Tag Archives: Electro-Motive Diesel

Classic Conrail: Altoona, Pennsylvania

Light! Leica! Action!

July 28, 1987, TSH and I were poised on the footbridge at Works waiting for westbound freights to get their helpers and begin their climb over the Allegheny Divide via Horseshoe Curve.

 

A lone SW1200 was drilling freight cars in the yard. I’ve always like EMD switchers. So while waiting for the mainline action, I exposed this trailing view of the locomotive using my Leica M2 fitted with my father’s Leitz f2.8 90mm Elmarit and loaded with Kodachrome 25 slide film

A classic view of a Conrail SW1200 switcher at work. Exposed on July 28, 1987 using a Leica M2 with 90mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film.
A classic view of a Conrail SW1200 switcher at work. Exposed on July 28, 1987 using a Leica M2 with 90mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film.

 

Looking back, 1987 was a threshold year for my photography. After several years of fumbling with inadequate camera-meter-film combinations, I’d finally found a couple camera-film combinations that consistently yielded technically satisfactory results.

 

In June of that year, I’d bought my own M2. By then, I’d decided that Kodachrome 25 was the ‘right’ film for most daylight circumstances. Leica’s sharp fast lenses with Kodachrome’s extremely fine grain and exceptional dynamic range allowed me to make some very satisfactory images in a variety of circumstances.

 

Key to my winning formula was developing a working understanding of how Kodachrome 25 would react in different lighting situations. In 1986 I’d bought a Sekonic Studio Deluxe and had begun taking detailed notes on my exposures. This will be the topic of a future post.

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Tomorrow: The Old Standard

 

EMD F-units in the Minnesota Iron Range

Twenty Years Ago Today.

An A-B-B-A set of General Motors Electro-Motive Division F9 diesels leads a set of empty iron ore jennies at the Kramer Tunnel on September 24, 1994.

Exposed on September 24, 1994 with a Nikormatt FT3 with a Nikkon 28mm lens on Fujichrome Provia 100 slide film.
Exposed on September 24, 1994 with a Nikormatt FT3 with a Nikkon 28mm lens on Fujichrome Provia 100 slide film.

I’d traveled to the Iron Range with Mike and Tom Danneman. We spent three intensive days making photographs. It was early autumn and the trees were tinged with color. The Dannemans led the way, as it was my first visit to the Range.

We spent just one day photographing LTV Mining, which was one of the last operations in the United States to still routinely assigned four-unit sets of Fs to heavy freight.

A cropped version of this image appears on page 50 of my American Diesel Locomotive, published by MBI in 2000.

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Tomorrow: Special Post!

 

Southern Pacific at Roseville, December 1989.

Tunnel Motor and a Donut Shop.

Trains crossing vast western vistas make for compelling images, yet, back in 1989 I also made an effort to document western railroads in ordinary urban environments.

in December 1989, this Southern Pacific eastward freight was easing up to the east end of Roseville Yard, preparing to depart for its run over Donner Pass. Its EMD diesels with 20-cylinder 645E3 engines pulsed their dynamic sounds of power.

Southern Pacific 8233 at Roseville, California. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 with f2.0 50mm lens.
Southern Pacific 8233 at Roseville, California. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 with f2.0 50mm lens.

I framed it up in the trees and featured a non-descript donut shop that was part of the scene. Also, I placed my car in the photo. Soon, I was rolling east on I-80, thinking about where to catch the freight on the grade.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 with f2.0 50mm lens.

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TRACKING THE LIGHT: Canadian Pacific Local on the Milwaukee Road.

Freshly Painted GP38-2s on Jointed Rail at DeForest, Wisconsin

June 23, 2010—four years ago today—John Gruber and I followed CP Rail’s local freight from Madison toward Portage on a secondary line of the old Milwaukee Road.

Locomotive 4509, an Electro-Motive Division GP38-2 built in 1974, had endured the various changes in ownership and re-branding of the railroad, from Milwaukee, to Soo Line, and finally to CP Rail. Now, in 2014, this locomotive is 40 years old. Is it still working the former Milwaukee?

