Tag Archives: #Mass Coastal

Empty Energy Train on a Bright Day

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts on the day after Thanksgiving was a bit light on birds. Kris and I had come to see the Polar Express (published previously on Tracking the Light). However, Mass-Coastal’s empty energy train was also on its way.

I made these photos of the short freight as it rolled toward the famous Cape Cod Canal bridge.

We thought it was neat that we caught several moves through this scenic area in just under an hour. What better place to catch Mass Coastal then in this coastal Massachusetts location?

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Rare Diesels Cross the Cohasset Narrows

A clear blue dome at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts made for picture-perfect conditions.

Cape Cod Central’s Polar Express consist was led by a vintage New Haven Railroad FL9, while at the back of the train was a sister FL9 and an even rarer GP59.

The FL9 was created by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division for New Haven in the 1950s to allow passenger trains to run directly from Boston to New York City’s electrified terminals without a need for a locomotive change. Just sixty of this model were built between 1956 and 1960.

Where the FL9s have been widely photographed, EMD’s model GP59 has gone comparatively unnoticed. This is a much rarer locomotive, with just 36 built. For decades these worked for Norfolk Southern in relative obscurity.

One of these unusual locomotives was acquired by Mass-Coastal earlier this year. Finding a GP59 in passenger service is very rare and I was delighted to see this cranberry colored machine in action!

In addition to these digital photos, I also made a few color slides on Fujichrome Provia 100F. Those images remain latent on the roll of film in my Nikon F3.

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Railroad Icons of Buzzards Bay

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts is effectively the gateway to railways on Cape Cod. The immense railroad lift bridge over the Cape Cod Canal was the largest of its kind when completed in 1935.

This impressive lifting through truss is normally left in the ‘open’ position to allow the passage of water traffic. It is lowered by a bridge operator when necessary to allow a train to pass. The bridge operator is located on the bridge.

Another historic structure is the old New Haven Railroad signal tower. This cast concrete structure was built to a standard plan that was adopted at many locations on the railroad.

Interestingly, Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh also built cast concrete signal towers to this plan.

I made the following photos of these New Haven Railroad icons on our visit to Buzzards Bay in November.

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Cranberry Colored Santa Fe

Massachusetts Coastal GP7U 2006 was originally Santa Fe Railway GP7 2689.

On our visit to Cape Cod, we found this antique from 1951 basking in the late afternoon sun at the Hyannis yard.

I made a selection of photos from different angles, using different cameras and different lenses, to show how the angle of the sun and other differences can greatly affect how color is perceived and recorded.

So which is the ‘true’ color of the locomotive? There isn’t any ‘true’ color, it all depends on how you perceive it in the moment. The appearance of paint color changes with as the light changes.

Cape Cod Central’s cranberry is a difficult color in part because it is a mix a blue and red hues. Blue is greatly affected by the color of the sky; red by the sun. With a polarized sky and the sun low on the horizon the angle of view (and angle of reflection) affects the apparent color more than on a day with more diffused sunlight and the sun higher in the sky.

Complicating matters for the modern day photographer is that different camera sensors and color profiles also affect the way that color is recorded.

This is the classic three/quarter angle.Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom. Set at 45mm, f9.0 at 1/80th of a second. ISO 80.
A slightly more broadside view: the shadow hints at the angle of the light. Exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom. Set at 40mm, f9.0 at 1/80th of a second. ISO 80. Note the relative position of the moon compared with the above image.
This photo was made just a few minutes after the above image while using my Lumix LX7; ISO 80, f4.0 1/250th second. The camera has a different sensor and color profile than the Nikon. The color balance has a greater amount of red and the saturation is higher than with the Nikon images above.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom set to 160mm. ISO 100 f9.0 1/320th of a second .Back lighting with low sun produces a ‘glint’ effect that reflects a portion of the sunlight back toward the camera. This has the effect of desaturating the color of the equipment. While we can still see the cranberry coloring on the locomotive, it is significantly subdued compared with the images made using over the shoulder light. This is partially the result of having to ‘stop down’ (underexpose) to compensate for the brighter ‘glint’ light.
This is a tighter variation exposed using a longer focal length setting on the zoom lens (200mm compared with 160mm in the image above). Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom, ISO 100 f9.0 1/320th of a second.

