Tag Archives: CP Rail

BNSF GEs in the Snow!

Photo exposed using FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 27mm lens.

I thought in the heat of high summer, it might be a refreshing time to present some frosty views from last January.

Previously, I’d posted some black & white photos exposed during a lake effect snow squall at Brookfield, Wisconsin on CP Rail’s former Milwaukee Road main line that I’d made on a photographic adventure with Trains Magazine’s Brian Schmidt.

That same morning, I’d also worked in color using my FujiFilm XT1.

Here’s a view of a westward empty grain train passing the old Brookfield station led by brightly painted BNSF GE’s.

It’s a stark contrast from the leafy trees and high summer temperatures of today.

To best expose this photo, I manually set the exposure by metering the side of the station. This provided a balanced exposure despite the difficult snowy conditions.

The lead locomotives might be BNSF, but the train was CP Rail’s. In effort to show the true ownership of the railroad, I made this view of CP Rail hoppers passing the old Milwaukee Road station.

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In the Shadow of the Hiawatha: CP Rail’s Former Milwaukee Road at Wyocena.


Trains Magazine’s Brian Schmidt and I were making the most of sunny frosty weather in central Wisconsin.

We arrived at Columbus to refuel.

Upon exiting the gas station, we spotted a westward CP Rail train making its way over the old Milwaukee Road mainline. Soon we were in rapid pursuit.

I navigated using my iPhone and we found our way to an open crossing near Wyocena.

“Hey, I know this place” I remarked upon arrival at Salisbury Road. “I caught Milwaukee Road 261 here back in 2004.”

As we waited for our westward freight, I imagined what it would have been like to see Milwaukee’s famous streamlined Hiawatha  race through at 100 plus mph.

Wow. That would have been exhilarating. An Otto Kuhler styled 4-6-4 in yellow, orange, gray and maroon. 

Before my time . . .

So we happily settled for a BNSF former Santa Fe SD75M leading two CP Rail units on a long drag freight.

Photo exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm pancake lens; ISO 400, Velvia Color Profile.

We were rewarded by a following westward freight a few minutes later, and then an eastbound! 

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Milwaukee Road Depot at Brookfield, Wisconsin in the Snow.


On January 19, 2019, TRAINS Magazine’s Brian Schmidt and I visited the old Milwaukee Road Depot at Brookfield, Wisconsin to photograph a westward CP Rail freight.

It was cloudy and snowing lightly.

Working with my Nikon F3 and 50mm lens, I exposed these views on Ilford FP4 black & white film.

I processed the film using multi-stage development in Ilford ID11 mixed 1-1 with water, then toned the negatives for 7 minutes in a selenium solution to boost highlights.

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And Which Railroad is This? UP on CP: Freight at Duplainville—Part 2.


Duplainville, Wisconsin is a busy place for rail freight.

Here are two to four views (up loading difficulties makes the final number uncertain) of an eastward empty unit coal train on the old Milwaukee Road, now CP Rail, with Union Pacific GE diesels fore and aft working as distributed power. In the trailing photos you can see the diamond crossing with Canadian National’s Wisconsin Central line from Fond du Lac to Chicago.

Light snow made for added drama.

A Union Pacific GE Tier 4 leads an eastward empty unit coal train from Portage, Wisconsin.

I exposed these with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with an 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.

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Soo Line on Tax Day!

Soo Line on Tax Day!
Soo Line on Tax Day! A Soo Line SD40-2 leads an eastward CP Rail freight near Dalton, New York on 15 April 2004. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Contax G2 with 45mm Zeiss lens.

The old Erie Railroad is one of my favorite lines.

Mike Gardner and I got a very early start on 15 April 2004. We worked our way west to the Portage Bridge at the Letchworth Gorge in western New York State in time to intercept an eastward CP Rail freight.

We chased this capturing it in multiple locations along the old Erie line to Hornell. At this time Norfolk Southern was the owner operator, while CP Rail operated via Delaware & Hudson trackage rights.

Clear blue dome; bright red EMDs, and great scenery with a good quality chase road made the morning extra productive.

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Canadian Pacific on the Hudson at Dobbs Ferry, New York.

