Tag Archives: Boston & Maine

Morning Freight on the old Boston & Maine.

On the morning of November 14, 2018, I made these views of Pan Am Railway’s EDPO (East Deerfield to Portland, Maine manifest freight) crossing the Connecticut River as it left it’s western terminus on the old Boston & Maine Railroad Fitchburg route.

This side-lit scene benefitted from diffused directional light and a textured sky.

FujiFilm XT1 set for Velvia color profile with 18-135mm zoom lens.
FujiFilm XT1 set for Velvia color profile with 18-135mm zoom lens.

I exposed the photos using my FujiFilm XT1 and processed the RAW files to reveal maximum shadow and highlight detail while emphasizing the rich morning light.

Tracking the Light is on Auto Pilot while Brian Solomon is Traveling.

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Brian’s Visual Puzzle in THREE photos: Mystery Revealed!

Yesterday I received a correct guess to the conundrum I’d posted as Brian’s Visual Puzzle in THREE photos on July 11, 2018.

History ( and knowing that history) was key to solving the problem, since the answer wasn’t visible in any of the three photos.

To make things a bit more difficult, I didn’t caption the images, however I did offer an array of hints to assist with solving the problem.

I had several very thoughtful guesses, some of which were quite interesting.

Michael Walsh, a regular Tracking the Light viewer, was the first to submit the correct answer along with his explanation.

This is what he wrote:

I reckon the theme may be Pan Am Railways.

 The first picture shows the Pan Am building on Park Avenue in New York, which stands behind Grand Central Station. The name, colours and logo of the defunct Pan American World Airways were purchased by Guilford Rail System in 1998 and applied to their rail New England operations in 2006.

Park Avenue, New York City in December 1982 showing the Pan Am building a top Grand Central Terminal. Pan Am Railways takes its name from the old Airline.

 The third picture is of exceptional interest. It shows 1926-built combination car 16 of the Springfield Electric Railway, now preserved at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor CT. The 6.5 mile long Springfield line became a subsidiary of the Boston and Maine and was later de-electrified. In 1983, it became part of Guilford, along with the B&M.

Springfield Terminal number 16 is preserved in Connecticut. Under Guilford Springfield Terminal an important part of operations and many locomotive were letter for Springfield Terminal.

 The second picture is of North Conway station, on the Conway Scenic Railway. North Conway was near the north end of a lengthy B&M branch from Rochester NH, which connected with the Mountain Division of the Maine Central at Intervale, 7 miles beyond North Conway. The B&M branch and the MC Mountain Division were abandoned by Guilford, but some 50 miles, comprising portions of both lines, survive as the Conway Scenic Railroad.

The former Boston & Maine station at North Conway, New Hampshire. Boston & Maine and Maine Central are primary components of Pan Am Railways.

Michael’s answer is spot on: I have just one small correction and a comment; the north end of B&M’s Conway branch (pictured) was sold before Guilford acquired the B&M. I mention this because in each of the three photos, the subject predates their respective company’s role with Pan Am Railways (just to make the puzzle extra tricky).  Also, Springfield Terminal has played an important role in operations across the Guilford/Pan Am Railways system.

Thanks to everyone who submitted guesses!

Pan Am Railways has been routinely featured on Tracking the Light over the last six years.

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Pan Am Railway’s EDBF: Stone Arches and DASH8s.

Using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens, I exposed this view of Pan Am Railway’s symbol freight EDBF (East Deerfield to Bellows Falls) working the Connecticut River line at Bernardston, Massachusetts.

The early evening sun in May reaches the northside of the old stone viaduct at Bernardston.

I like the technological and geometrical contrasts of boxy General Electric diesels on the 19thcentury stone arch viaduct.

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BNSF C4s Where?!

This is about location and something unusual.

A week ago, Rich Reed, Paul Goewey and I were making a survey of Pan Am/MBTA operations around Fitchburg, Massachusetts, when we came across intermodal freight 22K stopped east of Fitchburg yard.

Driving up to the head-end, we were surprise to find that the train was led by three BNSF Railway GE diesels, with one of the ‘C4’ (model ES44C4; a six-axle/four-motor riding on a variation of the A1A truck) in the lead.

The train was stopped just west of MBTA’s North Leominster platforms to allow the morning commuter rush to pass unimpeded. This gave us ample opportunity to make photographs.

I was keen to show these BNSF locomotives (nearly 1,000 miles from home rails) operating in Boston suburban territory.

Simply photographing the train/engines really wasn’t good enough, since without some geographically identifying feature, these images could be anywhere.

While I made some close photos of the engines for the record, but I also made a point of exposing images that included station signs and other features to positively identify where we were.

Morning sun on Pan Am Southern intermodal freight 22K at North Leominster on April 20, 2018.
The big GE diesels weren’t the only thing displaying the BNSF logo in North Leominster!
Not the most graceful composition, but it shows where we are.
MBTA 406 heading to Boston’s North Station overtakes 22K at North Leominster.
As MBTA 406 accelerated away from the station, I made a photo of the trailing locomotive with the BNSF GEs beyond. MBTA operates its trains in push-pull mode (locomotive only at one end, cab control car at the other).

One the commuter rush cleared, 22K got permission to proceed and continued east toward its terminus at Ayer, Massachusetts, leading to more photographic opportunities. Stay tuned!

Admittedly not the most scenic location, but this view from the North Leominster parking garage identifies where we are.

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MBTA Gritty in Ayer.

One of MBTA’s HSP-46 diesels leads a mid-morning westward commuter train approaching its station stop in Ayer.

Making effective Midday backlit shots requires challenging photographic techniques.

In this instance, I took an elevated view, slightly over exposed Kodak Tri-X to allow for greater shadow detail while completely cropping the sky to avoid the visual distraction from excessive highlight brightness.

Image exposed on Kodak Tri-X black & white film using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens and custom processed to allow for maximum tonality.

Processing the film was my key for achieving better balance and rich tonality.

Working with Ilford ID-11, I used a  1 to 1 mix with water and lowered the recommended process time for Tri-X  from 11 minutes to 7 minutes 45 seconds (at 68.5 degrees F). This lowered the contrast and prevented excessive processing in the highlight areas.

After processing, I toned the negatives with a selenium solution, which give the highlights a slight silvery snap, just enough to make for richer tonality without blowing out all the detail.