Canadian Pacific 4509 limps along on rough jointed track near DeForest, Wisconsin on June 23, 2010. I was using a long telephoto (200mm) lens and I opted for a low angle to accentuate the effect of the jointed track. Train speed was about 10 mph. My exposure was f10 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 200.
Canadian Pacific 4509 limps along on rough jointed track near DeForest, Wisconsin on June 23, 2010. Using a long telephoto (200mm) lens, I opted for a low angle to accentuate the effect of the jointed track. Train speed was about 10 mph. My exposure was f10 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 200.

At the time of this photograph, I had just purchased my Canon 7D two weeks earlier and I was learning how to make the most of its technology. It took me about six-months to find ways to make optimum exposures using the built in histogram.

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Tomorrow: In the Shadow of Dracula!

 

General Motors FT 103, The Diesel that Changed Railroading—Tracking the Light Special Post

Streamliners at Spencer: The Real Star of the Show?

Although streamlined steam locomotive 611 was getting most of the attention, historically the most important exhibit was General Motors FT demonstrator 103.

Last night FT 103 was lit up for all to see.

General Motors model FT lit up at Spencer Shops on May 30, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens on a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod.
General Motors model FT lit up at Spencer Shops on May 30, 2014. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens on a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod.

I’ve written about this locomotive in many of my books. It is the most influential American locomotive of the twentieth century because it demonstrated to the railroad industry that diesels offered a cost effective replacement for steam.

In my book Electro-Motive E and F Units (published by Voyageur Press) I offered this context for the FT:

Revolutionary FT

Electro-Motive’s most significant innovation was its development of the first commercially viable road freight diesel. From a technical perspective this was an advancement of the E-unit — the application of this long anticipated new road diesel proved revolutionary for American railroads. Once on a roll, it not only turned locomotive building on its ear, but forever changed the way railroads bought locomotives and operated trains EMD’s F-unit was the most important player in the rapid dieselization American lines.

NS CEO, Wick Moorman pointed out in yesterday’s address at Spencer, that FT 103 was ‘even older than 611,’ while sincerely thanking the St. Louis Museum of Transportation for sending the locomotive for display.

Read more about General Motors streamlined diesels, check out my book Electro-Motive E and F Unit.

Click here for more photos of the Steamliners at Spencer event.

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Gray Engine, Bright Sunny Day

 

Islandbridge, Dublin April 29, 2014.

Among the difficulties of living within sight of the railway is the chance that such proximity may breed photographic apathy and slough. One the plus side, when something rumbles by, all I have to do is look out the window!

There are several nice photo locations within a ten minute walk of Islandbridge. On the downside, over the last decade I’ve covered these nearly to the point of exhaustion. Yet, that doesn’t keep me from taking advantage of them.

Shortly before 11am on Tuesday April 29, 2014, I heard the distinct roar of an Irish Rail 071 class diesel (built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division). I glanced out the window to see a gray locomotive roll into the Phoenix Park tunnel with a wagon transfer for Dublin’s North Wall.

Ah! A grey locomotive and the elusive wagon transfer!

I made a call to alert a friend, and a short while later I got a call back to say that the wagon transfer had collected three flats and was on its way back. The locomotive was 085 which wears a variation of the gray and yellow livery introduced a year ago.

Irish Rail 085 with three flat wagons approaches Islandbridge Junction on April 29, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. I opted for vertical composition to feature the monumental Wellington Testimonial that sits in Dublin's Phoenix Park. (Exposed at f9 1/500th of a second ISO 200).
Irish Rail 085 with three flat wagons approaches Islandbridge Junction on April 29, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. I opted for vertical composition to feature the monumental Wellington Testimonial that sits in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. (Exposed at f9 1/500th of a second ISO 200).

It was a rare clear sunny morning, and I was keen to make a color slide of this engine passing Islandbridge Junction. Armed with good information, I walked five minutes up the road to my often-used location and waited. Less than 15 minutes passed before 085 appeared from the tunnel with the three flats.