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Ektachrome on the Cape

In April, Kris Sabbatino & I made a visit to Cape Cod, where we spent a morning at West Barnstable photographing the Mass Coastal and visiting a chicken farm.

Mass-Coastal operated a ballast train with its rare GP28 (as previously featured on Tracking the Light). Working with my vintage Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm image stabilization zoom, I exposed a slide sequence on Kodak Ektachrome E100 reversal film.

The film was processed by AgX lab in Michigan, and last night I scanned a few of the slides using a Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner powered by Epson software. After scanning, I imported the TIF files into Adobe Lightroom for color and contrast fine-tuning.

My finished results are below.

Mass Coastal GP28 with_Ballast train at West Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1138am 23April2021._
Mass Coastal GP28 with_Ballast train at West Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1138am 23April2021._

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GP28 Details

Model GP28 with just over two-dozen domestic examples built may be considered one of General Motors Electro-Motive Division more obscure diesel-electrics.

It was contemporary with the relatively popular GP35 with which it shares a similar external appearance.

Where EMD’s GP35 was a high-horsepower model using a turbocharged variation of the 16-567 diesel to deliver 2,500 hp, the GP28 used a 16-567D1 aspirated with a Roots blower and delivered just 1,800 hp.

The GP28 was only in production for a few months during 1964 and 1965, and may be viewed as a transitional model between the GP18 and GP38.

I don’t recall having ever photographed a GP28 in action until last Friday.

Kris Sabbatino and I were fortunate to capture Mass Coastal GP28 2009 during the course of its daily duties on Cape Cod.

Working with my Nikon Z6, I made these photos as it worked near the Cape Cod Canal lift bridge at Bourne, Massachusetts and nearby at Monument Beach on the Falmouth Branch.

Monument Beach, Massachusetts.

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Ballast Train at West Barnstable, Massachusetts

Kris Sabbatino and I were very lucky to catch a relative unusual move on Cape Cod last Friday (April 23, 2021).

Mass Coastal’s rare EMD GP28 (road number 2009) led a train of MassDOT ballast cars eastward on the former New Haven Railroad at West Barnstable, Massachusetts.

I was delighted to catch this unusual locomotive (one of less than three dozen built) in good sunlight. In addition to this digital photo exposed using my Nikon Z6, I also made a sequence of color slides with my Canon EOS 3 with 100-400mm lens.

Mass Coastal at West Barnstable, Mass. April 23, 2021.

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Energy Train Crosses the Canal

We saw buzzards in the sky.

Hmm, so that’s why its called Buzzards Bay!

On Thursday afternoon, Kris Sabbatino and I arrived on the Bourne, Massachusetts side of the enormous Cape Cod Canal lift bridge just as the Massachusetts Coastal Energy train was approaching to cross.

Fortuitous timing considering we had left Center Conway, New Hampshire after 930am.

I exposed these photos using my Nikon Z6 digital camera and modified the color, contrast, and level using Adobe Lightroom.

April 22, 2021, Cape Cod Canal.

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Trash Train at Sandwich.

Not to be confused for ‘trash talk’.

Mass Coastal’s loaded unit trash train crosses a salt marsh at Sandwich, Massachusetts.

This was a grab shot. Total set up time: about 7 heartbeats.

Zoom lens set at 55mm; exposure f5.6 1/500th second ISO 200. File scaled in Lightroom for internet presentation. Both RAW and JPG files were exposed together, but this image is scaled using the in-camera JPG with a ‘Velvia’ color profile.

The lessons:

  • Think fast.
  • Have your camera on your lap.
  • Keep it set and ‘ready to go’.
  • Avoid centering the train.

Exposed digitally using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon zoom.

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