Tag Archives: New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad

Amtrak Crosses the Connecticut, Windsor Locks, October 20, 2013.

Broadside View of the Old New Haven Railroad Bridge.

Amtrak passenger train.
On the afternoon of October 20, 2013, Amtrak train 54, the Sunday Vermonter crosses the Connecticut river on a 107 year old former New Haven Railroad span. Locomotive 147 is at the back of the train pushing. Leading is a cab-control car. Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens.

What better than a bright sunny Sunday afternoon to execute a classic image of a big bridge.

Amtrak operates the former New Haven Railroad line between Springfield, Massachusetts and its namesake Connecticut city as a branch off its primary North East Corridor route.

In addition to shuttle trains running between Springfield and New Haven, the Washington D.C. to St Albans, Vermont, Vermonter travels this line daily. Infrequent freight services are operated by Connecticut Southern (sister operation to New England Central) and Pan Am Southern/Pan Am Railways.

Although much of the line is scenically challenged as it runs through built up suburban and urban areas of central Connecticut, it does have a few garden spots. I think the scenic highlight is this crossing of the Connecticut River near Windsor Locks.

I’ve made various views of this bridge over the years, and last Sunday (October 20, 2013) I thought I’d look for something a little different. There’s a lightly used road that follows the east bank of the Connecticut south of the bridge, and here I found a safe place to park and walk to the river,

A call to Amtrak’s Julie (the automated agent) revealed the northward Vermonter was operating about 9 minutes behind its scheduled time. I was in position a good 20 minutes before the train and so had ample time to make test shots to pick the best angle and exposure.

I made this photograph with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens. The train rolled across the bridge at a restricted speed so it was easy to pick off several frames. The bigger challenge will be to catch one of the freights on this bridge. It’s been a good few years since I’ve succeeded in that mission.

On the afternoon of October 20, 2013, Amtrak train 54, the Sunday Vermonter crosses the Connecticut river on a 107 year old former New Haven Railroad span. Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens.

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Amtrak’s Springfield—New Haven Shuttle at Berlin, Connecticut


Two Years Ago Today, June 20, 2011.

Amtrak in Connecticut
Amtrak shuttle approaches Berlin. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens


Exactly two years ago, I delivered my brother Sean to the Amtrak station in Berlin, Connecticut. He was on his way back to Philadelphia after a brief visit to Massachusetts.  Amtrak’s Berlin agent, Bill Sample, is always very friendly and helpful,  so we prefer Berlin over some of the closer stations.

I made this image of the southward shuttle train using my Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens. There’s a lot of history in this simple photo. The train is led by a cab-control-car rebuilt from one of the old Budd-built Metroliner multiple units. Today’s single main track doesn’t tell much of a story, but Berlin was once a busy junction.

While Pan Am Southern’s route toward Plainville and Waterbury diverges here (at the left), this only sees about one round trip per week. Historically there was a diamond crossing here between New Haven Railroad lines. Also, one of New Haven Railroad’s earliest experimental electrified schemes reached Berlin, but I’m not sure if that would have been in this scene or not.

If all goes according to plan, the double track to Springfield, Massachusetts will someday be restored.

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Pelham Bay Park, December 1982.


Amtrak AEM7 Crosses The Hutchinson River in The Bronx

Coop City in The Bronx.
Amtrak’s Bascule drawbridge over the Hutchinson River in December 1982. Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar Lens.

Between 1973 and 1985, my paternal grandparents lived at Co-op City in The Bronx, New York City. They had a great view of Amtrak’s former New Haven Railroad line from New Rochelle to the Hell Gate Bridge, which carried all of Amtrak’s Boston-New York trains. Until about 1980, this route also hosted infrequent freights.

When I was younger, I’d keenly watch for trains from my grandparents 19th floor terrace, all the while hoping to see Amtrak’s aged former Pennsylvania GG1 electrics. By 1982, all of Amtrak’s GG1s had been retired.

I made this morning view of a Penn-Station bound Amtrak train approaching the bascule drawbridge over the Hutchinson River led by an AEM7 electric. The scene itself wasn’t remarkable at the time, but I’m glad I made the effort to put it on film. It fascinates me now and brings me back to another time. Although details, such as how to effectively work with backlighting eluded me, I managed to get my exposure pretty close anyway.

I was 16 at the time. I used my Leica 3A with f2.0 50mm Summitar—the camera I carried with me everywhere. A couple of years ago, I located some of my long-lost early negatives and made a project of scanning them. The miracle of modern scanning technology coupled with post-processing allowed me to finally make something of photos I’d made before I was technically competent to make decent prints.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post; “the view from grandma’s terrace.”

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