My goal was to make the most of the reflections off the rails and the top of the train.

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Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 2: Boston & Maine east of Reynolds.

At the end of December 2017, I revisited Mechanicville, New York with an aim of making some contemporary photos at the same angles as images I’d made back in November 1984.

Then and Now comparisons are common enough, but what makes these photos significant is that I’ve exposed both the historic photos as well as the modern images  using the same type of film and equipment (a Leica IIIA with 50mm Sumitar loaded with Kodak 35mm Tri-X).

I describe my technique in the earlier post:

See: Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 1. [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5ha].

These pairs of photos show the Hansen Road Bridge east of Reynolds, New York, which is just a couple of miles from XO Tower at Mechanicville. In the 1984 views, my friends and I were following an eastward Boston & Maine train.

Back then the B&M route was much busier than it is today, although the line still carries a good share of freight.

Double track from Mechanicville extended east to an interlocking (which I believe was called ‘Schneiders’) east of Reynolds and near Schaghticoke. The main tracks were grade separated on approach to the interlocking, which made this a distinctive location.

Maine Central 252 leads an eastward Boston & Maine freight at Hansen Road east of Reynolds, New York. Exposed on Kodak Tri-X with a Leica IIIA with 50mm Sumitar. November 1984.
Comparison view on  December 29,  2017 also with a Leica IIIA, 50mm Sumitar and exposed on Tri-X. Sorry there’s no MEC GP38 in this view! (You’ll need to visit the Conway Scenic to see that). The other main track was lifted in the early 1990s after a decline in freight traffic on the B&M route.
Trailing view from Hansen Road, November 1984. The open top auto racks really date the photo.
Comparison view from Hansen Road on December 29, 2017. The trees have really grown up in the last three decades.

In the 33 year interval between photos, the Hansen Road bridge was replaced, which slightly alters the angle for photography.

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Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 1.

Back in the mid-1980s, my friends and I made trips to Mechanicville, New York where the adjacent Boston & Maine and Delaware & Hudson yards lent to lots of action and a great variety of diesel locomotives.

The yard was an early casualty of Guilford’s short lived consolidation of B&M and D&H operations. By 1986 the yard was a ghost town.

In more recent times a small portion of the yards were redeveloped for intermodal and auto-rack facilities, but very little of the sprawling trackage remains

In December, I returned to Mechanicville with a Leica IIIA and Sumitar loaded with Kodak Tri-X in an effort to recreate the angles of photos I exposed in November 1984 using the same camera/film combination.

To aid this exercise, I scanned my old negatives and uploaded these to my iPhone. The viewfinder of the Leica IIIA presents difficulties as this is just a tiny window and not well suited to precision composition. (Topic for another day).

Also complicating my comparisons was the fresh layer of snow in the 2017 views.

In some places the only points of reference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ views are the electrical lines crossing the yard.

Horizontal view from November 24, 1984. An eastward B&M freight is about to cross the diamond with Maine Central 252 in the lead.
Nearly the same angle in December 29, 2017.
November 24, 1984.
December 29, 2017 at the same location.
Delaware & Hudson C-420 406 crossed Viall Avenue in Mechanicville, New York on November 24, 1984.
Looking east at Viall Avenue on December 29, 2017. Note the change of grade crossing signals.

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Boston & Maine Station—Eagle Bridge, New York on December 27, 2017.

Yesterday was pretty frosty when I arrived at Eagle Bridge, New York.

I was just passing though, but made time to expose these photos. Not a wheel was turning, so I made these atmospheric images of the derelict Boston & Maine station and environs, demonstrating that you can make interesting railroad photos without a train.

Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1

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Grain Train! Drama Along the Millers River.

The old Boston & Maine Railroad’s Fitchburg route hugs the Millers River east of Millers Falls as it ascends toward Erving and Athol.

Last week, Paul Goewey and I followed Pan Am’s slow moving eastward unit grain train destined for Ayer, Massachusetts. This had been delayed by telemetry communication problems with its tail end.

A radio telemetry unit is used in place of a caboose on most North American freight trains. This communicates air pressure information relating to the air brake system, and can allow the engineer to set train brakes from the rear end in event of an emergency.

Four former CSX GE-built DASH8-40Cs were leading the train.

We set up near Farley’s, located at a grade crossing a few miles timetable west of Erving, where I made these photos of the train working the grade.

Back-lighted conditions accentuated the drama of the ascent by illuminating the locomotive exhaust.

Telephoto view: Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.
Wide-angle perspective from the same vantage point. Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.
Sneaky tip: we removed a few wayward branches from the foreground of the scene prior to arrival of the train to minimize unwanted visual distractions in the composition of our photos.

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Boston & Maine Railroad in the 1980s; Working with some Underexposed Photos.

In March 1984, I borrowed my father’s Rolleiflex Model T and exposed a roll of 120-size Ektachrome of Boston & Maine freights in the Connecticut River Valley.

The Rollei was an old camera and there was nothing electronic on it. Setting the camera was entirely up to the photographer. I was still in high school and my skills at using a hand-held light meter were less than perfect.

In short, the combined effect of snow on the ground and my lack of experience left me with some seriously underexposed medium format transparencies.

Scanning lightened the photos significantly, yet the results still demonstrate my failure to expose properly. To make for a more pleasing images I needed to adjust exposure and contrast in post processing. However it was important to scan the transparencies in such a way as to capture as much information as possible.

I was disappointed with my results and left the uncut film in the box that it was returned to me from the lab. I left them there for 33 years and only re-discovered them a few weeks ago. (Try that with your digital photos. No actually, don’t try that!).

With the technology now at hand I decided to see what I could do to make these photos presentable despite serious underexposure (suffering from receiving insufficient light).

Working with an Epson V750 flatbed scanner, I scanned the transparencies (positive color film) using VueScan 9×64 (version 9.5.91) software.

Scanning, like photography, is an art and I’ve found to make the most effective scans often requires a bit of knowledge and skill.

I’ve worked with both the Epson and VueScan software, and while both produce excellent results, for this effort I chose VueScan because it allowed me greater control of the scanning process.

To extract more information from these difficult photos, I opted to make multi-pass scans, which do a better job of capturing detail in high-lights and shadows. The software combines the data in the final file.

