Tag Archives: Bridge

30 Years Ago at Rockville Bridge.

It was a bright and hazy August 1989 morning, when my old pal TS Hoover and I set up on the east bank of the Susquehanna River to capture this view of the famous former Pennsylvania Railroad Rockville Bridge.

I made this Professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM) slide using my old Leica M2 with a 90mm Elmarit.

It was just one of many Conrail photographs exposed on one of our great adventures in the 1980s!

Tracking the Light Looks Back!

Millers Falls High Bridge—Revisited.


The early 20thcentury pin-connected deck truss over the Millers River at its namesake Millers Falls, Massachusetts is one of my favorite places to picture New England Central freights.

On our chase of New England Central last week (Thursday April 25, 2019) photographer Mike Gardner and I arrived at Millers Falls several minutes ahead of 611 on its return run to Bellows Falls, Vermont from Palmer, Massachusetts.

We set up on the sidewalk of the Route 63 highway bridge over the river. For these views I opted for a more southerly position on the road bridge in order to feature budding trees that indicates the arrival of Spring in the Millers valley.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed several digital views as the train’s leading locomotives eased over the antique spans. To me, the SD45/SD40 style locomotives  seem out of proportion with the steam era bridge, which of course is half the attraction, long may it last!

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Mystical Railway Viaduct—Luxembourg.


Not many people travel to Luxembourg to photograph railway bridges.

I made this view on Fuji Acros 100 black & white film using a Nikon F3 fitted with a f1.8 105mm Nikkor prime telephoto.

To enhance the mystique of the viaduct, I opened the lens to nearly its widest aperture and focused on the tree branches.

Later, with a digital camera I photographed trains crossing the bridge in color.

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Viaduct at Luso, Portugal—26 March 2019.

Yesterday afternoon, Denis McCabe and I arrived at the impressive viaduct at Luso, Portugal on the Beira Alta line that runs toward the Spanish frontier.

I made this view of Intercidades 513 crossing the bridge at Luso, Portugal on its way toward Guarda.

Traveling light on this trip, I only have three cameras with me and a mere four lenses.

More to come!

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light is on the road in Portugal.

Daily Posts!

Enterprising the Boyne or BIG BRIDGE tiny train.

Irish Rail’s lofty Boyne bridge spanning the river and valley of the historic Boyne at Drogheda poses a visual conundrum.

This prominent span rises high above Drogheda. It is a very impressive bridge.

But it’s difficult to adequately picture a train on it. Feature the bridge; the train is lost. Feature the train; the bridge gets cropped.

Look up at the bridge; and the train is marginalized.

Stand back to take in the whole span of the bridge and the train becomes insignificant.

Place the train at the center of the bridge and it become lost in the iron work.

Complicating matters, the only regularly scheduled trains with locomotives are the cross-border Belfast-Dublin Enterpriseservices, and on these train the locomotives always face north.

Last Sunday, I made these views of up and down Enterpriseconsists at Drogheda.

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Amtrak Crosses the Schuylkill River—November 2017.

 

 

On a warm Saturday afternoon I exposed a series of photos of Amtrak’s bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia using my Lumix LX7.

To boost contrast and color saturation, I imported the Lumix RAW files into Lightroom and made adjustments manually.

In 1914, the Pennsylvania Railroad built this massive arch over the Schuylkill River to replace it original 1867 double-track bridge constructed of stone arches and a metal truss span.

Although the bridge resembles the stone arches it replaced, this isn’t actually a stone arch bridge, but rather reinforced concrete arches faced with sandstone.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

 

SEPTA local crosses the Schuylkill. Lumix LX7 photo.

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How About a View of the Bridge?

New England Central 608 approaches Smith’s Bridge in Monson, Massachusetts on a warm morning in mid-June 2017. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.

If you are viewing this Tracking the Light post on Facebook, you’ll really need to click on the post in order to get the full effect of this portrait-oriented image. (Not my fault, Facebook crops!)

Often I photograph from road bridges, yet some bridges make for interesting photos. I hadn’t made a photo from the ground of the Stafford Hollow Road bridge in Monson since the 1980s.

Last month a late running northward freight gave me the opportunity to photograph this unusual old bridge from the northside.

