Tag Archives: #Guilford

Mystery Photo of Maine Central 262

Working at Conway Scenic Railroad, I see former Maine Central GP38 252 almost every day.

My familiarity with 252, makes this image of sister locomotive 262 interesting to me today.

I exposed this on February 17, 1985 with with my father’s Leica M3 loaded Kodak Plus X. My friends and I had been following an eastward Boston & Maine freight symbol EDAY that was led by a GP18-GP9- GP18 combination.

Along the way, we found this eastward freight tied down without a crew. It was led by MEC 262. I don’t really remember that part of the day, and I can’t place this location. Somewhere I took notes, but most of my notes from January to October of 1985 are missing.

My guess is that this west of the passenger station in Ayer, Massachusetts, as I made a variety of photos in Ayer that day.

Back in 1985, a backlit Maine Central GP38 with its headlight off wasn’t worth a lot of my attention, but at least I made this image.

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Boston & Maine 202 westbound at Greenfield

On November 10, 1985, I had my father’s Rollei loaded with Verichrome Pan black & white 120-size roll film.

Using the camera with the 645-size insert, I photographed Boston & Maine GP38-2 201 leading one of Maine Central’s former Rock Island U25Bs on a westward freight working the Fitchburg route at Greenfield, Massachusetts.

I scanned the negative with my Epson V600 flatbed scanner, then imported the scan into Adobe Lightroom to make a series of contrast and exposure adjustments, while elimintating dusk specs to improve the negative.

I liked the stark quality of Verichrome that made it well suited to November in New England

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Hi-Hood SD45 December 1987.

In the late 1980s Kodak introduced its new T-grain T-Max black & white emulsions.

I quickly adopted these new films in place of Kodak Tri-X and Kodak Plus-X.

After about a year of trial and error with the T-Max films, I opted to return to the more traditional non-T-grain emulsions. In the mean time I committed countless unrepeatable scenes to T-Max.

This photo features a freshly-painted (and only recently acquired) Guilford SD45 eastbound at Greenfield, Massachusetts. I exposed it on 120-size TMY (T-Max 400) film using my father’s Rollieflex Model-T.

Part of the difficulty was that I insisted on developing the film in straight Kodak D76 instead of the recommended T-Max developer. I did this to save money; when I was at RIT in Rochester (actually Henrietta), New York, photo students received basic photo chemistry as part of their lab fee, which meant I could get all the D76 I wanted without any additional cost, while T-Max developer had to be purchased.

What I saved in developer, I’ve paid 100-fold in laborious print making and difficult scanning.

However, using Adobe Lightroom I’ve finally been able to get decent tonality out of these 34 year-old photos.

Springfield Terminal SD45 679 leads an eastward road freight at Greenfield, Massachusetts on December 19, 1987.

The SD45 has always been a favorite locomotive, and at the time I was quite pleased to catch Guilford’s latest motive power in fresh paint.

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Slug Set at Rices—February 1985.

In February 1985, my old pal TSH and I made a big adventure of chasing Guilford’s GP40-2 slug set (300-100-301) that was leading a westward empty coal train.

We picked this train up at East Deerfield Yard (near Greenfield, Massachusetts) and followed it west toward the Hoosac Tunnel.

TSH drove, I navigated and when we stopped line side, I made black & white photos using my Leica IIIA loaded with Ilford FP4 that I’d bulk loaded into reusable cassettes from a 100ft roll.

I exposed this view at the Rices interlocking along the Deerfield River near Charlemont, Massachusetts.

Today, this scene is very much overgrown, and the interlocking is long gone. For me the photo invokes the thrill of the chase on a cool stretch of the old Boston & Maine.

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EDRJ at Zoar—Rangefinder Slide

Working with my Contax G2 Rangefinder fitted with a Zeiss 28mm Biogon, I made thisa color slide at Zoar, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg Line.

Photographer Pat Yough and I had started the day(February 13, 2005) at Guilford’s East Deerfield Yard, where at daybreak symbol freight EDRJ (East Deerfield to Rotterdam Junction) was being readied for its westward journey.

