Tag Archives: Brookfield

Milwaukee Road Depot at Brookfield, Wisconsin in the Snow.


On January 19, 2019, TRAINS Magazine’s Brian Schmidt and I visited the old Milwaukee Road Depot at Brookfield, Wisconsin to photograph a westward CP Rail freight.

It was cloudy and snowing lightly.

Working with my Nikon F3 and 50mm lens, I exposed these views on Ilford FP4 black & white film.

I processed the film using multi-stage development in Ilford ID11 mixed 1-1 with water, then toned the negatives for 7 minutes in a selenium solution to boost highlights.

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CSX on this day Five Years Ago-November 2, 2013.

Five years ago today, I made this view of a westward CSX autorack train on the old Boston & Albany near mp 67 from Route 148 in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

This was exposed digitally using my Canon EOS 7D with a fixed focal length 200mm ‘prime’ lens. This view is the camera produced JPG, scaled for internet presentation.

November 2, 2013.

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Boston & Albany at Rt 148 in Brookfield, Massachusetts, January 2001.

I made this study of CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline at Brookfield, Massachusetts in January 2001.

Step back a century and there were two main tracks and an array of sidings here; back when the railroad focused on local business in addition to long distance traffic.

Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed on black & white negative film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens.
Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed on black & white negative film using a Rolleiflex Model T with Zeiss 75mm Tessar lens.

TRACKING THE LIGHT’s DAILY POST: CSX at Brookfield, Massachusetts

Opportunity on a Summer Evening, June 19, 2014.

The other evening, on my way over to visit Dennis LeBeau in East Brookfield, I checked CP64, where there’s a set of controlled signals on CSX’s Boston Line. There I found a pair of GE Evolution-Series diesel waiting with a westward empty autorack train. While the engines were shadowed, I thought if this train got the signal to go west, there would be some nice angles.

I met Dennis, and we had a few errands to run. Afterwards he suggested, ‘Ring Julie, and see how the Lake Shore is doing.’

I phoned Amtrak’s automated agent, and learned that train 448 was expected about four hours late into Springfield. Since that is about an hour to the west, it meant the train wouldn’t pass until well after dark. Besides, Dennis was playing a gig, and that was the main reason I’d come out this way.

‘No joy,’ I said. But as we returned to East Brookfield, we saw that the westward autoracks were on the move. ‘We can catch that, no problem!’ And we reversed, and sped along Route 67 out to an open location near milepost 66 in Brookfield. (I’d photographed a CSX empty ethanol train here last October. (Click to see: CSX Empty Ethanol Train Catches the Light at Brookfield.)

CSX's 922 leads a westward emtpy autorack train near milepost 66 in Brookfield. The train stopped for a few minutes to wait for its conductor. I exposed several views using a Lumix LX-7.
CSX’s 922 leads a westward emtpy autorack train near milepost 66 in Brookfield. The train stopped for a few minutes to wait for its conductor. I exposed several views using a Lumix LX-7. For this angle, I included the Country Bank billboard.

Tight view of CSX Evolution-Series locomotive 922. The lighting was just about perfect.
Tight view of CSX Evolution-Series locomotive 922. The lighting was just about perfect.

CSX_922_w_Q283_w_Meacham_ad_Brookfield_MA_P1040833

After a short wait, the train pulled up and then stopped. We learned that it was waiting for it conductor. This was most likely CSX’s Q283, an empty autorack train that runs from the unloading facility in East Brookfield west toward Selkirk, New York and beyond.

Once the conductor was on board, Dennis and moved west about a mile to the Route 148 Bridge near the old station location at Brookfield. I’d made several photos here last autumn, and was keen to try this spot in June, when the sun swings around. Afternoons in October are more shadowed and didn’t offer a clean view. (See: Boston & Albany Milepost 67, Brookfield, Massachusetts.)

CSX 922 west as view from the Route 148 bridge in Brookfield, Massachusetts. More than 35 years ago, my dad, my brother and I had watched the westward Lake Shore Limited pass this spot with a pair of old E8As in the lead. There used to be a large wooden mill building to the right of the tracks, but this was destroyed by fire a decade or so ago. Lumix LX-7 photo.
CSX 922 west as view from the Route 148 bridge in Brookfield, Massachusetts. More than 35 years ago, my dad, my brother and I had watched the westward Lake Shore Limited pass this spot with a pair of old E8As in the lead. There used to be a large wooden mill building to the left of the tracks, but this was destroyed by fire a decade or so ago. Lumix LX-7 photo.

We didn’t have to wait long, and the pair of GE’s came chugging along with about two miles of autoracks in tow. There was great evening light and it was a nice setting. Not bad for a few minutes effort. It is situations like this one that justifies always carrying a camera!