I exposed this view with my FujiFilm XT1 using a Lee 0.9 graduated neutral density filter to hold detail in the sky.

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

Eiffel Bridge, Porto.

Tram Metro and a Magnificent Span.

Gustav Eiffel is best known for his iron tower in Paris. However, he was also a prolific bridge builder and his iron bridges share characteristics with his Parisian tower.

 On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist no only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.

On the evening of April 4, 2014, a thick sea mist blanketed Porto which made for some stunning lighting effects. The mist not only adds depth to the image but diffused the artificial lighting which makes for better contrast. Lumix LX3 photo.

Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.
Ponte Luiz I. Lumix LX3 photo.

Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

Two of his bridges span the Douro River in Porto, Portugal, and both of these have railway histories. One bridge is presently closed and once carried 5 foot 6 inch gauge tracks for mainline trains while the other is open to foot traffic and Porto’s tram metro on its top level, while its bottom level carries a road.

In early April, I made many photos of the more prominent bridge, called Ponte Luiz I, built in the 1880s. Porto enjoys impressive verticality, and I used the city’s natural geography to find some great angles on the span.

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.

Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

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Tomorrow: old trams in an ancient city!

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DAILY Post: Former Pennsy Viaduct at Crum Creek.


Unsung Pennsylvania Bridge

 On a recent ride out to Elwyn on a SEPTA suburban train, my brother Sean and I noted several large viaducts on this former Pennsylvania Railroad route.

The Elwyn route is one of several SEPTA lines that has been under threat of closure. The bridges on the route have been reported to be suffering from deferred maintenance which has made them candidates for replacement.

SEPTA's Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
SEPTA’s Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

This bridge piqued our curiosity. So on Monday, January 20, 2014 we decided to investigate the Crum Creek Viaduct which is easily accessed via The Scott Arboretum trails (near Swarthmore College).

An  impressive viaduct, it spans the heavily wooded Crum Creek valley, looming above the tree tops like an ancient relic of another age. It reminded me of Milwaukee Road’s trestles on St Paul Pass in the Bitteroot Mountains of the Idaho panhandle.

This is a double-track tower-supported plate girder viaduct, of the type of construction common to many late-19th and early 20th century railway bridges. It dates to the mid-1890s.

SEPTA's Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
SEPTA’s Crum Creek viaduct. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Photographically, the Crum Creek viaduct presents a challenge. The surrounding trees tend to obscure the bridge. While the most graphic images of the bridge are made near is base, yet working close to the bridge makes it difficult to adequately capture a train crossing the bridge. As we moved further away both train and structure tend to blend with the forest.

Since this bridge is in jeopardy of either replacement or abandonment, I thought it a worthy project to photograph it as functioning infrastructure. I tried panning an outbound train in an effort to show a train on the bridge.

An inbound SEPTA multiple unit rumbles across the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
An inbound SEPTA multiple unit rumbles across the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Pan of an outbound SEPTA train crossing the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014.
Pan of an outbound SEPTA train crossing the Crum Creek Viaduct on January 20, 2014.

Crum_Creek_Bridge_SEPTA_Pan_3_IMG_1009

What will become of this bridge? Will it be restored, abandoned or replaced?

Below are some recent links that make references to the viaduct.

See: http://www.ascgroup.net/projects/crum-creek-viaduct-swarthmore-borough-nether-providence-township-delaware-county-pa.html

http://cait.rutgers.edu/system/files/u10/Knueppel_–SEPTA_SGR_Presentation.pdf

www.scottarboretum.org

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See related posts:  Exploring SEPTATake a Ride on the ReadingPhiladelphia’s Reading Terminal Revisited

Interested in railroad bridges? See my book: North American Railroad Bridges

Tomorrow Tracking the Light goes back to 1987! Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

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DAILY POST: Vermonter at Dusk


Ethereal View at Millers Falls, January 2014.

Tim Doherty asked me a few weeks back, “Have you ever tried a shot from the north side of the Millers Falls high bridge?” I’d looked a this several times, but was discouraged by the row of trees between the road and the railroad bridge.

Amtrak
Amtrak‘s northward Vermonter crosses the Millers River on January 12, 2014.

So, on January 12, 2014, at the end of the day (light), Tim and I went to this location with the aim of making images of Amtrak’s northward Vermonter crossing the aged Central Vermont span.