This is a screen shot of the VueScan work window. Notice the histogram at the left. This shows the distribution of data in the image relative to highlights, middle areas and shadows. The graph thus indicates that too much of the data is toward the shadow end, thus the unfortunate effect of gross underexposure.
This is the input control window. Notice that I’ve selected to make a multiples scan with three samples. This gathers greater amounts of information from the image than a single pass scan. While not necessarily immediately evident to the naked eye, this provides a base with which to adjust the photograph in post processing. In other words I’ll lighten the image after scanning, but want to retain as much detail as possible.

Once scanned, I then imported the Tif files into Lightroom for post processing adjustments. The photos presented here are scaled from the original tif files (which are far too large for internet presentation).

Here’s the lightened scan after scaling for internet presentation. Keep in mind that original transparencies are nearly opaque.

The results are not perfect, but vastly superior to the muddy, dense original chromes.

To allow you to better understand how I’ve set up the scanner with the VueScan software, I’ve included screen shots (above) of the various sub-menus which show the various options and parameters I used.

There is more than one way to make a scan, and I’m sure if I continue to play with these chromes I may get an even better result. However, I have thousands of photographs that need scanning, and I’m limited to 24 hours a day.

For more on VueScan see: www.hamrick.com

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Sunburst on the Boston & Maine.

Alternatively, I could call this Tracking the Light post, ‘28N at Millers Falls.’

Whichever you like.

So what do you do in a situation where a train is coming directly out of the midday sun?

You could

1) give up.

2) go for a sandwich.

3) take up plane spotting.

4) all of the above.

Or you can try something different.

The other day at Millers Falls, Massachusetts I exposed these views looking timetable west on the old Boston & Maine. Train 28N is an eastward autorack destined for Ayer, Massachusetts.

Using a super wide-angle 12mm Zeiss Touit, I set the aperture to the smallest setting (f22), which produces a sunburst effect. To make the most of this effect, I positioned an autumn branch between the camera and the sun.

12mm Zeiss Touit, ISO 800, f22 at 1/125th of a second.

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Pan Am Southern at Buckland—Pick the best of three Photographs.

Earlier this month, I exposed these three views of Pan Am Southern’s autorack train 287 working westward at Buckland, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg route.

The color view is a digital photo made with my FujiFilm XT1. This is Jpg using the in-camera Velvia color profile, which I scaled for presentation here, but otherwise left it unmodified in regards to color, contrast, saturation etc.

The black & white photographs are film images, exposed with a Leica IIIA fitted with a 1940s-vintage Nikkor screw mount 35mm lens. I used Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) processed in D76 (1 to 1 with water) and toned in selenium for improved highlights.

Telephoto view made digitally with a FujiFilm XT.
Wide-angle view exposed on black & white film.
No locomotive in this black & white photo. Is it always important to feature the locomotives?

I like to work with multiple cameras. I have my favorite of the three photos. Do you have your favorites?

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Volcano at Keets Road—Pan Am Railway’s Connecticut River Freight.

Last week, Mike Gardner and I positioned ourselves at Keets Road south of Greenfield, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Connecticut River Line.

Pan Am Railway’s symbol freight EDPL (East Deerfield Yard to Plainville, Connecticut) had departed East Deerfield and was idling on the Deerfield Loop track waiting to head south.

Finally, the train received the signal to proceed and began its southward trek. In the lead was GP40 352, one of several Pan Am diesels equipped with cab-signal equipment for operation over Amtrak south of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Once on the Connecticut River mainline the engineer opened the throttle to accelerate and his locomotives erupted with an dramatic display of noise and effluence.

Here are two of the views I exposed; a color view made digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm f2.0 fixed telephoto lens, and a black & white view exposed with a Leica on Kodak Tri-X.

Pan Am Railways symbol freight EDPL approaches Keets Road crossing on the Connecticut River Line south of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
A closer view that I exposed using a Leica IIIa fitted with a 21mm Super Angulon wide angle lens. Kodak Tri-X black & white negative film, processed by hand in a special mix of Ilford Perceptol developer (mixed 1 to 1 with water) for 8 minutes at 68F, and then following stop, fix and rinse,  the negative was toned with a selenium solution (1 part to 9 with water) for 7 minutes, rewash, dried and scanned on a Epson V750Pro flatbed electronic scanner.

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Overcast Afternoon at East Deerfield—June 29, 2017.

This is the third in my series of farewell posts on the famed East Deerfield ‘Railfan’s Bridge.’

The McClelland Farm Road bridge over the Boston & Maine tracks at the west end of East Deerfield Yard (near Greenfield, Massachusetts) has been a popular place to photograph trains since the steam era. Work has begun to replace this old span with a new bridge to be located about 40 feet further west.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve exposed a disproportionate number of photos here. Yet, it has remained a good place for railroad photography for several logical reasons:

It’s at a hub; because of the bridge’s location at the west-end of Pan Am Railway’s East Deerfield yard, there tends to be a lot of action and opportunities to witness trains here. While waiting along the line can become tiresome, if not tedious, but there’s often something about to happen at East Deerfield.

The location above crossovers at the throat to the yard, this combined with yard leads and engine house tracks, plus the junction with the Deerfield Loop (that connects with the Connecticut River Line) west of the bridge make for some fascinating track work.

Elevation is always a plus.

There’s ample parking nearby.

The light in early morning and late evening here can be excellent. I’ve made some wonderful fog photos here, as well countless morning and evening glint shots. How about blazing foggy glint? Yep done that here too. And about ten days ago I got a rainbow.

The afternoon of June 29, 2017 was dull and overcast. Mike Gardner and I had arrived in pursuit of Pan Am Southern’s symbol freight 28N (carrying autoracks and JB Hunt containers). We’d also heard that its counterpart 287 (empty autoracks from Ayer, Massachusetts) was on its way west.

As it happened the two trains met just east of the bridge.

I exposed a series of black & white photos on Kodak Tri-X using a Leica IIIa with 21mm Super Angulon lens, while simultaneously working in digitally color with my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm lens.

Photographer Mike Gardner on the famed ‘Railfans Bridge’ at East Deerfield.
Pan Am Southern’s symbol freight 28N with a Crescent Cab approaches East Deerfield Yard.
Auto racks roll under McClelland Farm Road at East Deerfield West.
Pan Am Southern 28N (left) meets its counterpart, symbol freight 287 at East Deerfield yard.
One of the attractions of the East Deerfield bridge is the action.

