Tag Archives: New Jersey

January 15th—GG1 4876 and the Anniversary of the Federal Express Wreck.

January 15th is the anniversary of the 1953 Washington Union Terminal crash, when Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG1 4876 leading the Federal Express lost its brakes and careened into the lobby of the terminal. This spectacular train wreck, on the eve of Eisenhower’s inauguration, made headlines in every major newspaper across the country.

On June 27, 1983, I exposed this view of GG1 4876 at Linden, New Jersey working from South Amboy, New Jersey to New York Penn Station with a New York & Long Branch passenger train.

Kodachrome 64 with Leica 3A and 50mm Summitar lens.

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Modern Monochrome: Three Views at Carneys Point, New Jersey.

On my visit to Carneys Point, New Jersey earlier this month, I exposed a few select frames of Kodak Tri-X using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens.

Previously, I posted a selection of the digital color photos that featured Conrail Shared Assets freight CA11. See: Bright Day on the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. https://wp.me/p2BVuC-59B

I processed the film yesterday (Monday, 27 November 2017) using my two-stage development recipe:

By starting with ‘presoak’ solution that features a very weak developer, I allow for increased development in the shadow areas. My primary developer for this roll was Kodak D-76 stock solution diluted 1-1 with water.

While I intentionally  under processed the film to avoid excessive highlight density, following stop bath, fixing baths, and rinse, I then soaked the negatives in selenium toner (mixed 1 to 9 )for 8 minutes to boost highlights to my desired ideal.

The results are these broad-toned monochromatic images with delicate silvery highlights.

A side effect of this process is the exceptionally archival quality of selenium toned original negatives that without any expensive storage conditions should long outlive my digital photos.

Conrail Shared Assets CA11 works at Carney Point, New Jersey.

The old Bell Telephone logo is a blast from the past.

My special ‘presoak’ developer aids in greater shadow detail.

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Bright Day on the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines—6 New Digital Photos.

It’s nice to have the sunshine.

Last week, Pat Yough and I explored Conrail Shared Assets former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines south of Paulsboro, New Jersey.

I made these views with my FujiFilm XT1 and 18-135mm Fujinon zoom lens.

This was entirely new territory for me. Pat drove, while I helped navigate using an old DeLorme atlas and my iPhone.

Among the highlights was CSX 1707, one of its relatively new SD40E3 ‘Eco’ locomotives.

Looking northward at Pedrickstown, New Jersey.

Conrail Shared Assets freight CA11 at Pedrickstown, New Jersey.

Conrail Shared Assets freight CA11 at Pedrickstown, New Jersey.

Conrail Shared Assets freight CA11 at Carneys Point, New Jersey.

Conrail Shared Assets freight CA11 at Carneys Point, New Jersey.

CSX SD40E3 number 1707 led Conrail Shared Assets 1707 on the northward journey.

In addition to these digital images, I also exposed a few black & white negatives and some color slides with my Canon EOS-3 and 40mm pancake lens.

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Tracking the Light Extra: Live from Trenton, New Jersey.

I’m posting from Amtrak’s WiFi on-board the Vermonter enroute to Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

It’s cold, wet, dim outside.

Here’s a few views from my Lumix LX7 at Trenton, New Jersey, exposed just a little while ago.

View from McDonalds at Trenton Transportation Center. November 13, 2017.

Amtrak train 172 arrives at Trenton.

Looking toward New York City.

Pan photo of an arriving NJ Transit train.

Keystone train with old Metroliner Cab car.

Amtrak train 56, the Vermonter arrives at Trenton.

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New Brunswick in the Razor Shaft of Glint.

Over the shoulder light is easy to work with but doesn’t always make for the most dramatic images. When possible, I like to find dramatic lighting and to see what I can make of it.

So here we have an unusual, captivating and difficult lighting situation.

Looking down the New Brunswick, New Jersey station, fellow photographer Pat Yough and I found this brief shaft of light made by the setting winter sun.

Luckily during the few minutes where sun penetrated New Jersey’s concrete canyons we had a flurry of trains to catch the glint.

NJ Transit train 7004 has an electric at the back of the consist. I like the way a bit of reflected light catches the front of the engine.

The old Pennsylvania Railroad station at New Brunswick, New Jersey seems out of place with the modern buildings that now surround it. This view focuses on the classic architecture.

NJ Transit 3856 is bound for New York City.

Boxy double deck coaches make for an interesting composition. The stainless-steel sides catch the glint nicely.