A closer horizontal view with the same camera-lens combination. I adjusted the exposure by a one-third stop, opening to f8.0 to compensate for the lack of sky in the image. Locomotive 085 features a variation of the gray and yellow paint scheme introduced last year. This features the traditional three-digit locomotive number in larger fonts on the cab. This in addition to the recently introduced European multiple number printed in tiny type elsewhere on the engine.
A closer horizontal view with the same camera-lens combination. I adjusted the exposure by a one-third stop, opening to f8.0 to compensate for the lack of sky in the image. Locomotive 085 features a variation of the gray and yellow paint scheme introduced last year. This features the traditional three-digit locomotive number in larger fonts on the cab. This in addition to the recently introduced European multiple number printed in tiny type elsewhere on the engine.

I exposed a few digital images with my Canon EOS 7D and 100mm lens, before executing a color slide (or two) with my EOS 3 with 40mm lens. I was home less than 30 minutes after leaving. Back to the book writing! I’m presently researching a book on North American signaling.

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Tomorrow: View from a Castle.

 

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DAILY POST: Trains Meet on a Summer Morning at Cassandra, Pennsylvania.

Pleasant Morning on the West Slope.

In contrast from the iced grip of winter, these photographs were made on June 30, 2010. This was a gorgeous warm summer’s morning; birds twittered the tree branches as the sun light streamed through a gauzy haze to burn away the dew.

I arrived early at the famed ‘Railfan’s Overlook’ to make photographs in the early light of day. In the distance, I could hear the thunder of a heavy train climbing east toward the Allegheny Divide at Gallitzin.

NS unit coal train with Evolution at Cassandra IMG_1734

Norfolk Southern’s busy former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline rarely disappoints, and this morning it was alive with trains.

Using my Canon EOS 7D, I worked the glinting sun to its best advantage as an eastward Pennsylvania Power & Light coal train clawed into view. As it worked the grade, a westward RoadRailer led by former Conrail locomotive glided down grade.

At the back of the coal train were a pair of freshly painted SD40Es making a classic EMD-roar as they worked in run-8 (maximum throttle).

How I wish I was enjoying a warm June morning on the West Slope right now!

 

 A Norfolk Southern coal train, likely destined for Pennsylvania Power & Light’s Strawberry Ridge plant, works west at Cassandra, Pennsylvnia. Canon EOS 7D with 24mm lens, exposed at f4 1/250th second, ISO 200. Back lit morning sun highlights the grass in the foreground.

A Norfolk Southern coal train, likely destined for Pennsylvania Power & Light’s Strawberry Ridge plant, works west at Cassandra, Pennsylvnia. Canon EOS 7D with 24mm lens, exposed at f4 1/250th second, ISO 200. Back lit morning sun highlights the grass in the foreground.

Coal train at Cassandra IMG_1742

Westward Norfolk Southern RoadRailer at Cassandra, Pennsylvania on June 30, 2010. The morning sun has caught the front element of my lens making for a bit of flare. Notice how this fogs the shadow areas and warms up the scene. Hollywood film-makers love this effect.
Westward Norfolk Southern RoadRailer at Cassandra, Pennsylvania on June 30, 2010. The morning sun has caught the front element of my lens making for a bit of flare. Notice how this fogs the shadow areas and warms up the scene. Hollywood film-makers love this effect.
I've stepped back into the shadow of a tree to control lens flare and stopped down my exposure to allow for better highlight detail on the sides of the RoadRailer. The result is a starker less atmospheric image.
I’ve stepped back into the shadow of a tree to control lens flare and stopped down my exposure to allow for better highlight detail on the sides of the RoadRailer. The result is a starker less atmospheric image.
Morning glint illuminates the helpers at the back of coal train. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, set at 120mm and at f5.0 1/500, ISO 400.
Morning glint illuminates the helpers at the back of coal train. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens, set at 120mm and at f5.0 1/500, ISO 400.