Too many photos here? Undoubtedly. But I bet they age well. Especially when the old vantage point has finally been demolished.

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Old Tracks Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light is Brian Solomon’s daily blog focused on the nuts and bolts of Railway Photography.

Today’s post explores the former Boston & Maine yard at Shelburne Falls (technically Buckland, but I’ll let the pundits argue that privately), now home to the modest Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. See: http://sftm.org

Last week Mike Gardner visited the site to make photographs of Pan Am Railway’s eastward autorack train symbol 28N. While waiting, I exposed a few views of the disused yard tracks parallel to the old Boston & Maine, now Pan Am, mainline.

Kodak Tri-X processed in Ilford Perceptol 1-1 with water for 8 minutes at 70F, then toned in Selenium for 7 minutes. Negatives rinsed, washed, dried and scanned in color using an Epson V750 Pro.

Pan Am Southern symbol freight 28N at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

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June Morning Sun at Ayer.

June can be a challenging time to make photographs. There can be wonderful rich sun for couple of hours in the morning, and again in the evening, while during the day high-light presents difficulties with contrast and deep shadows. (Topics for future posts)

Last week, Rich Reed, Paul Goewey, Felix Legere and I arrived at Ayer, Massachusetts in good morning light.

MBTA and Pan Am Railways kept us busy for a little while. And I made these images using my FujiFilm X-T1.

I gauge my digital exposure using the camera’s histogram (a graph displayed in-camera that shows pixel distribution), and as a result I aim to capture the maximum amount of data by balancing the highlight and shadow areas.

If need be I can then adjust the exposure and contrast in post processing to make for the most visually appealing image without sacrificing the amount data captured

I’ve listed my exposures below each photo to provide a frame of reference.

The old Boston & Maine Ayer Tower is a relic of former times. The containers at left comprise the water train that comes down on Pan Am from Maine. ISO 400 exposed at f7.1 at 1/500.
MBTA train 1400 from Wachusett approaches its station stop at Ayer. ISO 400 exposed at f9.0 at 1/500. I’ve stopped down (reduced the exposure) by 1/2 stop to compensate for the reflective surface at the front of the MBTA train.
MBTA train 1400 is back lit at Ayer. Locomotive 2000, an HSP46, works at the back of the consist. Exposed at ISO 400 f9.0 1/500. Working with the camera RAW file, I’ve adjusted highlight and shadows in post processing to make for a better balanced image. (Lightened shadow areas and darkened highlights within the control  parameters as necessary to prevent a lost of data in the final image; excessive changes to the exposure will clip highlight or shadow areas and result in less information being displayed in the processed image).
Pan Am Railways is operating some former CSX GE-Built DASH8-40Cs in road freight service. A pair of these locomotives lead symbol freight EDPO (East Deerfield to Portland) out of Ayer’s Hill Yard on the east leg of the Ayer wye. The light gray building to the left of the train and the shadow it creates makes for a difficult exposure situation. ISO 400 f10 at 1/500th of a second.
ISO 400 f10 at 1/500th of a second. Although this image is a scaled version of the in-camera JPG, by working with the RAW file, I could have lightened the shadow area to the left of the locomotive to reveal more detail. I’ve opted not to do this however.

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Hidden Treasure: 19th Century Stone Arch over Stony Brook.

It always surprises me when I find some vestige of former times that I’ve managed to overlook.

Last week my on the advice of Felix Legere, we explored the old Nashua, Acton & Boston Railroad right of way near Forge Village east of Ayer, Massachusetts.

This 24-mile 19th century railroad was among the lines melded into the Boston & Maine system. In 1875, it carried three passenger trains daily between Nashua and Concord Junction. Near Forge Village it crossed the Stony Brook railroad and a trolley line on an overpass.

The NA&B was an early casualty of Boston & Maine retrenchment and abandoned about 1925.

Today, part of the right of way is maintained as Tom Paul Rail Trail. Felix led our expedition to the railroad’s vintage stone arch bridge over Stony Brook (for which the Stony Brook Railroad was named).

Bridge over Stony Brook. Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using a 50mm Summitar.
Looking east.
View made with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

I made the color photos with my FujiFilm X-T1, and the black & white with a Leica IIIa with 50mm Summitar lens.

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Railroad Station at Bellows Falls, Vermont.

Three freight railroads, plus Amtrak share the tracks at Bellows Falls. Yet on the morning of my visit last week not a wheel was turning.

I worked with the cosmic morning light to make a few photos of the old station building and the railway environment.

Not all great railway photos need trains. And Tracking the Light is more about the process of making railway photos than simply the execution of ‘great train pictures’.

Fog and sun; Those specks in the sky are birds.

For these images I worked with my Lumix LX7 (color digital photos) and a Leica 3a with screw-mount 35mm focal length Nikkor lens (black & white photos exposed on Kodak Tri-X and processed in Ilford Perceptol).

 

I have my favorites. Can you guess which these are?

 

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Evening Sun, Southward Freight and a Signal Lesson.

Two weeks ago, my friend Tim and I made photos of Pan Am Railway’s EDPL crossing the Connecticut River at Holyoke, Massachusetts.

A short history: Back in 1982, Conrail spun off some New England routes, including a group of former New Haven Railroad lines in Connecticut. Providence & Worcester and Boston & Maine were among the lines that picked up former Conrail routes.

A vestige of this acquisition, is Pan Am Railway’s (which operates the old Boston & Maine) East Deerfield, Massachusetts to Plainville, Connecticut freight.

Since this Pan Am freight works over Amtrak’s cab signal equipped Springfield-Hartford-New Haven line, the leading locomotive must be fitted with cab signal equipment on that portion of the run.

Since Pan Am only has a few locomotives so fitted (including MEC 352 seen trailing in this view), so today’s train was led by (leased or borrowed?) Providence & Worcester GP38-2 2009 that has the necessary cab signaling (installed for use on P&W’s North East Corridor freight assignments.)

This has been a common occurrence in recent years. Significantly, P&W has been acquired by the Genesee & Wyoming family, and it will be interesting to see how much longer locomotives will operate in the older P&W livery.

Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm pancake lens.

For the record: this photo was made on former Boston & Maine trackage, which is not cab-signal equipped. (Cab signal territory will begin about a dozen miles to the south of this location, once on Amtrak trackage)

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Pan Am Southern’s Boston & Maine at Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Last week, on my way to Greenfield, Massachusetts, I learned there were a pair of westward freights heading over the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg route.

