Tag Archives: #Cape Cod Central

Rare Diesels Cross the Cohasset Narrows

A clear blue dome at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts made for picture-perfect conditions.

Cape Cod Central’s Polar Express consist was led by a vintage New Haven Railroad FL9, while at the back of the train was a sister FL9 and an even rarer GP59.

The FL9 was created by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division for New Haven in the 1950s to allow passenger trains to run directly from Boston to New York City’s electrified terminals without a need for a locomotive change. Just sixty of this model were built between 1956 and 1960.

Where the FL9s have been widely photographed, EMD’s model GP59 has gone comparatively unnoticed. This is a much rarer locomotive, with just 36 built. For decades these worked for Norfolk Southern in relative obscurity.

One of these unusual locomotives was acquired by Mass-Coastal earlier this year. Finding a GP59 in passenger service is very rare and I was delighted to see this cranberry colored machine in action!

In addition to these digital photos, I also made a few color slides on Fujichrome Provia 100F. Those images remain latent on the roll of film in my Nikon F3.

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FL9 2011—Variations on a Theme

Friday, November 24, 2023, marked the beginning of the Polar Express season on Mass Coastal Railroad/Cape Cod Central Railroad.

Since we were in the neighborhood, Kris and I checked in on Cape Cod Central and located the excursion train-set that was being prepared for the day’s “Polar Expressing” near Mass Coastal Railroad’s HQ in East Wareham, Massachusetts.

Low November sun made for some nice light to photograph the static set. Working with my various cameras, I made a series of photos.

I’ve presented several variations of the same basic image. I have my favorite, which I’ve indicated in the caption below.

This is my favorite. I feel that this best puts the train in its setting, while balancing a variety of compositional elements. I’ve used selective focus with a shallow depth of field to focus interest on the the front of FL9 2011. Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z series zoom; ISO 100, 125mm, f4 1/1250 sec.
This version is from a slightly lower angle. I’ve cropped extraneous elements to the left and right of the train set. While this version is more dramatic and focused on the train, I don’t find its as interesting as the top image. Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z series zoom; ISO 100, 130mm, f4 1/1250 sec.
In this version, I’ve taken a more traditional angle and used greater depth of field. Also, the railroad has positioned its festive wreath on the front of the engine. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z series zoom; ISO 80, 58mm, f9 1/160th sec.
I took a more broadside angle for this photo. Exposed using my ‘Wee Lumix’ (Panasonic Lumix LX7). I made this before the wreath was hung on the front of the engine. Notice that the Lumix has a different color palate and this handles the red-orange differently than my Nikons.

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Cape Cod Central’s Polar Express

On our Cape visit, the Cape Cod Central’s Kaylene asked if we would like to travel on their Polar Express.

Silly question.

She asked Kris and me, if we would take a few photos of the experience.

Of course we did.

And these are just a few of Nikon Z6 digital images I made that night.

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Christmas Lights at Buzzards Bay

Kris and I went to see the Cape Cod Central on Satuday evening. The railroad had decked out the former New Haven Railroad station and signal tower with an elaborate display of Christmas lights for their Polar Express excursions.

Working with my Nikon Z6 set at high ISO, I exposed this series of handheld night photos.

24mm; f4, 1/50th of a sec. Photo scaled from in-camera JPG
33mm, f5, 1/50th of a sec.
Photo converted from NEF camera RAW.

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Evening Light on an FL9 and an RDC

Last week was warm with sunny skies. Unseasonably warm.

One evening while exploring Cape Cod, Kris Sabbatino and I paid a visit to the Cape Cod Central at Hyannis where I made these views of a former New Haven Railroad FL9 (painted to resemble its as-delivered appearance) and an old RDC built for Boston & Maine.

In an earlier Tracking the Light post, I speculated if Conway Scenic Railroad’s former New Haven Railroad RDC 23 Millie ever visited the NHRR line that once extended to Provincetown.

So far my investigations have determined that while NHRR 23 almost certainly visited the New Haven stations at Hyannis and Woods Hole, which were regular destinations for NHRR’s RDC runs, it is far less likely that it strayed as far as Provincetown, because NHRR RDCs rarely went that far.

In a similar line of inquiry: did the former B&M car pictured here ever work Boston & Maine’s North Conway Branch? Many of B&M’s cars had visited North Conway over the years, and some even worked over Crawford Notch!

I’m curious to know more.

Exposed digitally using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera and processed with Adobe Lightroom.

Exposed digitally using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera and processed with Adobe Lightroom.

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