Tag Archives: Northeast Corridor

Amtrak HST at Kingston, Rhode Island.

Working with my FujiFilm X-T1 and 12mm Zeiss Touit, I made these views of an Amtrak High Speed Train at Kingston, Rhode Island.

Digital photograph exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.
Digital photograph exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

These trains are typically assigned to Amtrak’s Acela Express services on the Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York and Washington.

But are they Acelas if they aren’t working those scheduled trains?

And, when Amtrak’s newest high speed trains (note lack of capitals) assume Acela Express services (presuming the marketing name remains unchanged), what can we expect to call the old HST sets?

Sometimes railroad photography really is about the train.

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SEPTA Silverliner IVs  on the Northeast Corridor—July 2017.

A half-century ago Pennsylvania Railroad’s common MP54 ‘owl-eyed’ electric multiple units plied its electrified lines largely unnoticed despite most serving for 40-50 years in daily traffic

Today’s equivalent are SEPTA’s Silverliner IVs that were built between 1974 and 1976 for Philadelphia-area electric suburban operation on former Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Company lines.

Considering that these workhorses are now more than 40 years old, they are well worthy of attention from photographers. Many similar cars employed by NJ Transit have already been retired and scrapped.

I photographed this two-car SEPTA set at Levittown, Pennsylvania on July 7, 2017 using my FujiFilm X-T1 mirror-less digital camera.

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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.

 

Amtrak Action Under Wire; Northeast Corridor in December 2015

Consult your schedules, watch the signals, listen for the hum of the rail, and stay poised.

This is the heart of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, a raceway for passenger action. In between the fast flying Acela Express runs and Amtrak Regional trains are hourly all-stops SEPTA local runs.

Trains Under Wire.

On the morning of December 19, 2015, Pat Yough and I visited SEPTA stations north (east) of Philadelphia on the former Pennsylvania Railroad electrified four-track line. No GG1s today, but we did catch two old AEM-7s.

PRR_position_light_signals_632_Levittown_DSCF8592

Low level platforms here are soon to be 'improved.'
Low level platforms here are soon to be ‘improved.’
Amtrak ACS-64 number 651 leads train 153 at Levittown, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Amtrak ACS-64 number 651 leads train 153 at Levittown, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Tips of the day: stay sharp and remember that the long distance trains (Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Crescent, etc) are not listed in the Northeast Corridor schedule and can run ahead of the posted station times as listed in their respective schedules in the Amtrak National Timetable.