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Daily Post: Old Milwaukee Road Station, Brookfield, Wisconsin.


November Views of a Station; Get Your Photos Soon, Before its Too Late!

Brookfield, Massachusetts; Brookfield, Illinois, and now Brookfield, Wisconsin—Have you noticed a theme?

Railroad depot
Classic old wooden station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

The former Milwaukee Road passenger station at Brookfield, Wisconsin is located between Canadian Pacific’s main tracks at the west end of a grade separation. This unusually situated station has provided a visual link to the railroad’s past for many years, and is one of the last structures of the old order along this line.

Today, Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee Road mainline between Chicago and the Twin Cities is largely free from historical infrastructure. The days of an agent working at Brookfield have long since passed. Neither passenger trains nor freights have stopped here in decades. Yet, as of today, the old building survives at its traditional location.

Here’s some advice: get your photos NOW. Don’t wait. Word on the street is that the station will soon be either moved or demolished.

Railway station at Brookfield.
Looking east at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.

And even if the street gossip changes its tune, the reality is that old wooden railroad stations are ephemeral structures: Never assume the old station that has always stood there, will be there the next time you return.

I made these photos last week while re-exploring southern Wisconsin with Pat Yough and Chris Guss . Back in the 1990s, I made a number of photos of this old station, but I’ve learned you can never have too many images of something (or someone) once its gone.

Might the old station be preserved? Quite possibly, but it won’t be trackside, and thus will have lost its context. This location without the station will just be another characterless wide-spot along the line. Someone might call this ‘progress’; I call it ‘change’.

On Saturday November 9, 2013, I worked with three cameras and photographed the Brookfield station from a variety of angles as the sun came in and out of the clouds. Two eastward Canadian Pacific freights passed giving me ample opportunity to put the old station in context.

A wink of sun illuminates the former Milwaukee Road station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.
A wink of sun illuminates the former Milwaukee Road station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.

Freight passes the old Brookfield Station.
Canadian Pacific eastward freight 484-08 led by Norfolk Southern 9189 passes Brookfield, Wisconsin. Canon EOS 7D photo.

CP Rail GE diesel.
The sun catches eastward Canadian Pacific freight 248-408 at Brookfield, Wisconsin on November 9, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

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Thursday’s Post: Boston & Albany Milepost 67, Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Rusty Autumnal Foliage on October 26, 2013.

Over the last few posts, I’ve alluded to this location at milepost 67. On the morning of October 26, 2013, I was up early. Before 8 am, I photographed at New England Central local at Palmer, and I suspected a CSX eastward intermodal train was getting close.

My feeling was confirmed when I heard that CSX Q012 was at CP 109 (near Westfield, Massachusetts). This was at least 40 minutes away, and I didn’t want to photograph this train at Palmer so I began driving east.

I looked a few old standby locations on my way toward Brookfield, but I was really intend on my location at milepost 67. Why?

railway tracks.
Looking west at milepost 67 on CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline in Brookfield, Massachusetts. EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

On October 25, 2007, I’d caught CSX’s eastward autorack train (symbol Q264) at the Route 148 Bridge at milepost 67. This was a good angle and foliage was just how I like it, but the light was dull.

Move forward six years and the day was clear and bright and the rusty reddish leaves were clinging to selected trees making for a perfect autumn morning.

Looking east on CSX's former Boston & Albany mainline at Brookfield, Massachusetts. My first visit to this spot was back on Labor Day weekend 1978, when my father brough my brother Sean and I out to watch Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited roll west. Back then EMD E8As were the rule of the day. Somewhere I have B&W negs from that afternoon. This image was exposed with a EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens.
Looking east on CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline at Brookfield, Massachusetts. My first visit to this spot was back on Labor Day weekend 1978, when my father brough my brother Sean and I out to watch Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited roll west. Back then EMD E8As were the rule of the day. Somewhere I have B&W negs from that afternoon. This image was exposed with a EOS 7D fitted with a 200mm lens.

After a half and hour in the cold, which I used to make some test photos and vignettes of the old Boston & Albany line, I could hear the sound of General Electric diesels working eastbound. In short order the hot Q012 intermodal train came into view with relatively new Evolution-Series diesels.

CSX freight.
CSX’s hot intermodal train symbol Q012 chugs eastward at milepost 67. Cross-lighting the train adds a sense of drama and provides visual balance to the trees at the right of the locomotives. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

I’ll tick that off in the ‘success’ category. Since the next eastward train hadn’t reached Pittsfield, I decided to get some writing done and called it a day.

Incidentally, this was the first daylight move over the B&A since I photographed the westward ethanol train featured in yesterday’s post. See: CSX Empty Ethanol Train Catches the Light at Brookfield.