Amtrak train 186 races eastward through New Brunswick as NJ Transist 3937 departs the outbound platform.

I made these images with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a Lee 0.9 graduated neutral density filter to hold sky detail. I made nominal adjustments to shadow and highlight contrast to improve the overall appearance of the images.

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Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Revisited: Jersey Avenue—Then and Now.

It was a warm April afternoon in 1978 when my father and I arrived at Jersey Avenue to make photos.

For me this was a thrill. The long tangent in both directions seemed to reach to the horizon, and the trains passed at tremendous speed.

It was also one of my earliest experiences working with a long telephoto lens.

Pop had fitted his 200mm Leitz Telyt with Visoflex to my Leica 3A.

The Visoflex provided me with an equivalent to an SLR (single lens reflex) arrangement for a rangefinder camera by using a mirror with prism to see through the lens.

A New York-bound Metroliner races along the old Pennsylvania Railroad at Jersey Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey. I hadn’t figured out how to focus quickly yet.

My trailing view of the Metroliner was more successful.

Where I was well used to the peculiarities of Leica’s pre-war rangefinder arrangement, using the Visoflex offered a new set of challenges, especially in regards to focusing.

Jersey Avenue April 1978: there I am age 11. Photo by Richard J. Solomon

This southward Amtrak long distance train was led by one of Amtrak’s E60 electrics. I was disappointed as I’d hoped for a GG1.

Check out all the great old streamlined cars. At the time I was so concerned about making this image, I didn’t really appreciate the details of the train.

Fast forward to December 2016. Pat Yough and I were exploring locations on Amtrak’s North East Corridor. I suggested Jersey Avenue because I was curious to see if that was where Pop and I had made those photos so many years ago. (Back in 1978, my photo notes were a bit thin).

Indeed it was. So we made a few photos from approximately the same spot before investigating other locations. Compare my December 2016 views with my much earlier attempts.

Amtrak 93 races through Jersey Avenue in December 2016.

Trailing view of Amtrak 93 at Jersey Avenue.

 

A Taste of Mexico on New Years Eve.

New Years Eve 2016, I was traveling with Pat Yough. We got news of a GE-built ES44AC Ferromex locomotive leading Norfolk Southern 39G (Camden, NJ to Allentown, PA) and so we went to investigate.

I made these photographs at HATCH in Pennsauken, New Jersey using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Not only were we rewarded with a Mexican locomotive in the lead, but also a rare opportunity to catch a caboose on a road freight. Not bad for the last day of 2016!

For me New Years Eve has another Mexican connection; on this day in 1979 I flew from Mexico City to New York’s Kennedy Airport on an Eastern Airlines L1011.

Things were more relaxed in those days, and I was afforded a nice forward view for part of my journey.

Ferromex 4679 leads Norfolk Southern symbol freight 39G at ‘Hatch’ in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Those are  the tracks for NJ Transit’s River Line light rail on the left. I adjusted the file in post processing to lower the contrast and improve the color.

It’s relatively rare to find a Mexican locomotive leading in New Jersey. First time I saw something like this anyway. Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

The caboose was a nice touch. NS 39G took this  only  as far as Abrahms Yard (near Norristown, PA).

Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1.

In NORAC rules a red-over-yellow aspect means Medium Approach Medium, I don’t have a rule book for NJ Transit’s Light Rail. Any clues?

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Clear Morning at Trenton, New Jersey.

The other morning I boarded Amtrak’s Cardinal for Chicago at Trenton, New Jersey.

While waiting for my train to arrive I made a few photos with my Lumix (and some others on film).

Here’s the Lumix views. Stay tuned for some views from the train; 28 hours via West Virginia.

SEPTA AEM-7 laying over for the weekend. Lumix LX7 photo.
SEPTA AEM-7 laying over for the weekend. Lumix LX7 photo.

Clear morning sun made for a variety of photo options. I'll be curious to see my black & white film views of this engine.
Clear morning sun made for a variety of photo options. I’ll be curious to see my black & white film views of this engine.

Just in case you didn't known where I was . . .
Just in case you didn’t know where I was . . .

Trenton is served by Amtrak, SEPTA and NJ Transit. Busy place even on a Sunday morning.
Trenton is served by Amtrak, SEPTA and NJ Transit. Busy place even on a Sunday morning.

Amtrak's Cardinal connects Trenton with Chicago three days a week. More Cardinal photos coming soon!
Amtrak’s Cardinal connects Trenton with Chicago three days a week. More Cardinal photos coming soon!