It was back on May 23, 2007, when fellow photographer Pat Yough and I waited on the east shore of the Hudson River for the passing of this northward CP Rail freight

Pat suggested this location because it offered a nice view of the New York City skyline.

If you look carefully you can see the Empire State Building and George Washington Bridge among other landmarks.The goose on the water is an added bonus.

Exposed on Fujichrome Film.
Exposed on Fujichrome Film.

The sunlight was waning, but we were rewarded with a pair of General Motors SD40-2/SD40 diesel-electrics roaring along the old New York Central Hudson Division in the final glow of a spring evening.

 

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Hudson River Freight at Ft. Montgomery.

It helps to have good timing.On the afternoon of January 20, 2015, I arrived at the Mine Dock Road grade crossing on CSX’s former New York Central West Shore Route (now called ‘CSX’s River Line’)  This was at just the right time.

I found a location, and as I took my camera out the bag, I could hear a train approaching. This turned out to be a southward crude oil extra led by BNSF Railway 7500 in the lead. I had just enough time to change lenses, make a test exposure, before it got close enough to properly photograph.

When this train passed, the home signal located beyond the rock cut cleared to ‘approach’ (yellow-over-red-over-red), telling me there was a northward train lined, but that this would need to stop at the next signal. This was a pretty good sign that there might be a meet.

Over the next hour, I photographed three more freight trains on the old West Shore, two northbound CSX freights, followed by a southward ethanol extra led by a pair of Canadian Pacific General Electric diesels.

In addition, I made use of my telephoto lenses to photograph passenger trains working the old New York Central Hudson Division on the east bank of the river.

Just lucky! I hadn't been out the car five minutes when this train came into view. Exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens. FIle adjusted in post processing to compensate for contrast and exposure.
Just lucky! I hadn’t been out the car five minutes when this train came into view. Exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens. FIle adjusted in post processing to compensate for contrast and exposure.

While waiting for more freights on the West Shore, I made this view of a Metro-North commuter train on the old Hudson Division which hugs the east shore of the river.
While waiting for more freights on the West Shore, I made this view of a Metro-North commuter train on the old Hudson Division which hugs the east shore of the river.

CSX's CTC style signaling alerted me to this northward freight. I had ample time to select a location and get into position before I heard it roaring northward passed Iona Island. The famous Bear Mountain Bridge makes for a nice prop. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
CSX’s CTC style signaling alerted me to this northward freight. I had ample time to select a location and get into position before I heard it roaring northward past Iona Island. The famous Bear Mountain Bridge makes for a nice prop. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Not far behind the first northward freight was this train, seen about to exit the Fort Montgomery Tunnel. I'm standing in the same place as I had been for the last photo but opted for a longer lens. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Not far behind the first northward freight was this train, seen about to exit the Fort Montgomery Tunnel. I’m standing in the same place as I had been for the last photo but opted for a longer lens. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

CSX 7537 leads a northward mixed freight. The older cab style on this DASH-40C makes for a nice variation on the more modern 'Safety Cab' style that has come to dominate North American freight railroading.  Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
CSX 7537 leads a northward mixed freight. The older cab style on this DASH-40C makes for a nice variation on the more modern ‘Safety Cab’ style that has come to dominate North American freight railroading. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Not long after CSX 7537's train went north, I could hear this southward train accelerate. I was surprised, but delighted to catch a pair of CP Rail locomotives leading a loaded ethanol train. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Not long after CSX 7537’s train went north, I could hear this southward train accelerate. I was surprised, but delighted to catch a pair of CP Rail locomotives leading a loaded ethanol train. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

All red. The signal now indicates that nothing else was lined in the northward direction. After photographing four freights in an hour on the West Shore, I opted to make a move and cross the Bear Mountain Bridge and try the other side of the river for a while.
All red. The signal now indicates that nothing else was lined in the northward direction. After photographing four freights in an hour on the West Shore, I opted to make a move and cross the Bear Mountain Bridge and try the other side of the river for a while.

While I was just lucky, it helps to be able to interpret the signals and have a keen ear for trains. My scanner might have helped me too, if I’d plugged in the correct frequencies. Or it might have distracted me. As it was I did well by sitting tight and waiting out the parade.

