Tag Archives: Canon 7D

New England Central—Telephoto at Brattleboro.

I’ve posted a variety of my New England Central photos on my Flicker account. The link below should direct you there.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/163833022@N05/albums

Today on Tracking the Light:

Toward the end of June 2019, I visited New England Central’s yard at Brattleboro, Vermont.

It was the first time in many months that I used my old Canon EOS-7D, which I’d fitted with a 200mm telephoto lens.

As the 611 crew was getting organized to take Brattleboro to Palmer turn south, I made these photos.

I’ve always like the Canon color palate, which I believe is a function of their lenses and sensor. This is decidedly different than the digital photos I make with either my FujiFilm XT1 or Lumix LX7. Playing with a long telephoto is always fun, although in recent years I’ve shied away from very long lenses, as I’ve found that they tend to be overused.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

DAILY POST: Amtrak Heritage P40 at West Warren, Massachusetts!


Light! Camera! Action!

Here we have an instance where everything came together nicely.

Amtrak heritage locomotive
Amtrak 449 at West Warren, Massachusetts, 2:03pm January 24, 2014. Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 40mm pancake lens exposed at ISO 200 f5.6 1/1000th of a second. Camera RAW file converted to a Jpeg in Adobe Photoshop.

On Friday January 24, 2014, I’d got word that Amtrak’s heritage locomotive number 822 was working the westward Lake Shore Limited, train 449

This was the second time in a ten-day span that I’d be alerted to a heritage locomotive on this run. As noted in my January 18, 2014 post, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, the weather wasn’t cooperative on my previous attempt at catching an Amtrak heritage locomotive.

By contrast on January 24th it was clear but very cold. I opted to make the photo at West Warren, where it’s nice and open and there’s a distinctive landscape.

Normally, Amtrak 449 passes East Brookfield at 1:30pm, and Palmer about 1:50pm. West Warren is roughly halfway between them, so I aimed to be there no later than 1:35pm

As it happened, 449 was delayed on Charlton Hill and passed more than 15 minutes later than I’d anticipated. Other than resulting in my nose getting a bit cold, this delay produced little effect on the photograph.

I opted for a traditional angle because I wanted to feature the locomotive as the primary subject this scenic setting. I picked a spot on the road bridge over the Quaboag River where I could make a view that included the old mills and waterfall, as well as a side view as the train got closer.

Working with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 40mm pancake lens, I set the motor drive to its fastest setting, and exposed three bursts of images as the train rolled east on CSXT’s former Boston & Albany mainline.

Since the camera’s buffer will quickly become saturated when making multiple photos in rapid succession, I was careful to wait until the train was nearly where I wanted it in each of the three sets.

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Amtrak_822_on_449_West_Warren_tight_view_IMG_4061
This tighter view offers a clean perspective on the equipment. I was aiming to feature both the heritage painted locomotive and the ancient baggage car. Word to the wise; get the old baggage cars while you can, they won’t be around forever.

Have you had luck catching Amtrak’s heritage locomotives?  Do you have a favorite? Let me know! There’s a venue for comments on this blog, scroll down.

 

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DAILY POST: Exploring SEPTA

January 2014 Philadelphia Photo Exercise

SEPTA_Map_IMG_3911

For me, SEPTA is one of the most photogenic American big city transit systems. Sure, other cities have their charms, but Philadelphia has a lot going for it; variety, accessibility, interval services on most routes, real time displays at stations, visual cues to its heritage, interesting and varied equipment and etc.

On January 16, 2014, my brother Sean and I, spent an afternoon and evening wandering on SEPTA’s rail systems making photographs. I had a minor agenda to ride a few pieces of the network I’d not yet traveled on.

I worked with two cameras; Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D, but traveled relatively light (no film body or big telephotos)

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA Airport station
Philadelphia is one of the few North American cities with direct heavy rail airport connections. Trains run every half hour with stations at each terminal. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA.
Afternoon sun catches an outbound Silverliner V at University City. A CSX freight rolls overhead on the Highline. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

All of the lines we traveled were well patronized (some at standing room only) and yet everything seem to run to time. SEPTA’s staff were friendly and helpful. (Especially when we were running for trains).

SEPTA
SEPTA SIlverliner V interior. Built by ROTEM. Lumix LX3 photo.

End of the line at Elwyn.
End of the line at Elwyn.

Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester.
Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA railroad station
Old Pennsylvania Railroad station at Clifton-Aldan.

End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.

69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.
69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound Kawasaki trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.

Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo. Contrast adjusted in post processing to improve the overall appearance of the image.

Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA's conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA’s conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.

Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.

SEPTA
Market East. Lumix LX3 photo.

Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.
Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.

 

Click to see related posts: SEPTA Silverliners at Market EastSEPTA’s Number 15 StreetcarSEPTA Wanderings in Early January 2013; and SEPTA One Year Ago: June 29, 2012

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DAILY POST: Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited


“It never gets old”

Amtrak 449, in sun and rain; one day and the next. Last week, I was over in East Brookfield visiting the LeBeaus to do some videography for a music video. Dennis LeBeau lives a block from the Boston & Albany (CSXT’s Boston Line).

I said to Dennis, “I’m just going to nip down to the bridge to catch 449. It should be getting close.”

“Passes here every day at one-thirty. I’ll join you in a minute.”

I phoned Amtrak’s Julie (the automated agent: 1-800-USA-RAIL) to find out if 449 as on time out of Worcester. As it turns out, it departed Worcester Union Station 4 minutes late.

Worcester is at CP45, East Brookfield is CP64. It takes 449 about 25-30 minutes to run the 19 miles.

Since it was nice bright afternoon, I opted for a broadside view that shows a few of the houses in town. At 1:39, Dennis shouted to me from the road bridge, “He’s around the bend.” I was poised to made my photograph with my Lumix LX3.

This can be tricky since there’s really only a split second to get the train in the right place. If the camera isn’t cued up, all I’ll get is a photo of the baggage car. But I was ready, and put the train precisely where I wanted it.

Amtrak's westward Lake Shore Limited at East Brookfield, Massachusetts on January 13, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.
Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited at East Brookfield, Massachusetts on January 13, 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX3 at f4.0 1/1600th of a second. I selected a fast shutter speed to insure I stopped the train. When working broadside, the relative motion of the train to the film plane requires a fast shutter speed than when aiming at tighter three-quarter view.

The train glided through town. I turned to make a few going away views with my Canon, and said to Dennis, “You know that never gets old. I’ve been photographing that train since the 1970s.”

Dennis said to me, “I’ve been watching it since it was the New England States Limited, with New York Central E8s!”

A day later, I was in Palmer (CP83). The word was out that Amtrak 145 (one of the Genesis P42s in heritage paint) was working 449. The weather was foul, but since I was in town anyway, I figured I’d give the train a roll by.

It was stabbed at CP83 by a southward New England Central freight going into the yard, which allowed ample time for photos. Such a contrast in days. Pity the heritage P42 hadn’t worked west a day sooner.

Amtrak has painted P42 145 in its 1970s-era scheme. It sits at CP83 in the driving rain waiting for a southward New England Central freight to clear the diamond on January 14, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Amtrak has painted P42 145 in its 1970s-era scheme. It leads train 449 which is sitting at CP83 waiting for a southward New England Central freight to clear the diamond on January 14, 2014. Driving rain was the order of the day. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

See: Kid with a Camera 1978Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited catches the glint at Palmer, May 28, 1986.

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Special Post: Electric Train Music Video


Rock and Roll Panic by The Big Gunz.

Thomasina the Cat is among the stars of Rock and Roll Panic the Third Rail Mix on YouTube. See http://youtu.be/1DweE3JLpEA
Thomasina the Cat is among the furry stars of Rock and Roll Panic the Third Rail Mix on YouTube. See http://youtu.be/1DweE3JLpEA

Tracking the Light takes a diverging route: Cats, Lionel, Beer, and Rock and Roll. Take a look at my most recent production. I’ve filmed and edited a short music video.

The soundtrack is the song Rock and Roll Panic performed by The Big Gunz of  East Brookfield, Massachusetts. Popular for their evening entertainment at Dunny’s Tavern, the Big Gunz are a classic trio consisting of  Paul, Tommy, and Dennis LeBeau.

Rock and Roll Panic third rail mix was filmed with my Canon Eos 7D and Lumix LX3 cameras, and has a train in almost every scene!

Check it out, click here for the link to: Rock and Roll Panic third rail mix

http://youtu.be/1DweE3JLpEA

 

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NEW YEAR’S POST: Happy 2014!


CSX Searchlights at Depew.

CSX stack train with signals
Canon EOS 7D with 100-400mm image stabilized zoom lens, set at 250mm.

I exposed this image on the evening of August 20, 2010 of a westward CSX stack train at CP431 in Depew, New York. What makes this photo interesting to me is the former New York Central signal bridge and searchlight signals.

