Tag Archives: MLW

Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia, Cape Jack, July 24, 1997


A Fleeting Glimpse of a Maritime Alco Diesel Oasis.

Railway train with water
On July 24, 1997, a Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia freight rolls west at Cape Jack along the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

I featured this image of westward Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia (say it five times fast) freight in my big book Locomotive, published by MBI in 2001. The concept of the book was very large photo reproduction of classic locomotives. There were three sections; steam, diesel and electric.

In July 1997, I made this image on trip with George Pitarys and Bill Linley. George and I had flown to Halifax from Boston. We spent three glorious days photographing in Nova Scotia and did exceptionally well with the CB&CNS. At the time the railroad ran its eastward road freight in the morning and westward train in the afternoon, which favored sun angles most of the day. George and Bill’s expert knowledge of the line allowed us to make the most of every train.

I was especially fascinated by the opportunity to photograph locomotives against the seemingly endless blue waterscape. This elevated location at Cape Jack overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence was one of the best places to make watery vistas. I exposed this on Fujichrome Provia 100F using my Nikon N90s and Nikon f2.8 80-200mm zoom lens. Exposure was calculated using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell and the camera’s internal matrix meter setting.

Here’s an excerpt from my text published in Locomotive:

The CB&CNS was created as the result of CN’s desire to spin-off lightly used feeder lines. Initially the CB&CNS was part of the RailTex family of short lines and acquired by Rail America in 1999. CB&CNS operated from Truro (in western Nova Scotia) to Sydney plus a few short branches. Until 1998, this railroad was one the final strongholds for big MLW-built Alco locomotives. These were regularly assigned to daily through freights. Most were painted in CB&CNS’s attractive black & yellow paint scheme with a large red lion to reflect the region’s Scottish heritage. 


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Canadian Pacific at Lyndonville, Vermont, October 8, 1992.


Classic New England Railroading.

Canadian Pacific
A Canadian Pacific RS-18 works at Lyndonville, Vermont on October 8, 1992. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Nikon F3T with 35mm PC lens.

In October 1992, Tom Carver advised me to photograph Canadian Pacific’s Lyndonville Subdivision in Northern Vermont. At the time, traffic was down to two or three trains per week. Yet, these always operated with Montreal Locomotive Work’s diesels and despite their infrequency, departed the yard at Newport, Vermont on a predictable schedule.

At the time, I was on one of my extended autumn visits to the Northeast from California, and enjoying the cool air and anticipating the colored foliage characteristic of the season.

I departed Monson, Massachusetts at 4am and drove north on I91 directly to Orleans, Vermont, just a short distance from the yard at Newport. It was a crisp and clear morning. I expected the train to depart at 9 am, and sure enough, by 9:30 it made its appearance. I exposed some very satisfactory slides at Orleans and turned to chase (as per plan).

Although traffic had dwindled, track speed was still pretty quick, and I made a lively pursuit of the train to make more photographs. The single RS-18 was chortling along, belching the occasion puff of exhaust.

At Lyndonville, the train paused to switch, giving me ample opportunity to make photos. This was one of the images I made on Kodachrome 25 with my Nikon F3T.

In July 2012, George Pitarys and I repeated this adventure. This time chasing a Vermont Railway train running from Newport to White River Junction, again making the timed interception at Orleans. Track speeds were slower, and our chase was more relaxed. I’ve not yet made plans for my 2032 chase of the line.

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