Tomorrow: more luck on the Hudson . . .

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Spirit of the Mississippi—Part 1

Belleview, Iowa, March 31, 1996.

My old boss at Pentrex Publishing, Don Gulbrandsen, encouraged my photography along the Mississippi by describing the whole experience as the ‘Spirit of the River.’ While for me the main attraction was the railroads; the towns, scenery, boats and barges, locks and wild life (mostly birds of the feathered variety), which made for added interest.

Between 1994 and 1996, I made numerous trips to the Mississippi River Valley, largely working between Savanna, Illinois and La Crosse, Wisconsin and the corresponding towns on the Iowa-side.

I often traveled with Tom and Mike Danneman, Dean Sauvola, Tim Hensch and others, who added their perspective to the Mississippi Valley. While Burlington Northern (BNSF after September 1995) was the busiest line, whenever possible, I focused on the other railroads, namely Canadian Pacific’s Soo Line and Chicago, Central & Pacific.

The vast majority of my photography from these trips has never been seen, save for the occasional slide show in the 1990s. The other day, on request from a regular Tracking the Light reader, I opened a blue Logan Box filled with cardboard-mounted chromes that is labeled ‘Midwest 1990s,’ and contains some of my Mississippi River highlights.

Some of the photos are classic views, others are more interpretive. At the time, I was aiming to expose scenes that captured the railroad in its environment, often with a greater emphasis on the environment than the trains.

CP_freight_Belleview_IA_Mar31_1996_MOD1_Fujichrome©Brian Solomon 899086
A northward Soo Line freight on the former Milwaukee Road negotiates street trackage at Belleview, Iowa on March 31, 1996. Exposed with a Nikkormat FTN with f4.0 200mm Nikkor lens. Here I was working with selective focus to make the most of the scene. If I’m successful, your interest should bounce back and forth between the train and the car parked on the side of the road.

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Daily Post: Old Milwaukee Road Station, Brookfield, Wisconsin.


November Views of a Station; Get Your Photos Soon, Before its Too Late!

Brookfield, Massachusetts; Brookfield, Illinois, and now Brookfield, Wisconsin—Have you noticed a theme?

Railroad depot
Classic old wooden station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

The former Milwaukee Road passenger station at Brookfield, Wisconsin is located between Canadian Pacific’s main tracks at the west end of a grade separation. This unusually situated station has provided a visual link to the railroad’s past for many years, and is one of the last structures of the old order along this line.

Today, Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee Road mainline between Chicago and the Twin Cities is largely free from historical infrastructure. The days of an agent working at Brookfield have long since passed. Neither passenger trains nor freights have stopped here in decades. Yet, as of today, the old building survives at its traditional location.

Here’s some advice: get your photos NOW. Don’t wait. Word on the street is that the station will soon be either moved or demolished.

Railway station at Brookfield.
Looking east at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.

And even if the street gossip changes its tune, the reality is that old wooden railroad stations are ephemeral structures: Never assume the old station that has always stood there, will be there the next time you return.

I made these photos last week while re-exploring southern Wisconsin with Pat Yough and Chris Guss . Back in the 1990s, I made a number of photos of this old station, but I’ve learned you can never have too many images of something (or someone) once its gone.

Might the old station be preserved? Quite possibly, but it won’t be trackside, and thus will have lost its context. This location without the station will just be another characterless wide-spot along the line. Someone might call this ‘progress’; I call it ‘change’.

On Saturday November 9, 2013, I worked with three cameras and photographed the Brookfield station from a variety of angles as the sun came in and out of the clouds. Two eastward Canadian Pacific freights passed giving me ample opportunity to put the old station in context.

A wink of sun illuminates the former Milwaukee Road station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.
A wink of sun illuminates the former Milwaukee Road station at Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.

Freight passes the old Brookfield Station.
Canadian Pacific eastward freight 484-08 led by Norfolk Southern 9189 passes Brookfield, Wisconsin. Canon EOS 7D photo.

CP Rail GE diesel.
The sun catches eastward Canadian Pacific freight 248-408 at Brookfield, Wisconsin on November 9, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

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