Tag Archives: Holyoke Massachusetts

Pioneer Valley Railroad at Westfield, Massachusetts, October 1984.

Alco S-2 106.

Alco switcher
Among Pioneer Valley’s early locomotives was Alco S-2 switcher number 106 which came to the line from sister Pinsly road Frankfort & Cincinnati. On October 12, 1984 it stands at Westfield, Massachusetts engine house ready for its trip to Holyoke and back.

I exposed this view of Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Alco S-2 switcher with my old Leica 3A on black & white film on October 12, 1984. On the same day, I’d arranged with the railroad to ride this locomotive to Holyoke and back.

It was a memorable trip. In Holyoke we worked the Graham branch that followed the banks of old canals. Several times we had to stop to open and close gates across the line.

I featured this photo in my recent book North American Locomotives that features railroad by railroad locomotive profiles of many different lines. In addition to the Class 1 carriers, I also profiled a variety of smaller lines, many of which are my personal favorites.


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Electro-Motive Switcher in Holyoke, Massachusetts August 1987.

Capturing an Engine in its Environment.

Enthusiasm counts for a lot. I had just recently purchased a second-hand Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron, and I was seeing photos everywhere I looked.

I often poked around Holyoke, where the mix of 19th century mill buildings and decaying railroad infrastructure offered endless possibilities for photography.

Springfield Terminal 1401 switches a carload of scrap metal at the north-end of Holyoke Yard on August 20, 1987. Exposed on Professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM) using a Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron.

At that time, Guilford Transportation Industries was the big show in town. In addition to several through freights and a local, a switcher was often on duty drilling the Boston & Maine yard.

On August 20, 1987, I found this former Boston & Maine SW1, recently repainted and renumbered as Springfield Terminal 1401. I exposed this image from the street, across from the old passenger station. For me it captures the feel of Holyoke at the time.

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