In the 1940s, New York Central photographer Ed Nowak often posed trains near Breakneck Ridge (north of Cold Spring, New York. In the 1960s, my dad made photographs of lightning stripe E-units here. I first visited with my dad and brother in the early 1980s. Back in 1989, I used USGS topographical maps to suss angles from the ridge.
On January 20, 2015, I parked near the north portal of the famous tunnels and followed the designated trail up the side of the ridge. It had been a fair few years since I was here last.
The clouds began to part in the west and for about 45 minutes there was low filtered sun on the rail. I exposed a few color slides and digital images of passing Metro-North and Amtrak trains.
I kept thinking about all the Hudsons, Niagaras, and Mohawks, the General Motors E unit and Alco PA diesels, and even the classic former New Haven FL9s that passed this famous location in former times.
In an era when so many places have changed beyond recognition, it’s nice to be able to visit a spot that looks more or less the way I expect. Even if the locomotives have changed, and the operators are different; the scenery remains some of the finest in the East, and the line is still busy!
It was exactly 20 years ago today; November 20, 1992, I made this photograph of an Albany-bound Amtrak train along the Hudson Line near Breakneck Ridge north of Cold Spring, New York. Like today, this day in 1992 dawned cold and crisp. I was armed with my Nikon F3T with a 35mm PC (Perspective Control) lens and loaded Kodachrome 25 film. I metered manually with my Sekonic Studio Deluxe hand-held light meter. Amtrak’s classic FL9s were still working the Hudson Line on Empire Corridor trains. Later in the decade these were supplanted by modern General Electric dual-mode Genesis locomotives. Back then this train was common; today it’s a classic. Likewise, Kodachrome 25 was then my staple film, but its been gone for several years (discontinued well before Kodak stopped making K64). Wait 20 years, and see what changes unfold. Time passes and everything changes. Make your photos as you see them.