Tag Archives: Heritage locomotive

Two Trains on the Move at Islandbridge Junction!

Monday, 11 February 2019 was bright and sunny in Dublin.

Although I was only just back across the Atlantic, I made use of the morning when I’d heard that Irish Rail 073 in heritage orange paint was working the down IWT Liner (container train operated from Dublin’s North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo).

As this exited Dublin’s Phoenix Park Tunnel approaching Islandbridge Junction, an Irish Rail ICR working the Hazelhatch-Grand Canal Docks service came the other way.

I hadn’t anticipated a ‘rolling meet’, but as luck had it I got two trains for the price of one.

This sequence of photos was exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 27mm pancake lens.

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Chicago Metra’s Milwaukee Road Heritage Locomotive—North Glenview.

O’Hare Airport, Chicago.

Yesterday afternoon Trains Magazine’s Brian Schmidt collected me at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and we made our way to the Metra station at North Glenview, Illinois, where we intended to incept outward commuter train 2125.

As anticipated, this was led my Metra’s recently painted Milwaukee Road heritage locomotive.

As the blue glow of dusk settled over North Glenview, the northward 2125 came into view, its oscillating light drawing a figure eight in the evening gloom.

Working with my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras, I exposed a series of photographs as the train made its station stop.

Lumix LX7 photo at North Glenview, Illinois. White balance set to ‘A’ (Auto).

These are a few of my FujiFilm XT1 and Lumix LX7 digital photos. To make the most of dusk, I’d set the while balance to ‘daylight’, while taking a low angle to make the unusually painted locomotive seem more dramatic.

FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm lens. White balance set to ‘daylight’.

Brian Schmidt checks his results. Lumix LX7 snapshot.

Brian Solomon is traveling:

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Tracking the Light Wishes You Happy Holidays!

Here’s my holiday card. Amtrak’s westward 449 led by heritage locomotive 156 passes West Warren, Massachusetts, Sunday December 10, 2017.

Amtrak 156 has been on my list for a long time. Of all the Amtrak paint schemes over the years, this is by far my favorite.

Although I caught 156 second unit out three days earlier (see yesterday’s Tracking the Light), this locomotive had eluded my photography for years. Apparently it had been assigned to the Vermonter for a month a few years ago, but I was out of the country.

Every other time it was some place, I was some place else.

But finally everything came together; first snow of the season, Amtrak 156 in the lead, and soft afternoon sun at one of my favorite former Boston & Albany locations; the engineer gave me a friendly toot of the horn, and I’m pleased with the outcome of the photos.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 27mm Fujinon Aspherical pancake lens. File processed using Lightroom. And yes, I also exposed some color slides! (But no black & white film).

I hope you have a great holiday season and you find your 156 in the new year.

Tracking the Light wishes you Seasons Greetings too!




Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and a Wink of Sun.

At the end of the day (really!), Mike Gardner and I were waiting for Amtrak’s westward Lake Shore Limited (train 449) at the grade crossing in Westfield, Massachusetts (milepost 107).

Shortly before the train came into view the sun popped out of the clouds just above the tree line and illuminated the scene with golden light.

I popped off a couple of color slides and some digital images.

For the digital I made a last minute exposure adjustment. I didn’t have that luxury with the slides, but my film camera was set within about a half stop of the ideal exposure.

We’ll have to wait and see if my slides are ok. Or not.

My quarry was the elusive 156 in the ‘pointless arrow’ heritage scheme. Pity it was trailing.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a 27mm pancake lens.

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Irish Rail Heritage Locomotive Works the Sperry Train.

Service Notice: Brian will be traveling for the next few days. New Tracking the Light posts will go up daily, but email notices may be delayed. To see the most recent posts, please check: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

On Monday, 13 March 2017, I photographed Irish Rail 071 in heritage paint working the Sperry rail-defect detection train. (The Sperry equipment is in a yellow container at the middle of the train).

I’d planned these photographs at ‘the Gullet’ (west of Islandbridge Junction between Dublin Heuston and Inchicore) on the previous Friday, but the train was canceled. Patience and persistence paid off in the end. (There’s your tips for the day).

