Last night a damp inky gloom greeted us as we alighted from Amtrak’s Vermonter at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Wilmington, Delaware.
A SEPTA Silverliner V electric multiple unit set sat on the opposite platforms waiting to depart for Philadelphia.
I made several exposures with my Lumix LX7. Working with the RAW files in Lightroom, I maximize the amount of visual information in the photos by lightening shadows and darkening highlights while adjusting contrast and color saturation.
Sometimes finding the train is more than half the challenge. On Saturday October 17, 2015, Pat Yough and I had been following the old Delaware, Lackawanna & Western mainline with an awareness that Genesee Valley Transportation’s Delaware-Lackawanna was operating its ‘Portland turn’ to interchange with Norfolk Southern.
Finally, we found the train as it was arriving at Slateford Junction.
The attraction of D-L’s freights is that they operate with antique Alco diesels. Alco exited the American locomotive business more than 46 years ago, so finding these old machines hard at work remains a real treat.
While D-L’s portion of the freight movement tends to be well documented in recent years as a function of the Alcos, the Norfolk Southern connection is often ignored. As an historian this bothers me.
I have to admit that I too have been guilty of this photographic censorship. While I’ve photographed the Portland turn on several occasions, I haven’t made much of an effort to seek out the NS portion of this run. That is, until last Saturday.
Pat and I agreed, that if the D-L’s connection with NS were to be moved, photos of the NS at Portland would be a rare commodity indeed. So, while we made a point of catching the Alcos at work, we also went after NS H-76, which featured a nice collection of vintage EMD diesels.
All around it was a successful afternoon. It was also the first time that I’ve photographed the D-L using digital cameras. A fair few years had passed since my last visit!
I arrived on Amtrak 173, which was actually ahead of schedule. By arrangement, I met Bruce and Steve Barry on the platform.
I was on my way to give a talk on British and Irish Railways to the Wilmington Chapter National Railway Historical Society, but Bruce advised me before arrival that we’d have time to photograph a few trains.
They’d selected an ideal spot at the north-end of platform C. The light was perfect and over the course of about 10 minutes we caught three southward trains.
For me the highlight of this short but productive venture was the passage of Amtrak number 97, the Silver Meteor (New York Penn-Station to Florida) which carried Viewliner sleepers and one of the few remaining heritage diners.
I was experimenting with my FujiFilm X-T1, and used the silent digital shutter, instead of the mechanical shutter that I typically use to make railroad photos. I’ll elaborate on that in a future post.
On January 16, 2015, my brother and I risked the perils of Interstate-95 and drove to Wilmington, Delaware so that I could make a few photos of the former Pennsylvania Railroad station.
I’d been working on a book on railway station architecture, and I wanted to make a few views of this iconic building credited to Frank Furness. Somewhere I’d seen a photo from the parking garage across the street that made me curious.
Thanks to Sean’s navigation, we easily found the station and the parking garage. I drove to the top level and made my photos. As is often the situation on exploratory trips, I decided this might make a better image at another time of day. At some point, perhaps I’ll return on an August evening and try again.
While on the top of the garage, I photographed a northbound train. This was led by a General Electric P42 diesel-electric, which is not the Amtrak motive power I’d expect to see here in electrified territory!
It was a brief visit to Delaware. Getting back to I-95 proved more difficult than finding the station, but in the end we were on our way. The light was getting good and I had visions of a sunset glint location . . .