Tag Archives: #MBTA

MBTA at CP 4-Allston, Mass

In preparation for my Keynote speech on the history of New England Railroading to the New England Rail Club last night, I culled through hundreds of representative images.

Ulimately, I displayed 67 slides, including a variety of 19th century views and maps, along with more than a dozen of my own images.

Among the photos that I didn’t display was this photo of an MBTA train taking the crossover on the Boston Line at CP4 near Allston, Massachusetts on October 6, 2011.

My talk was attended by several hundred members of the club and well-received.

Exposed using my Canon 7D with 200mm f2.8 lens.

iPhone photo by Kris Sabbatino

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA at Norfolk; a Lesson in Capturing LEDs

Modern LED information signs have become commo place on many passenger railroads as means of identifying trains.

The challenge for photographers is capturing the messages displayed by these signs.

Many LED do not produce continous light output and pulse or flicker. To the human eye the light souce seems continuous, but when photograhing at comparatively fast shutter speeds some or all of the LEDs are between pulses and appear dark in the photograph.

Where banks of LEDs are employed these may appear in images as meaningless arrangements of spots, or missing significant portions of the intended message.

One way to capture the lights is to work with a comparatively slow shutter speed, usually 1/60th of a second or less. The difficulty is that to stop a moving train, it is normally recommended to work with faster shutter speeds (often 1/250th of a second or faster).

Another consideration is the relatively low amount of light produced by LED that full daylight these often appear dim. Photographing LED signs in low light, on an overcast day or at dawn, dusk, or evening, allows the lights to appear brighter relative to ambient lighting conditions.

On a visit to Norfolk, Massachusetts with Kris in November, I made this sequence of images of MBTA Train 2706 at various shutter speeds to show how the lights in the sign appears at 1/640th, 1/250th, and 1/60th of a second.

MBTA Train2706 pauses for passengers at Norfolk, Massachusetts. The sign was scrolling from right to left. 1/60th of a second.
1/250th of a second. Notice that most of the sign appears dark..
1/640th of a second. Only a portion of the scrolling sign is apparent in this view. The train is accelerating away from its station stop.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Green Line Government Center

On our travels around Boston two weeks ago, Kris and I changed trains at MBTA’s Government Center station.

40 years ago I photographed MBTA’s PCCs squeeling through these subterranean tunnels. Those cars are largely a memory, as are the Boeing-Vertol ‘LRVs’ that replaced them.

So on the most recent visit to MBTA’s Green Line, I made these photos of more modern trolleys in the arificial light of the subway tunnels using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Views from the Orange Line

Last Thursday evening, October 21, 2021 (10-21-2021), as we rode north on MBTA’s Orange Line I snapped digital photos from the window of the train looking down on MBTA’s former Boston & Maine lines radiating from Boston’s North Station.

We paced an outward commuter train for about a minute.

This reminded me of similar efforts photographing trains through the glass when I was a teenager.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Chinese Orange Line Cars at North Station

Thursday, October 21, 2021, I had my first experience with MBTA’s new Orange Line subway cars built by Chinese firm CRRC in Springfield, Massachusetts.

It was odd for me because the ‘Old’ cars were delivered when I was in High School. I recall going on a Orange Line shop tour in 1983 with my old friend Dan Howard to see the ‘New Cars’ (now the ‘Old’ Cars). This had been organized by the Mystic Valley Railway Society.

Kris and I were on our way to Malden, Massachusetts so that I could give a talk on Tracking the Light to Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts at the old Pearl Street Station.

I made these orange line images using my Nikon Z6 mirroless digital camera.

Old cars at the New North Station Orange Line station.
The new CRRC Orange Line subway cars.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA on Film

During our foray back from Cape Cod in April 2021, Kris & I paused for about an hour at Shirley, Massachusetts, located on the old Fitchburg Line west of Ayer.

I first made photos here on a chase back about 1985.

