Tag Archives: Maine Central

From 203 to 255—GP38 at North Conway

The other morning I was up early to make daylight of photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s latest arrival: former Vermont Railway System’s Clarendon & Pittsford GP38 203, originally Maine Central 255.

This heritage locomotive was deemed ideal for Conway Scenic because mechanically and electrically it perfectly matches the railroad’s GP38 number 252 . The two locomotive were part of the same order of GP38s from Electro-Motive Division back in autumn 1966.

CSRR will shortly renumber 203 back to 255. Initially it will operate in a modified version of the red and white livery pictured here.

As soon as it is practical to do so, the railroad will plan on applying green and gold paint to the locomotive to match 252.

I exposed these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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Truss Bridge at Fabyan, New Hampshire.

Last year I traveled by this bridge on various occasions, and photographed it from the front of a locomotive,  and I’ve been wanting to make satisfactory images of it from the ground

Recently fellow photographer Kris Sabbatino and I stopped by the oldl truss bridge for a closer look.

This is located on the portion of the former Maine Central Mountain Division owned by the State of New Hampshire and operated by the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Notice the unusual mix of lattice-type and solid steel cross members.

These photographs were made using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

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Cupid’s Express under the Stars.

Last night (February 14th) I traveled on the head-end of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Cupid Express dinner train that ran over the old Maine Central Mountain Division toward Bartlett.

When the train paused for the engineer to change ends (we had a locomotive positioned at each end of the train to avoid the need to run around), I exposed a few photos.

It was clear, very cold and the stars were bright. You can see my footprints in the foreground snow.

The train was a success and was completely sold out.

Exposed with a Lumix LX7 at f1.4 for 13 seconds, ISO 100. Camera mounted on a Bogen tripod. I made some minor adjustments to exposure and color saturation in post processing.

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Two Steam Locomotives!

One photo inspires another. A few days ago my friend Wally Hill posted a view from the back of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Gertrude Emma—1898-built Pullman open observation—featuring steam locomotive 7470 passing former Maine Central 501 on its march toward the North Conway, New Hampshire station from the coal dock.

His photo inspired me to make similar images, and so working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens, I stood in Wally’s footprints and made these photographs.

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In the Shadow of Mount Washington.

For viewers on Facebook, you’ll need to click the link to Tracking the Light to get the view of the mountain.

Last night in the fading glow of a summer’s evening, Conway Scenic’s Adam Bartley and I made video and still of photos of the railroad’s Dinner train that was out on a demonstration run.

Adam worked the company video camera, while I used my Lumix, Fuji, Canon and Nikon cameras to make film and digital photographs.

Our final set for the evening was looking west at Intervale, where we caught the returning train led by former Maine Central 252, a classic GP38 and veteran locomotive on the line. I set my photograph to capture Mount Washington, New England’s tallest peak, looming large above the train.

These images were exposed using my Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. RAW files were adjusted for contrast, exposure, color balance and color saturation in post processing using Lightroom.

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First Trains of the Season at Crawford Notch.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 12mm lens, file adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.
Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera with 90mm lens, file adjusted for contrast using Lightroom.

Monday June 10, 2019, Conway Scenic Railroad operated an employee-special to Crawford Notch in preparation for commencement of its regularly schedule excursions, which began the following day.

Trains to Crawfords station from North Conway, New Hampshire operate on supremely scenic and steeply graded former Maine Central Mountain Division.

Last used for regularly scheduled freight in 1983, this route has been a highlight of Conway Scenic’s excursion program since the mid-1990s.

I made these views at Crawfords station of Monday’s excursion using my FujiFilm XT1. Compare the relative perspective offered by a wide-angle versus that with a medium telephoto from a distance.

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Conway Scenic’s Notch Train—low and wide.

The other evening I made this view of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Notch Train at North Conway, New Hampshire.

I wanted to make the most of the low sun, while featuring the railroad’s former Maine Central GP38 and the lower quadrant semaphore at the south-end of the yard.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with my super wide angle (12mm) Zeiss Touit, I used the camera’s adjustable rear display to compose my image while holding it at arm’s length close to the ground.