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Path Photograph—27 Years Ago Today.

It was a dismal rainy evening two days before Christmas 1988. I had two Leicas. With one I was running some tests on color filtration with a new flavor of Kodak Ektachrome (remember that?) for a class I was taking in color photography.

In the other Leica, my dad’s M3, I had a sole roll of Kodak Plus-X (ISO 125, that I rated at ISO 80).

My pal TSH and I were exploring New York City area transit on one of the busiest travel days of the season, and I was making photos trying to capture the spirit of motion.

Among the images I made, was this photograph of a PATH train crossing the massive lift bridge east of Newark Penn Station.

Exposed using a Leica M3 with 50mm Summicron on Kodak Plus X (rated at ISO80).
Exposed using a Leica M3 with 50mm Summicron on Kodak Plus X (rated at ISO80).

The other day I scanned this negative and processed the image electronically in Lightroom, where I minimized the dust that had accumulated over the last three decades.

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NJ Transit Hudson-Bergen Light Rail; My Jersey City Gallery, 8 photos.

I arrived in Jersey City on NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail a few days ago. While I was checking out some comparative ‘now and then’ locations, I made these photos of the modern cars with my Lumix LX7.

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Classic Chrome: NJ DOT E8s at South Amboy, New Jersey, December 1981.

Here’s one deep from the archive: I was traveling with my father and brother and we’d come to South Amboy to watch the engine change where E8s were replaced by venerable GG1 electrics on New York & Long Branch passenger trains (North Jersey Coast Line) running from Bay Head Junction to Pennsylvania Station, New York.

We got lost on the way down and ended up in a post-apocalyptic waterfront at Perth Amboy.

Finally, we were trackside at the South Amboy Station.

I exposed this Kodachrome 64 image using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar 
I exposed this Kodachrome 64 image using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar. I’ve made some necessary adjustments using Adobe Lightroom to compensate for nominal under exposure and the contrast limitations of the original image.

Here’s a slightly improved variation: It should have a bit more ‘snap’ (contrast in shadows).

NJDOT_E8A_at_South_Amboy_NJ_Dec1981MOD2©Brian_Solomon_899761

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Cranford, New Jersey—first visit!

Last month I visited Cranford, New Jersey to meet Pat Yough on our way to dinner with black & white photo guru Gordon Roth.

I’d seen many photographs made at this former Central Railroad of New Jersey location.

Hey! Where are the camelbacks? The double-ended Baldwins? SD35s with time freights?

I didn’t even see a vendor selling T-shirts that read, ‘I visited Cranford, but all I saw was an NJ Transit Dual-Mode with bi-levels!’

Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.

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Newark Light Rail—June 2015

I was on my way from Gladstone to Cranford, New Jersey. During my change of modes at Newark Broad Street, I made this photo of an in-inbound NJ Transit light rail car.

It was hot, and the light was tinted by the prevailing smaze, a condition often prevalent in this part of New Jersey.

Question: would it be better to filter the light to counter the tint, or run with a ‘daylight’ setting that would show the brownish tinge the way it really is?

Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. Exposed with a Lumix LX7.

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Riding NJ Transit

Taking the train is part of the experience.

Ride a line once, and it’s an adventure! Ride the line every day and it can become drudgery.

In June, I made an adventure of riding NJ Transit.

My trip was thoroughly pleasant and without incident, except for my brief conversation with an unnecessarily surly NJT conductress at Secaucus, “The SIGN is over THERE!” (Gosh! Forgive me for neither knowing the routine nor how to interpret NJT’s train color coding on platform B).

Ok ok, after all there’s a reputation to be maintained here, I understand.

But, perhaps NJ Transit could take a few tips from the Belgian national railways when it comes to employee uniforms, customer service, and timetable planning. (All top marks for the SNCB based on my experiences).

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Hoboken.

Rutherford.
Rutherford.

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Signals at Suffern.
Signals at Suffern.

New York City as viewed from Secaucus.
New York City as viewed from Secaucus.

Meet on the Gladstone Branch.
Meet on the Gladstone Branch.

Probably not the cheapest ticket I ever bought, but an interesting routing none-the-less.
Probably not the cheapest ticket I ever bought, but an interesting routing none-the-less.

Dual mode at Newark Pennsylvania Station.
Dual mode at Newark Pennsylvania Station.

Top level of a bi-level car.
Top level of a bi-level car.

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Gladstone Station—Three Photos.

