Tag Archives: Canadian Pacific Railway

Canadian Pacific 40-foot Boxcars on the Roll.

A Fading Glimpse at an Old Standard.

For decades the 40-foot box car was the standard North American freight vehicle. These ubiquitous cars were part of the railway furniture, and largely ignored by photographers.

Yet, by the mid-1980s the old 40-foot car was rapidly disappearing. I’d been alerted to this change by my late friend Bob Buck, who urged me to make photograph them.

Canadian Pacific 40-ft boxcars roll through Rochester, New York in November 1986. Exposed on black & white film using a Canon A1 with 50mm lens.
Canadian Pacific 40-ft boxcars roll through Rochester, New York in November 1986. Exposed on black & white film using a Canon A1 with 50mm lens.

When I spotted this matched set of Canadian Pacific 40-foot cars on the move in a Conrail freight at Rochester, I exposed a few 35mm black & white photos, documenting their passage through the scene.

Today, keep your eye out for change. The 50-foot boxcar is now in the same position as the 40-foot car was in the 1980s, and are rapidly meeting dates with scrappers.

Of course, the amazing thing about reviewing my photos of 1980s freight trains is the complete lack of graffiti, save for the occasional traditional chalk tagging.

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TRACKING THE LIGHT: Canadian Pacific Local on the Milwaukee Road.

Freshly Painted GP38-2s on Jointed Rail at DeForest, Wisconsin

June 23, 2010—four years ago today—John Gruber and I followed CP Rail’s local freight from Madison toward Portage on a secondary line of the old Milwaukee Road.

Locomotive 4509, an Electro-Motive Division GP38-2 built in 1974, had endured the various changes in ownership and re-branding of the railroad, from Milwaukee, to Soo Line, and finally to CP Rail. Now, in 2014, this locomotive is 40 years old. Is it still working the former Milwaukee?

Canadian Pacific 4509 limps along on rough jointed track near DeForest, Wisconsin on June 23, 2010. I was using a long telephoto (200mm) lens and I opted for a low angle to accentuate the effect of the jointed track. Train speed was about 10 mph. My exposure was f10 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 200.
Canadian Pacific 4509 limps along on rough jointed track near DeForest, Wisconsin on June 23, 2010. Using a long telephoto (200mm) lens, I opted for a low angle to accentuate the effect of the jointed track. Train speed was about 10 mph. My exposure was f10 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 200.

At the time of this photograph, I had just purchased my Canon 7D two weeks earlier and I was learning how to make the most of its technology. It took me about six-months to find ways to make optimum exposures using the built in histogram.

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Tomorrow: In the Shadow of Dracula!

 

Daily Post: Energy on the Move on the Old Milwaukee Road.

Canadian Pacific Ethanol Extra Near Milwaukee Airport, November 2013.

Among the biggest changes to North American railway freight traffic in the last five years has been the enormous growth in liquid energy trains. Ethanol and oil train movements have mushroomed.

This is especially noticeable in the Midwest, where it seems like long black worms of tank cars are crawling everywhere.

This a real benefit for railway photography. Not only are many railway lines busier, but long uniform tank trains are especially photogenic.

Ethanol train
Canadian Pacific 602-322 is heavily loaded with Midwestern ethanol. I made this image with my Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. The telephoto compression makes for a graphic treatment of the uniform train. It also makes for interesting juxtaposition of this rolling energy pipeline with the high-voltage electric lines along the railway.

On November 8, 2013, Chris Guss and I photographed Canadian Pacific ethanol extra 602-322 at Grange Road in Oakgrove, Wisconsin, near Amtrak’s Milwaukee Airport Station.

It was on this route, many years ago, where Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha sprinted along at 100 mph and faster behind Alco-built streamlined 4-4-2 and  4-6-4 steam locomotives.

A tighter view with the same lens and camera combination.
A tighter view with the same lens and camera combination.

 

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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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Zoar, Massachusetts, October 7, 2003.

On This Day, Ten Years Ago.

CP Rail SD40-2s
Canadian Pacific SD40-2s roar west on Guilford Rail System’s former Boston & Maine Fitchburg main line at Zoar, Massachusetts on October 7, 2003.

It was a brilliant clear afternoon ten years ago, when Tim Doherty, Pat Yough and I followed Guilford Rail System’s EDMO (East Deerfield, Massachusetts to Mohawk Yard, Schenectady, New York) freight westward into the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Rich blue skies, rusty foliage and a great sunlight make October a great time to photograph in New England.

I exposed this image on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 28mm Biogon lens. At the time Canadian Pacific Railway EMD SD40-2s were commonly assigned to this run, which made it a popular photographic choice.

 

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Locomotive Geometry Part 3; Canadian Pacific SD40-2s

CP Rail SD40-2
Trailing view of Canadian Pacific‘s classic SD40-2s at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Provia 100F slide film.

General Motors Electro-Motive Division SD40-2 is classic North American locomotive design. This rugged, powerful, and reliable model was built in the thousands between 1972 and the early 1980s. Its essential boxy utilitarian form shares the same functional appearance common to most of EMD’s American road-freight locomotives built from 1963 until the general proliferation of Safety-Cab designs in the early 1990s. Canadian Pacific ordered large numbers of SD40 and SD40-2s from General Motors Canadian subsidiary and these were its dominant road locomotive for the better part of two decades. In the early 2000s, they remained standard on CP’s Delaware & Hudson lines in New York and Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific's classic 1970s 'Pac-Man' icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.

On October 12, 2003, I made a series of photographs of Canadian Pacific SD40-2s on a southward/westward freight at Delaware & Hudson’s Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Here the locomotives were paused in nice light giving ample opportunity to make photographs from different angles. I was working with a pair of Nikon F3s (one F3HP, one F3T), and a Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with an unusual super wide-angle lens. Displayed here are a few of my results. The broadside Contax view at the bottom of the post was among the images featured in my recently published North American Locomotives by Voyageur Press.

CP Rail SD40-2
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f1.8 105mm lens.
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate  barrel distortion).
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate barrel distortion).
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