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Maine Central 573 at Bartlett—Two Days, Two Photos.

Here’s two photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s former Maine Central GP7 573 running around the Valley Trainat Bartlett, New Hampshire on the old Mountain Division.

One was made from the train on a cloudy day, the other from the road near the section house as the engine was cutting off from the train.

Some contrasts: Cloud versus sun; vertical versus horizontal; traditional versus interpretative; road versus rail.

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Some viewers commented that they were unable to see the ‘cloudy’ photo. For this reason, I’ve rescaled and re-uploaded a version of the original vertical photo plus an EXTRA horizontal image from the same sequence.

Misty Day at Crawford Notch.

It’s not often that I visit New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch.

Last month, Honer Travers and I made the journey from North Conway up the fabled Maine Central Mountain Division on the Conway Scenic Railroad.

It rained most of the way up, but this is such a wonderful stretch of railroad we didn’t mind. It was nice to see the old Maine Central in person again.

At the Notch I made these digital photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX7 digital cameras. Not every photo can be made on a sunny day.

Lumix LX7 view.

Lumix LX7 view.

FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

Looking east toward North Conway and Portland. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

There’s that old Maine Central 252! Hey, I remember that beast. I caught it at Mechanicville, NY on a B&M freight  way way back in 1984!

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Maine Central’s Rockland, Maine Roundhouse—August 1980.

I was just a kid with a camera. Luckily, the camera was a Leica 3A.

I’d loaded it with Tri-X and exposed a few views around the Rockland, Maine roundhouse during a visit there with my family in August 1980.

Months later I processed the film in Microdol-X (not the best choice of developers, but it’s what I used at the time) and made a few tiny prints. Then I put the negatives in a paper envelope and mostly forgot about them.

Rockland, Maine in August 1980.

Two years ago, when looking for some other photos, I re-discovered the negatives in a big batch of missing photos, and scanned them at high-resolution with an Epson flatbed scanner.

This photo required a little post processing adjustment to improve tonality and even out contrast, while removing a few dust specs.

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This Day 12 Years Ago—An old GP9 on the Move.

On this day (February 19, 2006), I exposed this photo of Guilford’s ‘Sappi Job’ at Fairfield, Maine.

In the lead is an old Boston & Maine GP9 that had been built in 1957 using some trade-in components from World War-II era FT diesels.

I was traveling with Don Marson and Brian Jennison and exposed this view on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3 with 180mm lens.

Last weekend, I was making use of that same lens to photograph Ireland’s Bord na Mona narrow gauge railways.

On the morning of February 19, 2006 (12 years ago today) Guilford Rail System GP9 51 leads the ‘Sappi Job’ off the old Maine Central Hinckley Branch at Fairfield, Maine on its way toward Waterville. Note the vintage GRS searchlight to the right of the locomotive.

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Classic Chrome: Maine Central East Wind follow up view.

A couple of years ago I posted the coming-on view of this train at Northern Maine Junction. (see: Maine Central’s East Wind).

Last December, I located and scanned this trailing view.

Maine Central’s hot intermodal train East Wind blows through Northern Maine Junction in July 1983. Exposed on Ektachrome film with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Although not a great photo, this documented a fleeting period of railroading, and I'm glad to have made it.
Maine Central’s hot intermodal train East Wind blows through Northern Maine Junction in July 1983. Exposed on Ektachrome film with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Although not a great photo, this documented a fleeting period of railroading, and I’m glad to have made it. I think it was the first time I saw a caboose-less freight.

As I mentioned in the earlier post; at the time I photographed a single Maine Central U25B with two flat and four Sealand trailers, I was decidedly unimpressed.

One locomotive, short train, no caboose?

What I was witnessing was the result of transportation deregulation that completely changed the American freight railroads.

Innovation spurred by deregulation that began as short intermodal trains such as this one, gradually evolved into mile-long transcontinental double-stack moves.