Pan Am’s EDRJ (East Deerfield to Rotterdam Junction) was nearly ready to depart East Deerfield yard, while empty autorack train symbol 287 (coming from Ayer, Massachusetts) was to run around it and proceed west first.

I opted for a different angle, deciding to make photos from the passenger platform built to serve Amtrak’s Vermonter in 2014.

I made these views with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with 18-135mm zoom lens.

Thin morning cloud/haze helped soften the effects of backlighting at this location.

Pan Am symbol freight 287 works west at Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Wide angle view; Pan Am symbol freight 287 works west at Greenfield, Massachusetts.
About 20 minutes after 287, Pan Am’s EDRJ came into view. In the lead are two of the former CSX GE-built Dash8-40Cs. I made this view to show more of the environment, including the chain-link fence by the passenger platform.
Wide view of EDRJ.
Nice shade of blue on Pan Am painted EMD diesels. Wouldn’t the GE Dash8-40Cs look nice in this paint?

Subtle control in post processing can really make a difference.

These images were adapted from the camera RAW files. I adjusted shadow contrast among other small changes to further balance for backlighting.

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Pan Am Panned—Office Car Special at Speed.

There’s nothing like a carefully executed panned photograph to convey a train at speed.

I’ve covered the panning technique a number of times on Tracking the Light; essentially this accomplished by using a comparatively slow shutter speed (in this situation I chose 1/60th of a second) and moving the camera with the subject as it passes through a scene.

The real trick is maintain smooth full-body motion and continue to pan after the shutter is released. Novice pan photographers often violate this rule and stop panning the moment they release the shutter, which tends to result in badly blurred photos.

Yesterday (May 18, 2017) I was traveling with Tim, a friend and fellow photographer, who suggested this location at North Hatfield, Massachusetts on the former Boston & Maine Connecticut River line.

Rather than make a conventional image, I opted for a series of panned views, of which this is but one in a sequence.

Exposed at 1/60th of a second using a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with f2.0 90mm lens.

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Whose Railroad is this?

An old favorite photo location is the Connecticut River bridge at East Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Earlier this month, photographer Mike Gardner and I caught two freights crossing this traditional span within just a few minutes of each other.

The first was eastward autorack train symbol 28T operating to Ayer, Massachusetts with Norfolk Southern locomotives. A few minutes later, Pan Am freight POED (Portland to East Deerfield) worked west with recently acquired former CSX General Electric DASH8-40Cs.

Autorack (Norfolk Southern symbol 28T) works east across the Connecticut River. Exposed using a Lumix LX-7. RAW file modified for contrast and color using Lightroom.
Pan Am’s POED with former CSX DASH8-40C diesels. Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Pan Am’s POED with former CSX DASH8-40C diesels. Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Historically this was the Boston & Maine’s Fitchburg line; B&M was melded into the Guilford system in the 1980s and in the mid-2000s . Today, Pan Am and Norfolk Southern are partners in operating Boston & Maine lines west of Ayer as Pan Am Southern.

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Boston & Maine GP18 at White River Junction, January 25, 1986.

I exposed this view of Boston & Maine GP18 1753 using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar on Kodachrome 64.

The  light was diffused by a thin layer of high cloud, which made for a relatively low-contrast scene.

This batch of K64 had a magenta bias resulting in a pinkish hue to the snow and sky.

This is a scaled JPG from my hi-res scan of the original Kodachrome slide. I did not make changes to alter the appearance of the scan. Compare this image with the variation below.

Using Lightroom, I made several adjustments to scan. By altering the contrast, color temperature and color balance, I produced a JPG file that I feel has a more natural looking image—at least as it appears on my computer screen.

This screen shot of the Lightroom work-window shows the positions of the various sliders that I used to adjust image contrast, exposure, color temperature and color balance.
Here’s the improved image, which reflects the adjusts implemented in Lightroom.

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Dusk at the Hoosac Tunnel

It was a damp and foggy evening at East Portal. Mike Gardner and I arrived as the final glow of daylight was beginning to fade. The rich blue glow of dusk lasts but a few minutes.

A Pan Am train was working its way west. I had visions of capturing the old searchlight signals lit after the train passed. But this was not to be.

I made this sequence of images with my FujiFilm X-T1 mounted on a tripod. The Hoosac Tunnel is behind me.

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Eagle Bridge, New York—120-size Views in January 2017.

The little town of Eagle Bridge is a eerily fascinating place.

Here the old Boston & Maine station survives as a relic, complete with the mast for the old train order signal.

At Eagle Bridge the Battenkill Railroad’s former Delaware & Hudson line connects with Pan Am Southern’s Boston & Maine route via a steeply graded junction. The old station sits between the tracks.

I made these views the other day using my Rollei Model T (with Zeiss Tessar lens) loaded with Fomapan Classic (ISO 100).

I processed the film with a Jobo processing machine and Kodak D76 (mixed 1 to 1 with water) as my primary developer. For added shadow detail, presoaked the film in water-bath mixed with a drop of Kodak HC110.

This was the first time I tried Fomapan 100 in the 120 size format (the Rollei makes 2 1/4 inch square images). These negatives demonstrate great detail, but they needed some nominal adjustment in post processing using Lightroom to manipulate contrast/exposure.

All things being equal I like my chemical process to yield negatives that don’t require post–processing adjustments. However, that level of refinement usually requires a bit of experimentation when using an unfamiliar emulsion type.

Pan Am Southern/Norfolk Southern empty auto rack train 287 was parked at Eagle Bridge. In the lead is Norfolk Souther’s Virginian Heritage locomotive.

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Pan Am Railways’ ‘New’ DASH8-40Cs.

Back in 1989, the DASH8-40C was the latest offering from General Electric. In April that year, I photographed some glistening Conrail units at Buffalo’s Bison Yard. Some months later I was delighted to catch a freshly painted CSX DASH8-40C working on the old Baltimore & Ohio at Deshler, Ohio.

Fast forward to 2017; reports of Pan Am’s recent acquisition of 20 former CSX DASH8-40Cs has interested New England railroad observers. I’ll admit, I find it strange that these locomotives causing such a stir.

On Thursday January 5, 2017, fellow photographer Mike Gardner and I visited Pan Am’s East Deerfield Yard (located near Greenfield, Massachusetts).

