded Kodak Tri-X.
In retrospect, I wish I had a slightly longer lens here and better exposure and processing skills. With in a few years, I had better cameras and my photography had improved dramatically, but catching scenes like this one of SD45-2s on the B&A route were a thing of the past.
And, I really wish I’d recorded the sound of this train. All those 20-cylinder 645 diesels in Run-8, wow!
Another choice image from my recently scanned roll of Ilford FP4 exposed in Spring 1985.
I made this view with a 50mm lens looking timetable west at the west end of Conrail’s old Boston & Albany yard in Palmer, Massachusetts. I had driven in behind Howlett’s Lumber to photograph a Sperry rail defect detection car that was stored near the B&A freight house.
Just about everything in this scene has changed. The freight house was demolished in Janaury 1989. The large building at right beyond burned down some years later. The code lines were removed after the B&A was re-signaled in 1986-1987.
I’ve posted two versions of this photo. The top is my unaltered and uncorrected scan. The bottom reflects a series of nominal adjustments using Adobe Lightroom.
Labor Day weekend 1978: my dad brought my brother and me out to roll by Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited at the route 148 overpass in Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Working with his ‘motorized’ (mechanical wind-up) Leica 3A, I made a rapid fire sequence of the train as it roared west behind E-units.
I processed the film in the kitchen sink and made a few prints, then for the next four decades the negatives rested quietly in the attic.
I used this Epson scan of one of the negatives from that day as one of the opening photos in my program titled ‘Tracking the Light’ that I presented live last night to the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts at the Pearl Street Station in Malden, Massachusetts.
There was a thrill of listening to an eastward freight ascending the Boston & Albany grade on approach to Warren, Massachusetts and wondering what locomotives would round the corner.
In February 1984, I was in my final term of high school. It was a warm weekend morning when I visited Bob Buck’s Tucker’s Hobbies. Bob advised me of an approaching Conrail freight and I walked briskly to the Route 67 bridge east of the old passenger station, where I made this photo.
The freight was led by an eclectic collection of EMD and GE diesels. It was one of only a very few times that I caught a GP35 leading a freight on the Boston & Albany.
I’ve been reviewing 40 years worth of Amtrak photos for an article I’m writing for a German magazine.
In the mix of old chromes was this 2003 view of the eastward Lake Shore Limited east of milepost 129 between Chester and Middlefield, Massachusetts on CSX’s old Boston & Albany mainline.
Relatively few of Amtrak’s P42 Genesis diesels were painted in the short-lived Northeast Direct livery, making this a relatively unusual photo.
Working with a Nikon fitted with an f2.8 180mm telephoto, I was trying to make the most of a heavily backlit situation in early October. In situations like this I’d typically use my notebook to shield the front element of my lens to minimize the effects of flare. Backlighting autumn foliage helps accentuate the colored leaves.
On this day Amtrak was the booby prize; I was really after the Ringling Brothers Circus Train that was coming east from Selkirk Yard. And that photo is stored in a different file.
In August 1982, Bob Buck of Tucker’s Hobbies in Warren, Massachusetts brought Doug Moore, John Conn and me on a memorable Boston & Albany West End tour.
We started at Westfield and worked our way across the railroad, making it all the way to Amtrak’s Albany-Rensselaer station.
It was my first experience photographing Washington Hill—B&A’s big grade over the Berkshires.
We caught several Conrail freights, including one that we chased from Pittsfield east up toward Dalton.
Earlier in the trip, Bob drove us in his green Ford van along the right of way of the third track to Middlefield Station. When we reached milepost 129, we inspected one of the remaining 1830s-era stone arch bridges.
Here I made this view looking eastbound to show the GRS search light signal. Among the quirks of New York Central-era signaling was displaying a staggered ‘green over green’ for ‘clear’ on intermediate automatic block signals in graded territory. ABS Signals on the B&A Westend grades were continuously lit, while those on the East End tended to be approached lit.
You can see Bob at the wheel of his van.
I wasn’t good a picking my exposures and this frame of Kodachrome 64 was a full stop underexposed (too dark). For years this image was in my ‘3rds file’ (junk), but with modern scanning technology and Adobe Lightroom, I was able to make the image presentable again.
In the mid-1980s, my friends and I would convene at Washington Summit on Conrail’s former Boston & Albany mainline.
Located in the Berkshires, several miles timetable east of the old station at Hinsdale, the summit offered a good view in both directions and a pleasant, quiet place to wait for trains.
On this May 1985 afternoon, the chugging of an eastward freight could be heard for several miles before it came into view. I opted to frame the train with the Top of the B&A sign.
This sign was replaced in the 1990s; Conrail was divided by CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1999; the old Bullards Road over bridge (seen in the distance) was removed in 2003; and the trees have grown much taller. So there’s not much left of this scene today, although the tracks are still there.
Exposed on black & white film using a Leica 3A with Canon f1.8 50mm lens.