Will intermodal someday return to the Maine Central.

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Maine Central Tracks in the Snow.

Lincoln, Maine 1996.


Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with an F3T fitted with Nikon 80-200mm lens.
Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with an F3T fitted with Nikon 80-200mm lens.

In the heat of summer sometimes it’s nice to remember how things are in the winter.

Looking compass south on the Maine Central at Lincoln, Maine in the Winter of 1996.

The trick is exposing so there’s some texture in the snow without making the image so dark that the snow appears battleship gray and the shadows become opaque. Controlling flare helps.

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DAILY POST: Maine Central at East Deerfield Yard, September 1984.

An Unconventional View of the Ready Tracks.

I was interested to find this collection of Maine Central locomotives at Boston & Maine’s East Deerfield Yard in September 1984. At the time, Guilford’s gray and orange livery was still a novelty.

Using my father’s 21mm Super Angulon on my Leica 3A, I composed this somewhat unconventional view of the ready tracks. This lens was a favorite of mine at the time. I still use it occasionally.

Boston & Maine's East Deerfield Yard
Maine central GP38 260 and a pair of U18Bs were the subjects of interest in my September 1984 black & white photograph. Today, the contrast of the steam-era infrastructure with the diesels makes for an unusual compelling railroad photo. Exposed on black & white film with a Leica 3A fitted with a 21mm Super Angulon lens.

The composition works despite being foreground heavy and exposed on the ‘dark side’ of the locomotives. The image nicely integrates the infrastructure around the locomotives while offering a period look.

At the time I was studying photography at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and made regular visits to photograph the Boston & Maine.

See my earlier post: Johnsonville, New York, November 4, 1984.  

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Tomorrow: A Bird, a Tram, A Canal!

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DAILY POST: Maine Central’s East Wind

Short and Sweet, That’s It?

In July 1983, on one of my first solo-trips by automobile, I visited Bangor & Aroostook’s yards at Northern Maine Junction. My friend Bob Buck had recommended this location because at the time the railroad was very accommodating of photographers.

You could sign a release and pretty much have the run of the place—so long as you stayed out of the roundhouse. The railroad had a guestbook and a gift shop. The employees were friendly and would answer questions.

I think I was there on a weekend, because the Bangor & Aroostook was quiet. There was dead line filled with F3A and BL2s that garnered my attention, but nothing was moving.

I asked one of the railroaders if there was anything running; he replied there wasn’t, but he’d find out if anything was coming on Maine Central. A short time late he came back to me and said there was an eastbound close.

Maine Central’s line bisected Bangor & Aroostook’s facilities, and I waited on the south side of the main line to favor the sun. After a little while, a lone former Rock Island U25B hauling two piggyback flats rolled by with its bell ringing and strobe lights flashing; this was the East Wind (New Haven, Connecticut to Bangor, Maine).

U25B with piggyback
Maine Central’s hot intermodal train East Wind blows through Northern Maine Junction in July 1983. Exposed on Ektachrome film with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. Although not a great photo, this documented a fleeting period of railroading, and I’m glad to have made it. While, catching the strobes lit was just pure luck.

I made several image with my Leica 3A, but I wasn’t impressed. One engine? Two cars? Four piggyback trailers? No caboose?! I said to the Bangor & Aroostook man who had waited with me, ‘Not much of a train, was it?’ He just shrugged. I don’t think he was impressed either.

What I had witnessed was Guilford’s early 1980s effort at capturing high(er) value piggyback traffic. The theory behind trains such as Maine Central’s East Wind was that by speeding schedules and lowering operating costs, the railroad could compete with highways for more lucrative time-sensitive shipments, rather than merely settle for low-priority low-value bulk-commodity traffic.

In retrospect, although the train didn’t impress me at the time, I made a valuable record of that early period after passage of the 1980 Staggers Act, when railroads were trying to break into new markets. It was also the first caboose-less train I’d seen, and gave me a hint of what was to come in the future. The U25B? That was a bonus.


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