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Interested in learning more about locomotives and viewing more stunning photographs? See my book: Classic Locomotives published by Voyageur Press.

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DAILY POST: Rochester & Southern EMD Switcher


Brooks Avenue Yard, September 23, 1987.

Among my favorite locomotives are Electro-Motive’s classic end-cab switchers, of the sort introduced in the mid-1930s with EMC model SC.

I became familiar with this type as a result of an O-Gauge Lionel NW-2 dressed for Santa Fe that my father bought for me about 1972. Later, I watched and photographed full scale switchers on Penn-Central, Conrail and Boston & Maine.

This type in effect emulated the shape of the common steam locomotive, allowing the engineer to look down the length of the hood, instead of a boiler. Electro-Motive wasn’t first to use this arrangement, which Alco introduced in the early 1930s. But, it was the Electro-Motive switcher that I found to have a classic sound and shape.

EMD SW1200
Rochester & Southern SW1200 107 is posed in front of the Brooks Avenue yard office between 9:45 and 10:15 am on September 23, 1987. I made this photograph with a Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film. At the time was doing a lighting test with my Sekonic Studio Deluxe light meter. Puffy clouds were rapidly passing over and intermittently blocking (and diffusing) the sunlight. I made careful notes of changes in exposure which varied by two full stops between ‘full sun’ and shaded. —
Incidentally, I published this image on page 53 of The American Diesel Locomotive (MBI Publishing, 2000).

 

 

When I was studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the late 1980s, Rochester & Southern’s Brooks Avenue Yard was just a few minutes away. I routinely stopped by the yard to see what was going on.

At that time, R&S 107—a former Southern Pacific SW1200—could be routinely found drilling cars. Over the years, I made a number of images of this old goat.

I left Rochester in 1989. I wonder what has become of this switcher? Does it still sport the SP-order oscillating lights?

See previous Tracking the Light posts:  Lehigh Valley 211 at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York;  Genesee & Wyoming at P&L Junction, November 4, 1987; and Two Freights 24 Hours Apart

 

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Daily Post: Twenty Cylinders in 2013

Finding an old EMD Locomotive at Work Near its Birth Place.

Followers of Tracking the Light may have noticed that I have a penchant for Electro-Motive Division 20-Cylinder diesels. Not only have I featured these in many of my books, but also they have made regular appearances in my Daily posts.

In 2013, true 20-cylinder EMD locomotives have become really rare machines. Many of the surviving SD45/SD45-2 locomotives have been ‘de-rated’ and are now actually powered by variations of the 16-cylinder 645 engine.

Not that this difference really affects the photos, but for the purest, a true 20-cylinder locomotive has no match. For me, it’s the sound that makes the difference.

When I lived in California, Southern Pacific and Santa Fe both still had substantial fleets or 20 cylinder diesels. These days there are probably more old EMD F units in daily service than 20-cylinder 645s. (Maybe? Anyone know?)

Last week (Tuesday November 12, 2013), John Gruber and I were driving from Madison, Wisconsin toward Chicago to meet Chris Guss and Pat Yough. Chris rang me before lunch to say that an Illinois Railnet freight was ready to depart BNSF’s Eola Yard and had an old SP SD45 in the lead. A real SD45.

EMD SD45 7440
While not the prettiest locomotive, Illinois Railnet’s ex SP SD45 was worth the drive.
I even exposed a slide with my dad’s Leica M4. This photo was made with my Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. I was balanced on a rock in the Fox River to get just the right angle. Nice to have the sun too!

I stepped up the pace, and with creative driving and some vital landing instructions from Chris and Pat, John and I arrived at the old Burlington bridge over the Fox River west of Aurora just in time to catch this relatively obscure Chicago-land freight railroad at work. I owe this image to teamwork and the ability to react quickly. Hurray!

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Mass-Central on the Central Massachusetts, June 26, 2013

 

An Antique NW5 Works Obscure Trackage.

On June 26, 2013, a variety of errands that brought me to Ware, Massachusetts. I knew the Mass-Central’s daily freight ought to be in the area, but I wasn’t sure where it was. (Pardon pun).