Since I made this photograph, CSX has replaced many of the searchlights on the Water Level Route with modern color light hardware. While I’m sorry to see the old signals go, I’m not surprised.

Back in the 1990s, I wrote an editorial in Pacific RailNews (when I was editor of that magazine) warning enthusiasts that searchlights were on their way out, and explained why. At the time, searchlights were very common.

The photo is timely. This year I’ll be authoring a book tentatively titled Classic Railroad Signals to be published by Voyageur Press. It will be a follow up to Railroad Signaling, that I wrote several years ago, and will feature a variety of classic American signal hardware:

Semaphores, Searchlights, Positional Lights and Towers, of all varieties.

This will be a great book. I’ve been researching and photographing the subject for many years!

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END OF YEAR POST

Tracking the Light in 2013.

Searchlight signals
Blue sky and red signals; the old Boston & Maine-era searchlight protects the Bellows Falls diamond. In the steam era an old ball signal protected this crossing, then with Rutland Railroad.

Here, a potpourri of images illuminated the net; covering everything from unit oil trains to obscure eastern European transit. So, looking back, 2013 has been a productive and busy time for Tracking the Light.

My original intention with Tracking the Light was to disseminate detailed information about railway photographic technique. Over time this concept has evolved and I’ve used this as a venue for many of my tens of thousands of images.

Among the themes of the images I post; signaling, EMD 20-cylinder diesels, Irish Railways, photos made in tricky (difficult) lighting, elusive trains, weedy tracks and steam locomotives are my favorites.

Since March, I’ve posted new material daily. I’ve tried to vary the posts while largely sticking to the essential theme of railway images. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and will tell your friends about this site! There’s more to come in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Brian Solomon

General Motors Electro-Motive Division SD45 diesels
Southern Pacific 7547 leads a manifest freight timetable east at Brock, California, on SP’s East Valley line on April 28, 1991. This 35mm Kodachome image was scanned with an Epson V600. Minor adjustments were necessary using Photoshop to lighten exposure, correct contrast and color balance. The photo is seen full-frame.

Wisconsin Central
Wisconsin Central as viewed from across a cornfield at Byron, Wisconsin on December 3, 1994. Exposed with a Nikon F3T with 28mm wide angle lens on Kodachrome 25 color slide film. Scanned with a Epson V600 scanner. No post processing except as necessary to scale image for internet use and insert byline tag.

Bord na Mona
Bord na Mona trains are loaded with peat. A section of temporary track sits in the foreground. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 28-135mm lens.

New England Central freights
New England Central freights 604 and 606 at Palmer, Massachusetts. Lumix LX photo.

2-10-0 locomotive
Exposed with a Nikon F3T with 24mm lens with R2 red filter on Fuji Neopan 400, processed in Agfa Rodinal Special.

Bluebell Railway.
My known good spot: here a Bluebell train works the bank north of Horsted Keynes. Lumix LX3 photo.

See: Burlington Northern at Sunset, Whitefish, Montana July 5, 1994Tram in Olomouc, Czech Republic, 2008Donner Pass Part 1Bluebell Railway Revisited, July 2013-Part 2Boston & Albany Milepost 67, Brookfield, Massachusetts; Irish Rail, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, December 2005 . . .and more!

 

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Screamer kicks up snow near Shirley, Massachusetts. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. Contrast adjusted in post processing.
Screamer kicks up snow near Shirley, Massachusetts. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. Contrast adjusted in post processing.

Croydon Tram
This tram was difficult to miss in its iridescent special livery.

Tube station.
The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are among London’s largest tourist attractions. This poster describes Victorian interest in art and places photography in period context. Lumix LX3 photo.

New General Electric DASH8-40B on New York Susquehanna & Western
In 1989, New York, Susquehanna & Western served as the court appointed operator of Delaware & Hudson. By virtue of the 1976 Conrail merger, D&H had been granted trackage rights on the former Erie Railroad route from Binghamton to Buffalo, New York. On this March morning, a new NYS&W General Electric led an eastward double stack train on the old Erie near West Middlebury, New York, 384 miles from Jersey City.Exposed on 120 Kodachrome transparency film with a Hasselblad 500C with 80mm Zeiss Planar lens

 

Locomotive drive wheel
A study in motion: drive wheel, cylinder, valves and valve gear of locomotive 92212 at Kingscote. Canon EAS 7D photo.

PRR Suburban Station.
The former Pennsylvania Railroad Suburban Station as seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

rail freight

I made this photograph with my Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens, set at ISO 400 f 4.5 at 1/1000th. In post-processing I made minor adjustments to contrast and saturation to match how I perceived the light at the moment of exposure.

 

Irish Rail Gray 077 Leads Ballast Train
A landscape view of Irish Rail’s HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin on August 2, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Pan Am 618 roars west at Wisdom Way on November 21, 2013.
Pan Am 618 roars west at Wisdom Way on November 21, 2013.

Distant signal for Nicholastown gates. Nikon F3 with 180mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Distant signal for Nicholastown gates. Nikon F3 with 180mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.

Oil train catches the glint.
Away we go into the sunset hot in pursuit of an oil train. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens set at f6.3 1/1000 second at ISO 200.

CSX_oil_train_K040
First of four eastward unit oil trains; CSX K040 with a mix of CSX, KCS, and BNSF locomotives.

 

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Daily Post: Canadian National at Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Southbound CN Stacks work the old Soo Line, November 8, 2013.

Canadian National

CN’s Q11651-04 at Waukesha at 10:50 am on November 8, 2013. I exposed this photo using my Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. To gain a bit of elevation, I stood on Chris Guss’s Toyota 4Runner that is specially equipped with a roof rack for photography.

Between July 1994 and October 1996, I lived within walking distance of the former Soo Line station at Waukesha, Wisconsin.

At that time the railroad was owned and operated by Ed Burkhardt’s Wisconsin Central Limited (a 1980s regional carved from the old Soo Line after Soo Line merged with the largely parallel Milwaukee Road)

I’ve long since moved to new horizons and in the meantime, the ever-expanding Canadian National empire assimilated the WCL. The line through Waukesha that had once been part of the Canadian Pacific family is now a CN route.

Today’s CN has a very different operating style than that of WCL in mid-1990s.

Where WCL ran a tightly scheduled railroad with frequent but relatively short freights connecting Shops Yard at North Fond du Lac with various Chicago-land terminals, CN leans toward enormous rolling land-barges, many of which now take an Elgin, Joliet & Eastern routing around Chicago to reach the former Illinois Central or other connections.

Like the WCL, EJ&E and IC are now part of the CN empire.

On November 8, 2013, Chris Guss, Pat Yough and I photographed CN’s southward intermodal train symbol Q11651-04 led by SD70M-2 8800 passing the old Waukesha Soo Line station. At the back of the train was a modern General Electric working as a ‘distributed power unit’ (a radio-controlled remote locomotive controlled from the head-end).

This is a big change from the pairs of SD45 leading strings of 50 foot box cars or Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range ore jennies that I regularly saw in the 1990s. And, by the way, DM&IR is also another of CN’s railroads.

Vertical view at Waukesha.
Vertical view at Waukesha. CN rolls right along and passes through the town much faster than WC did in the mid-1990s.

CN’s Q11651-04 at Waukesha at 10:50 am on November 8, 2013. I exposed this photo using my Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. To gain a bit of elevation, I stood on Chris Guss’s Toyota Front Runner that is specially equipped with a roof rack for photography.
The DPU at the back of Q11651-04 crosses East Broadway in Waukesha. Chris Guss is in position on the roof of his Toyota. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens

For a glimpse to how things looked in the 1990s.

take a look at yesterday’s post: Wisconsin Central, Byron, Wisconsin, 1994.

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DAILY POST: Quaboag River Arches at West Warren, Massachusetts

Autumn Color and Mirror-Like River Make for a Diorama-Like Setting.

The rugged unsettled Quaboag Valley between Palmer and West Warren is a beautiful place, but difficult to work with photographically. Access is limited and the narrow valley combined with heavy overgrowth shadows the line much of the day.

CSXT train on bridge.
CSX’s Q022-22 works east on the former Boston & Albany mainline near West Warren, Massachusetts. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 40mm pancake lens. Minor adjustments in post-processing were necessary to control contrast and improve exposure.

My favorite vantage-point is this twin stone-arch bridge near West Warren. Since my last visit, logging efforts have opened the vista a bit more, allowing a slightly higher view of the tracks.

On October 23, 2013, I learned that CSX’s Q022 (eastward Intermodal container train destined for Worcester) was about an hour away, so I put myself in position to make a photograph.