Trailing view of CSX Q012 at Brookfield. One of these mornings I ought try for a westward train here at sunrise.
Trailing view of CSX Q012 at Brookfield. This would make a great view of a westward train here at sunrise. A week later, I caught a nice afternoon image from this angle on the bridge and that will be the subject of another post. Stayed tuned!

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See my Dublin Page for images of Dublin’s Open House Event in October 2013.

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Daily Post: CSX Empty Ethanol Train Catches the Light at Brookfield.


Lucky Photograph Exposed October 25, 2013.

An empty CSX ethanol extra rolls west on the former Boston & Albany at Brookfield, Massachusetts on the evening of October 25, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.
An empty CSX ethanol extra rolls west on the former Boston & Albany at Brookfield, Massachusetts on the evening of October 25, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

Acting fast, I made the most of an extra move. Earlier in the day, I’d stopped in to Tucker’s Hobbies in Warren, Massachusetts on Friday afternoon October 25, 2013. I was there to visit with Rich Reed who was working the counter.

Back in the day, I’d made many Friday trips to Tucker’s to visit with my old friend Bob Buck, proprietor of the hobby shop (and premier Boston & Albany railroad enthusiast). It’s been a little more than two years since Bob took the final train home, but his spirit still smiles on Warren.

I inquired if Rich had seen much on the mainline (CSX’s former B&A route), which passes within sight of Tucker’s. “No, there’s been nothing except the Lake Shore (Amtrak 449 Boston to Chicago).”

These days, east of Springfield, CSX can be very quiet in daylight. There’s a couple of eastward intermodal trains destined for Worcester (symbol freights Q012 and Q022) that make it over the line in the morning, and recently I’ve occasionally seen trains running to Pan-Am Railways via Worcester and Ayer (Q426 eastbound and Q427 westbound).

Departing Warren for East Brookfield, I turned on my old scanner, just in case.

Driving east on Route 9, I’d just passed the State Police Barracks, when the radio crackled, and I heard a key snippet of information, ‘ . . . clear signal CP64, main to main westbound’ (or something along those lines).

I was just east of milepost 67, and now I knew that train was heading west across the Brookfield flats at milepost 64. But the sun was near the horizon and I had to act quickly if I hoped to make a photograph.

Initially, I thought, ‘I’ll head to the Route 148 Bridge at milepost 67’, but I quickly changed my mind because I realized that the tracks swing slightly to the north before reaching milepost 67, and at the late hour in October, the line might be shadowed. I didn’t want to risk it.

Instead, I pulled off of Route 9, near the old Clam Box road-side restaurant. Here, CSX had cleared the right of way of bushes and trees (during recent upgrading and undercutting work to improve clearances.)

Within a couple of minutes the train came into view. It was an extra westward empty Ethanol train, the first I’d seen in many months on CSX. I exposed several digital photos and made a few images with my father’s Leica M4.

It had been exactly four years to the day, since I made the photos of East Brookfield Station that appeared in my post on October 25, 2013. See: East Brookfield Station, October 25, 2009  Coincidence? Not really. I know the foliage and light angles favor the Brookfields at this time of year.

CSX's empty ethanol train catches the glint of the setting sun at Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens at f8 1/500th of a second ISO 200, daylight white balance.
CSX’s empty ethanol train catches the glint of the setting sun at Brookfield, Massachusetts. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens at f8 1/500th of a second ISO 200, daylight white balance.

See tomorrow’s post for action shots at milepost 67.

 

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

See my Dublin Page for images of Dublin’s Open House Event in October 2013.

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Searchlight Signal; Brookfield, Wisconsin

Searchlight signal at Brookfield, Wisconsin exposed with a Nikon F3T with f1.8 105mm lens on Fuji Provia 100 film.
Searchlight signal displays ‘Approach’ at Brookfield, Wisconsin; exposed with a Nikon F3T with f1.8 105mm lens on Fuji Provia 100 film.

In 1996, I was living in Waukesha, Wisconsin and working for Pentrex Publishing as the Editor of Pacific RailNews. One evening shortly before sunset, a heavy fog settled in. Twilight is my preferred time to make signaling images because lower light in the sky allows for greater emphasis of signaling aspects. Fog is an added attraction, especially for searchlight signals. This style of signal head was developed by the Hall Switch & Signal Company in the 1920s. The searchlight uses a miniature semaphore in front of a focused beam of light that allows for a very low powered lamp to be sighted at a great distance. This effect is most evident when the focused light beam illuminates water droplets comprising heavy fog.

I made a series of images of this General Railway Signal Company searchlight along CP Rail’s Soo Line former Milwaukee Road main line at Brookfield, Wisconsin. A variation of this image was selected for the cover of my book Railroad Signaling, published by MBI/ Voyageur Press.

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