I checked Ware yard; not there. So I drove north along the line. Since it is my understanding that the railroad is expected to acquire some nicely painted GP38s, I was curious to see what engines were working that day.

No sign of the train at Gilbertville, so I continued northward along Route 32 toward Creamery. My sixth sense was tingling. I knew the train was close.

 

Abandoned railroad.
Looking railroad east on the old Central Massachusetts line. This was once a through route from Boston to Northampton. Hush! Was that a whistle? Lumix LX3 photo.

At Creamery,  Boston & Maine’s Central Massachusetts line once had a grade separated crossing with Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch, and when B&M retrenched in the early 1930s,  a connection was built between the two lines just to the north (east) of this crossing.  Further retrenchment over the following decades resulted in almost complete abandonment of the Central Massachusetts line in the area.

Today, a portion of the Central Mass route at Creamery is now a rail trail. I paused at the trail, inspected a bit of an old cross-tie and then listened. . .  wind rustled in the trees, then in the distance I heard a low air whistle. I turned my head. It was coming from the south. Had I overtaken the train, or had I missed it?

A second blast, confirmed my suspicions; I’d missed the train between Gilbertville and Creamery.  I jumped in my car and headed briskly back toward Ware. I overtook the train a mile north of town.

At Ware, Mass-Central had some work at Kanzaki Specialty Papers—a customer served by a short surviving section of the former B&M line that connects with the B&A route south of Ware Yard.

Mass-Central NW5 2100 at Ware.
Mass-Central 2100 and 960 shove boxcars toward Kanzaki Paper on a surviving segment of the Central Massachusetts line at Ware, Massachusetts. In the 1970s, Mass-Central was created as a switching railroad to operate Boston & Maine trackage at Ware. Later it expanded operations over the former Boston & Albany Ware River Branch between Palmer and South Barre. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

I caught the train shoving down, then waited a few minutes for the locomotives to return. In this way I executed several  photos of the rare NW5 (one of just 13 built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division) on rare track

NW5 diesel.
Mass-Central on the Central Mass; NW5 2100 works toward Ware yard on June 26, 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.
Mass-Central NW5 2100
At Ware, Boston & Maine’s Central Massachusetts line ran parallel to Boston & Albany’s Ware River Branch; both lines remain at this grade crossing south (west) of Ware Yard. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

I could tick off that errand for the day! Mass-Central NW5, check.

Mass-Central 960
Mass-Central 2100 and 960 work back toward Ware Yard. Notice the grade crossing warning in the distance for Mass-Central’s former B&A Ware River Line. Imagine the day, long ago, when you could have seen 4-4-0s with passenger trains on both lines. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

See more Tracking the Light on the Mass-Central:

Mass-Central: Monday May 13, 2013

Mass-Central: Monday November 19, 2012

Also see: my Mass-Central article in March 2010 Trains Magazine

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DeForest Station, June 14, 2013.

 

Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee Road M&P Branch.

Dick Gruber, John Gruber and I, explored some former Milwaukee Road lines near Madison, Wisconsin on June 14, 2013.

“You hear a lot about deforestation these days,” Dick says to me, “I quite like it. What’s wrong with DeForest Station anyway?”

DeForest station, Wisconsin.
DeForest station, as photographed with my Lumix LX-3 on June 14, 2013.

Having inspected the restored depot. We continued northward (timetable west) along Canadian Pacific’s former Milwaukee branch from Madison to Portage. We had good information that the weekday freight was working towards us. Since track speed is about 10 mph, there was little chance that we might miss the train.

However, we weren’t expecting to find a CP work extra with an SD40-2 and vintage Jordan Spreader doing ditching work. Another case of good luck on my part. I’ve said this before, but I often have good luck on the railroad.