The season’s leaves were just past peak, which is my preferred time to make autumn images of trains. Why? I’ve found that when almost all the trees are orange, brown and yellow, with hints of red, images seem more autumnal than when some trees are their most brilliant shades of red and orange but others remain green.

A stroke of luck was the very still day: there was virtually no wind while relatively low water-levels in the Quaboag allowed for a mirror like reflection of the bridge and train. This effect is much harder to achieve when the sun is out causing light breezes that tend blur the surface of the water.

See my new book North American Railroad Family Trees for discussion of the evolution CSX and other America railway networks.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily.

Explore Tracking the Light’s archives for more than 300 previous posts.

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DAILY POST: MBTA Boston October 27, 2013—Part 2


Sunday Afternoon and Evening.

MBTA
At Tower 1, MBTA 1123 shoves toward Boston‘s North Station. MBTA diesel fleet will soon be transformed by 40 new locomotives built by MPI using General Electric components. As is often the case with fleet upgrading, older locomotives may be withdrawn as newer ones come on line. Lumix LX3 photo modified in post processing to improve contrast and color balance.

Boston gets some great light and evening can be one of the best times to make photographs.

Sunday October 27th was clear in the morning, but clouded up a bit during midday. Towards evening the clouds melted away and a rich golden light prevailed.

MBTA
MBTA 1034 crosses the drawbridges near North Station as it shoves its train toward the terminal station. Lumix LX3 photo.

MBTA
MBTA F40PH 1025 departs Boston’s North Station on Sunday afternoon. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Boston
Boston Duck Boat. Lumix LX3 photo.

MBTA Orange Line.
Orange Line rapid transit cars in the early evening light. Canon EOS 7D.

Boston skyline. Lumix LX3 photo.
Boston skyline. Lumix LX3 photo.

MBTA
Orange Line trains meet north of Boston on October 27, 2013. Little remains of the old Orange Line elevated route that I remember from my earliest days. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Tim Doherty and I photographed operations out of North Station as well as the north end of the Orange Line rapid transit, then went toward Boston College, where the Commonwealth Avenue branch of the Green Line crosses over the former Boston & Albany mainline.

The fading light of evening made for a dramatic skyline. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so instead racked up the ISO on my digital cameras. With my 7D I can work with a 4000 ISO rating and still get some very presentable images.

My memories of the Commonwealth Avenue line extend back more than 40 years, and my photography of the line nearly that long.

In the late-1970s, I made a point of exposed Kodachrome slides of the PCC’s that were then waning on that route. I never could have guessed than in 2013 some PCC’s would survive in daily service on the Mattapan-Ashmont line.

See yesterday’s post for more Boston images: MBTA Sunday October 27, 2013—Part 1

MBTA
An inbound Commonwealth Avenue line streetcar makes for a modern silhouette. Lumix LX3 photo.

MBTA Boston.
Green Line streetcars meet on the Commonwealth Avenue Line. Boston’s iconic Prudential building looms large above the city. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Exposed at f2.8 1/125th of a second at ISO 3200, photo file adjusted in post processing to improve contrast and color balance.

MBTA
Commonwealth Avenue at sunset.Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens. Exposed at f2.8 1/60th of a second at ISO 4000-hand held.

See my new book North American Railroad Family Trees for discussion of the evolution MBTA and other commuter rail networks.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily.

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Hot Spot: Palmer, Massachusetts, October 17, 2013

Trains Converge on Palmer; 2 Hours of Non-stop Action.

New England Central
At 2:02 pm, New England Central GP38 3855 works CSX’s Palmer yard. Canon EOS 7D photo.

In the 1980s, Trains Magazine occasionally ran articles that featured ‘hot spots’ illustrated by sequences of photos showing different trains passing the same place over the course of hours.

These always caught my attention. While the individual images ranged from pedestrian to interpretive, the collective effect produced an understanding of how a busy spot worked.

Trains tend to arrive in clusters. Hours may pass where nothing goes by except a track car, then trains arrive from every direction. The astute photographer has learned when to make the most of these situations.

Palmer, Massachusetts can be a busy place, if you’re there at the right time. CSX’s east-west former Boston & Albany mainline crosses New England Central’s (NECR) former Central Vermont line at grade. An interchange track connects the two routes and serves as connection to the former B&A Ware River Branch operated by Massachusetts Central.

Afternoon tends to be busy. Among the moves through Palmer are Amtrak’s Vermonters that use CSX’s line between Springfield and Palmer, and NECR’s line north of Palmer toward Vermont. There isn’t a direct connection to allow an eastward train on the CSX route to directly access the NECR’s line.

To compensate for this, Amtrak’s trains must use CSX’s controlled siding to access the interchange track, and this to reach the NECR. This requires trains to reverse direction. As a result, Amtrak trains either have locomotives on each end or run with a push-pull cab control car.

On the afternoon of October 17, 2013, the interchange track proved one of the busiest lines in Palmer and was used by a succession of NECR, Mass-Central, and Amtrak trains.

Complicating matters was Amtrak 57 (southward Vermonter) which was running more than an hour behind its scheduled time, and so met its northward counterpart at Palmer. New England Central was also busy with no less than three trains working around Palmer about the same time.

I’ve put the following photos in sequence with the approximate times of exposure. I stress ‘approximate’, since my digital camera’s clocks not only didn’t agree on the minutes passed the hour, but were set for different time zones as a function of recent travel.

It was a nice bright day too. Patrons at Palmer’s ever popular Steaming Tender restaurant (located in the restored former Palmer Union Station) were entertained with a succession of trains passing on both sides of the building.

A southbound New England Central local approaches the Palmer diamond at 2:33 pm. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A southbound New England Central local approaches the Palmer diamond at 2:33 pm. Canon EOS 7D photo.

At 2:49 pm Mass Central's freight from South Barre looks to work the interchange track to reach the CSX yard. Canon EOS 7D photo.
At 2:49 pm Mass Central’s freight from South Barre looks to work the interchange track to reach the CSX yard. Canon EOS 7D photo.

New England Central 3809 has gone across the diamond to collect southbound train 611 and is now returning with the train and looking to re-cross CSX . Canon EOS 7D photo.
New England Central 3809 has gone across the diamond to collect southbound train 611 and is now returning with the train and looking to re-cross CSX . Canon EOS 7D photo.

Having dropped its interchange and collected its cars from CSX's yard, Mass-Central 960 returns west on the interchange track at 3:23 pm. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Having dropped its interchange and collected its cars from CSX’s yard, Mass-Central 960 returns west on the interchange track at 3:23 pm. A New England Central local with engine 3855 can be seen in the distance working the yard. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Photographer Paul Goewey focuses on Mass-Central as the train reverses over the interchange. Lumix LX3 photo.
Photographer Paul Goewey focuses on Mass-Central as the train passes over the interchange. Lumix LX3 photo.

Paul inspects his results.
Paul inspects his results.

At 3:37pm Amtrak 56, the northward Vermonter crosses the Palmer diamond and enters the controlled siding at CSX's CP83. Canon EOS 7D photo.
At 3:37pm Amtrak 56, the northward Vermonter crosses the Palmer diamond and enters the controlled siding at CSX’s CP83. Its locomotive, P42 153 is shoving at the back. The Steaming Tender is in the old station building on the left. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Amtrak and New England Central.
With Amtrak 56 tucked in on the controlled siding, New England Central’s local passes on the interchange track at 3:40 pm. Lumix LX3 photo.

Amtrak 56 has pulled forward onto the interchange and then reversed back again to make room for its southward counterpart to access the switch that connects the interchange track with CSX's controlled siding. Lumix LX3 photo.
Amtrak 56 has pulled forward onto the interchange and then reversed back again to make room for its southward counterpart to access the switch that connects the interchange track with CSX’s controlled siding. Lumix LX3 photo.

Amtrak's southward (left) and northward (right) Vemonters are nose to nose at Palmer. Lumix LX3 photo.
Amtrak’s southward (left) and northward (right) Vemonters are nose to nose at Palmer. Lumix LX3 photo.

At 408pm, both Vermonters depart Palmer. The train on the left leading with P42 number 153 is heading north to St Albans, Vermont, while on the right the southward train will exit CSX's controlled siding and head west toward Springfield before continuing south to New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Lumix LX3 photo.
At 408pm, both Vermonters depart Palmer. The train on the left, leading with P42 number 153, is heading north to St Albans, Vermont, while on the right the southward train will exit CSX’s controlled siding and head west toward Springfield before continuing south to New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Lumix LX3 photo.

Not bad for one afternoon! Yet, not a CSX train in sight. These days much of CSX’s business passes Palmer in darkness.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily.

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

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Misty Morning on the Boston & Albany near Edwards Park, New York October 14, 2011.

 

Fall Colors near State Line Tunnel.