Working with my Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm image stabilization zoom, I exposed these Ektachrome slides of an MBTA shuttle train.

Fitchburg Line, Shirley, Massachusetts, 26 April 2021.
Working with my Canon EOS-3 with 100-400mm image stabilization zoom, I exposed these Ektachrome slides of an MBTA shuttle train

Ektachrome slide of an MBTA shuttle train at Shirley, Massachusetts.
Ektachrome slide of an MBTA shuttle train at Shirley, Massachusetts.

Keolis, which is the designated operator of MBTA Commuter Rail was undertaking Positive Train Control installation in the Boston-area and shuttle trains were working back and forth on the west-end of the Fitchburg run.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

GenSet on June 13, 2013

Eight Years ago today, June 5, 2013, Rich Reed and I photographed an MBTA equipment transfer at Ayer that had come up from Worcester, Massachusetts via Pan Am’s Boston & Maine Worcester-Ayer line.

Among the items of interest was MBTA 3249, one of two MBTA GenSet diesel-electric locomotives.

I made this photo using my Lumix LX3 from the Main Street Bridge east of downtown Ayer.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA at Shirley

I’ve been photographing trains at Shirley for nearly 37 years.

Gosh that’s quite a while.

Kris Sabbatino and I paused at Shirley on the way back from Cape Cod last week.

We rolled by MBTA trains under clear Spring skies.

This gave me the opportunity to try out my third Lumix LX7 on moving trains.

I’d fitted the wee digital camera with an external viewfinder, a small electronic attachment that makes it much easier to photograph moving trains in bright sunshine with the mirrorless Lumix.

Working from the Lumix RAW file, I made this interpretation in Adobe Lightroom.

MBTA GP40MC_1133_works at the back of train 1406 running eastbound at Shirley, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light Posts EVERY DAY!

MBTA at Walpole.

In conjunction with line works on the west end of MBTA’s Franklin Branch, weekend trains were terminating at Walpole, Massachusetts with bus connections to Norfolk, Franklin and Forge Park.

The old passenger station is still in use at this location.

Here, the Franklin Branch crosses the former New Haven Railroad Old Colony line that runs between Mansfield and Framingham, Massachusetts on a traditional diamond.

More than 30 years ago I visited Walpole on several occasions to photograph trains passing the steam era semaphores that still protected the diamond.

These photos were made in November 2020 using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Working on the Franklin Branch.

It’s been a long time since the White Train passed this way.

At one time, many years ago MBTA’s Franklin Branch was the New York & New England main line, which was then a double track line through Norfolk, Massachusetts.

When Kris Sabbatino and I paid a visit to Norfolk a week ago, Keolis track crews were busily working on the line installing a second main track.

So, I wonder, when will the line be extended west to restore the Inland route via Blackstone, Putnam and Willimantic to New Haven?

Photos exposed with a Nikon Z6.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Purple Train in November Sun

As a follow up to yesterday’s Tracking the Light post, here’s a photograph at the same location exposed a few minutes later of a northward MBTA commuter train from Providence, Rhode Island, passing Mansfield, Massachusetts.

I exposed this photo with my FujiFilm XT1 moments after the train made its Mansfield Station stop. The HSP46 diesel-electric locomotive is at the back of the push-pull consist.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

MBTA Green Line Boeing-vertol on Kodachrome.

January 6, 1993 was a clear bright morning in Boston when I exposed this telephoto view of this MBTA Boeing-Vertol light rail vehicle at Cleveland Circle.

I was working with my of Nikon F3T loaded with Kodachrome 25. Last month I scanned this slide at 4000 dpi, then scaled it using Lightroom for presentation here.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Vintage Green Line.

I had about five hours before I needed to catch a flight from Logan, so I checked my bags and went into Boston.

My goal was to photograph the old MBTA Green Line elevated near North Station before it was closed and removed.

This was way back in June 1999—More than 20 years ago.

Today this portion of the old elevated is just a memory.

Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!