Irish Rail 071 works west  on the morning of 13 March 2017. Exposed digitally with a FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with 18-135mm lens. File adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.

Exposed using a Panasonic Lumix LX7.

Trailing view exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

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On the Roll with Norfolk Southern’s Virginian Heritage Locomotive.

Here’s another case of dumb luck. The other day, when Mike Gardner and I headed for Pan Am Southern’s Boston & Maine at East Deerfield, we had vague notions that we’d follow one of their trains.

As with many of our photographic adventures, our plan was little more than a loose agreement that we’d explore and make photos. Mike does the driving, I help with the navigation and interpreting the scanner.

I’d brought a wide selection of cameras, including two Nikon film cameras and my old Rollei Model T for black & white work.

Early in our day we bumped into some fellow photographers who tipped us off on the westward approach of empty autorack train 287 led by Norfolk Southern 1069 painted to honor the old Virginian.

The Virginian is long before my time. It was melded into Norfolk & Western 7 years before I was born. However, I was familiar with the line through my father’s color slides.

As the day unfolded we learned that we had a pair of westward trains to work with. As noted in yesterday’s post, Pan Am’s EDRJ was working with recently acquired former CSX DASH8-40Cs. Initially, it was 287 with the Virginian painted locomotive that caught our attention.

January 5, 2017 East Deerfield, Massachusetts. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens. Pan Am’s EDRJ (with former CSX DASH8-40Cs) waits for auto rack 287 with NS 1069  to clear the yard before making its double.

Exposed on Fomapan 200 with a Rollei Model T. Film processed in D76.

Pacing view near Charlemont, Massachusetts. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

To the River!

Pan Am Southern 287 passes the classic location at Zoar, Massachusetts. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

Eagle Bridge, New York. Exposed with a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

Horace Greeley’s advice played out well that day! (But we aren’t as young as we were once).

Who’s Horace Greeley? 

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DAILY POST: Amtrak Heritage P40 at West Warren, Massachusetts!

Light! Camera! Action!

Here we have an instance where everything came together nicely.

Amtrak heritage locomotive
Amtrak 449 at West Warren, Massachusetts, 2:03pm January 24, 2014. Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 40mm pancake lens exposed at ISO 200 f5.6 1/1000th of a second. Camera RAW file converted to a Jpeg in Adobe Photoshop.

On Friday January 24, 2014, I’d got word that Amtrak’s heritage locomotive number 822 was working the westward Lake Shore Limited, train 449

This was the second time in a ten-day span that I’d be alerted to a heritage locomotive on this run. As noted in my January 18, 2014 post, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, the weather wasn’t cooperative on my previous attempt at catching an Amtrak heritage locomotive.

By contrast on January 24th it was clear but very cold. I opted to make the photo at West Warren, where it’s nice and open and there’s a distinctive landscape.

Normally, Amtrak 449 passes East Brookfield at 1:30pm, and Palmer about 1:50pm. West Warren is roughly halfway between them, so I aimed to be there no later than 1:35pm

As it happened, 449 was delayed on Charlton Hill and passed more than 15 minutes later than I’d anticipated. Other than resulting in my nose getting a bit cold, this delay produced little effect on the photograph.

I opted for a traditional angle because I wanted to feature the locomotive as the primary subject this scenic setting. I picked a spot on the road bridge over the Quaboag River where I could make a view that included the old mills and waterfall, as well as a side view as the train got closer.

Working with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with a 40mm pancake lens, I set the motor drive to its fastest setting, and exposed three bursts of images as the train rolled east on CSXT’s former Boston & Albany mainline.

Since the camera’s buffer will quickly become saturated when making multiple photos in rapid succession, I was careful to wait until the train was nearly where I wanted it in each of the three sets.

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This tighter view offers a clean perspective on the equipment. I was aiming to feature both the heritage painted locomotive and the ancient baggage car. Word to the wise; get the old baggage cars while you can, they won’t be around forever.

Have you had luck catching Amtrak’s heritage locomotives?  Do you have a favorite? Let me know! There’s a venue for comments on this blog, scroll down.


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