Upon our arrival, we saw road freight EDRJ (East Deerfield to Rotterdam Junction) getting ready for its westward journey. In the lead was a pair of the ‘New’ DASH8-40Cs.

I learned that this was the first run of these locomotives since arriving on Pan Am a few days earlier. Not to waste an opportunity we geared up for some photography.

And, yes, among the trains we photographed that day was EDRJ (always a favorite train to catch on the scenic westend of the old Boston & Maine). We followed it all the way to Eagle Bridge, New York, ‘new’ GEs in the lead.

Below are a few of the photos I made using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera. While we made the most of these old ‘new’ locomotives, in truth we probably would have photographed Pan Am’s EDRJ regardless of its motive power.

Still, I’ll be keen to see these old goats painted in Pan Am blue and white.

DASH8-40Cs glint in the morning sun at East Deerfield Yard.
EDRJ works upgrade along the Deerfield River at Zoar, Massachusetts.
EDRJ ambles along near Pownal, Vermont.
Sun and clouds color the sky near North Pownal, Vermont.

Approaching Petersburg Junction near the New York-Vermont state line.

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Boston & Maine, Brattleboro, on this day 31 Years Ago.

My Leica was loaded with Kodachrome 64 on December 28, 1985. I was traveling with Brandon Delaney. First we photographed Boston & Maine local freight ED-4, seen here just north of the Brattleboro yard.

31 years ago today; December 28, 1985.

Later in the day we caught road freight CPED coming down from it’s interchange with Canadian Pacific. This was a big freight led by 5 or 6 GPs and we followed it all the way to East Deerfield yard.

K64 was an excellent film, but tended to have a magenta bias, as evident in this wintery view. Also, I found that the sky tended to reproduce a bit lighter than other films. By mid-1986, I’d largely switched to K25 for my color work.

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Lost Negative File—Boston & Maine at Keene, New Hampshire.

Back in the summer of 1981, I took a Sunday drive with my family. Route 32 bisects Monson, Massachusetts, having come north from New London, Connecticut. On this day, we decided to follow this road north as far as it goes, which brought us to Keene, New Hampshire.

On the way we stopped in Ware and a few other towns.

At Keene, I was fascinated by the Boston & Maine SW1 laying idle in the old yard. At one time, decades earlier, Keene had been a been a B&M hub.

By the time I made these photos, Keene was effectively the end of branch served from the Connecticut River Line at Brattleboro, Vermont via Dole Junction.

Not long after this visit, B&M conveyed operations to the Green Mountain Railroad. Business was sparse and by the mid-1980s operations were discontinued altogether.

Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Film processed in Kodak Microdol-X.
Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Film processed in Kodak Microdol-X.
Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Film processed in Kodak Microdol-X.
Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Film processed in Kodak Microdol-X.

I wonder what this scene looks like today?

For years I also wondered what happened to these photographs. I recalled making them, but searches through my negatives failed to locate them. Admittedly my early photographs lacked logical organization.

Finally I found them in the ‘BIG BOX’ of missing negatives located last week.

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Boston & Maine GP18 at Ayer, Massachusetts.

It was a spirited chase; the day was fine and we made many photos.

But, was it really more than 31 years ago that my friends and I followed an extra freight, symbol EDLA from Erving to Ayer? (That was an East Deerfield to Lawrence, Massachusetts train, which  my notes show as an ‘EDLA-X’, but I’m not sure I have that down right.)

Even in 1985, catching a GP18-GP9-GP18 leading a freight on the old Fitchburg was considered a prize.

The Boston & Maine GP18s are long gone, but a few of the old GP9s are still knocking around.

My dad had lent me his Leica M4 and some lenses. On February 17, 1985. I exposed this image on Ilford FP4 at the East Wye in Ayer—after the freight had made its drop to the Hill Yard.
My dad had lent me his Leica M4 and some lenses. On February 17, 1985. I exposed this image on Ilford FP4 at the East Wye in Ayer—after the freight had made its drop to the Hill Yard.

Recently, I scanned this negative using my Epson V600. I processed the file in Lightroom and cleaned up some of the dust spots.

Something to ponder: later that evening, symbol freight POPY (Portland to Potomac Yard) went west with D&H Alco C-420s in the lead.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Pan Am Executive F’s executed in Black & White.

Here’s another view from productive day last month photographing Pan Am Railway’s Office Car Special in the snow.

I made this view with my Canon EOS-3 on HP5 at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

It is an old school technique to capture a traditional looking train.

PAR-1 kicks up the snow on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg line at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts on the afternoon of February 15, 2016. Exposed on HP5 black & white film, processed with Kodak HC-110 and scanned with an Epson V600 flatbed scanner.
PAR-1 kicks up the snow on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg line at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts on the afternoon of February 15, 2016. Exposed on HP5 black & white film, processed with Kodak HC-110 and scanned with an Epson V600 flatbed scanner. This view is full-frame (without cropping or contrast alteration in post-processing)

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Tracking the Light Special: Pan Am Railways Office Car Special (OCS)—February 15, 2015.

It seems like every time I board a plane for far away shores the Pan Am office car special sneaks out.

Not this year!

Yesterday, February 15, 2016, I had the rare opportunity to catch Pam Am Railways vintage FP9s on the roll. The trip was working east from Mechanicville, New York on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg line.

Pan Am Railways' office car special works east at Eagle Bridge on February 15, 2016. We'll have to wait for the broadside view. That's on Fujichrome!
Pan Am Railways’ office car special works east at Eagle Bridge on February 15, 2016. We’ll have to wait for the broadside view; it’s on Fujichrome! (film). Incidentally, I’ve applied the Lee graduated neutral density filter technique to this image. There’s just a touch of filtration at the top of the frame. (See last week’s Battenkill post for details. And just to tie the posts together, the tracks in the foreground are Battenkill’s.

Working with three cameras, I made dozens of images. The latent gem is the F’s broadside passing the old Eagle Bridge, New York station.

Until last week, I hadn’t visited Eagle Bridge in years. Now I’ve been there twice in less than a week. Funny how that works.

