Tag Archives: #Conway Branch

Christmas Decorations on the Conway Branch

Before Thanksgiving, Conway Scenic operated a Work Extra to Conway and back to help decorate for Christmas.

This included placing Christmas decorations along the line for the treasure hunt in Santa’s Holiday Express.

In addition to helping select locations for the decorations, and assisting with placement, I also photographed the Work Extra along the course of its season journey.

All photos were exposed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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Morning Light at Conway, NH.

Among the challenges of summer photography on a tourist railroad is that train operations tend to be focused during the middle of the day when the light is comparatively harsh.

Generally speaking, the passengers appear to be more focused on eating breakfast during the early morning, so we schedule the trains for later in the morning. The first train boards at 9:15 am.

The other day, we sent out a work Extra more than an hour ahead of the scheduled Conway train in order for the work crew to get ballast and ties loaded onto the train at Conway before the first passenger train arrived. This made good use of time, and provided me with some photographic opportunities.

I made these photos of the Work Extra at Conway before 9am using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

Occasionally I’m asked about the schedules for the work trains. Unfortunately my answers aren’t very helpful. By definition, a ‘Work Extra’ doesn’t have a schedule. These trains typically have to stay out of the way of the regular passenger excursions. They are called ‘as-required’, and move about the railroad as it suits the crews to get their work done. Plans change quickly and so it can be difficult to know when and where the trains will be more than a few hours or minutes in advance.

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Opening the Line to Conway

On Wednesday April 6, 2022, I traveled with Train Master Lacey and Conductor Weimer on GP38 255 from North Conway to Conway, New Hampshire and back.

This was the first locomotive over Conway Scenic Railroad’s Conway Branch since the end of the 2021 Holiday season. My last trip over the line was a test run with steam locomotive 7470, where I used the opportunity to videotape the engine crossing the Moat Brook Bridge.

On our April 6th trip, we collected Easter decorations stored in the Conway freight house for distribution along the line as part of the annual Easter Egg hunt for the benefit of children traveling on the Easter Bunny Express.

I assisted with the collection and positioning of the eggs along the line, while documenting the opening move. Rusted rail conditions meant that we approached each highway crossing ‘prepared to stop and flag’.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and well suited to photography with my Nikon Z6 fitted with 24-70mm Z-series zoom!

Conway Scenic Railroad GP38 255 positioned at the old Boston & Maine freight house in Conway, NH. The Easter Eggs have been hung from the handrails in prepartion for distribution along the line.
Conductor Weimer with locomotive 255.
Passing my billboard photo at Conway. I made the image of Conway Scenic’s 573 at Milepost 64 back in the Spring of 2019.
Conductor Weimer flags Highway 16 in Conway village.
The view at Moat Brook.

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Holiday Decoration Work Extra.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving—November 24, 2021, Conway Scenic called a work train for the Conway Branch to put up decorations for upcoming Santa’s Holiday Express Christmas themed trains.

I was on-board to assist with decorating while documenting the run. It was a perfectly clear bright sunny morning.

At Moat Brook I organized a special photo stop. At Conway we held for the regularly scheduled Valley train that was operating with RDC #23 Millie.

I made all of these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.

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May 6th Conway Branch Work Extra.

It was a great day for a work train!

We had beautiful clear skies with fluffy fair weather clouds. It was warm with a slight wind, and the trees were just beginning to leaf out.

I traveled on the train, primarily riding in the caboose, and made photographs when it stopped to perform maintenance along the line.

I made these digital photos with my FujiFilm XT-1 with 16-55mm zoom lens. All of the images were processed in Adobe Lightroom, to adjust contrast, color temperature and saturation.

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Clear Day at Moat Brook

Among the most pictured locations on Conway Scenic’s former Boston & Maine Conway Branch is the wooden pile trestle at Moat Brook.

This stream is named for the Moat Mountains compass west of the railroad.

A few weeks ago during my bridge inspection with Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates, I carefully studied the bridge and its environs, considering how to best find a different angle on the bridge.

It occurred to me: while the bridge is often photographed, the stream itself is not. The reason is simple: much of the year there is very little water in the stream.

Last week Thursday and Friday were very wet. But Saturday was clear and sunny.

I walked the line and secured a new vantage point compass east of the famous bridge and along the swollen stream, where I captured the returning Valley train led by GP35 216 with engineer Tom Carver at the throttle.

These photos were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens,

I posted variations of these images on Conway Scenic’s Facebook page to assist with promotion of the popular Valley train on its Conway run.

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Bridge Inspection

Bridges fascinate me.