CSX L022 rolls west near Edwards Park, New York. Exposed at ISO 640 with a Canon EOS 7 with 28-135mm lens set at 53mm f5.6 at 1/200th second. To accentuate the autumn foliage, I manually set the white balance for a warmer setting rather than use the auto white balance that I find to be too cool for autumn trees.
CSX L022 rolls west near Edwards Park, New York. Exposed at ISO 640 with a Canon EOS 7 with 28-135mm lens set at 53mm f5.6 at 1/200th second. To accentuate the autumn foliage, I manually set the white balance for a warmer setting rather than use the auto white balance that I find to be too cool for autumn trees.

On the morning of October 14, 2011, I crossed the Berkshires on the Mass-Pike as I drove west to meet with accomplished railway photographer John Pickett.

I had a few hours before our meeting, so despite low cloud and mist, I exited the highway at the Massachusetts-New York state line and drove toward Boston & Albany’s State Line Tunnel. While on Tunnel Hill Road in Canaan, New York, I noticed this colorful scene from the road side.

As I got out of the car, I heard the unmistakable sound of a train roaring west. I had just enough time to get out my Canon EOS 7 and make a test image before the train passed.

Another case of just being at the right place at the right time, and being ready to act.

 

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Irish Rail, September 27, 2013

 

Sun, Freight and the PWD.

Every so often the sun shines in Ireland. When it does, it helps to be in position to make photographs. As it happened, on Friday September 27, 2013, Colm O’Callaghan and I were at Stacumny Bridge, near Hazelhatch in suburban Dublin.

Irish Rail passenger train
A six piece 22000-series Intercity Rail Car glides up road at Stucumny Bridge, September 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D.

Our aim was to photograph the down IWT (International Warehousing and Transport) liner which had an 071 class diesel leading. Stacumny Bridge is a favorite location to catch down-road trains mid-morning because of the broad open view of the tracks and favorable sun angle. I’ve post photos from this location on previous occasions.

While waiting for the liner, we got word of an up road wagon transfer. And caught that a few minutes before the liner came down. Then we heard that there was a permanent way department (PWD or ‘Per way’) ballast train coming up road as well. This was one of the elusive high output ballast trains (HOBS) I’ve mentioned in other posts.

Irish Rail class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail 071 class diesel number 079 leads a wagon transfer up road at Stucumny Bridge. Up road is toward Dublin, down road away. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D and 40mm pancake lens.

Irish Rail freight.
Irish Rail 081 leads the down IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport container train Dublin to Ballina) approaching Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch on September 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

HOBS.
Irish Rail 0117-071 leads a High Output Ballast (HOBS) train up road at Stacumny Bridge on Septemeber 27, 2013. Exposed with an Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Although an annoying small cloud softened the light at Stacumny when the HOBS roared up road. We pursued the train up to Dublin and caught it again reversing into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station.

For the all hours scouring the countryside for photos on dull days, it’s rewarding to catch a clattering of interesting action in just over an hour on a bright day. This is down to watching the weather, combined with patience and persistence and a good bit of luck.

Irish Rail Dublin.
The engine has run around in preparation to reverse the HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station, Dublin. A Mark 4 set passes the train. September 27, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

Irish Rail HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail HOBS at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.

Irish Rail 0117-071 reverses the empty HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station. The locomotive will 'hook off'  for work elsewhere, while the ballast train will remain stabled in the sidings over the weekend. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail 0117-071 prepares to reverse the empty HOBS into the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station. The locomotive will ‘hook off’ for work elsewhere, while the ballast train will remain stabled in the sidings over the weekend. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Tomorrow: Tracking the Light looks back 13 years at Stacumny Bridge. What a change!

Tracking the Light posts new material on a daily basis.

 

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More Adventures with Ireland’s Bord na Mona—September 2013.

 

Shannonbridge and More!

Last week, Mark Healy and I made a foray into Irish bog lands searching for narrow gauge peat trains operated by Bord na Móna  (Peat Board). We’d been watching the weather closely and tried to time our visit for a bright clear day.

We got it wrong. Despite a rosy sunrise in Dublin and generally good forecast, we faced fog, cloudy and just general overcast in County Offaly.

After more than a half dozen visits to this rarely photographed industrial railway, I thought I was beginning to have an understanding of their operations.

I got that wrong too! While, we’d photographed a dozen trains by the end of the day, actual operations were quite different than what I expected.

Bord na Mona
Trailing view of Bord na Móna’s Shannonbridge empty ash train returning to Shannonbridge, County Offaly, Ireland. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Bord na Mona
Laden peat train near Shannonbridge, September 2013. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Laden trains approach Shannonbridge. Canon EOS 7D photo with f2.8 200mm lens.
Laden trains approach Shannonbridge. Canon EOS 7D photo with f2.8 200mm lens.

Initially we worked the lines radiating out from Shannonbridge. Our first train was the ever-elusive ash train. That was a bonus for us. After about five hours, having photographed several loaded and empty trains, we decided to head east toward Edenderry, which is the focus of another of Bord na Móna’s networks.

On the way we stumbled upon an obscure Bord na Móna operation. Driving east on highway R357 east of Cloghan, Mark noticed a level crossing. “Hey! There’s a pair of trains.” I mistook these for trains heading to Shannonbridge

My error was corrected when we chatted to one of the drivers. Turns out these were empty trains heading out loading to bring peat to the Derrinlough briquette factory. Just dumb luck to catch this operation.

Level crossing gate.
Closing the level crossing gates on Ireland’s R357 east of Cloghan, County Offaly. Canon EOS 7D 7D photo with f2.8 200mm lens.

Rare photo of briquette train.
A Derrinlough-based Bord na Móna train near Cloghan, County Offaly. Canon EOS 7D 7D photo with f2.8 200mm lens.

Bord na Mona.
A Derrinlough-based Bord na Móna train crosses highway R357 near Cloghan, County Offaly. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bord na Mona
Trailing view of Derrinlough-based Bord na Móna trains near Cloghan, County Offaly. Canon EOS 7D 7D photo with f2.8 200mm lens.

 

We finished the day inspecting operations near Mt Lucas and Edenderry. Pity about the lack of sun.

I’ve dealt with Bord na Móna several times in previous posts.

Gallery 8: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1Irish Bog Railways—Part 2 February 16, 2013Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013Irish Bog Railways—Part 4, August, 2013; and Bord na Mona’s Ash Train.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily. Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

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Thalys High Speed Train, The Netherlands, September 2013

 

Presenting a Modern Railway Vision.

Thalys high-speed train.
Thalys crosses Hollands Diep south of Dordrecht, The Netherlands in September 2013. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D fitted with f2.8 200mm lens; ISO 800 f4 1/250 second.

I exposed this image of a Thalys at speed crossing a arched bridge over Hollands Diep minutes before the fading orange ball of the sun melted into North Sea coastal fog.

Thalys is an international high-speed train branding applied to services connecting Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris, and Köln-Brussels-Paris. Technologically speaking the train is a French-built TGV, but specially painted and decorated for Thalys services.

This was an evening run from Amsterdam to Paris. Hollands Diep is the coastal estuary fed by Rhein and Meuse Rivers. This bridge features a pronounced sweep up and over the water. Beyond it is an older (and busier) truss that has two main tracks for ordinary rail services (freight and passenger).

I panned this train with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with f2.8 200mm fixed telephoto. The light was fading rapidly, so I set the ISO to 800, adjusted the white balance manually and pre-focused in anticipation of the fast moving train. My exposure was f4 at 1/250 of a second.

Earlier in the evening I’d seen a Thalys fly across the bridge and I recognized that the structure of the bridge mimicked the paint scheme on the train, so I released the shutter to allow for an arching visual flow between train and bridge. This is accentuated by the low light.

 

 

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Rhein River Valley Part 3

Views from the East Side of the Rhein—September 2013.

Rail Freight in Germany.
A DB freight rattles northward near Filsen on the east side of the Rhein in September 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

For me the Right Bank (east side) of the Rhein has always been more challenging and more intriguing. This side has more freight, but the vistas are more difficult to access. Certainly getting the viewpoints that I envision take a little more work.

On this trip, with the help of maps and some advice from local photographers, I found several satisfactory spots to work from.

Where the Left Bank (west side) remains dominated by passenger traffic (with the occasional freight slotted in), the Right Bank is primarily a freight route, with the requisite hourly (half-hourly at peak times) stopping passenger train.

Since my last visit to the Right Bank in 2010, the passenger service has been upgraded with modern Stadler three and four piece Flirt-model railcars. The tide of freight ebbs and flows, but its not difficult to get four or five freights at one location in a relatively short span of time.

It seems that no sooner than one train has clattered out of sight when the next is on its way. If action on the east side ebbs too much, there are plenty of boats and barges on the Rhein as well as trains on the left side. Regardless of what happens, I find it easy to expose lots of images.