Pan Am's OCS at North Pownal, Vermont. The temperature was a balmy 22 degrees F. Warm!
Pan Am’s OCS at North Pownal, Vermont. The temperature was a balmy 22 degrees F. Warm!
A reported broken rail near Soapstone had the train moving at walking pace.
A reported broken rail near Soapstone had the train moving at walking pace.
Electro-Motive F-units are great to pan. 1/60th of second gives the sense of motion while retaining a sense of place.
Electro-Motive F-units are great to pan. 1/60th of second gives the sense of motion while retaining a sense of place.

All the photos here were exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. Contrast and saturation were nominally adjusted in Lightroom.

Tracking the Displays New Material Every Day!

Brian’s Blue Diesel Distraction: Pan Am Railways SD45.

Sometimes it helps not to plan too hard. With the sun at our backs we headed out on the open road aiming to find our subject, but situations change, information is imperfect, and unexpected opportunities present themselves.

Tuesday February 9, 2016 wasn’t a day I’d expected to be  making photos. But when at the last minute the task set for the day was postponed and the weather forecast improved, suddenly I had an opportunity to spend the day with cameras in hand.

A snowplow clearing the drive woke me up. I rang my old friend Paul Goewey to see if he was keen on a day’s photography and soon we were on the road.

My thoughts were to head toward Brattleboro, Vermont to intercept New England Central’s job 611, the southward freight to Palmer, Massachusetts.

However, all we knew was that at 8 am it hadn’t departed Brattleboro yard.

Driving north I made a spontaneous decision to divert and instead drove to Pan Am Railway’s East Deerfield Yard. After arriving we heard of an EDRJ (East Deerfield to Rotterdam Junction) that was being prepared for its westward journey.

Pan Am's EDRJ lurked at East Deerfield. The prospect of a day long westward chase across the Boston & Maine's Fitchburg Line reminded me of olden times. But would the train depart promptly? Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan Am’s EDRJ lurked at East Deerfield. The prospect of a day long westward chase across the Boston & Maine’s Fitchburg Line reminded me of olden times. But would the train depart promptly? Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.

So much for our quest of the New England Central.

While we waited for EDRJ to be organized, Pan Am’s POED (Portland to East Deerfield) arrived with a consist of seven EMD diesels.

Pan Am's POED with a monster consist; seven locomotives all old EMDs. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan Am’s POED with a monster consist; seven locomotives all old EMDs. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.

Finally, EDRJ was ready to go.
The sun was out, there was a blue SD45 in the lead (well its was a locomotive that had once been a proper SD45) and we had plenty of daylight. I anticipated following the train all the way to the Mohawk Valley.

Finally, about 11:22 am, Pan Am Railway's EDRJ was on the move with a handsome SD45 in the lead (yes yes, I know, this locomotive no longer has its 20-cylinder diesel. But it sure looks nice!). Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Finally, about 11:22 am, Pan Am Railway’s EDRJ was on the move with a handsome SD45 in the lead (yes yes, I know, this locomotive no longer has its 20-cylinder diesel. But it sure looks nice!). Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan_Am_EDRJ_East_Deerfield_DSCF0897
The one caveat was that today’s EDRJ had only two cars. Not the monster freight that I’d expect of Pan AM. Yet, a small consist meant that the train was likely to make good time. Plus it had a pickup at Hoosick Junction and as they say; ‘it is what it is.’
EDRJ catches the sun crossing a field freshly covered with snow near Buckland, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
EDRJ catches the sun crossing a field freshly covered with snow near Buckland, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
The road to Zoar was in better shape than I expected. Here EDRJ works west.
The road to Zoar was in better shape than I expected. Here EDRJ works west.
A few minutes earlier EDRJ had met an eastward train at Soapstone. We opted to continue following EDRJ. I expected to reach the Mohawk Valley by dusk. Such was not the case though, as soon we had another distraction!
A few minutes earlier EDRJ had met an eastward train at Soapstone. We opted to continue following EDRJ. I expected to reach the Mohawk Valley by dusk. Such was not the case though, as soon we had another distraction!

So further and further west we went. Later we found a fortuitous surprise.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our lucky Tuesday prize—handed to us like a birthday cake. Silver stars for going out; gold stars for persistence!

 

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Railroad Photography Tip: Signal Warning, Old Heads Fading Fast—ten original photos.

Searchlights at Ayer.
Searchlights at Ayer.

At one time the Boston & Maine was a poster child for the General Railway Signal Company.

These days some of the old GRS searchlight signals remain but they are rapidly disappearing.

Here’s a railroad photography tip: catch the old signals while you can, they are fading fast, and soon they will be gone.

I’ve issued this signal warning before, and I’ll do it again.

Over the last month, I exposed these photos along the old B&M in the vicinity of Ayer, Massachusetts. These railroad photos are intended as more of a record, than as active illustrations of the old signals.

Looking east at Ayer, Massachusetts.
Looking east at Ayer, Massachusetts.
In many places B&M searchlights are approach lit, in others they are continuously lit, such as here in Ayer.
In many places B&M searchlights are approach lit, in others they are continuously lit, such as here in Ayer.

Searchlights_in_Ayer_DSCF7481

B&M was among railroads that used staggered heads for intermediate signals. Notice the use of both the traditional 'G' plate and the more recent 'D' plate.
B&M was among railroads that used staggered heads for intermediate signals. Notice the use of both the traditional ‘G’ plate and the more recent ‘D’ plate.

Check out my book; Classic Railroad Signals published this year by Voyageur Press. Also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets.

The searchlight style of signal was developed more than 90 years ago. It has been out of favor for new installations for more than two decades.
The searchlight style of signal was developed more than 90 years ago. It has been out of favor for new installations for more than two decades.
High green! (There's a train coming).
High green! (There’s a train coming).
Fallen soldiers.
Fallen soldiers.

Old_searchlight_heads_P1340924

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Check out my book; Classic Railroad Signals published this year by Voyageur Press. Also available through AmazonBarnes & Noble and other outlets.

 

Historic Relic; old Railway Station at Holden, Massachusetts.

One hundred and thirty five years ago, the railway station was key to many communities commerce and communications. It offered the connection to the world.

My 1880 Official Guide is a window on the past. The Boston, Barre & Gardner Railroad (among the companies later melded into the Boston & Maine network) schedule lists three trains a day in each direction stopping at Holden, Massachusetts.

Trains ran from Worcester to Winchendon stopping at Holden at 8:28 am, 4:15 pm, and 7 pm, and Winchendon to Worcester  at 9:06 am, 1:22 pm, and 7 pm.

