It was the morning of August 28, 2010. My father and I had arrived at Bellows Falls, on our way to St. Albans. It was quiet and nothing was moving on any of the three freight railroads that serve the town.
East of the passenger station there were a few old Budd RDCs stored on former Rutland Railroad sidings. I took a few minutes to made some photos with my Lumix LX3. My father has some nice Kodachrome slides of Boston & Maine and New York Central cars working in the 1960s. I remember riding them out of Boston in the 1970s.
One of the benefits of Budd’s Shotwelded stainless steel construction is that the cars won’t rust. Yet, the overgrowth makes for some interesting studies in decay. The cars still reflected the light nicely.
More than 30 years earlier we’d explored these same sidings. Back then there were decayed vestiges of wooden sided boxcars around the place, and considerably few trees.
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve displayed contemporary images I made on Pan American Railways lines. Today, I’ve dug deep into my archives and pulled some negatives I exposed in the same territory back in 1985.
February 10, 1985 was a busy day on Guilford’s Boston & Maine lines. I was traveling with John Peters and Norman Yellin and we made it all the way to Mechanicville, New York, having started in the Millers River Valley, east of East Deerfield.
Toward the end of the day, we chased B&M’s MERU (Mechanicville to Rumford, Maine), photographing it at several locations, including Eaglebridge and Petersburg, New York.
Since last week I ended a chase of a Pan Am freight at the crossing near Petersburg (east of Petersburg Junction where the old Rutland ‘Corkscrew Line’ crossed the B&M), I though these images would make an interesting comparison.
Where last week, Paul Goewey and I were following a westward freight, 28 years ago we were traveling eastbound. In both situations the light was fading.
I exposed the vintage images on Kodak B&W film using my father’s Leica M4 with a 35mm Summicron lens. Unfortunately, my notes from the day don’t include what exposures I used, nor how I processed the film. Ironically, I had the M4 with me last week too, but the shutter was giving me difficulty so I had to rely on my digital cameras!
It was 16 years ago that Mike Gardner and I drove to New Hampshire to photograph Guilford Rail System’s WJED (White River Junction, Vt., to East Deerfield, Mass.) freight. It was a clear October day and the foliage was nearing its peak.
We found the train near Claremont Junction and followed it south to North Walpole, where I exposed this color slide.
Leading the train was GP40 340 lettered for Guilford’s Boston & Maine component. I like this trailing view because the color of the tree above the train mimics the orange band on the engine. Also the three-head General Railway Signal searchlight at the left offers a hint of the Boston & Maine from an earlier era.
Here, Autumn offers multiple connotations. At one time the White River Junction to Springfield, Massachusetts Connecticut River Line was a busy Boston & Maine route, handling more than a half dozen passenger moves and several freights daily, plus those of Central Vermont Railway. By 1997, Guilford’s operations on was limited to just a few weekly trains.
On August 20, 1987, I found this former Boston & Maine SW1, recently repainted and renumbered as Springfield Terminal 1401. I exposed this image from the street, across from the old passenger station. For me it captures the feel of Holyoke at the time.