Tag Archives: #Boston Line

Sound of Power: Conrail Ballast Train June 1984

Just imagine the roar! Conrail C30-7 6600 leads three former Erie-Lackawanna 20-cylinder EMDs!

So far as I can remember, this was the only time I caught an SDP45 (second unit) hard at work on the Boston Line.

I made these views of an uphill BAL (Ballast train) at Middlefield, Massachusetts on a day’s photography with my old pal TSH on a beautiful spring evening in June 1984. I was a week away from my high-school graduation.

My only regret is that I didn’t have better photography skills and better equipment.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

On the Roll with CSX’s Q264—Five Photos.

CSX Q264 is a unit autorack train that terminates at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, I was waiting at CP83 in Palmer for fellow photographer Mike Gardner to arrive. To the west, I could hear the distant roar of a heavy eastward train.

Long ago I learned to use my ear. Listening, and knowing what you are hearing can make the difference between finding a train and missing one.

Mike pulled in and I signaled to him there was in eastbound on the diamond (crossing at Palmer between New England Central and CSX’s Boston Line).

I was delighted because low rich November sun illuminated CP83 and there weren’t any automobiles in the parking lot in front of the Steaming Tender restaurant (that occupies that the old Palmer Union Station).

As Q264 rolled through, I said to Mike, “quick, jump in! The train is limited to 30mph at the diamond, we’ll get him down the line.”

And we were off in hot pursuit!

Up to West Warren, a recent and long-time favorite location of mine for railroad photography. We pulled over where the Boston Line is adjacent to Route 67, and I exposed another sequence of photos.

That was two trains, on two lines in less than two hours, but it was only going to get better! Tuesday was a very good day!

More to come!

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CSX Q022 on the Roll at West Warren—November 25, 2019.

November sun and a little elevation is a good start.

I’d spotted CSX’s Q022 rolling across the Palmer diamond as I departed the old union station, where I’d pulled in to see if anything was happening!

(No scanner and poor timing on my part!)

Not a bother. I drove post haste west on Route 20 and Route 67 to West Warren.

CSX’s Q022 had a decent size train, but with nearly 9,000 hp leading in the form of a pair of GE Evolutions, the train made good progress climbing eastward through the Quaboag River Valley.

I had time to park at West Warren, Massachusetts and walk briskly to the South Street Bridge, an old standby vantage point where I’ve made countless railroad photos in the last 35 years.

I exposed these views using my Lumix LX7.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Autos East with Mid-Train Locomotives: CSX Q264 at CP79—3 Digital Photos.


In recent months CSX has adopted the practice of using distributed power on the former Boston & Albany.

Distributed power is essentially the application of radio-remote controlled locomotives positioned deep in a freight train and/or at its end to reduce drawbar stress and improve starting and braking characteristics with very long/heavy trains.

The concept dates to the 1960s, but much improved radio-controlled remote technology was introduced by GE-Harris in the 1990s where it has become standard operating practice, and the remote locomotives being known as distributed power units (DPUs)

Still, to me it seems like a novelty on the Boston & Albany route.

Yesterday (May 23, 2019), I made my first photographs of a CSX train with a DPU working east of Palmer.

Mike Gardner and I caught Q-264 (the loaded autorack train destined to East Brookfield) from the field of Route 67 near CP79.

By B&A standards, this was an enormous train for just two modern GE diesels.

I exposed these photographs using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens.

Head-end of CSX Q264 east of Palmer, Massachusetts.
Autoracks on the roll.
Mid-train DPU working hard on the grade up to Warren.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!