Stadler Flirt
A Stadler Flirt railcar is ready to come out of the sidings at Kaub. These modern electric railcars provide interval passenger service between freights on the east side of the river. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Lorchausen, Germany
Picturesque villages line the east side of the Rhein. This view of Lorchausen was exposed shortly before sunset with my Lumix LX3.

Rhein River Valley
A southward freight is led by a common DB Class 185 electric. This view is made from a vineyard near Lorch that offers superb views of trains on both sides of the Rhein. Lumix LX3 photo.

Grapes.
Plump grapes ripen in the autumn sun near Lorch, Germany. Lumix LX3 macro view.

Coal train on the Rhein.
A blue electric leads a train of PKP coal wagons on the west side of the river (as viewed from a Vineyard in Lorch). Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.
Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.

BLS freight on Rhein.
A BLS Cargo electric hums northbound at a lightly used level crossing near Kaub. Once a manned crossing with classic signal tower, gates are now automated. The BLS freights from Switzerland are among the most prized daily catches for some photographers. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

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Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013—Part 4

Irish Rail Vignettes: Trains From the Train.

RPSI Kilkenny excursion
Approaching Carlow. Canon EOS 7D Photo.

Traveling by special train allows unusual perspectives of otherwise ordinary operations. It allows for images of technological contrasts and angles not normally possible.

The RPSI’s vintage Cravens are ideal rolling platforms from which to make photos because the windows open. Also, since the train travels at more conservative speeds, you have more time to absorb and record the passing scenes.

I’ll often work with a zoom lens and fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second or higher) as to quickly frame an image and stop the action.

Other opportunity for photos are when the train stops for water, to collect or discharge passengers, and other long pauses at station platforms.  All of these images were exposed during the The Marble City express excursion on August 25, 2013.

Inchicore works, Dublin
Stored 201 class diesels at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny as an ICR arrives from Waterford. It's very rare to see a locomotive in Kilkenny since all the regular passenger trains are multiple units and the freight avoids the station. Canon EOS 7D Photo.
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny as an ICR arrives from Waterford. It’s very rare to see a locomotive in Kilkenny since all the regular passenger trains are multiple units and the freight avoids the station. Canon EOS 7D Photo.

Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny
Irish Rail 081 shunts the RPSI Cravens at Kilkenny

 

Mark 4 at Kildare.
Cork to Dublin Mark4 races up-road at Kildare on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Cork to Dublin Mark4 races uproad at Kildare with 201 class 232 pushing at the back  on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Cork to Dublin Mark4 races uproad at Kildare with 201 class 232 pushing at the back on August 25, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Double ended 2700 class railcar 2751 at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Double-ended single 2700-class railcar 2751 at Inchicore. Canon EOS 7D photo.

GAA supporters line the platform at Drumcondra Station.
GAA supporters line the platform at Drumcondra Station. Lumix LX3 photo.

A 29000-series railcar departs Connolly Station.
A 29000-series railcar departs Connolly Station.

 

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Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013

Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s “The Marble City.”

Locomotive 461.
461 at Connolly Station, Dublin.

On Sunday, August 25, 2013 locomotive 461 hauled a well-patronized Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s excursion from Dublin’s Connolly Station to Kilkenny via Cherryville Junction.

As is often the case this time of year in Ireland, it was a largely gray day. Steam locomotives present a difficult subject on warm dull days. As a result, I opted to travel on the train, rather than stake out a spot in the countryside to try for the one ‘master shot’.

This gave me ample opportunity to make close-ups of the locomotive, its crew, and friends traveling with the train. As well as pictures from the window.

I’d intended to bring my trusty old Nikon F3 to make a few color slides, but on the previous evening, I’d been making time exposures of Dublin and the trusty old battery in the F3 gave up the ghost. Failing to follow my own advice, I didn’t have a spare. (Although I have plenty of spare cameras).

As a result all of my images of “The Marble City” trip were exposed digitally. Some with my Lumix LX3, others with my Canon EOS 7D with 28-135 zoom. Check Tracking the Light over the next few days to view some of my results.

Steam to Kilkenny, August 25, 2013
Overseeing boarding at Connolly Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.

RPSI trip August 25, 2013
Locomotive driver Ken Fox greets RPSI’s members on the platform at Connolly. Lumix LX3 Photo.

RPSI trip August 25, 2013
This RPSI safety vest shows the signs of steam service. Lumix LX3 photo.

RPSI trip August 25, 2013
After leaving Dublin, ‘The Marble City’ was overtaken by the Dublin-Cork train at the end of the quad track on the down road at Hazelhatch. (Up tracks are to the left of the platform) Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Lumix LX3 photo.
Passengers enjoying the spin behind steam.

Startled cattle run alongside the train near Bagenalstown. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Startled cattle run alongside the train near Bagenalstown. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

More to come!

 

 

 

 

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SNCB at Ottignies, Belgium, August 16, 2013

 Compare Two Views of a Northward Express Train.

On the morning of August 16, 2013, I was changing trains at Ottignies, a suburban station south of Brussels on the line toward Luxembourg. I had just under an hour to explore and make photos.

For many ordinary passengers, I expect that changing trains is a purgatorial experience, but I’ve always found that is a great time to make photos and helps break up the journey. Such was the case this day.

The sky was bright and blue, and Ottignies was entirely new to me. The station has several platforms, and at regular intervals trains converge to allow passengers to change from one train to another. In addition it serves the local population.

I made this pair of photographs of a northward express train led by a SNCB (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges—Belgian National Railways) class 13 electric. What impressed me about this location was the slight jog in the track on approach to the station and the immense proportions of the overhead footbridge, which combined give the image greater depth.

SNCB Ottignies.

A SNCB class 13 electric leads a Brussels-bound express passenger train through the station at Ottignies, Belgium on August 16, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 100mm telephoto. Both images required nominal contrast adjustment in post processing.
A SNCB class 13 electric leads a Brussels-bound express passenger train through the station at Ottignies, Belgium on August 16, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 100mm telephoto. Both images required nominal contrast adjustment in post processing.

My quandary in editing is deciding which of the two photos I prefer. The first offers a view with signals and more of the footbridge, while the second is more focused on the locomotive and train.

Both were exposed digitally with my Canon EOS 7D and 100mm lens. The train was moving swiftly and I had only moments to make my composition before it blitzed the platforms.

 

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Bord na Mona, Lanesborough, August 10, 2013

A Pleasant Summer’s Day Exploring an Irish Narrow Gauge Railway.

Bord na Mona trains.
Laden Bord na Mona trains approach Lanesborough, County Longford on the morning of August 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Last winter, I made several visits with my friends to Bord na Mona’s network focused on the Lough Ree Power Station at Lanesborough, County Longford. (See: Irish Bog Railways—Part 2 February 16, 2013Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013), On Saturday, August 10, 2013, I returned for another day of photography on this fascinating system.

Having explored various Bord na Mona railways (see: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1Irish Bog Railways—Part 4, August, 2013), I find that the lines around Lanesborough are the most interesting and photogenic. Here variety of scenery and operations are exceptionally conducive to my photography.

Summer offers more pleasant temperatures and longer days, but also brings more foliage, taller grass and other challenges that I didn’t experience in February!

Bord na Mona trains.
A tractor cuts road-side hedges near Lanesborough. Taller grass made this location more difficult than in February. Canon EOS 7D photo.

I think its safe to say that I didn’t get bored with Bord na Mona. From the first moment trackside, the railway seemed to be buzzing with trains. The section of double track running east from Lanesborough toward Mountdillon was especially busy.

 

Bord na Mona trains.
Empties work the double track east of Lanesborough on August 10, 2013. The Lough Ree Power Station looms in the distance. Canon EOS 7D photo.

I even had another opportunity to catch one of the ash trains on the move. (See: Bord na Mona’s Ash Train). Perhaps my bold proclamation of its elusivity has tipped the scales in my favor—a sort of reverse jinx, as it were.

Or maybe, its my persistence. It’s nice to get a lucky catch, but likewise, the more time spent trackside, the better the odds of seeing the unusual, as well as the elusive, the rare, and the obscure. Having a better sense for when trains run helps too!

Bord na Mona trains.
An empty Bord na Mona ash train passes Mountdillon on its way back to the Lough Ree power station at Lanesborough. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Bord na Mona trains.
Running meet on the double track between Mountdillon and Lanesborough. An empty rake of peat wagons meets an empty ash train. The intense clattering of narrow gauge trains gives the network a feeling of a large model railway.

Bord na Mona
An empty rake near Derreghan Cross Roads with the expanse of harvested boglands on the right.

 

Bord na Mona
Empty trains take a passing siding at Derraghan More on the way out to be reloaded. Canon EOS 7D.