CPR_Jordan_Spreader_north_of_DeForest_Wis_IMG_2978
A Canadian Pacific Jordan performs ditching work for improved drainage. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

A few miles north of DeForest, I said to Dick, ‘Turn here, I think that road crosses the line, maybe there’s a photo op.” Sure enough! There we see the spreader working. While watching the works, I gave John a quick lesson on how to work his new Canon 7D. In the meantime, the weekday freight crept up and we made photos of the two trains together.

The Canadian Pacific Jordan has folded in its wings and prepares to get out of the way CP's weekday Portage to Madison local freight. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.
The Canadian Pacific Jordan has folded in its wings and prepares to get out of the way CP’s weekday Portage to Madison local freight. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

This local freight was led by a GP38 and one of the new ‘Eco’ GP20Cs built by Electro Motive. It was my first experience with these new units. Dick was appalled with the appearance of the GP20C,  “Ah! What do you call those engines? LODs! Lack of Design!”

CP Rail near DeForest, Wisconsin.
Canadian Pacific’s local consists of a GP38 and new GP20C leading a pair of tank cars. A Canadian Pacific Jordan performs ditching work for improved drainage. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm zoomm lens.
Eco 'GP20C'
Trailing view showing Canadian Pacific’s new ‘Eco’ GP20C which features a blocky adaptation of EMD’s road switcher body design.
Canadian Pacific's new 'Eco' GP20C
John Gruber inspects the new GP20C as it works industrial trackage near DeForest. Exposed with a Lumix LX3.

The local got around the spreader and did a bit switching at an industrial park then continued past the DeForest Station toward Madison.

DeForest station.
CP Rail approaching DeForest station. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
DeForest station.
DeForest station. Exposed with my Lumix LX3.

Soon we were heading toward Sun Prairie and Waterloo to intercept a Wisconsin & Southern freight working toward Madison. I’ll cover that in a future post.

 

 

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CSX Moves Fuel.

Tank Trains Rolling at Guilderland, New York.

 

 

 

On Saturday, May 18, 2013, CSX had four eastward unit oil trains working the Water Level route between Buffalo and Selkirk, New York. Mike Gardner and I were in place to catch two of these monsters. Mile-plus long strings of black heavily-laden tank cars hauled by colorful variety of locomotives.

These were only part of the show and mixed in with CSX’s seemingly endless parade of intermodal trains and mixed freight. While waiting for first of the oil train to reach us, we experience the highlight of the day. To the east I heard the classic roar of EMD 16-645 engines.

What could be making such a racket? This is a railroad dominated by the muffled sound of modern GE four-stroke diesels and the occasion EMD 710. By contrast this sound sent me back 20 years . . .

CP Rail SD40-2 leads an empty ethanol train.
SD40-2s lead CSX symbol freight K4091 (a westward empty ethanol train) on the old West Shore. The line on the right is the traditional eastward track built to fly over the westward main near French’s Hollow. Three SD40-2s on the Water Level Route, not bad! Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

Working west in run-8 were three SD40-2s (one Canadian Pacific and two painted for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern/Iowa, Chicago & Eastern) with empty ethanol train in tow. The crew was enthusiastic and passed us with a friendly blast of the horn and bells ringing. It was just about the coolest train I’ve seen on CSX in several years!

Empty ethanol train.
Trailing view of CSX K4091, the receding sounds of 16-645E3 engines brightening my day. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

After it passed we caught the first two unit oil trains, one right after the other, followed more ordinary traffic. This oil business is a new phenomenon and seems to be growing. I expect I’ll see more liquid energy on the move.

CSX_oil_train_K040
First of four eastward unit oil trains; CSX K040 with a mix of CSX, KCS, and BNSF locomotives.
CSX GE number 860 leading K048, the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
CSX GE number 860 leading K048, the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
Oil train
Rolling pipeline; trailing view of CSX K048—the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
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Locomotive Geometry Part 5; Wisconsin Central F45

Cowls on the Prowl.

Among Wisconsin Central Limited’s 20-cylinder EMD fleet were six F45s and a lone FP45, all former Santa Fe.