In June, I revisited Gladstone Station. The quaint 1891-built Queen Anne style depot at the end of NJ Transit’s former Lackawanna Branch is a nicely kept station building. Unfortunately the old station structure is hemmed in by a host of modernity, all ugly and out of character with the style.

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I arrived and departed on the train pictured by the station. Photos exposed with a Fuji X-T1.

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Secaucus Junction—Lots of Pictures!

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Years ago I noticed there seemed to be a natural law regarding the ratio of traffic to scenery in regards to railroad locations.

Lines blessed with stunning scenery generally suffered from a dearth of traffic, while the busiest places tend to be scenically bereft.

There are, of course, a few notable exceptions. California’s Tehachapi crossing comes to mind, as does New York’s Lower Hudson Valley. Both places are blessed exceptional scenery and frequent railway operations, and this makes them popular places to photograph.

Switzerland must not be considered in this equation as the whole country completely violates the natural law of railway photography.

Yet, many of the world’s most scenic lines—railways legendary for their stunning panoramas—have been abandoned, or lie dormant.

Then at the other end of the scale we have Secaucus Junction. Let’s just say it’s one of the busiest places in the Northeastern United States.

Outbound NJ Transit 4617 approaches platform B at Secaucus Junction.
Outbound NJ Transit 4617 approaches platform B at Secaucus Junction.

Trains come at go at Secaucus Junction every few minutes. FujiFilm X-T1 photograph.
Trains come at go at Secaucus Junction every few minutes. FujiFilm X-T1 photograph.

Secaucus Junction has some very interesting signaling. FujiFilm X-T1 photograph.
Secaucus Junction has some very interesting signaling. FujiFilm X-T1 photograph.

An Amtrak Regional train blitzes the station.
An Amtrak Regional train blitzes the station.

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The station exists on several levels, with the former Pennsylvania Railroad lines crossing over the former Erie. How many tons of concrete? I don't know. And the whole structure is neatly situated in the Jersey Meadows (ie an extensive brackish marsh).
The station exists on several levels, with the former Pennsylvania Railroad lines crossing over the former Erie. How many tons of concrete? I don’t know. And the whole structure is neatly situated in the Jersey Meadows (ie an extensive brackish marsh).

A view of the station from the Erie side. (Lower level). This holds to the formula; it is by far the prettiest part of Secaucus Junction, and the least active. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view of the station from the Erie-Lackawanna side. (Lower level). This holds to the formula; it is by far the prettiest part of Secaucus Junction, and the least active. Lumix LX7 photo.

A train from Suffern, New York to Hoboken accelerates away from Secaucus. Lumix LX7 photo.
A train from Suffern, New York to Hoboken accelerates away from Secaucus. Lumix LX7 photo. Notice the three separate sets of high voltage electrical lines.

Looking west from Secaucus Junction. Fuji X-T1 photo.
Looking west from Secaucus Junction. Fuji X-T1 photo.

Secaucus_w_NJ_Transit_ALP46_DSCF1641
Look trees!

Signals at Secaucus Junction.
Signals at Secaucus Junction.

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Tomorrow the Shadows of DL&W at Summit.

Hoboken!?

When ever I think of Hoboken, New Jersey, I conjure up a vision of that classic Warner Bros., Bugs Bunny cartoon titled: ‘8 Ball Bunny.’

Bugs, upon discovering that the performing Penguin he’s just guided from Brooklyn to the South Pole was born across the Hudson from Manhattan, cries out. . . “HOBOKEN!? Oooo I’m dyin’ . . .”

That classic line, plus a bucket of steamed clams at the now-defunct Clam Broth House, and images of the old copper-clad Lackawanna Terminal represent Hoboken for me. It gets a bit confusing when I visit Antwerp, but that’s a story for another post.

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Ice follies?
Ice follies?

Hoboken, no Jokin'.
Hoboken, no Jokin’.

Also see: Hoboken in Five Photos posted on January 26, 2015.

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Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Seven photos of a reincarnated railway.

NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has been on my photo list for more than a decade. It’s one of those things that is close enough to be just out of reach.

When an operation is under threat, time is made—found—to photograph it. You know, before its gone. But when something isn’t going anywhere, its often easy to ignore.

Such was my failings in photographing the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. Thanks to a detailed tour with Jack May on January 15, 2015, I’ve finally explored of this interesting operation.

Canon EOS 7D photo.
Canon EOS 7D photo.