 

As there was only a hint of light left, I upped the ISO sensitivity of my Canon EOS 7D and I switched the color balance to ‘tungsten’ (indoor incandescent lighting which has the same effect as using tungsten balance slide film (such as Fujichrome 64T), and so enhances the blue light of the evening.

 

A call to Amtrak’s Julie (the automated agent) confirmed the train was on-time out of Amherst. Running time was only about 20 minutes (a bit less than I thought) but we were in place, cameras on tripods, several minutes before we heard the Vermonter blasting for crossings in Millers Falls.

The result is interpretive. The train’s blur combined with view through the trees and the deep blue color bias makes for a ghostly image of the train crossing the bridge.

Click to see related posts: Dusk on the Grand CanalAmtrak Extra, Millers Falls, Massachusetts, October 22, 2013

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TRACKING THE LIGHT NEWS FLASH: Photos of Philadelphia Schuylkill River Bridge Derailment.


Monday Afternoon; January 20, 2014.

View from I-76; a crane attends to a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill RIver Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
View from I-76; a crane attends to a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill River Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

The news media reported that early this morning (January 20, 2014), an oil train destined for Philadelphia derailed while crossing the Schuylkill River.

The derailment occurred near I-76 and within sight of Center City.

This afternoon, my brother and I were on our way through Philadelphia, and I had the opportunity to make photos from the car as we passed the derailment site.

Traffic was very slow on I-76, and I ample time to make snapshots with my Canon EOS 7D. On our way back, the clean up efforts continued, so I made a few more images.

It pays to have a camera at the ready to capture events such as this one.

View from I-76; a crane attends to a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill RIver Bridge derailment. Canon EOS  7D with 100mm lens.
View from I-76; a crane attends to a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill River Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

View from I-76; a crane attends to a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill RIver Bridge derailment. Canon EOS
View from I-76; a  derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill River Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

View from I-76; a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill River Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
View from I-76; a derailed sand hopper at the site of the January 20, 2014 Schuylkill River Bridge derailment. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

 

Derailment_on_Schuylkill_River_Bridge_IMG_0990

Dusk on January 20, 2014, clean up crews attend to derailed cars on the Schulykill River Bridge. ISO 6400, Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Dusk on January 20, 2014, clean up crews attend to derailed cars on the Schulykill River Bridge. ISO 6400, Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

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Daily Post: Lackawanna’s Paulins Kill Viaduct


An Eerie Shadow of Another Era.

Paulins Kill as captured on Fujichrome slide film with a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 45mm lens.
Paulins Kill as captured on Fujichrome slide film with a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 45mm lens. The old ‘telegraph pole’ (code line) provides a sense of scale.

Here we have an immense abandoned bridge, rising above the trees like some Tolkienesq ruin from an ancient empire, the vestige of some lost civilization.

I was researching for my book North American Railroad Bridges in March 2007, when Pat Yough and I ferreted out the former Lackawanna Railroad Bridge in western New Jersey at Paulins Kill.

This was no ordinary railroad bridge. Lackawanna’s Slateford Cutoff (Port Morris, New Jersey, 28.5 miles to Slateford Junction, Pennsylvania) was built beginning in 1908 to shorten its mainline and lower operating costs by reducing gradient and curvature. The line was showcase for reinforced concrete construction.

Here’s an excerpt of my text on the Paulins Kill bridge:

The seven-span Paulins Kill Viaduct was 1,100 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point, and required an estimated 43,212 cubic yards of concrete and 735 tons of steel.

It was part of a super railroad and one of the best engineered lines of the early 20th century. Here the vision of Lackawanna president William H. Truesdale prevailed to invest private capital to the improve efficiency and capacity of his railroad.

Yet, by the 1970s this railroad was no longer valued. Its route was deemed redundant, its traditional traffic had vanished, and so Conrail which reluctantly inherited the line from Erie-Lackawanna, abandoned it.

While this was a gross waste of infrastructure and, to my mind, demonstrated a lack of vision on the part of planners and governments, it does make for fascinating photographs.

Someday, hopefully, the Slateford Cutoff may again see trains.

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DAILY POST: Stone Arch Bridge, Bernardston, Massachusetts.


