Tag Archives: #Maine Central Mountain

Snow at the Gateway—March 31, 2021

It was the earliest that Conway Scenic had cleared the line over Crawford Notch in a number of years. I couldn’t tell you how many.

The rock cutting a the Gateway on the final approach to the summit still had a good amount of snow.

However, considering that trains have been snow-bound at this rugged location, the mounds of soft and partially melted snow, represented only a nominal impediment to our westward progress.

I made still and video images of Conway Scenic GP7 573 breaking through the snow filled cut.

This photo was exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

The Gateway at Crawford Notch on March 31, 2021. File adjusted for exposure and color temperature using Adobe Lightroom.

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Ice on the Mountain.

Last week on our ascent of New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch with Conway Scenic Railroad’s Work Extra 573, we encountered several minor obstacles.

Near milepost 84, about a mile from the summit, an ice fall had blocked the line.

Our crew set out to quickly remove it and then we were on our way again.

The lighting was flat and cold when I exposed these photos with my Nikon Z6. Keep in mind that if the sky had been clear, this portion of the railroad would have been in deep shadow, conditions that may have made for more contrast and thus more difficult lighting conditions.

I adjusted the camera NEF (RAW) files using Lightroom to improve the overall appearance of the photographs.

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Intervale Cross

On Sunday, February 21, 2021, Kris Sabbatino and I visited the old Intervale, New Hampshire station site at Intervale Cross Road to catch the in-bound snow train from Attitash.

In the lead was former Maine Central GP7 573, one of Conway Scenic’s most productive locomotives. It is pictured on former home rails.

Historically, Intervale was the interchange between Maine Central’s Mountain Division and Boston & Maine’s Conway Branch.

Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1. File converted from Fuji’s RAW format to a DNG file using Iridient X-Transformer and adjusted in Adobe Lightroom.

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Frosted Balls

Yesterday on a drive through the White Mountains, Kris Sabbatino and I found the sun shining at Whitefield, New Hampshire.

Fresh snow covered the famous ball signal that protected the old crossing of Maine Central and Boston & Maine tracks.

Dramatic clouds filled the sky and there was no chance of the rails being disturbed by flanged wheels.

This selection of digital photos was exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm zoom lens set with a ‘Vivid’ color profile.

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Steam at Second River Run!

Yesterday (Saturday, December 26, 2020) Conway Scenic Railroad fired up and operated steam locomotive 7470 for the first time since January.

The 1921-built 0-6-0 made three public runs, two to Conway and its last run of the day to Bartlett over the former Maine Central Mountain Division.

Cool temperatures made for stunning displays of locomotive exhaust.

Wayne Duffett was at the throttle of 7470 working it west at Second River Run in Bartlett, NH in these photos made toward the end of the day.

All were exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens. Working with the camera RAW (NEF format) files in Adobe Lightroom, I made a variety of adjustments to improve overall appearance.

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Saco River Bridge Monochrome.

In October (2020), I made this view of the former Maine Central twin-span truss over the Saco River near Glen, NH, while traveling eastbound on the headend train #162 Mountaineer.

This is favorite bridge of mine, but a difficult one to photograph satisfactorily from track side. As a result most of my best photos have been from the engine.

I exposed this using my Canon EOS 3 loaded with Ilford HP5 black & white film. I processed this in a customized split development process using a presoak of Kodak HC110 mixed 1-200 at 68F for 5 minutes 30 seconds, followed by primary development using Ilford ID-11 stock mixed 1-1 for 6 minute 30 seconds at 68f. This technique facilitates exceptional dynamic range and superior overall tonality.

After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner, and made final adjustments to the scan in Adobe Lightroom.

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Filming Extra at Patch’s

Last Wednesday, I organized an extra train on Conway Scenic to film for an upcoming television segment.

On the way west we paused at ‘Patch’s’ (a convenience store near Glen, New Hampshire).

While the train was paused, I exposed these photos using my FujiFilm XT1 with 16-55mm lens. I then converted the camera RAW files to DNG format using Iridient X-Transformer and made contrast and color adjustments in Adobe Lightroom.

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Final 2020 Mountaineer

Saturday, November 14, 2020, Conway Scenic Railroad operated its final Mountaineer of the 2020 operating season. As scheduled, this ran from North Conway to Crawford, Notch, New Hampshire and return.

Historically CSRR ceased operations over Crawford Notch earlier in the season.

I used this rare late-season move over the former Maine Central Mountain Division to make some unusual photos. Bare leaf-less trees allow for views that are unobtainable during the summer and early autumn.

During the course of the operating season, I’d made several head-end trips and Hyrail inspections of the line to look for angles. Some of the finest locations I found are a long way from public highways. 

