Tag Archives: #Keystone

Keystone at Bird-in-Hand

Bird-in-Hand is a classic Pennsy Main Line location.

The 1920s-era grade separation with concrete stairwells over Pennsylvania Route 340 is largely intact.

The once four-main railroad snakes through a gentle curve, which can make for a dynamic setting. I caught eastward Amtrak Keystone 670 shortly after its Lancaster, Pa., station stop.

The zebra striped cab-car works well in the autumnal scene.

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Stainless Steel, Platinum Mist and the Silver Lining to a Puffy Cloud.

Amtrak Keystone 650 was running a wee bit behind the advertised.

I was set up at Leaman Place, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

There had been brilliant bright sun light— and there still was all around me—but in the interval between when the train was scheduled to pass my location and when it actually raced by, a puffy cloud had found its way between me and the sun.

There’s an (unmentionable) phrase for this.

Anyway, my going away (trailing) views made use of the softened directional light, which treated the metallic train nicely.

I made these photos with my Z7II and 24-70mm lens set at 40mm; ISO 200, f4 1/1600th sec.

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Keystone, Tiguan and Strasburg Road.

This is a variation on yesterday’s theme, but on a different day with a different Keystone, and another road.

I’d made a sunset silhouette of the on-coming train; then turned around to make this going away view of Amtrak Keystone 618.

Gap, PA: ACS-64 626 is powering the train from the back. Kris is filming the passing train from her silver Tiguan using her iPhone 13. While, the empty lanes of Strasburg Road on the left.

We got a friendly toot toot from the headend as the train passed.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens. RAW file cropped in post processing for lateral emphasis.

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Parallel Perspectives

This is not all about the train, nor the railroad.

I purposefully placed Jefferson Drive to de-emphasize Amtrak’s Keystone racing along to the right.

I’ve inserted a bit irony with the placement of the ‘speed limit 35’ sign. The train was gliding along at about 100 mph.

The green grass of summer contrasts nicely with the sky at dusk.

And don’t forget the two railroad boxes alongside the track. At least one of these house equipment for a lineside defect detector.

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Glint Light and a Surprise at Greenfield, PA!

On these long summer evenings, the sun sets to the north of Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line along Jefferson Drive at Greenfield near Lancaster, PA.

Kris and I pulled over to watchAmtrak Keystone 618 glide east as it caught the evening glint. Running cab car first, this trainhad a pleasant surprise for us at the back: Amtrak ACS-64 642 specially painted to honor American Veterans.

My Nikon Z6 has a rapid burst exposure setting that exposes a sequence of images in quick succession which allowed me to catch this ununally painted locomotive on the move.

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Great Light at Gap; Nikon versus Lumix

A few days ago, a storm had cleared away the hazy dust and for once there was some sweet evening light at Gap, Pennsylvania along the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

We’d stopped at a nearby Rita’s Ice to get a treat for Kris and pulled up to a park-like setting in view of the famous clock tower. I was tracking Amtrak Keystone train 669 and knew it was close.

When Amtrak Siemen’s ACS-64 663 rounded the bend with train 669, I exposed a sequence of photos with my Nikon Z6 and 70-200mm lens then raised my Lumix LX-7 for coming and going wide angle views, followed by another sequence with the Nikon. Kris made a phone video of me taking photos.

I’d just sat back in the car, when Kris said, ‘Look! Another train,’ as an eastward Amtrak train squealed into view. My Lumix was still in my hand and ready to go, so I made a couple of grab shots. I assume this was a deadhead move, as it hadn’t appeared on the tracker. The engineer gave us a friendly toot! as the train passed.

I love bonus trains that I wasn’t expecting!

Keystone train 669 led by ACS-64 663 catches the light at Gap, PA. Nikon Z6 with Nikkor Z-series f2.8 70-200mm.
Lumix LX7 view of Amtrak Keystone train 669 westbound at Gap. This was the first time I’d seen ACS-64 #663 in motion and so I was delighted to catch it in such nice evening light.
My Lumix LX7 is a wonderful camera. However, one of it’s limitations is a comparatively narrow dynamic range. In this instance the sun has completely washed out.
Trailing view of Keystone train 669 at Gap.
A Lumix LX7 grab shot of an unexpected dead-head move eastbound at Gap, just a minute after westward 669 had passed. The best camera is the one you have with you and ready!
Lumix LX7 trailing view at Gap, Pennsylvania.

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Gauzy Light—Amtrak 618 at Gap

We arrived at Gap, PA about ten minutes ahead of Amtrak Keystone service 618 on its way east from Harrisburg.

I made my first photos in this curve at Gap on a visit 16 years ago—June 2007.

Thick smoky-haze filled the air and filtered the evening sun.

