On Sunday (February 5, 2023), Kris and I briefly visited the old Reading Company station at Palmyra, Pennsylvania.
We crossed the tracks on Railroad Avenue and spied the headlight of an eastward freight. By the time I got the car safely stopped, the grade crossing gates were down.
Although, I made a series of hastily composed digital images of the passing Norfolk Southern freight, none were to my satisfaction.
So I returned to the same crossing on Monday (February 6, 2023) with a vision of recreating what I saw the previous day.
Norfolk Southern provided an eastward intermodal train at almost exactly the same time as the day before. This time I was prepared. I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens and adjusted the NEF (RAW) files in Adobe Lightroom for presentation here.
Google Maps makes it much easier to navigate to the west shore of the Susquehanna River at Marysville, Pennsylvania to reach the famed Rockville Bridge.
I recall pouring over maps in the 1980s, trying to locate the correct sequence of turns to get to River Road. The challenge of this location is that the path is indirect and the main highways running parallel to the river and railroad do not facilitate straight forward exits.
On my most recent visit, I followed Google Maps instructions to my map ‘pin’ situated at the westend of Rockville Bridge. I approached the bridge just as a Norfolk Southern freight was easing across the 48 stone arches.
I returned to the vantage point on the north side of the bridge that Kris and I had visited nearly a year ago. This allowed me to make a long telephoto view of the train and capture the dramatic sky to the east.
I’ve been photographing trains around Greenfield, Massachusetts for more than 40 years.
Sometimes there have been long waits. Sometimes I got lucky.
Saturday, Kris and I were driving south on I-91. I asked, “would you like to stop by East Deerfield Yard”
She said “ok!”, so we jumped off the Interstate at Route 2, and took the roundabout (traffic circle) and headed east. At that moment I saw containers rolling east on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg line.
“That’s 22K, the NS intermodal train”.
We zipped over to East Deerfield Yard—located railroad timetable east of Greenfield—where I had just enough time to make these photos using my new Nikon Z7-II.
Nothing fancy, but these are lucky shots. I was delighted!
I always like it when luck prevails!
With these ‘in the bag’, we drove to the Connecticut River bridge for more photos. Why waste a lucky day?
In August 2007 while working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania, I made this late afternoon image of a Norfolk Southern RoadRailer intermodal train on former Reading Company tracks near the old railroad’s historic namesake.
A pair of NS DASH9-40CWs lead the train.
A few years after I made this Fujichrome color slide, Norfolk Southern discontinued most of its RoadRailer operations, including those in eastern Pennsylvania. It is one of only a few photos I have of NS operations near Reading, PA.
I wrote about Pennsylvania Railroad’s Rockville Bridge in my book Railway Masterpieces published in 2002.
“The third bridge at Rockville was started in 1900, and opened to traffic in 1902. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Rail Facts and Figures, as ‘the world’s largest stone arch railway bridge over a river’. It consists of 48 stone arch spans.”
Last month Kris and I paid a visit to the Rockville Bridge. As we approached this magnificent viaduct a westward Norfolk Southern freight was crawling across, yet we had arrived too late to catch the head end of the train on the bridge.
We decided to wait a little while to see if another freight would come along.
Finally after about 45 minutes, I could hear a GE diesel chugging away on the far side of the Susquehanna. As the train started across the bridge, the evening sun emerged from the clouds, producing some very fine light to photograph the train.
I exposed these photos with my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens firmly mounted on my mid-1990s vintage Bogen tripod.
Last month during our brief visit to Lewistown, PA, we caught two trains, one right after the other. Just a few minutes after the westward Pennsylvanian made its station stop, this Norfolk Southern intermodal freight worked west through the interlocking.
In the lead was 4092, one of Norfolk Southern’s AC44C6M rebuilds. These were converted from traditional DC traction Dash9-40CW locomotives into poly-phase AC traction diesels.
Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm lens and Lumix LX7.
In mid-November , this was the view looking west from our room at Gallitzin’s Tunnel Inn located adjacent to Norfolk Southern’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line near the tunnels under the Allegheny Divide.
I made this photo with my Nikon Z6 with f4.0 24-70mm zoom lens.
Kris & I spent two days and two nights at this excellent railroad themed bed & breakfast while exploring the old Main Line & environs.
I was impressed that some of my titles were on the shelf!
On our way east on Route 22 last November, Kris and I overtook a Norfolk Southern local freight with a GP40-2 slug set that was switching on a vestige of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Hollidaysburg, PA.
I made these digital photos working with my Nikon Z6 and 24-70 and 70-200mm zoom lenses.
In this November 2021 view at the World Famous Horse Shoe Curve west of Altoona, Pennsylvania, I pictured in classic fashion, a westward hopper train (empty coal train) climbing the Main Line toward Gallitzin.
Eighty-one years ago, we might have seen an equivalent scene with a pair of PRR L1s Mikados. Where Norfolk Southern has hundreds of GE Dash 9s, PRR had more than 500 2-8-2s.
I wonder what will be leading freights on the Curve in 2102?
The old Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division is a favorite stretch of railroad.
I first visited this location on the heavily traveled east-west trunk route back in 1988 with my old pal TSH.
In November 2001, Mike Gardner and I were on a week-long photograph blitz of Pennsylvania and paused a Mifflin for a few hours to make photos of the action.
I exposed this Fujichrome color slide using my Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with a 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens. The Zeiss lens was extremely sharp from corner to corner while offering exceptional color rendition.
After photographing Pan Am Southern’s eastward ED8 passing searchlight signals at Lake Pleasant (See Monday’s Post), the chase was on!
Kris Sabbatino and I rolled eastward after the 106 car freight as it ascended the grade up the valley of the Millers River.
At Millers Falls, Massachusetts, we paused at the overhead bridge near the center of town that spans both former Boston & Maine and Central Vermont lines (now operated by Pan Am Southern and New England Central respectively) for a dramatic photo looking into the the afternoon sun.
Working with my Nikon Z6, I made a sequence of coming and going photos as the train roared by.
Later, I adjusted exposure, contrast and color using Adobe Lightroom to make for more pleasing images.
We continued after the train making more photos along the way!
Working with ripe professional Kodachrome 25 (PKM), I made a series of photos of Norfolk Southern trains traversing the former Nickel Plate Road street trackage on 19th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania.
This was part of a great adventure with my pal TSH in the summer of 1988 that brought us to many fascinating places on the railroad.
Kodachrome was wonderful film, and PKM was among my favorite emulsions, but when used a little on the ripe side (too fresh) it shifted cyan (blue/green).
I scanned this slide the other day using a Nikon Coolscan5000 digital scanner then imported the high-res TIF scan into Adobe Lightroom for adjustment.
Working with the sliders in the program, I made a host of small corrections to color, contrast, and exposure that improve the overall appearance of the photo while minimizing the effects of the cyan color cast.
I’ve included a scaled version of the unaltered scan; my adjusted scan, and one of the Lightroom work windows that shows some of the adjustments that I made during post processing.