Tag Archives: BUOI

Tracking the Light EXTRA: Conrail 27 Years Ago this Very Day!

A few minutes ago I scanned this Kodachrome slide. When I went to caption the file, I thought,
“Jan 14th 1989. Wow, that’s exactly 27 years ago.”

So, there you go.

Kodachrome 25 exposed with a Leica M2 on January 14, 1989.
Kodachrome 25 exposed with a Leica M2 on January 14, 1989.

I’d been photographing Conrail symbol freight BUOI-4X (extra section of Buffalo to Oak Island Yard, New Jersey). This freight worked the old Erie Railroad route and picked up re-built New York City Subway cars from the Morrison-Knudsen plant in Hornell, New York.

I made this view at the old Erie Railroad East Hornell Yards that was mostly used for storage of old freight cars. (And yes, I do have some nice photographs of the old freight cars).

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On the Erie—Off Season Snow at Swain, New York.

Snow in May? When I awoke I was astounded. But sure enough, on May 7, 1989, there was about six inches of fresh snow on the ground at Scottsville, New York.

I’d immediately mobilize to make use of the unusual weather.

Heavy wet snow with freshly budding trees was a disaster for signal code lines. Branches had brought down lines along both Conrail’s former Water Level and Erie routes.

I learned of a couple of trains working east from Buffalo on the Erie line. First I chased DHT-4, a Delaware & Hudson double stack, then I doubled back west to pick up Conrail’s BUOI led by General Electric C30-7A 6598.

Conrail C30-7A 6598 (built by GE in 1984) leads BUOI (Frontier Yard, Buffalo to Oak Island, New Jersey) eastward on the former Erie Railroad at Swains, New York. If you look at old maps you’ll see evidence of a Pennsylvania Railroad line that ran roughly parallel to the Erie and connected with the old Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern not far from this location. This photo was exposed on May 7, 1989 at about 1:20pm.

The train had 103 cars and was moving along at little more than a walking pace.

I exposed this view near Swains, New York using my father’s Leica M3 with a 50mm Summicron. The snow made for some peculiar contrast that was well suited to Kodak Plus X.

My notes from the day read: “Snow! V.Bright” with some light meter readings in footcandles to aid in processing.

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