For this photo of eastward train 162, I climbed to an elevated point, and used my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.

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Eight Photos! Special Mountaineer—November 9, 2020.

On November 9, 2020, Conway Scenic Railroad operated a special Mountaineer for the benefit of its employees and their guests. This used a foreshortened consist and departed earlier than normal, It proceeded west under clear sunny skies where it made a stop at Bartlett, NH to pause for passengers and to collect catered meals.

Upon arrival at Crawford Station, GP35 216 ran around, while we had the opportunity to make photos. After this short stop, the special then proceeded eastbound and made a second stop at the site of the Mount Willard Section House­-onetime home to the famous Evans Family.

Here I made a number of unusual photos while the train was tied down on the Willey Brook Bridge.

Bartlett, NH.
Westbound near mp83.
Running around at Crawford.

Crawford.

Willey Brook Bridge near the old site of the Mount Willard Section House (seen to the right of the train)
Panoramic composite at Willey Brook Bridge.
Willey Brook Bridge.

All photos were exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

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Five Foliage Views from the Old Maine Central Mountain Division

Last week, I spent several days on the former Maine Central Mountain Division making photographs of the line in the autumn foliage as part of my job for the Conway Scenic Railroad.

This is an amazing section of railroad with lots of history and lore.

I’ve included just five of the several hundred digital photographs I made that I feel best capture the season and the character of the railroad.

East of the Arethusa Falls grade crossing looking toward Frankenstein Cliff. Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.
Track maintenance at Bartlett, NH. FujiFIlm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.
Site of the Mount Willard section house looking toward the Willey Brook Bridge.. FujiFIlm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.
Telegraph pole west of MP80 looking. FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

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Bartlett under Stormy Skies.

On Sunday June 21, 2020, I traveled to Bartlett, NH on our afternoon train from North Conway that boards at 1230.

My primary concern was to diagnose the sound quality on the train’s public address system. However when we arrived at Bartlett, I arranged with the train crew to jump off and make a few photos while the locomotive (former Maine Central GP38 252) cut off and ran around the train.

A thunder storm was brewing to the northwest, which made for a dramatic sky, despite sun on the rails at Albany Avenue in Bartlett.

Later, I learned there had been some fierce weather on Mount Washington.

I exposed these views with my Lumix LX7. These files are from the in-camera JPGs, other than scaling for internet presentation, I made no alterations digitally in regards to color balance, color temperature, contrast, or exposure.

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The Old Mountain at Steep Falls, Maine.

The former Maine Central Mountain Division across Maine is a disused, but largely intact relic of former times.

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, Kris Sabbatino and I inspected portions of this former main line on our return from Portland.

I made these photos at Steep Falls on Fomapan 100 Classic with a Nikkormat FT.

Route 113 crossing at Steep Falls.
Looking toward Portland, Maine.
Looking toward St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

I processed the film on Sunday using split development for maximum tonality: HC110 1-300 for 9 minutes at 71F followed by ID11 1-1 for 6 minutes 68F.

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Redstone Special

Panoramic composite photo of RDC 23 at Pudding Pond in July 2019.

One of the hidden gems of the Conway Scenic Railroad is their ‘Redstone Line’.

This is the former Maine Central Mountain Division trackage that runs compass east from Mountain Junction near Intervale, New Hampshire.

This summer I had several opportunities to catch RDC number 23 Millieworking Friday afternoon specials to Redstone.

I’m now 4,000 miles from Redstone, but this weekend will be a very rare opportunity to travel the full length of Conway’s Maine Central trackage on a special run scheduled to depart North Conway at 9am.

This special Notch Train will run to the Saco River Bridge east of Redstone and then proceed back west to Mountain Junction and continue all the way over Crawford Notch to the west-end of Conway Scenic trackage at Hazens near Whitefield.

It will also be an opportunity to catch steam locomotive 7470 on the branch and over the mountain.

I’ll have to have one huge telephoto to catch the action from Islandbridge (in Dublin!!)

See: https://www.conwayscenic.com/events/

RDC 23 on the Redstone Line at Pudding Pond in North Conway.


RDC 23 near Redstone in July 2019.
Redstone line along North Conway’s North-South road.

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Mountain Division—Bartlett Sunset.

Wednesday evening July 10, 2019, I made this sunset view of Conway Scenic Railroad’s dinner train at Bartlett, New Hampshire.

The dinner train uses largely the same consist as the railroad’s Notch Train, but operates in the evening from North Conway to Bartlett and return.

Owing to the extreme exposure contrast between the darker areas of the car’s undercarriage and the highlights in the sky, I carefully balanced my exposure using the camera’s histogram to retain the maximum amount of detail, and later adjusted the RAW file in Lightroom in post processing to allow for the most pleasing image.

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