Obviously based on this schedule, there was a planned meet between northward and southward trains at the station.

In its heyday, back in 1880 Holden was an important station. It served as a telegraph office and as a transfer point for stagecoaches to Rutland (Massachusetts).

Today the old station is but a relic, the vestige of another time. Its train order signal is no longer part of the rules of operation; and the last passenger train passed in 1953. Yet the railroad remains active.

The old Boston & Maine station at Holden is a reminder of earlier times. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
The old Boston & Maine station at Holden is a reminder of earlier times. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Providence & Worcester’s freights connect with Pan Am Railways/Pan Am Southern at Gardner and this has developed as a route for the movement of new automobiles and ethanol moving via the port of Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence & Worcester's southward freight symbol GRWO shakes the walls of the old station. Don't wait here for a 4-4-0 with combine coach on the 4:15 pm train to Winchendon. (It doesn't run any more).
Providence & Worcester’s southward freight symbol GRWO shakes the walls of the old station. Don’t wait here for a 4-4-0 with combine coach on the 4:15 pm train to Winchendon. (It doesn’t run any more).

My book, Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals features a variety of railway stations in New England, across America and around the world. It was published by Voyageur Press this year and is available from Amazon and other outlets.

Tracking the Light posts Original Content!

 

 

 

 

Pan Am’s Fresh Blue Diesels Work West at Shirley—November 18, 2015.

Tracking the Light on the roll!

We were heading for Ayer. We’d heard some non-descript chatter on the radio about Pan Am’s POED (Portland to East Deerfield). I had the MBTA schedules on my lap. The sun was shining brightly.

Bob Arnold was driving, Paul Goewey was riding shotgun, and I was in the back.

“There’s freight cars moving west!”

“It’s the POED, turn around”.

“The new SD40-2s are in the lead!”

These were the coolest engines in New England as this moment in time, and they’d handily presented themselves in nice light.

Our opportunity was narrow and before long we were saddled with waddler (a slow moving car that impeded our forward progress). However, the freight was only ambling up the grade, and we began to overtake it.

I rolled down my window, set my FujiFilm X-T1 to ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high) with a 1/60th of a second shutter speed to ensure the effect of movement, and made bursts of images of the shinny blue engines on the move.

Art of the pace: Bob was driving so I leaned from the rear passenger window and exposed a series of images. By selecting a slower shutter speed I was able to convey motion. He's a secret: although the pacing action resulted in most of the ground blur, I was also panning back to keep the locomotives sharp and had my image stabilization 'on'. This takes practice.
Art of the pace: Bob was driving so I leaned from the rear passenger window and exposed a series of images. By selecting a slower shutter speed I was able to convey motion. Here’s a secret: although the pacing action resulted in most of the ground blur, I was also panning back to keep the locomotives sharp and had my camera’s image stabilization ‘on’. This takes practice.
Both the locomotives and the car are moving, yet at different speeds, so compensation is necessary or everything will turn into a sea of blur.
Both the locomotives and the car are moving, yet at different speeds, so compensation is necessary or everything will turn into a sea of blur.

Despite the frustrations caused by our less than quick progress, we were soon ahead of the freight. At Shirley, Massachusetts the road and the old Boston & Maine are parallel. Bob asked “where should we stop.”

“Pull in short of the new signal bridge. . . Here, it’s open and clear.”

It was a fire drill as we bailed and assumed photographic stance trackside. POED was bearing down with its diesels roaring. We only a few moments.

I set my camera’s focus position, readjusted my shutter speed (to stop the action), set my zoom to a wide position to allow for more broadside on the engines, and looked to minimize poles, wires and extraneous brush. My shutter setting was still in ‘turbo flutter’.

I waited until the locomotives were close and exposed a prolonged burst of images, while aiming to position the lead locomotive nose at the upper left of the frame for maximum visual impact.

Nice clean locomotives work west on heavily blasted track at Shirley, Massachusetts on November 18, 2015.
Nice clean locomotives work west on heavily ballasted track at Shirley, Massachusetts on November 18, 2015.
I turned for a trailing view looking toward the new signal bridge. Word of advice, get the old searchlights before their gone. (That was our next project).
I turned for a trailing view looking toward the new signal bridge. Word of advice, get the old searchlights before their gone. (That was our next project).

In short; we scored! Yea team!

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Pan Am Railways—‘New’ SD40-2 on the roll with RJED—9 fresh photos!

Tracking the Light Daily Exposé!

RJED—Rotterdam Junction to East Deerfield, a good ol’ fashioned carload freight.

Yesterday (Monday November 16, 2015), I heard the train working at Hoosick Junction and set up at Hoosick Falls. After a bit of a wait, I was rewarded by the roar of diesels.

Pan Am Railways 507 leads symbol freight RJED working east from the CSX interchange at Rotterdam Junction, New York. Seen here on the old B&M at Hoosick Falls, New York, just before noon on November 16, 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Pan Am Railways 507 leads symbol freight RJED working east from the CSX interchange at Rotterdam Junction, New York. Seen here on the old B&M at Hoosick Falls, New York, just before noon on November 16, 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

The 3rd locomotive in consist was one of the former Quebec, North Shore & Labrador SD40-2 in fresh Pan Am Railways blue.

A batch of these handsome locomotives arrived on the property just last week, so I was keen to catch one, even if trailing.

North Pownal, Vermont. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
North Pownal, Vermont. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
The drama of modern railroading isn't always front lit. Image adjusted for contrast in post processing using Lightroom
The drama of modern railroading isn’t always front lit. Image adjusted for contrast in post processing using Lightroom.

The Boston & Maine west end is an old stomping ground, and I’m well-versed with locations and the chase route, so I made the most of a clear sunny afternoon. It helps to know where to go, where to park, when to zip ahead, and when to relax.

North Adams, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
North Adams, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.

Pan_Am_3402_North_Adams_DSCF7269

Along the Deerfield River east of Soapstone, Massachusetts. FujiFIlm X-T1 photos.
Along the Deerfield River east of Soapstone, Massachusetts. FujiFIlm X-T1 photos.

Pan_Am_3402_DSCF7313-2

Pan_Am_Railways_3402_DSCF7337

Fresh Pan blue paint, that’s pretty cool; and a freight with all EMD 645 diesels, sounded great!

Pan_Am_Railways_3402_detail_DSCF7342

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