I made this telephoto series of images as Amtrak 618 (led by ACS-64 606) glided through the curve at Gap.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200mm; f4.0 1/2500, ISO 400
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 74mm; f4.0 1/1600, ISO 400;
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom set to 200 mm; f4.0 1/500, ISO 400;

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June 3, 2015-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

On this day eight years ago, I visited Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I’d taken Amtrak’s Keystone from Philadelphia and upon arrival spent some time in the State Archives visiting with Kurt Bell while researching for a book on steam locomotives.

I made these photos around the old Pennsylvania Railroad station in the afternoon using my FujiFilm XT1.

Later that month, I bought a new Apple MacBook Pro laptop and with it, Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been using Lightroom ever since to adjust my RAW files (these included).

A tightly cropped version of the above photo.

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Amtrak on the Main Line under wire

I often wonder if titles make a difference in viewership. If I called this ‘Energised ACS-64s ‘ would you have read it?

A couple of days ago, I set up at Leaman Place where the Strasburg Rail Road meets the old Main Line and waited for a pair of Amtrak Keystone services to pass by at speed.

Amtrak 605 was westbound, Amtrak 600 was eastbound. Confusingly, Amtrak’s 600-series Keystone trains are typically let by its ACS-64 electric locomotives that are also numbered in the 600-series.

Inevitably someone will ask me what the difference is between a train and locomotive. The Keystone services are train and carry train numbers. Amtrak’s ACS-64 are locomotives and carry locomotive numbers. One identifies a service (software) the other identies a specific piece of railroad rolling stock (hardware).

Amtrak 605 passed first; while Amtrak 600 passed only two minutes later. Had 605 been running just a little late, I may have scored a running meet.

All four photos were exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series Nikkor zoom lens.

Amtrak Keystone No 605 is led by ACS-64 623.
Amtrak Keystone No 600 is led by ACS-64 622.
Tail end of Amtrak Keystone No 600.

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Dusty Sunrise at Gap—Amtrak 642

This morning, the combination of agricultural haze, moisture in the air, and dust high in the atmosphere from fires in western Canada made for soft rosy morning light.

I don’t make a habit of posting photos to Tracking the Light the day of exposure, so today is an exception.

A little while ago, I set up at Gap, Pennsylvania along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line, now Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line, in anticipation of Keystone train 642 racing east toward Philadelphia.

As the train took the curve west of Gap, I exposed this sequence of digital photos using my Nikon Z6 with Z-series 70-200mm zoom. ISO set to 400, white balance to ‘daylight auto’. All photos adjusted using Lightroom.

Although a non-conventional view, I like the last in the sequence that features the train in the distance with the focus on the wild flowers. Isn’t this how we often see trains, just a glimpse in the distance?

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Amtrak’s Keystone at Gap, Pennsylvania.

A mid-afternoon Amtrak Keystone train from Harrisburg, works the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line at Gap, Pennsylvania.

Today’s ACS64 ‘Cities Sprinter’ electrics are to Amtrak what the 1930s-1940s era GG1s were to the Pennsylvania Railroad.

ACS64 660 leads Keystone service number 670 eastward at Gap. (Engine number versus train number).

Note my framing of the locomotive between the two catenary poles, leaving room for the farm in the distance and the tree at the far right.

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Amtrak Keystone—Retro Style.

More experiments with Foma (Czech film producer) so-called  Retropan ISO 320 black & white film. See previous posts:

Retropan 320—First Experiment.

Retropan on the Rails; Experiments with My second Roll of Foma’s 320 ISO Black & White film.

Unexpected Results: My Third Experiment with Retropan.

Working with my Nikon F3 fitted with a vintage Nikkor f1.4 50mm lens, I made these views at Strafford, Pennsylvania along the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line west of Philadelphia.

It was a dull Sunday afternoon in January and my hope was to make iconic views using traditional materials that might work more effectively than modern digital color photographs (although I exposed some digital images as well.)

For this batch of Foma Retropan, I returned to hand processing in Paterson tanks. I used Retro Special Developer stock solution (diluted 1:1 with water) with a 4 minutes development time. Prior to introducing the primary developer, I pre-soaked in a water bath with a drop of Retro Special Developer stock for 1 minute.

My aim was to retain the broad tonality achieved with earlier experiments while keeping the grain size relatively fine.

Shallow depth of field and classic graininess make for a photo that looks like film. Because it was made with film. I like that concept. Not sure about the results however. I think this one needs refinement.

Amtrak train number 670, a Keystone service from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania blitzes Strafford on the old Main Line. Exposed using a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens; f2.2 1/250th of a second.

You know it’s not very bright when the streetlights are lit. This was a pretty low contrast scene. I scanned the negatives but did not manipulate the end result.

Honestly, I’m not sure that these photographs work for me. But the lighting was pretty tough. (Flat, dull, and lacking in character and direction).

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