This simplified map of the system is posted in all of the cars. Canon EOS 7D photo.
This simplified map of the system is posted in all of the cars. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Hoboken terminal, which the light rail serves via  stub-end spur.
Hoboken terminal, which the light rail serves via stub-end spur.

This compact modern passenger railway operates on a selection of former heavy-rail railroad rights of way, including through the old New York, West Shore & Buffalo tunnel at Weekhawken.

The day was ideal; sunny and bright with clear skies. We first rode north from Hoboken to Tonnelle Avenue, then worked our way back south through Jersey City to Bayonne visiting a variety of stations along the way.

All along the line are modern buildings. I was pleased to find that ridership was very good, even during midday. This follows the idiom of: 'Build and they will come.'
All along the line are modern buildings. I was pleased to find that ridership was very good, even during midday. This follows the maxim of: ‘Build and they will come.’

A view looking back toward Weekhawken. As a kid I was fascinated by the Palisades.
A view looking back toward Weekhawken. As a kid I was fascinated by the Palisades.

Much of the route passed through places that I recalled from adventures with my father in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Jersey waterfront was different place back then.

What had been rotting wharves, badly maintained freight trackage, and post-industrial squalor is now all up-scale housing, modern office towers, and otherwise new construction. It was familiar, yet different—like some weird vision of the future.

The 8th Street Station is located at the south end of the system in Bayonne. Canon EOS 7D photo.
The 8th Street Station is located at the south end of the system in Bayonne. Canon EOS 7D photo.

A portion of the line running toward 8th Street runs along the right of way of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey  four track mainline—once the route of the Queen of the Valley, Reading's Crusader, and Baltimore & Ohio's Royal Blue and Capitol Limited. I may have missed all of that, but my father has a few choice photos from those days. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A portion of the line running toward 8th Street usesgthe right of way of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey four track mainline—once the route of the Queen of the Valley, Reading’s Crusader, and Baltimore & Ohio’s Royal Blue and Capitol Limited. I may have missed all of that, but my father has a few choice photos from those days. Canon EOS 7D photo.

In addition to these digital photos made with my Canon EOS 7D, I also exposed many color slides on Provia 100F with my EOS 3 for review at later date.

The Katyn massacre memorial is located near Exchange Place across from lower Manhattan. Many years ago, Pennsylvania Railroad operated an extensive terminal near this very location with a cavernous balloon style shed patterned after London St. Pancras.
The Katyn massacre memorial is located near Exchange Place across from lower Manhattan and a short walk from the light rail line. Many years ago, Pennsylvania Railroad operated an extensive terminal near this location that featured a cavernous balloon style shed patterned after London St. Pancras. My father brought us to the site of the old terminal in the early 1980s-even then there wasn’t much to remind us of the glory days.

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Hoboken Terminal in Five Photos.

My new book Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals will feature New Jersey’s Hoboken Terminal. This will be published by Voyageur Press in a few months time. Below is an excerpt of my text along with a few photos I exposed with Jack May on January 15, 2015.

William H. Truesdale assumed control of the anthracite hauling Delaware, Lackawanna & Western in 1899. During the early twentieth century he transformed DL&W into a modern railroad with state of the art infrastructure. His skillful management and massive capital improvements were designed to lower the railroad’s costs and make it more competitive. During this Lackawanna renaissance Kenneth M. Murchison was hired to design the railroad’s finest passenger facilities. Murchison, was a respected New York architect who earned several important commissions for railroad stations in the early twentieth century. Murchison had studied in Paris and made prominent use of the Beaux-Arts style in his railway architecture. Among his significant early projects was Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s new Hoboken Terminal on the west shore of the Hudson River across from New York City.

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Bush style sheds were first developed for Hoboken and survive to the present day.
Bush style sheds were first developed for Hoboken and survive to the present day.

Main waiting room at Hoboken.
Main waiting room at Hoboken.

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Newark Broad Street

Five photos of an Architectural Gem on the old Lackawanna.

On January 15, 2015, Jack May and I visited this grand old railroad station on our exploration of NJ Transit lines in the area.

The station building was designed by DL&W’s Frank J. Niles and completed in 1903.

Newark Broad Street Station on January 15, 2015. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
Newark Broad Street Station on January 15, 2015. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Newark Broad Street Station on January 15, 2015. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
The Italianate style clock tower is a classic element of Newark’s Broad Street Station on January 15, 2015. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Although the days when long distance trains paused here on their way to and from Buffalo have long since past, the triple track former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western mainline was alive with suburban traffic.

On going maintenance on track 1 improved our photographs of inbound trains, but confused passengers as to which platform to stand on.

