Piermont, New York was the Erie Railroad’s original eastern terminus. This Hudson River port was so-designated because the railroad was intended to operate within the State of New York. The railroad developed a large pier here for transshipping goods and people via the Hudson to New York City.
The other day my brother Sean and I explored Piermont and it’s Pier. Although there’s very little evidence left of the Erie itself, I was curious to see this once important place. This is part of my on-going research and photography of the old Erie Railroad.
These images were exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1. However, I also exposed a few 35mm color slides that will be useful in future slide presentations.
I made this view the other day at Garrison, New York on the old New York Central Hudson Division.
The combination of my elevated angle, soft lighting, unusual track arrangement with a short tunnel, plus a clean Amtrak Genesis dual-mode locomotive make this scene look like a well-executed model railway.
The sun was just rising over Bear Mountain, when I arrived at Mine Dock Park located on the west shore of the Hudson near Fort Montgomery, New York.
I set up on CSX’s River Line, historically New York Central’s ‘West Shore’ route. At first the signals were all red. Then after a bit the northward signal cleared to ‘medium approach.’
I concluded that a northward train would be taking the siding, thus in all likelihood it would be making a meet with a southward train. I secured an elevated view from the rock cutting north of the public crossing.
About 45 minutes elapsed and then a northward train took the siding as signaled. Six minutes later, this southward CSX autorack freight came gliding down river. I exposed a series of digital images with my Lumix LX7. The sun was perfect and the late autumn foliage on the trees made an already picturesque scene even better.
Nothing tricky or complicated here; it was just a matter of being in the right place for the action and paying attention to the signals.
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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!
Local freight on the old New York Central Hudson Division. In yesterday’s post, I wrote of my brief, but fortuituously timed and very productive visit to Fort Montgomery on CSX’s River Line (See: Hudson River Freight at Ft. Montgomery).
Having done well on the West Shore, I thought I give the east side of the river a chance.
Back in the late 1980s, I made regular trips to old Hudson Division.
At that time the former New Haven FL9 dual mode diesels were still standard on many trains, while Conrail operations on the old West Shore seem sparse compared with today.
I crossed the Hudson on the famed Bear Mountain Bridge, a suspension bridge that offers a commanding view of the lower Hudson Valley. I turned north on 9D and as I drove along, I noted a northward Amtrak train stopped on the mainline at Manitou.
This was not the normal state of affairs. When I got to Cold Spring, I saw a southward CSX local freight also stopped on the mainline, and well spotted for a scenic image.
Here was an opportunity, but I’ve learned from experience that time can be precious in these types of situations. Take the Bird in Hand.
Without wasting anymore time, I pulled off the road, got out of the car with Canon EOS 7D in hand and exposed a few frames. As I was reaching for my EOS 3 (loaded with Provia) I could hear the northward Amtrak train approaching, so rather than fuss with the film camera, I resumed work with the 7D and made a photo of the two trains nose to nose.
Then I exposed a couple of slides. But only moments after Amtrak had passed the CSX freight began to move. I had enough time to swap to a wide angle and expose a panoramic view.
If I had dallied, even for a minute (as in 60 seconds), I wouldn’t have been able to get these images. When the moment is right: act.
It was a hot and humid day. TSH and I were on a New York Central Hudson Division kick. I was working with my father’s Rolleiflex Model T loaded with Verichrome Pan black & white negative film to emulate the style images exposed here decades earlier.
Where in the 1940s, New York Central photographer Ed Novak had made photos of 4-6-4 Hudson and 4-8-4 Niagara type steam locomotives, and in the early 1960s my father had captured New York Central’s E-units with stainless steel streamlined cars, on this day, we had to settle for more modern trains.
I’ve always made it a point to make the most of whatever comes along. We were hoping to make photos of Metro-North’s FL9s, which were then the most interesting locomotives on the line, so far as I was concerned.
When this three-unit set of Budd-SPV2000s rolled by on a shuttle from Poughkeepsie, I framed up the classic view and released the shutter. No regrets now. I Processed the film in D76 using stainless steel tanks. 25 years later I scanned the negatives.
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A hot and hazy late summer evening, and Amtrak 48 the Lake Shore Limited was running late.
In the lead was FL9 489. I exposed this cross-lit Kodachrome slide to show the train with the Hudson in the background.
This, after all, is the former New York Central ‘Water Level Route’. It was here that the famed 20th Century Limited rolled up the miles between Chicago and Grand Central Terminal behind J3A Hudsons, S1 Niagaras, and Electro-Motive E-units in lightning stripe paint.
All before my time.
I was just happy to catch an Amtrak FL9 roaring along in the late light.
Amtrak Turbotrain Races Southward Along the Hudson
I made this view from a hiking trail on Breakneck Ridge along the Hudson River in August 1989. At the time my standard camera was a Leica M2 that I tended to use with Kodachrome 25. Turbotrains were standard equipment on Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains making for common sights along the Hudson.
While common on this route, Amtrak’s Turbotrains were an anomaly in American operating practice, making them an unusual and worthy subject for photography. These reminded me of the original streamlined trains of the 1930s such as Burlington’s Zephyrs, Illinois Central’s Green Diamond, and New Haven Railroad’s Comet.
Today I’m happy to have a nice selection of these trains at work, but I regret not having traveled on them. I was always puzzled when my fellow photographers opted not to make photos of them. Perhaps Turbotrains seemed too common?
On Friday, May 17, 2013, John Pickett and I went for lunch at the Riverview Cafeat Stuyvesant, New York. This is one of John’s favorite places to eat, as it offers a view of both the former New York Central Water Level Route and the Hudson River, and sits a short walk from the old Stuyvesant railway station.
I was visiting John to review some black & white negatives for upcoming book projects. John has a wonderful collection of steam-era photographs, many that he exposed with his own lens, and I’ve published a number of these in recent books, including North American Locomotives published by Voyageur Press.
I enjoy perusing John’s files and finding hidden gems among his images.
One of the photos he made shows a New York Central streamlined J3a Hudson racing west through Palentine Bridge in 1946. John grew up in Canajoharie on the opposite side of the Mohawk River from Palentine Bridge and he has great memories of watching trains in the glory days of the New York Central.
Before we sat down for lunch, John consulted his Amtrak schedule and worked out the times for train 238 running south from Albany and train 281working north from New York City. It was a toss up as he figured they were both due about the same time. ‘How exciting! I wonder which will get here first?’
As it turned out, 238 came first, but rolled through at a crawl. Soon after it passed us, we could here 281 blasting north. John passed the train a friendly wave, and, to our delight, we saw that it had a classic New York Central round-end observation at the back! ‘That was Babbling Brook!’. Neat to see a vestige of the Great Steel Fleet (what New York Central called its Water Level route passenger service) still rolling along at speed.