Boston & Maine GP9 on the Connecticut River Line, December 1985.

Digging through my older photographs, occasionally I come across something really interesting.

Boston & Maine GP9 1736 leads freight CVED southward across the stone arch bridge at Bernardston, Massachusetts on December 28, 1985. I exposed this using a Rollei Model T with a 'Superslide' insert that gave me a 645-size rectangle rather than a 2 1/4 inch square image.
Boston & Maine GP9 1736 leads local freight ED-4 southward across the stone arch bridge at Bernardston, Massachusetts  at 12:03pm on December 28, 1985. I exposed this using a Rollei Model T with a ‘Superslide’ insert that gave me a 645-size rectangle rather than a 2 1/4 inch square image.

I’d exposed this black & white photograph using my father’s Rollei Model T at Bernardston, Massachusetts, where the railroad crossed an old mill dam on a classic stone arch bridge.

Brandon Delaney and I had gone up to Brattleboro, Vermont, where we found a pair of Boston & Maine GP9s working local freight ED-4. I made a number of images of engine 1736 working in the snow. Then we followed the train south into Massachusetts.

Brandon had previously explored this location at Bernardston and so we set up and waited.

For me this is a lesson in balance and composition: By placing the locomotive over the first pier of the bridge rather than allowing it to move further onto the bridge, I’ve created both visual tension and compositional balance.

The GP9 plays off the old mill at the bottom of the bridge to the left, while de-emphasizing the locomotive allows the eye to focus more on the bridge but never so long as to ignore the engine altogether. The bridge, after all, is the main subject, while the locomotive and mill are secondary to the scene.

I’ve been back here several times over the years and the scene has changed. The old mill and mill dam are history. I don’t know if they were washed away in a flood or were deliberately demolished. At the time they offered links to New England’s faded small-scale industrial past.

Today, because the dam is gone the bridge appears taller since the full length of the piers can be followed right in to the river-bed. Trees have encroached on both sides of the bridge, and even in winter, it can be difficult to get more than one locomotive on the structure. Yet, it can still be a great place to pose a train.

This detail is a very tight crop from my original negative.
This detail is a very tight crop from my original negative.

See: Daily Post: Boston & Maine Revisited, PART 2

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Amtrak Capitols Crossing Carquinez Straits, August 12, 2009.

 

Dramatic Bridge Silhouette.

Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.

On the morning of August 12, 2009, I used my Canon EOS 3 with a 100-400 mm Canon image stabilization lens to expose this image of an Amtrak California Capitols train crossing the former Southern Pacific Carquinez Straits Bridge at Martinez, California. (Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor derives its name from California’s old and new capital cities, San Jose and Sacramento)

When this bridge was completed in 1930, it was the largest double track railway bridge west of the Mississippi. Today it carries Amtrak and Union Pacific trains.

Coastal fog softened the morning sun making for a cosmic effect. Making photographs of the bridge is complicated by  the enormous Interstate 680 bridges that flank it on both sides. I’ve found that a broadside silhouette is the most effective way of capturing the scale of the bridges.

For another view from this hillside see:

Union Pacific’s Ozol Yard, Martinez, California, August 12, 2009, posted May 13, 2013.

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View from Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery, January 2, 2013

Schuylkill River Bridge, Laurel Hill
Canon 7D with 28-135mm AF lens set at 135mm; ISO 200 f6.3 1/640 second. Image was adjusted slightly in Photoshop to increase saturation.

For several years I’ve been eyeing the view from Laurel Hill Cemetery as a place to make a railway photograph of the former Reading Company bridges over the Schuylkill. I was intrigued by combination elevation and the complexity of the scene. My brother Sean and I scoped this out last winter, but the light was dull and trees blocked the angle I wanted for a southward train. Recently the view was improved as a result of extensive tree removal around the river-side of the cemetery. Yesterday, Sean, Mike Scherer and I investigated photographic views from Laurel Hill. Our timing was right; I made this image of CSX’s symbol freight Q439 rolling across the bridge at 2:22 pm. I’m pleased with this effort, since catching a train here has been a challenge and the angle is a new one for me, yet I see room for improvement. Finding a train here an hour or two earlier in the day might offer better light on the side of the locomotives, while a slightly longer lens would tighten my composition.

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