Tag Archives: electric railway

Tracking the Light Extra—Connecticut Trolley Museum.

This afternoon on the way to catch Amtrak 57, the southward Vermonter, my dad and I stopped in for a visit to the Connecticut Trolley Museum at East Windsor for old time sake.

Three cars were on the line today. We went for a spin on a vintage 1902 Brill-built open car.







These photos were exposed using my Lumix LX7, downloaded to my laptop on board Amtrak 57, manipulated in Lightroom, and then uploaded to Tracking the Light courtesy of Amtrak’s WiFi. From my camera to the world: a demonstration of the miracles of modern technology.

(A contrast with my black & white processes).


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A Chicago, South Shore & South Bend electric races east away from the setting sun in October 1994. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikkormat FTN with 28mm lens.
A Chicago, South Shore & South Bend electric races east away from the setting sun in October 1994. Exposed on Fujichrome using a Nikkormat FTN with 28mm lens.

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South Shore Sunset, October 1994

Interurban Electric Near South Bend, Indiana. 

I was driving from Erie, Pennsylvania back to Waukesha, Wisconsin after a week of photography on the former Baltimore & Ohio in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

West of South Bend, the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend runs parallel to the former New York Central ‘Water Level Route’ (then operated by Conrail).

I’d found a lightly used grade crossing, where I photographed a few Conrail freights. I didn’t have a South Shore schedule, but hoped I might see something roll over the old interurban electric line.

Ten years earlier, I’d taken a memorable trip over the line from Chicago to South Bend. Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, my father had made many images of the South Shore, and I was always fond of the line, despite having missed its operation of antique multiple units and Little Joe electrics that had made the line popular with photographers.

South Shore electric
Caption: Outbound South Shore train at sunset near South Bend, Indiana in October 1994. Signals on Conrail’s parallel former New York Central mainline are visible to the left of the train. Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with a Nikkormat FT3 with 28mm Nikkor lens

As daylight faded, I notice that the old Union Switch & Signal color signals facing me suddenly changed from displaying yellow to red. This indicated to me that something was about to happen. And, sure enough, a few minutes later I could hear a train clattering along.

I found a low angle to feature the richly colored sky and I made a single exposure on Fujichrome 100 using my Nikkormat FT3  with 28mm Nikkor lens. This remains one of my favorite railway photos: for me it captures the essence of South Shore’s interurban electric operation. I’ve used it in various places over the years.



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Amtrak’s Mayflower at South Norwalk, Connecticut, November 16, 1992.


Amtrak AEM-7 911 on the Northeast Corridor.

At 11:11 am on November 16, 1992, I made this image of double-headed AEM-7s leading train 169 The Mayflower passing the interlocking at South Norwalk on the former New Haven Railroad mainline.

Amtrak 911
Amtrak train 169 led by AEM-7 number 911 at South Norwalk; exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a Tokina f5.6 400mm telephoto lens.

This was a routine event. I don’t recall anything unusual or noteworthy about the train itself. I was playing with a Tokina f5.6 400mm lens I’d recently purchased secondhand. I made this photo with that lens attached to my Nikon F3T on Kodachrome 25.

My exposure-notes indicate that the lens was at its widest aperture and the camera at 1/125 of a second. I probably had the camera on my Bogen 3021 tripod as I doubt I would have tried to hand hold the 400mm lens at 1/125th of second.

Telephoto lens compression with truss-bridges under the old New Haven catenary makes for a tunnel-like effect, while giving context to the crossovers.

At that time, Amtrak’s AEM-7s were still in their ‘as delivered’ condition with their original paint scheme. These powerful little locomotives have been the backbone of Amtrak’s electrified operations for more than three decades. Their day in the sun will soon end; replacements are on their way.


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