An informative plaque at Broad Street makes for its own caption.
An informative plaque at Broad Street makes for its own caption.

An NJT ALP46 shoves at the back of an inbound train: next stop, Hoboken. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
An NJT ALP46 shoves at the back of an inbound train: next stop, Hoboken. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

An outbound NJ Transit commuter train approaches Broad Street. On the left you can see the Empire State Building. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
An outbound NJ Transit commuter train approaches Broad Street. On the left you can see the Empire State Building. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

I’ve just completed text for a book on railroad stations to be published by Voyageur Press. This among the many stations that I may choose to illustrate.

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Conrail in the Bowels of New Jersey.

On the old Lehigh Valley, August 1, 1986.

It was a hot, humid and hazy morning. The sunlight was tinted by gauzy smog which softened the scene.

Bob Karambelas and I were exploring the junction at Hunter Tower in Newark, New Jersey, where the former Lehigh Valley crossed the old Pennsylvania Railroad electrified mainline.

Conrail on Lehigh Valley at Newark NJ 206pm Aug 1 1986 Mod-1 Brian Solomon 662698

A westward freight with a pair of SD40-2s was departing Oak Island yard and I exposed this view looking a down a grungy side street with a 200mm lens.

I’ve always been fascinated with urban images like this, where the railroad is prominent but not necessarily dominant, and passes through post industrial decay. Look at the grime on surface of the street and the great beat up old cars!

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Tomorrow: Farewell to an Institution!

Learn more about the evolution of the railroad network, see my book: North American Railroad Family Trees published by Voyageur Press.

 

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Amtrak Clocker Blitzes Linden, New Jersey—Daily Post.


August 1, 1986.

Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with 200mm Telyt lens via a Visoflex attachment and mounted on a Linhof tripod. Metered manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe hand held photocell.
Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A fitted with 200mm Telyt lens via a Visoflex attachment and mounted on a Linhof tripod. Metered manually with a Sekonic Studio Deluxe hand held photocell.

On this hot and humid evening, fellow photographer Bob Karambelas and I were poised to catch the parade of rush hour trains that raced the former Pennsylvania Railroad at Linden, New Jersey.

Here six main tracks and high voltage overhead make for an impressive right of way.

At that time, the New York-Philadelphia Clockers were still run with heritage fleet cars, while the AEM7 in the lead was only a few years old.

Today, the AEM7 fleet still work for Amtrak, but will soon be running their final miles for the national passenger carrier as their replacements come on-line.

For more than 25 years this slide sat unattended in my files. For so many years, it just didn’t seem noteworthy. I see it now with fresh eyes.

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Tomorrow: Exploring a New Line!

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Daily Post: Lackawanna’s Paulins Kill Viaduct


An Eerie Shadow of Another Era.

Paulins Kill as captured on Fujichrome slide film with a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 45mm lens.
Paulins Kill as captured on Fujichrome slide film with a Contax G2 Rangefinder with 45mm lens. The old ‘telegraph pole’ (code line) provides a sense of scale.

Here we have an immense abandoned bridge, rising above the trees like some Tolkienesq ruin from an ancient empire, the vestige of some lost civilization.

I was researching for my book North American Railroad Bridges in March 2007, when Pat Yough and I ferreted out the former Lackawanna Railroad Bridge in western New Jersey at Paulins Kill.

This was no ordinary railroad bridge. Lackawanna’s Slateford Cutoff (Port Morris, New Jersey, 28.5 miles to Slateford Junction, Pennsylvania) was built beginning in 1908 to shorten its mainline and lower operating costs by reducing gradient and curvature. The line was showcase for reinforced concrete construction.

Here’s an excerpt of my text on the Paulins Kill bridge:

The seven-span Paulins Kill Viaduct was 1,100 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point, and required an estimated 43,212 cubic yards of concrete and 735 tons of steel.

It was part of a super railroad and one of the best engineered lines of the early 20th century. Here the vision of Lackawanna president William H. Truesdale prevailed to invest private capital to the improve efficiency and capacity of his railroad.

Yet, by the 1970s this railroad was no longer valued. Its route was deemed redundant, its traditional traffic had vanished, and so Conrail which reluctantly inherited the line from Erie-Lackawanna, abandoned it.

While this was a gross waste of infrastructure and, to my mind, demonstrated a lack of vision on the part of planners and governments, it does make for fascinating photographs.

Someday, hopefully, the Slateford Cutoff may again see trains.

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