Bord_na_Mona_
An empty rake waits for a pair of laden trains near Derraghan More. Canon 7D photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bluebell Railway Revisited, July 2013-Part 2

Kingscote Station.

Kingscote Station
Bluebell staff on the platform at Kingscote. Exposed digitally with my Canon EOS 7D.

For many years Kingscote was effectively Bluebell’s northern terminus. That changed this year when the extension to East Grinstead was finally opened along with the direct connection to Network Rail.

Now, as a quiet mid-point on the Bluebell line, it embodies all the qualities of a small town passenger station from a time long ago. Adding to the rural solitude is a ban on visitor automobiles in the car park. (Railway riders are encourage to use other stations on the line).

The facilities are faithfully decorated to convey the spirit of long ago. I appreciated a lack of modern intrusions. Not so much as an electronic beep could be heard during my brief visit. (I turned off the various sounds uttered by my digital cameras!). I should have brought my Rollei Model T for effect.

During my hour visit at Kingscote, I was rewarded with the arrive of a wedding special hauled by a diminutive locomotive named ‘Bluebell’ and decorated appropriately.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
Vintage sign inside Kingscote Station. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
Station offices look like something from the late steam era. Notice the old manual typewriter. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
Waiting room at the Bluebell Railway station in Kingscote. Lumix LX3.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
A period poster decorates the street side of Kingscote Station. Lumix LX3 photo.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
Locomotive ‘Bluebell’ is ready to depart Kingscote on the Bluebell Railway. Lumix LX3 photo

Locomotive drive wheel
A study in motion: drive wheel, cylinder, valves, crosshead and valve gear of locomotive 92212 at Kingscote Station. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Bluebell Railway at Kingscote.
London Transport locomotive L150 leads a train of Metropolitan Railway carriages at Kingscote in July 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

 

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London Underground July 2013—Part 2


More Views of the Underground.

As a follow up to yesterday’s post London Underground July 2013—Part 1, I’ve assembled some of my favorite images from last week’s exploration in London.

Underground Station at Covent Garden
The classically tiled Underground Station at Covent Garden is easily identified. Lumix LX3 photo.

The Underground cleverly blends transport and style. In my experience it is one of the world’s most popular public transportation systems. Phrases like ‘Mind the Gap’ appear on mugs and T-shirts, while many shops sell stylized maps of the Underground network.

There’s a lesson here.

Charing Cross Underground station
Charing Cross Underground station is the preferred way to access The National Gallery and other nearby museums. Lumix LX3 photo.

Tube station.
The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are among London’s largest tourist attractions. This poster describes Victorian interest in art and places photography in period context. Lumix LX3 photo.

London Tube.
A passenger prepares to board as a Piccadilly Line tube train glides into the Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station. July 2013 photo exposed with a Lumix LX3.

Tube Train.
By placing the camera against the ceiling of the tube train, I secured an unusual angle, minimized vibration to allow for a long exposure, while momentarily attracting the interest of fellow passengers. Lumix LX3 photo.

Air raid signs
Historic Underground signs recall the fear from sky-bourne warfare. Canon EOS 7D photo.

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Sun Scorched Irish Extravaganza—Part 4

 

Close-ups and Details.

Sometimes special events make for great opportunities to make detailed photos of equipment, structures and settings.

Last Saturday’s Irish Railway Record Society excursion from Dublin to Cork, Cobh and Midleton was an opportunity for visual exploration.

Check previous posts for other images of this historic trip.

Detail of class 071 diesel.
Irish Rail diesel number 073 catches the sun at Kent Station Cork on 20 July 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Driver Ken Fox works the ground at Cork.
Driver Ken Fox works the ground at Cork.

 

Kent Station, Cork.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland’s Cravens catch the sunlight at Kent Station Cork on 20 July 2013.

 

Brake cylinder on locomotive 071.
Brake cylinder on locomotive 071.

 92 60 0117071-7
Freshly painted Irish Rail locomotive 92 60 0117071-7 catches the sun at Heuston Station in Dublin. Its still just old 071 to me! Lumix LX3 photo.

Heuston Station
Irish Rail’s Rotem-built intercity rail cars arrive at Heuston Station on the morning of 20 July 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

Handbrake on locomotive 071. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Handbrake on locomotive 071. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.
Heuston Station, Dublin. Lumix LX3 photo.

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Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited East of Palmer, Massachusetts

 Difference of Decades

About four miles east of the center of Palmer (Depot Village) CSX’s former Boston & Albany mainline passes a bucolic setting at the bottom of a broad sweeping field as it heads up the Quaboag River Valley. This is best viewed from Route 67, not far east of the split with Route 20.

One summer’s evening more than 30 years ago, my father and I stood out in the field to make a photo of Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited (train 449). Since that time I’ve returned many times to photograph trains.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited.
On March 15, 1986, Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited heads toward Worcester and Boston on Conrail’s former Boston & Albany main line. Exposed on 120 sized black & white film using a Rollei Model T equipped with an f3.5 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens.

I’ve paired two sets of images here. The black & white photograph was made on March 15, 1986 (‘Beware the Ides of March!’). The color images I exposed a week ago Sunday (July 14, 2013).

Among the changes to the scene over the years has been an increase in undergrowth. A more dramatic change was the recent installation of a voltaic farm (solar panels) on the northside of the field. This alteration has greatly changed the character of the place.

According to an article in a recent Palmer Journal Register, perimeter fencing may soon encircle the voltaic farm. Undoubtedly this progress will further improve the photographs made here beyond all previous measures of aethetic virtue.

Passenger train with voltaic farm.
Approaching CP79 (at the east end of the Palmer controlled siding)Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited—train 448, catches the golden glow of evening as it passes the field along Route 67 east of Palmer, Massachusetts. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 40mm pancake lens.

Amtrak with solar panels.
The recently installed voltaic farm adds a lovely rustic quality to this bucolic New England scene. Soon electricity will be pulsing from these panels to the electric power grid reducing all forms of polution in the region.

 

Happy Birthday Tracking the Light!

 

Tracking the Light’s first full year.

Benburb Street LUAS Crash
Benburb Street LUAS Crash

 

It was exactly one year ago (July 19, 2012) that Tracking the Light made its debut.

In the last year this site has had nearly 24,000 visits.

Of the nearly 235 posts, the following topics have been the most popular:

1)    Gallery Post 1: Sperry Train at Islandbridge Junction on August 30, 2012 

2)    LUAS Tram Crash on Benburb, Street Dublin September 10, 2012 

3)    Installment 1: Central Vermont Railway at Windsor, Vermont

4)    Gallery Post 2: Looking Back on Irish Railways 1998-2003

5) Tracking the Light Extra! Breaking Views!

Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Among the posts that drew the least interest:

1) Sunset at Bonn, Germany, August 1998

2) Chicago & North Western Station, Chicago August 1984

 

Deutche Bahn InterCity train 522 Berchtesgadener Land (Berchtesgaden—Hamburg) catches the glint of the setting sun at Bonn, Germany. Compare this view with that of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited catches the glint at Palmer, May 28, 1986. (posted December 7, 2012). Exposed on Fuji Sensia II (ISO 100) slide film using a Nikon F3T fitted with f2.8 135mm lens. Exposure calculated manually with a handheld Sekonic Studio deluxe light meter (approximately f8 1/500 sec).
Deutche Bahn InterCity train 522 Berchtesgadener Land (Berchtesgaden—Hamburg) catches the glint of the setting sun at Bonn, Germany. Compare this view with that of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited catches the glint at Palmer, May 28, 1986. (posted December 7, 2012). Exposed on Fuji Sensia II (ISO 100) slide film using a Nikon F3T fitted with f2.8 135mm lens. Exposure calculated manually with a handheld Sekonic Studio deluxe light meter (approximately f8 1/500 sec).

Chicago, August 19, 1984. Exposed on Kodak Safety Film 5063; bulk loaded Tri-x 400, exposed at ISO 400, processed in Microdol-X.
Chicago, August 19, 1984. Exposed on Kodak Safety Film 5063; bulk loaded Tri-x 400, exposed at ISO 400, processed in Microdol-X.

As a result of my careful marketing analysis, I’ve determine the best ways for Tracking the Light to go viral are:

1)   Encourage Sperry to plan a safely staged ‘derailment’ on Dublin’s LUAS route (to demonstrate the dangers of hidden rail fractures, perhaps) using former a Central Vermont Railway switcher painted in Irish Rail grey and then photograph it on a dull day using my Lumix LX-3. (Along the lines of the theatrically arranged ‘cornfield meets’ of the late Victorian era.)

2)    Hire a Korean guy with sunglasses to dance around near the tracks. (Gangnam Style) —hey, with more than 1.5 Billion hits, something must be working, right??

3)    Offer free Twinkies to all Tracking the Light subscribers.

4)    Plan a merger with LeakyWiks.

