Tag Archives: #Conrail

West Springfield at Dusk.

In July 1983, ,Bob Buck and I were attending a weekly summer gathering of the West Springfield Train Watchers, a semi-formal group consisting of mostly retired railroaders who assembled with permission of the railroad at the west end of Conrail’s West Springfield, Massachusetts yard.

I say ‘semi-formal’ because member Norvel Parker printed cards for all the members. Somewhere I still have mine.

Toward the end of the evening, I made this photo with my Leica 3A of a westward freight making a pick-up.

Adjusted photo.

In later years, I photographed some of the members, which was probably far more valuable as a record, than making photos of the trains.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

New York Central Transformed—Rochester, New York 1986.

On the afternoon of September 12, 1986, I exposed this photograph of a westward Conrail double-stack container train on the former New York Central Waterlevel Route passing the Amtrak Station at Rochester, New York.

The old New York Central era tower was still standing, and the station platforms, complete with the old ‘Rochester’ signs dated from the New York Central era.

In the lead was a twenty-year old former New York Central GP40, and I was just short of my twentieth birthday.

Yet, this double stack train was unlike anything ever seen on the old New York Central. Among the big changes imposed under Conrail was a clearance improvement program that allowed for much taller trains.

Exposed on Kodak black & white film. Negative cropped for presentation here.

My book Conrail and its Predecessors is available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

See: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Conrail in Worcester—1997.

Here’s another photo from my Classic Conrail Kodachrome Files.

Photographer Mike Gardner and I had spent December 2, 1997, photographing Conrail operations around Worcester, Massachusetts.

Early in the day, we dropped E6 slide film at E.B. Luce for processing and then occupied our time documenting the parade of Conrail trains on the former Boston & Albany line.

In this view at CP44 at the east end of Worcester Yard, I photographed some SD50s that had arrived with an eastward train and cut off to make a drop and were running ‘light engine’ past the signals.

It was clear, cool and crisp. Perfect weather for Kodachrome 25!

My book Conrail and its Predecessors is now available from Kalmbach Media. Click the link below.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

Tracking the Light Posts

Conrail C32-8s August 13, 1988.

On the evening of August 13, 1988, I visited Conrail’s West Springfield Yard (Massachusetts) after a day on the old Boston & Albany ‘West End’.

At the time, General Electric six-motor diesels were standard power for road freights on the Boston Line.

Among the locomotives common to the Boston Line in the 1980s were the ten pre-prototype GE C32-8s that featured the ‘Classic’ curved roof cab and hump-back body style.

Significantly, these were among the first road-units with microprocessor controls.

I’ve covered these locomotives in several of my books over the years, and most recently in my new title Conrail and its Predecessors now available from Kalmbach Media.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

These photos of Conrail 6618 were exposed on Professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM) color slide film and scanned using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 digital scanner operated with VueScan software.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Conrail’s CP83 Palmer, Massachusetts—October 1998.

This was just an ordinary scene at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts in October 1998.

Amtrak’s Vermonter was holding on the interchange track as C30-7A rolled east on to the controlled siding, and a westbound with SD80MACs waited on the mainline.

I made this view on Fujichrome using a Nikon N90S with 28mm lens.

At the time I made this image, Conrail’s class 1 operation had less than a year remaining.

I recall Conrail’s 23 years of operation in my new book; Conrail and its Predecessors published by Kalmbach Media. 

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

Tracking the Light publishes new material every day!

Conrail and its Predecessors.

The other day I received my author’s copies of my new Conrail book.

It looks nice.

Now, if I only had time to absorb it!

Order yours at:

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

In addition to my own Conrail photos, this features the work of a dozen talented photographers.

I exposed the cover photo at Becket, Massachusetts in October 1997, using a Nikon N90S with f2.8 80-200mm lens and Fujichrome Velvia 50 color slide film.

This was on an epic Conrail adventure with Mike Gardner, during which in one day we caught the Ringing Brothers Circus train, a Conrail Office Car Special with E8s, the track geometry train and six freights led by clean EMD SD80MACs.

Conrail? BRING IT BACK!

Tracking the Light posts EVERY DAY!

My Canisteo Valley in Trains Magazine

The June 2020 Trains Magazine features my 8-page article on Conrail in New York’s Canisteo River Valley.

This features some of my favorite Kodachrome slide photos from when the line was still operated as double-track under rule 251 with classic Union Switch & Signal block signals.

One of the outtakes was this view from 1996.

By 1996, Conrail had lifted one of the two main tracks through the Canisteo and removed all the classic signals. While this forever changed the character of the railroad, Conrail continued to make good use of this former Erie Railroad mainline. On November 1, 1996, this eastward unit coal train rolled along the Canisteo near West Cameron, New York.

My new book: Conrail and its Predecessors is now available!

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light Posts EVERY day! Subscribe today!

Happy Birthday Conrail!

Conrail began operations on April 1, 1976.

On May 14, 1985, I photographed this Conrail GP10 with a former Pennsylvania Railroad caboose working as a local freight toward its interchanged with Pioneer Valley Railroad at Westfield, Massachusetts.

The location is just west of milepost 107 in Westfield. At the right is my father’s 1978 Ford Grenada, which was the car I drove a lot before getting my own set of wheels in 1986.

At the time of this photograph, Conrail rarely assigned GP10s to its New England Division locals, which makes this a relatively unusual photo in my collection.

My new book Conrail and its Predecessors published by Kalmbach Books will be available soon!

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01309

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Top of the Boston & Albany—May 1985.

In the mid-1980s, my friends and I would convene at Washington Summit on Conrail’s former Boston & Albany mainline.

Located in the Berkshires, several miles timetable east of the old station at Hinsdale, the summit offered a good view in both directions and a pleasant, quiet place to wait for trains.

On this May 1985 afternoon, the chugging of an eastward freight could be heard for several miles before it came into view. I opted to frame the train with the Top of the B&A sign.

This sign was replaced in the 1990s; Conrail was divided by CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1999; the old Bullards Road over bridge (seen in the distance) was removed in 2003; and the trees have grown much taller. So there’s not much left of this scene today, although the tracks are still there.

Exposed on black & white film using a Leica 3A with Canon f1.8 50mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Conrail 6619 on the Boston & Albany.

I made this image while hiking the line toward Middlefield, Massachusetts from Chester. The freight was descending the grade near where the 1912-line relocation joined the original Western Rail Road alignment (seen to the left of Conrail 6619) at milepost 129 (as measured from Boston’s South Station).

Conrail’s ten General Electric C32-8s were delivered in September 1984 and in their early years largely work out of Selkirk Yard on the old Boston & Albany route.

GE assigned these unique pre-production DASH8  prototypes to Conrail for evaluation in preparation for wide-scale DASH-8 production that began a few years later. 

I had countless encounters with the C32-8s on the Boston & Albany during the mid-1980s, but never had the opportunity to travel on one.

Later this year Kalmbach Media will release my new book titled Conrail and its Predecessors.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Sound of Power: Conrail Ballast Train June 1984

Just imagine the roar! Conrail C30-7 6600 leads three former Erie-Lackawanna 20-cylinder EMDs!

So far as I can remember, this was the only time I caught an SDP45 (second unit) hard at work on the Boston Line.

I made these views of an uphill BAL (Ballast train) at Middlefield, Massachusetts on a day’s photography with my old pal TSH on a beautiful spring evening in June 1984. I was a week away from my high-school graduation.

My only regret is that I didn’t have better photography skills and better equipment.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!