Tag Archives: #New Haven Railroad

Poughkeepsie Crossing

On a foggy evening last week, Kris and I visited the waterfront park at Highland Landing, New York along the west shore of the Hudson River.

With my Z7-II firmly mounted on my now antique Bogen tripod, I made a series of time exposures of the famous former New Haven Railroad Poughkeepsie Bridge.

The year 2024 will mark a half century since a fire on this mightly span ended railroad service over the bridge.

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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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FL9 2011—Variations on a Theme

Friday, November 24, 2023, marked the beginning of the Polar Express season on Mass Coastal Railroad/Cape Cod Central Railroad.

Since we were in the neighborhood, Kris and I checked in on Cape Cod Central and located the excursion train-set that was being prepared for the day’s “Polar Expressing” near Mass Coastal Railroad’s HQ in East Wareham, Massachusetts.

Low November sun made for some nice light to photograph the static set. Working with my various cameras, I made a series of photos.

I’ve presented several variations of the same basic image. I have my favorite, which I’ve indicated in the caption below.

This is my favorite. I feel that this best puts the train in its setting, while balancing a variety of compositional elements. I’ve used selective focus with a shallow depth of field to focus interest on the the front of FL9 2011. Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z series zoom; ISO 100, 125mm, f4 1/1250 sec.
This version is from a slightly lower angle. I’ve cropped extraneous elements to the left and right of the train set. While this version is more dramatic and focused on the train, I don’t find its as interesting as the top image. Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z series zoom; ISO 100, 130mm, f4 1/1250 sec.
In this version, I’ve taken a more traditional angle and used greater depth of field. Also, the railroad has positioned its festive wreath on the front of the engine. Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z series zoom; ISO 80, 58mm, f9 1/160th sec.
I took a more broadside angle for this photo. Exposed using my ‘Wee Lumix’ (Panasonic Lumix LX7). I made this before the wreath was hung on the front of the engine. Notice that the Lumix has a different color palate and this handles the red-orange differently than my Nikons.

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Tracing Vestiges of the Old Colony Railroad on Cape Cod.

On our November visit to Cape Cod this year, Kris and I spent a day photographing beaches and tracing the route of the Old Colony Railroad line that once ran all the way to the pier at Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The railroad was abandoned decades ago and most of the infrastructure was scrapped or recycled. However, in places it’s possible to see evidence of the old right-of-way, or at least conceptualize where the tracks once were.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z-series mirrorless digital cameras.

A view looking across Pamet Harbor; the former Old Colony right-of-way is visable near the the center right of the photo. The railroad once crossed the water here on it its way to the station at Truro, Massachusetts.
Near Pilgrim Beach, looking compass north (railroad east) on Highway 6A toward Provincetown, the railroad once ran parallel to the road, possibly along the right-of-way now occupied by the electric lines to the right of the road.
Historically the railroad ran on to the pier at Provincetown. I don’t know if the pier pictured is the same pier that actually carried the railroad, or a later structure. Those are questions for a deeper investigation.

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Images of an Autumn Evening at West Barnstable, Mass.

Although there were no trains expected, Kris and I called into the old New Haven Railroad station at West Barnstable, Massachusetts. Late November foliage and fading sun made for some wonderful atmospheric conditions.

I like the signs from various eras that identify this place. The Conrail blue sign is especially cool.

In earlier posts (from 2018, 2021 and 2022) I’ve featured the decaying Delaware & Hudson cabooses that reside here and passing Mass-Coastal/Cape Cod Central trains.

[See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/ballast-train-at-west-barnstable-massachusetts/ and http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/dh-caboose-in-the-rain/ ]

All photos presented here were made with my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series lens; NEF RAW files were adjusted with Adobe Lightroom to make the most of the scene.

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Five Angles on an FL9

Over the years, I’ve photographed hundreds of locomotives, on scores of railways, in dozens of countries.

Occasionally I’ve opted for the classic ‘three-quarter’ roster angle. More often I’ve opted for various more dramatic, interpretive, or dynamic views.

A long time ago I learned that when I find some equipment resting in a accessible location, to photograph it from a great variety of different angles, because you never know what might suit a book or magazine article later on.

Two weeks ago on our visit to Cape Cod, I had the opportunity to make a sequence of photos of this former New Haven Railroad FL9 that now works for Cape Cod Central and was assigned to the west end of the Polar Express at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

I have countless photographs of FL9s in various schemes when they worked for Amtrak, MTA, CDOT and Metro North, so this was an opportunity to do something a little different.

Perhaps the FL9’s most distinctive external attribute is the A1A Flexicoil truck at the rear of the locomotive.