5)    Encourage everyone who enjoys the site to spread the word (and links) with their friends and urge regular visitors to subscribe! (there’s a box for comments toward the bottom of the posts and a box to tick that enables the subscription feature—admittedly this is a bit Kafkaesque, and hopefully I’ll find a better means of enabling subscriptions soon!)

 

Incidentally, my elaborate plans to import a German electric for demonstration were to be aborted, unfortunately Amtrak didn’t get the memo! 😉

Thanks again for checking Tracking the Light!

Brian Solomon

 

railroad tracks.
Chicago & North Western’s Chicago-Omaha mainline at sunset.

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Metro North Anniversaries—Part 2

 

Grand Central Terminal and the Hudson Line.

Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central’s colossal architecture exudes magnificence. Lumix LX3 photo.

New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is unquestionably America’s best known railway station. This year it celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The station is also probably the most photographed in the USA. At any given time tourists and visitors are actively making images of its awe inspiring interior.

On the evening of June 29, 2013, I joined the masses in their image making crusade.

I also took a spin up the Hudson Line to Tarrytown, where I made some twilight views of Metro-North.

Grand Central’s most memorable feature is its grand concourse, a vast interior space intended to accommodate tens of thousands pedestrians daily.
Grand Central’s most memorable feature is its grand concourse, a vast interior space intended to accommodate tens of thousands pedestrians daily.

Working with both my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS7D, I made a variety of digital images. These may soon augment my older images of Grand Central and Metro-North.

Tarrytown, New York.
Metro-North at Tarrytown, New York on June 29, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

Metro-North train.
Metro-North M7 multiple unit glides into Tarrytown, New York. Canon EOS7D with 40mm pancake lens.

Grand Central Terminal.
Passengers flood from a Hudson Line train on Grand Central’s upper level. Lumix LX3 photo.

MTA Metro-North Railroad.
MTA Metro-North Railroad.

Grand Central New York City
Grand Central’s exterior is faced with a blend Bedford limestone and Stony Creek granite. Atop this façade is an enormous neo-classical sculpture of Mercury, Minerva and Hercules that incorporates a huge clock—Time keeping, is of course, integral with railway travel. Canon 7D with 40mm Pancake lens.

Grand Central's concourse.
Grand Central ceiling features a unique depiction of the Mediterranean Zodiac as interpreted by French painter Paul Helleu. Lumix LX3 photo.

The ghost of an early twentieth century bicycle enthusiast crosses Grand Central's  concourse. Lumix LX3.
The ghost of an early twentieth century bicycle crosses Grand Central’s concourse. Lumix LX3.

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Mass-Central on the Central Massachusetts, June 26, 2013

 

An Antique NW5 Works Obscure Trackage.

On June 26, 2013, a variety of errands that brought me to Ware, Massachusetts. I knew the Mass-Central’s daily freight ought to be in the area, but I wasn’t sure where it was. (Pardon pun).

I checked Ware yard; not there. So I drove north along the line. Since it is my understanding that the railroad is expected to acquire some nicely painted GP38s, I was curious to see what engines were working that day.

No sign of the train at Gilbertville, so I continued northward along Route 32 toward Creamery. My sixth sense was tingling. I knew the train was close.

 

Abandoned railroad.
Looking railroad east on the old Central Massachusetts line. This was once a through route from Boston to Northampton. Hush! Was that a whistle? Lumix LX3 photo.

At Creamery,  Boston & Maine’s Central Massachusetts line once had a grade separated crossing with Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch, and when B&M retrenched in the early 1930s,  a connection was built between the two lines just to the north (east) of this crossing.  Further retrenchment over the following decades resulted in almost complete abandonment of the Central Massachusetts line in the area.

Today, a portion of the Central Mass route at Creamery is now a rail trail. I paused at the trail, inspected a bit of an old cross-tie and then listened. . .  wind rustled in the trees, then in the distance I heard a low air whistle. I turned my head. It was coming from the south. Had I overtaken the train, or had I missed it?

A second blast, confirmed my suspicions; I’d missed the train between Gilbertville and Creamery.  I jumped in my car and headed briskly back toward Ware. I overtook the train a mile north of town.

At Ware, Mass-Central had some work at Kanzaki Specialty Papers—a customer served by a short surviving section of the former B&M line that connects with the B&A route south of Ware Yard.

Mass-Central NW5 2100 at Ware.
Mass-Central 2100 and 960 shove boxcars toward Kanzaki Paper on a surviving segment of the Central Massachusetts line at Ware, Massachusetts. In the 1970s, Mass-Central was created as a switching railroad to operate Boston & Maine trackage at Ware. Later it expanded operations over the former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch between Palmer and South Barre. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

I caught the train shoving down, then waited a few minutes for the locomotives to return. In this way I executed several  photos of the rare NW5 (one of just 13 built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division) on rare track

NW5 diesel.
Mass-Central on the Central Mass; NW5 2100 works toward Ware yard on June 26, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

Mass-Central NW5 2100
At Ware, Boston & Maine’s Central Massachusetts line ran parallel to Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch; both lines remain at this grade crossing south (west) of Ware Yard. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

I could tick off that errand for the day! Mass-Central NW5, check.

Mass-Central 960
Mass-Central 2100 and 960 work back toward Ware Yard. Notice the grade crossing warning in the distance for Mass-Central’s former B&A Ware River Line. Imagine the day, long ago, when you could have seen 4-4-0s with passenger trains on both lines. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

See more Tracking the Light on the Mass-Central:

Mass-Central: Monday May 13, 2013

Mass-Central: Monday November 19, 2012

Also see: my Mass-Central article in March 2010 Trains Magazine

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CSX at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, June 26, 2013

 

Ballast Train at Work

On the evening of June 26, 2013, I arrived at East Brookfield to find Dennis LeBeau observing CSX’s undercutting operations immediately east of CP64.

CSX ballast train.
CSX ballast train in the East Brookfield yard. Exposed with Canon 7D and 28-135mm lens. RAW file modified in post processing to adjust for contrast and exposure with mild sharpening.

Over the last few years, CSX has been improving its former Boston & Albany route between Selkirk Yards (near Albany, New York) and its Worcester, Massachusetts terminal.

Conrail improved clearances on the line in the mid-1980s and began running international containers on double-stack trains in 1989 (I first photographed an eastward Conrail double-stack in Spring 1989). However, CSX’s desire to run larger domestic containers on double stack trains has required further clearance improvement.

Once complete, the Boston & Albany route will be clearance compatible with most of CSX’s former Conrail mainline, which should allow for more traffic to be sent to Worcester. The clearance improvements are coincident with the recent closure of Beacon Park Yard at Alston, Massachusetts in favor of expanded facilities in Worcester.

On Wednesday evening, CSX had every track in East Brookfield occupied, as it cleared equipment from the mainline to allow east and westbound freight to pass (Amtrak had cancelled train 448 (Boston section of Lake Shore Limited). Once traffic had passed, work crews resumed their re-ballasting of the recently undercut mainline.

Three trains at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.
On the evening of June 26, 2013, East Brookfield was a hot bed of railway activity. Dennis downplayed the scene, ‘I’ve seen it like this before . . .with Conrail in the 1980s!’. Canon 7D with 200mm lens.

CSX intermodal train.
A General Electric Evolution-series diesel leads an eastward intermodal freight through the work-zone east of CP64 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. Decades ago Boston & Albany had three main tracks between East Brookfield and Charlton. A tower near the location of today’s signals controlled the plant. Today, the line is dispatched remotely from Selkirk, New York. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

CSX Intermodal train East Brookfield_
Wide view: A General Electric Evolution-series diesel leads an eastward intermodal freight through the work-zone east of CP64 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. The old B&A station once stood to the right of the mainline. This burned to the ground in 2010. Lumix LX3 photo.

I was one of a half-dozen civilians observing the activity. Late in the day, the sun emerged from a cloudbank to provide some soft lighting and I kept three cameras busy, documenting the changes.

East Brookfield, Mass.
Observing the on-going work at East Brookfield. Lumix LX3 photo.

Recording changes on CSX at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Recording changes on CSX at East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

 

CSX's westward Q427 eases over freshly ballasted track at a walking pace as it approaches CP 64 at East Brookfield. The signals showed 'red over flashing green' —Limited Clear. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
CSX’s westward Q427 eases over freshly ballasted track at a walking pace as it approaches CP 64 at East Brookfield. The signals showed ‘red over flashing green’ —Limited Clear. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

East Brookfield, Mass.
Dennis LeBeau rolls by Q427. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

CSX ballast train at East Brookfield. Lumix LX3 photo.
CSX ballast train at East Brookfield. Lumix LX3 photo.

Ballast train at work.
Discharging ballast on the former Boston & Albany at East Brookfield. Lumix LX3 photo.