I wrote about them in a book in 2007.

Kris Sabbatino has called me a ‘Bridge Goob’ (which translates to ‘rabid bridge enthusiast’.)

Trusses are my favorite.

Of all the trusses, I think I like the Whipple Truss the best. But these have become exceedingly rare.

Earlier this week, I joined Conway Scenic’s bridge inspector Wayne Duffett on the annual inspection of the bridges on our Conway Branch.

We traveled in a company HyRail truck from Conway to North Conway and Wayne inspected all the bridges and culverts on the line.

I made several hundred photos to document the event.

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Honk! Honk! —A flock of Wild Geese.

Yesterday, November 25, 2020, we brought a light engine to Conway, NH to help decorate Conway Scenic Railroad for the holiday season.

At Conway, as we were finishing our decorating, I set up to capture the scene with my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens, I heard the characteristic honk!-honk!-honk! of migrating geese . . .

I quickly repositioned and readjusted my zoom to incorporated the V-formation of the birds.

After I arrived back in North Conway, I downloaded the files to my MacBook Pro and adjusted this one to post it on Conway Scenic Railroad’s Facebook page and for transmission to the Conway Daily Sun for an up-coming article.

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Fujinon 16-55mm X-Mount Lens

Last month my 18-135mm Fujinon zoom for my XT1 digital camera suffered a failure.

To replace this lens, I’ve bought a secondhand 16-55mm f2.8 Fujinon X-mount zoom.

Although it has a shorter range, this is a better lens overall,

It arrived last Friday (October 23, 2020).

I’ve been testing it over the last few days, and thus far I’m very pleased with the results.

I’ve found it to be very sharp throughout the range. It has excellent color and seems largely free from aberrations. It has manual aperture control and is easy to control.

Below is a selection of images that I’ve made with it of Conway Scenic’s Valley Train.

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Wednesday Work Extra

Last Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Conway Scenic operated a work extra to Conway to assist with preparations for the annual Pumpkin Patch event being held for the next three weekends.

The train was organized with relatively little advanced notice, and the only available locomotive was former Boston & Maine F7A 4266, owned by the 470 Club. Our other locomotives were out on passenger assignments or out of service awaiting repairs or maintenance.

Since the cab of the locomotive was facing railroad timetable west, the decision was made to use a caboose as a shoving platform and the train reversed from North Conway down the former B&M branch to Conway.

I made these photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens. Fuji RAW files were converted to DNG files using Iridient X Transformer and then imported into Adobe Lightroom for final adjustment.

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Vintage EMD’s meet at the North Yard.

For the last few days, Boston & Maine F7A 4266 has been parked in Conway Scenic’s North Yard at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Last week I thought this might make for a classic juxtaposition with the returning Valley train from Bartlett led by former Maine Central GP7 573.

Both locomotives are painted in a classic EMD-designed livery, popular on B&M and Maine Central in the 1940s and 1950s. The gold and maroon nicely mimic the hues of fading New England foliage.

I made these views with my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens. Hazy autumn afternoon light offers bright low contrast illumination that suits the subjects of the photos.

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Setting up the Photo Freights.

Most of the year, Conway Scenic Railroad’s historic freight cars quietly reside in the railroad’s North Yard, although few cars, such as our ballast hoppers are assigned to maintenance service.

Today, Saturday September 5th, we plan to operate a pair of demonstration photo freights for our scheduled Railfan’s Day event.

In preparation, we needed to spot cars at key locations in order to make pick-ups, just like a traditional local freight. In conjunction with this work, we needed to position two flatcars used for our weekly work train, and I wanted to scope locations and remove brush.

Working with former Boston & Maine F7A 4266 and our GP35 216 we gathered cars and make our positioning moves.

Today’s photo freights should be led by 4266 plus former Maine Central GP7 573 which share the traditional EMD-inspired maroon and gold paint scheme.

These are among the photos I exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 (scaled for internet presentation). I also made a few color slides for posterity.

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Spring at the Swift River Truss; Focus, Perspective and Composition—Four photos.

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time studying railway imagery, observing and analyzing hundreds of thousands of individual photos.

Among the most striking are the works of Japanese photographers.

Some of their most successful photos cleverly use focus and depth of field to place the railway in its environment. In some situations this is accomplished with a single image; in others with a sequence of photos.

Last week, I emulatted the style embraced by my Japanese counterparts to produce this sequence of images at the Swift River Bridge on Conway Scenic Railroad’s Conway Branch.

Here I’m working with three primary subjects; the truss bridge, Budd rail diesel car Millie and a flowering tree. All were exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

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