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Ten Years Ago at Deep River, Connecticut.

While on the theme of tourist railroads on the old New Haven Railroad at Christmas, I thought I’d present this ten year old color slide.

In December 2012, Tim Doherty and I had visited Connecticut’s Valley Railroad that was featuring its Chinese-built 2-8-2 Mikado dressed in New Haven paint on its Christmas trains.

In the late afternoon light, I made this Fujichrome Provia100F slide at Deep River using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens.

I scanned the slide last night and processed the 4000 dpi TIF file using Lightroom. Below are two versions. The top is a scaled, but unadjusted, version of the original scan. The bottom one has been altered to more closely resemble the effect of 1950s Kodachrome film

Scale JPG from original TIF file without adjustments to color, exposure, contrast or sharpness.
Slide adjust to resemble a 1950s Kodachrome.

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Christmas Lights at Buzzards Bay

Kris and I went to see the Cape Cod Central on Satuday evening. The railroad had decked out the former New Haven Railroad station and signal tower with an elaborate display of Christmas lights for their Polar Express excursions.

Working with my Nikon Z6 set at high ISO, I exposed this series of handheld night photos.

24mm; f4, 1/50th of a sec. Photo scaled from in-camera JPG
33mm, f5, 1/50th of a sec.
Photo converted from NEF camera RAW.

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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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Sunbursts at Buzzards Bay.

After departing Cape Cod in early November, we paused near the massive lift bridge and old station and signal tower at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

The railroad was quiet, but I made a few photos of the structures there using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

Setting the aperture to its smallest position—f22—allowed me to make sunbursts silhouetts with the midday sun.

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Evening Light on an FL9 and an RDC

Last week was warm with sunny skies. Unseasonably warm.

One evening while exploring Cape Cod, Kris Sabbatino and I paid a visit to the Cape Cod Central at Hyannis where I made these views of a former New Haven Railroad FL9 (painted to resemble its as-delivered appearance) and an old RDC built for Boston & Maine.

In an earlier Tracking the Light post, I speculated if Conway Scenic Railroad’s former New Haven Railroad RDC 23 Millie ever visited the NHRR line that once extended to Provincetown.

So far my investigations have determined that while NHRR 23 almost certainly visited the New Haven stations at Hyannis and Woods Hole, which were regular destinations for NHRR’s RDC runs, it is far less likely that it strayed as far as Provincetown, because NHRR RDCs rarely went that far.

In a similar line of inquiry: did the former B&M car pictured here ever work Boston & Maine’s North Conway Branch? Many of B&M’s cars had visited North Conway over the years, and some even worked over Crawford Notch!

I’m curious to know more.

Exposed digitally using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera and processed with Adobe Lightroom.

Exposed digitally using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera and processed with Adobe Lightroom.

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On This Day Four Years Ago!

Light and Shadow; in an abstract tribute to guitarist Jimmy Page (from whom I borrow the ‘on this day’ and ‘Light and Shadow’ themes), I offer these views exposed at Madison, Connecticut.

On June 23, 2016, photographer Pat Yough and I paid visit to the old New Haven Railroad Shoreline route, where we exposed photos of summer evening runs by commuter train operator Shore Line East.

The sun was in and out as westward and eastward trains roared along the route, which is now electrified for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services.

Eastward Shore Line East train 1644 at Madison, CT.
Westward Shore Line East train 1691 at Madison, CT.

Westward Shore Line East train 1691 at Madison, CT.

I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.

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Roger Williams in the Snow.

In the 1950s, New Haven Railroad worked with the Budd Company to develop a semi-streamlined self-propelled passenger train adapted from the successful Budd Rail Diesel Car—RDC for service as the Roger Williams.

The ends of the train featured a distinctive nose-section.

I recall these end cars working Amtrak’s Springfield, Mass., to New Haven, Connecticut shuttles in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A couple of weeks ago on a business trip to Lincoln, New Hampshire, I saw that the Hobo Railroad has this portion of the old ‘Roger Williams’ RDC on display. I took a couple of minute to make a few photos. Someday I’d like to return for a more thorough documentation.

Exposed using my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

Fresh snow made for a monochromatic setting with the bold New Haven logo.

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New Haven on New Years Day—1980.

Happy New Years 1980s-style!

Another view from 40 years ago: I’d just returned from Mexico City via JFK. My family and I were driving home from New York City and we stopped at New Haven, Connecticut.

I made several Kodachrome slides with my Leica 3A, including this view of former New Haven Railroad electric multiple units that were stored near the station.

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