Ballast train at work.
Discharging ballast on the former Boston & Albany at East Brookfield. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

SD40-2 detail.
CSX SD40-2 8854 works at ballast train at East Brookfield. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

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Amtrak’s Springfield—New Haven Shuttle at Berlin, Connecticut

 

Two Years Ago Today, June 20, 2011.

Amtrak in Connecticut
Amtrak shuttle approaches Berlin. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens

 

Exactly two years ago, I delivered my brother Sean to the Amtrak station in Berlin, Connecticut. He was on his way back to Philadelphia after a brief visit to Massachusetts.  Amtrak’s Berlin agent, Bill Sample, is always very friendly and helpful,  so we prefer Berlin over some of the closer stations.

I made this image of the southward shuttle train using my Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. There’s a lot of history in this simple photo. The train is led by a cab-control-car rebuilt from one of the old Budd-built Metroliner multiple units. Today’s single main track doesn’t tell much of a story, but Berlin was once a busy junction.

While Pan Am Southern’s route toward Plainville and Waterbury diverges here (at the left), this only sees about one round trip per week. Historically there was a diamond crossing here between New Haven Railroad lines. Also, one of New Haven Railroad’s earliest experimental electrified schemes reached Berlin, but I’m not sure if that would have been in this scene or not.

If all goes according to plan, the double track to Springfield, Massachusetts will someday be restored.

Related articles

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Wisconsin & Southern at Lake Monona, June 18, 2013

In the last final minutes of the day’s sunlight.

John Gruber and I went over to Madison’s Lake Monona anticipating Wisconsin & Southern’s (WSOR) road freight heading to Janesville.  I’m working against a deadline, so I brought the laptop with me to read, write and edit, while waiting for the train thus making dual use of my time. John said, ‘You’re putting me to shame!’ All he brought was a camera.

After a 40 minute wait, we heard a horn sounding for a crossing. But it wasn’t coming Madison as we expected. This wasn’t the southward train, but the northward run! So 20 minutes from sundown a pair of SD40-2s crawled across the causeway. It was here that Bill Middleton made some iconic photos more than 60 years ago. John remembered, “His first published picture in Trains; it featured the Dakota 400 crossing the bay.”

Wisconsin & Southern at Madison, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2 4010 eases across Lake Monona with a freight for Madison. Exposed with my Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens. ISO 200.

Wisconsin State Capitol building with freight train.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2 4010 catches the glint crossing Lake Monona in Madison. Exposed with my Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens. ISO 200.

I exposed a few slides with my Canon EOS 3, and a flurry of digital images with my EOS 7D. Then we drove over to WSOR’s Madison yard, where we found another freight ready to leave. I made a few photos with my Lumix LX-3 in the fading light.

 

Wisconsin & Southern's Madison Terminal. Lumix LX-3 exposed at f3.5 1/13 second.
Wisconsin & Southern’s Madison Terminal. Lumix LX-3 exposed at f3.5 1/13 second.

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DeForest Station, June 14, 2013.

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light post new material daily!

Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee Road M&P Branch.

Dick Gruber, John Gruber and I, explored some former Milwaukee Road lines near Madison, Wisconsin on June 14, 2013.

“You hear a lot about deforestation these days,” Dick says to me, “I quite like it. What’s wrong with DeForest Station anyway?”

DeForest station, Wisconsin.
DeForest station, as photographed with my Lumix LX-3 on June 14, 2013.

Having inspected the restored depot. We continued northward (timetable west) along Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee branch from Madison to Portage. We had good information that the weekday freight was working towards us. Since track speed is about 10 mph, there was little chance that we might miss the train.

However, we weren’t expecting to find a CP work extra with an SD40-2 and vintage Jordan Spreader doing ditching work. Another case of good luck on my part. I’ve said this before, but I often have good luck on the railroad.

CPR_Jordan_Spreader_north_of_DeForest_Wis_IMG_2978
A Canadian Pacific Jordan performs ditching work for improved drainage. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

A few miles north of DeForest, I said to Dick, ‘Turn here, I think that road crosses the line, maybe there’s a photo op.” Sure enough! There we see the spreader working. While watching the works, I gave John a quick lesson on how to work his new Canon 7D. In the meantime, the weekday freight crept up and we made photos of the two trains together.

The Canadian Pacific Jordan has folded in its wings and prepares to get out of the way CP's weekday Portage to Madison local freight. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.
The Canadian Pacific Jordan has folded in its wings and prepares to get out of the way CP’s weekday Portage to Madison local freight. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

This local freight was led by a GP38 and one of the new ‘Eco’ GP20Cs built by Electro Motive. It was my first experience with these new units. Dick was appalled with the appearance of the GP20C,  “Ah! What do you call those engines? LODs! Lack of Design!”

CP Rail near DeForest, Wisconsin.
Canadian Pacific’s local consists of a GP38 and new GP20C leading a pair of tank cars. A Canadian Pacific Jordan performs ditching work for improved drainage. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm zoomm lens.

Eco 'GP20C'
Trailing view showing Canadian Pacific’s new ‘Eco’ GP20C which features a blocky adaptation of EMD’s road switcher body design.

Canadian Pacific's new 'Eco' GP20C
John Gruber inspects the new GP20C as it works industrial trackage near DeForest. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

The local got around the spreader and did a bit switching at an industrial park then continued past the DeForest Station toward Madison.

DeForest station.
CP Rail approaching DeForest station. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

DeForest station.
DeForest station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.

Soon we were heading toward Sun Prairie and Waterloo to intercept a Wisconsin & Southern freight working toward Madison. I’ll cover that in a future post.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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Chicago by Night

An Exercise In Using High ISO.

Chicago is well suited for night photographs. On the evening of June 11, 2013, Chris Guss and I took advantage of warm and windless weather to make a variety of railway images in the downtown area.

I employ a variety of techniques to make night photos. This evening, however, I emphasized my Canon EOS 7D and turned up the ISO to unusually high settings in order to stop the action.

Chicago at night
Union Station as viewed from Roosevelt Road. Exposed with my Canon EOS 7D with a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens at f2.8 1/40th second, ISO 6400 Camera was firmly mounted on a tripod.

Where color slide film essentially topped out at 400 ISO. My 7D allows me to dial in up to 6400 ISO. Does this offer the same clarity of ISO 100 or 200? No, of course not. But, it’s not so bad either. Is this high ISO technique the only  way to make night photos? Hardly, there are many good ways to go about exposing images at night and this is just one.

Night photo in Chicago.
An Amtrak train passes CP 21st at Chicago’s 21st Street Bridge. Handheld Canon EOS 7D with a 40mm pancake lens, 1/6th second at f.3.2 5000 ISO. It helps to have a rock steady hand.

21st Street Bridge, Chicago.
Chicago’s 21st Street Bridge looking south from the nearby  grade crossing. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens at 1.20th second at f2.8. ISO 5000. This image is a bit pixelated and not as sharp as I’d like, but not bad all things considered.

Today, I can make photos digitally, that would have been all but impossible with film. (Although, that’s never stopped me from exposing a few slides here and there anyway).

Lumix view of Chicago.
Another philosophy: low ISO with long exposure. This makes for a sharper and less pixilated image, but doesn’t allow for stop action of moving trains. In this case I used my Lumix LX3 on a miniature Gitzo tripod positioned on the railing of Roosevelt Road. Exposure: f3.5 at 3.2 seconds, ISO 80. (The camera was set in aperture-prioritiy ‘A’ mode, but I manually over exposed by 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the bright sodium vapor lights and dark sky which tends to cause the camera’s automatic metering to lean toward underexposure.)

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Chicago Medley, June 2013

 

Infrastructural Views Fresh From the Digital Cameras.

 

The other day, I landed at Midway where I was met by Chris Guss. We immediately set to work making images of America’s most railroad intensive city. It’s been nearly two years since I was last here; and nearly 30 years since my first visit. Time passes and much has changed, yet there are many vestiges of old railroads.

There’s always a wheel turning in Chicago, but these pictures are more about the railroad infrastructure than the trains themselves. There’s a book in this somewhere.

CTA train
Chicago Transit Authority Midway train catches the glint of the evening sun near Corwith. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Old tracks Chicago.
DIsused former Grand Trunk Western near Corwith, Illinois. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

Level crossing at Brighton Park
Former Gulf Mobile & Ohio line at Brighton Park, Chicago, Illinois. . Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

Old switch levers.
Vestiges of the old lever frame at Brighton Park. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

Weeds along the tracks.
Weeds grow trackside at Brighton Park. . Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

Metra train with position light signals.
Metra Train rolls toward Union Station on the former Pennsylvania Railroad Panhandle route at Racine Avenue. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

Chicago Metra
Metra Train glides through Racine Avenue, Chicago. Lumix LX-3 handheld.