Tag Archives: #Canadian National

Classic Kodachrome—VIA Rail RDCs at Dorval, Quebec.

In August 1984, I was on a big solo rail adventure. Among the places I visited by train was Montreal.

My friend Brandon Delaney had recommended Dorval as a place to watch trains. Here, double-track Canadian Pacific and Canadian National mainlines ran parallel to each other and there was a continuous parade of freight and passenger trains.

On August 14th, I traveled out on commuter train from Windsor Station and spent several hours soaking up the action.

Among the trains I photographed was this eastbound VIA RDC set on the CN heading for Central Station.

I’d positioned myself where the codelines crossed from the north-side to the south-side of CN’s line. This was my clever compositional trick that makes for a more interesting photograph by focusing the eye toward a secondary horizon.

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Canadian National at Savanna.

Scaled but unadjusted scan; no corrections to color, level, contrast etc.

Toward the end of an April 1995 trip along the Mississippi with Tom and Mike Danneman, we set up along the old Burlington near the famous Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, Illinois.

The streamlined Twin Cities Zephyr was all but a memory.

However at that time Canadian National was exercising rights over Burlington Northern and routing 4-5 freights a day via this Mississippi River east-bank route to reach Chicago.

The light was fading when a nearly new CN DASH-9 approached us leading an eastward freight.

I exposed this Kodachrome 25 slide using my Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor f4 200mm lens. This photo has appeared in print several times over the years.

For presentation here and extract the maximum amount of information from the slide, I made a multi-pass scan using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 digital scanner driven with VueScan software.

I selected ‘fine mode’ and made three samples to refine the scan and then imported the 119.8MB file into Lightroom for refinement, color correction, scaling and final presentation.

Adjusted scan.

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Graves along the old Grand Trunk.

In April, Kris Sabbatino and I drove north into eastern Maine, and followed the old Grand Trunk Railway from Bethel toward Gorham, New Hampshire.

Grand Trunk was conceived as a broad gauge line to connect Portland, Maine with Chicago via Montreal. The route was absorbed into the Canadian National in the 1920s, and the Maine portion was spun off in the late 1980s. Today this line across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont is part of the Genesee & Wyoming family, and operated as the St. Lawrence & Atlantic.

I made these photos near a small line-side grave yard in the vicinity of  Gilead, Maine using a Nikon F3 loaded with Agfa APX400. I discussed the processing of the negatives in an earlier post.

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Canadian National Rock Train at Byron, Wisconsin.

Call this, ‘today’s lucky pic!’

I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, so I randomly selected this slide from a group of 600-plus 35mm color slide that I’d initially gathered as material for a book on EMD diesels.

This slide didn’t make the cut.

Nor was it labeled.

So, I called up my 1996 photo notes and looked up the relevant details.

At the time I was living in Waukesha, Wisconsin and working for Pacific RailNews.

On the morning of July 27, 1996, I had driven north (railroad timetable west) along the Wisconsin Central mainline toward Byron following a northward freight.

At Byron it met two eastbounds, the second of which was this Canadian National rock train led by Grand Trunk Western former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton GP40 6404.

CN had worked out an arrangement to run its rock trains over WC. Notably, this was several years before CN acquired Wisconsin Central, and at the time catching GTW locomotives on the WC was a novelty, if not unusual.

Working with my Nikon F3T with 105mm lens, I exposed this slide at f6.3 1/500 at 741am. I noted that this was my ‘full daylight’ setting for Fujichrome Sensia 100.

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Mount Webster from the Time Before.

In August 1984, on my first solo visit to Montreal I spent an afternoon at Central Station hanging around in the tower and photographing train-movements in and out of this busy terminal.

Among the numerous fascinating photos I made that day was this view of CN multiple unit 6749 with a commuter train to/from Duex Montagnes, Quebec.

Today, old CN 6749 is Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mount Webster, a snack car known to employees as ‘the table’ car since it was retrofitted with tables and a snack counter.

I spent Monday measuring and mapping this same car to prepare seating charts for Conway Scenic’s 2020 season.

I never could have imagined on that August day so long ago that I’d be working with 6749 in New Hampshire.

Same car; different time.

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