Santa Fe had been first to order the FP45—intended as a dual service machine used passenger service and for fast freight. The only other customer for the FP45 was Milwaukee Road which bought five of them. Significant of these designs was the external semi-streamlined cowling leading the locomotive’s ‘Cowls’ nickname.

Santa Fe F45 5972 at N Fond du Lac wis March 11 1995 by Brian Solomon 234116_2
Santa Fe F45 5972 on Wisconsin Central at North Fond du Lac on March 11, 1995.

EMD’s F45 was intended primarily for freight so it didn’t feature a large steam generator. As a result it was several feet shorter. Santa Fe ordered 40, while along with Great Northern and its successor Burlington Northern, bought 56 F45s. Like its SD45, EMD rated both FP45 and F45 at 3,600 hp.These locomotives had a similar appearance to the SDP40F and F40C (see: Locomotive Geometry Part 4).

EMD F45
Former Santa Fe 5959 leads a northward freight near Slinger, Wisconsin in May 1995.

Although Wisconsin Central operated seven of the big cowled EMDs, I found these to be relatively elusive when compared to WC’s far more common SD45s. Yet, I count myself  fortunate to have caught the cowl 20-cylinder locomotives at various occasions, both in Santa Fe and Wisconsin Central paint.

This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
Nose view of a WC F45.
Nose view of WC F45 6656 on May 4, 1996.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
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Locomotive Geometry Part 4; Chicago Metra’s F40C

 

Passenger Six-Motor.

Metra F40C number 611 in February 2003.
Metra F40C number 611 in February 2003.

Chicago suburban passenger railway, Metra operated the only fleet of Electro-Motive Division F40Cs a six-motor cowl-type passenger locomotive similar to Amtrak’s SDP40F, but equipped with HEP (headend power), and featured corrugated stainless-steel side paneling. The 5 EMD F40Cs, were acquired through Metra predecessor agency for service on Milwaukee Road. Numbered 600-614, the F40Cs were the last Metra heritage units in regular passenger service.

These were an unusual modern application of a six-motor diesel for passenger service. Since the mid-1970s, most passenger locomotives have been four-motor ‘B-B’ models.

They exhibit General Motors classic well-balanced utilitarian appearance, and are similar to other cowl models built from the late 1960s and mid-1970s.

EMD F40C
METRA F40C 614 works west at A2 tower on June 22, 2004.

These were among the locomotives I featured in my popular book EMD Locomotives published in 2006. Available from my publish Voyageur Press or at Amazon. I also discuss their history in my recent North American Locomotives.

EMD F40C.
A pan photo of Metra 606 catches the evening glint near Tower A5.

I like to offer special thanks to Marshall Beecher for providing location assistance in Chicago.

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Locomotive Geometry Part 3; Canadian Pacific SD40-2s

CP Rail SD40-2
Trailing view of Canadian Pacific‘s classic SD40-2s at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Provia 100F slide film.

General Motors Electro-Motive Division SD40-2 is classic North American locomotive design. This rugged, powerful, and reliable model was built in the thousands between 1972 and the early 1980s. Its essential boxy utilitarian form shares the same functional appearance common to most of EMD’s American road-freight locomotives built from 1963 until the general proliferation of Safety-Cab designs in the early 1990s. Canadian Pacific ordered large numbers of SD40 and SD40-2s from General Motors Canadian subsidiary and these were its dominant road locomotive for the better part of two decades. In the early 2000s, they remained standard on CP’s Delaware & Hudson lines in New York and Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific's classic 1970s 'Pac-Man' icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.

On October 12, 2003, I made a series of photographs of Canadian Pacific SD40-2s on a southward/westward freight at Delaware & Hudson’s Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Here the locomotives were paused in nice light giving ample opportunity to make photographs from different angles. I was working with a pair of Nikon F3s (one F3HP, one F3T), and a Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with an unusual super wide-angle lens. Displayed here are a few of my results. The broadside Contax view at the bottom of the post was among the images featured in my recently published North American Locomotives by Voyageur Press.

CP Rail SD40-2
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f1.8 105mm lens.
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate  barrel distortion).
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate barrel distortion).
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