We followed the freight west, using the lightly traveled road to the Hoosac Tunnel to reach Zoar.

February 13, 2005.

A few days ago, I’d posted a view of this same train on its approach to the East Portal. See:


Lately, I’ve been scanning my older slides. This is stored in a metal Logan box along with 500-600 select Guilford Rail System/Pan Am Railways photos exposed between 1998 and 2018.

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Telephoto on the Boston & Maine

1986 was a transitional year.

Boston & Maine was making its image transition to Guilford. While Guildford’s B&M acquisition had occurred a few years earlier, many B&M locomotives still retained their B&M blue paint. This period of transition on the railroad coincided with transitions in the way I made photos.

Here a pair of GP7s was leading the southward EDSP at Keets Road in Deerfield, a short distance south of Deerfield Junction. Notice the small stenciled Guilford ‘G’ on the short-hood of the locomotive.

B&M_GP7_1575_at_Keets_Road_Xing_south_of_Deerfield_Jct_Near_East_Deerfield_MA_410pm_July_8_1986 (file name for slide scan].

I’d recently discovered the superior qualities of Kodachrome 25. While very slow, this yielded great color, exceptionally fine grain, and about 2 ½ stops of exposure latitude.

For this slide, I had my Leica IIIA mounted to a Visoflex fitted with my father’s 200mm Leitz Telyt. This seemingly Rube-Goldberg inspired arrangement was klutzy compared with a conventional single lens reflex, it allowed me to use telephoto lenses and gave me an ability to selectively pinpoint my focus. The nature of the Visoflex screen did not encourage focusing on a central point.

As previously described on Tracking the Light, I often use focus to direct the viewers eye in relation to my compositions, while allowing portions of the image to be less than pin sharp, which can produce a pleasing effect too often lost with modern hyper-sharp digital photography. The combination of a long lens with slow film produced endless opportunity for focus experimentation.

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An SD45 Emerges from the Mists of Time.

Just now I was searching for another photo, and I came across this scan from a 35mm black & white negative that I exposed in June 1989.

This was on a routine trip to East Deerfield. It was a foggy morning, as mists clung to the Connecticut River Valley and over Boston & Maine’s sprawling yards behind me.

I was standing at the famous ‘Railfans Bridge’ where countless thousands of photos were exposed over the years (and that’s just my personal collection, not to mention all the photos made by countless other photographers).

I was working with my father’s M3 fitted with a 90mm Leitz telephoto.

At the time, a long-hood forward SD45 at this common location probably didn’t rate my A-list. Yet any SD45 on the move would have warranted my attention.

Look at the old B&M phone box to the left of the locomotives.

When I revue my old photos, I am routinely surprised how the common has become cool.

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Old 204 at Enfield!

I like vague titles.

My Irish friends might wonder, since Irish Rail class 201 number 204 in unlikely to have ever reached Enfield, County Meath on the Sligo Line—although the older C-Class diesel with the same number probably did pass that point (before my time).

Amtrak F40PH-2 204 almost certainly passed Enfield, Connecticut on the former New Haven Railroad’s Springfield-New Haven Line, a route now described as the ‘Hartford Line’. While I have various photos in the 1980s of the 200-series F40PH-2s, it is unlikely that I have a photo of 204 at Enfield.

Then there’s an extremely remote possibility that I have a photo in my collection of a Boston & Albany 4-4-0 with that number passing Enfield, Massachusetts on the Athol Branch. I’ll have to review my B&A roster to confirm they actually had a locomotive with that number and if it ever ran up the branch.


How about Guilford Rail System’s high-hood GP35 204 working the Maine Central with MABA at Enfield, Maine?

Regular Tracking the Light readers might understand my connections to this engine.

(It’s a sister locomotive to former Maine Central 216 that now resides at Conway Scenic where I now work.)

Too many ephemeral and tenuous connections?

Just wait, I could make signaling allusions!

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