SEPTA local 9714 makes a station stop at Levittown, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
SEPTA local 9714 makes a station stop at Levittown, Pennsylvania. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Many times I've traveled on this train; Amtrak 56 the Vermonter, seen here approaching Levitttown behind ACS-64 635.
Many times I’ve traveled on this train; Amtrak 56 the Vermonter, seen here approaching Levitttown behind ACS-64 635.
Amtrak Keystone 663 is lead by Siemens-built ACS-64 610. The sharp photographer needs to keep the train numbers distinct from engine numbers. This can get a bit confusing on this section of line since both the ACS-64 locomotives (motors) and Keystone train use 600 series numbers. Just remember one is a piece of equipment, the other is a scheduled service.
Amtrak Keystone 663 is led by Siemens-built ACS-64 610. The sharp photographer needs to keep the train numbers distinct from engine numbers. This can get a bit confusing on this section of line since both the ACS-64 locomotives (motors) and Keystone trains use 600 series numbers. Just remember one is a piece of equipment, the other is a scheduled service.
Ouch! Bad luck, on an otherwise clear morning one lingering fluffy cloud quenched the sunlight just as one of two AEM-7s of the day passed. Engine 927 leads Amtrak train 155 at Levitttown, PA. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, adjusted in post processing with Lightroom to correct contrast, exposure and color temperature.
Ouch! Bad luck, on an otherwise clear morning one lingering fluffy cloud quenched the sunlight just as one of two AEM-7s of the day passed. Engine 927 leads Amtrak train 155 at Levitttown, PA. FujiFilm X-T1 photo, adjusted in post processing with Lightroom to correct contrast, exposure and color temperature.
Amtrak Keystone 662 is in push-mode with ACS-64 636 at the back. (In other words this is a trailing view.) FujiFilm X-T1 digital image.
Amtrak Keystone 662 is in push-mode with ACS-64 636 at the back. (In other words this is a trailing view.) FujiFilm X-T1 digital image with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens.
Who said you can't use a wide-angle when photographing a high-speed train. Acela Express 2250 was racing along at an estimated 125 mph when I exposed this view with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital image with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens. I had the camera in 'CF' (Continuous Fast, what I call 'turbo flutter') and the shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second.
Who said you can’t use a wide-angle when photographing a high-speed train? Acela Express 2250 was racing along at an estimated 125 mph when I exposed this view with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital image with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens. I had the camera in ‘CF’ (Continuous Fast, what I call ‘turbo flutter’) and the shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second.
SEPTA 9707 makes a station stop at Levittown on its way to Trenton, New Jersey.
SEPTA 9707 makes a station stop at Levittown on its way to Trenton, New Jersey.
Amtrak 98 rolls eastward (northward) at Levittstown on the final leg of its trip from Florida to New York Penn-Station. Remind me, why did Amtrak invest in new baggage cars?
Amtrak 98 rolls eastward (northward) at Levittstown on the final leg of its trip from Florida to New York Penn-Station. Remind me, why did Amtrak invest in new baggage cars?
Amtrak Keystone 664 had this battle-worn AEM-7 at the back. Quick action at Croydon allowed for a satisfactory trailing view of the aged electric in action.
Amtrak Keystone 664 had this battle-worn AEM-7 at the back. Quick action at Croydon allowed for a satisfactory trailing view of the aged electric in action.
I always like to catch the long-distance trains under wire. Amtrak ACS-64 606 leads train 91 the Silver Star on its run to Miami, Florida. Photographing the German-designed electrics under old PRR signal bridges makes for a contrast in time and technology that helps tell the story of today's Northeast Corridor.
I always like to catch the long-distance trains under wire. Amtrak ACS-64 606 leads train 91 the Silver Star on its run to Miami, Florida. Photographing the German-designed electrics under old PRR signal bridges makes for a contrast in time and technology that helps tell the story of today’s Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak train number 20, the Crescent was running ahead of its posted time when it passed Croydon. Pat Yough had checked the time on his smart phone, so we were poised for action when its headlight appeared.
Amtrak train number 20, the Crescent was running ahead of its posted time when it passed Croydon. Pat Yough had checked the time on his smart phone, so we were poised for action when its headlight appeared.

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Former PRR Four Track Line at Work.

It helps to be at the right place at the right time. Even on the busy Philadelphia-Washington D.C. Northeast Corridor there can be long gaps between trains..

After 20 minutes or half and hour between trains, you might wonder why the line even has four tracks!

And then ever thing seems converge upon you at once.

Pat Yough and I were at Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania on the evening of January 11, 2015. We didn’t spend much time trackside before we had two running meets a few minutes apart.

SEPTA Silverliner Vs pass near Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania. The train on the left is approaching its station stop, while the train on right accelerates toward 30th Street Philadelphia. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.
SEPTA Silverliner Vs pass near Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania. The train on the left is approaching its station stop, while the train on right accelerates toward 30th Street Philadelphia. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.
The same two trains a few moments later. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.
The same two trains a few moments later. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.
Just three minutes after the rolling meet between SEPTA trains on the outside tracks, we witnessed this high-speed meet between Amtrak trains on the inside tracks. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.
Just three minutes after the rolling meet between SEPTA trains on the outside tracks, we witnessed this high-speed meet between Amtrak trains on the inside tracks. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens. ISO 400.

Was this synchronicity? Or just luck? I don’t know. In the case of the two Amtrak trains both were running a few minutes late, so that was luck. It would have been cool to see all four pass at the same time, but unless we were phenomenally lucky, it is doubtful that such an event would have produced good photos.

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Princeton Junction, New Jersey, June 29, 2014.

Views on the Long Tangent.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad at Princeton Junction is on an exceptionally long level tangent and on fast track. A headlight appears as a twinkle. Minutes pass. The rails begin to sing and the catenary starts to resonate. Then a train blasts by at more than 100 mph!

Amtrak's Acele Express blasts through Princeton Junction at more than 100mph. Exposed with a Lumix LX-7.
Amtrak’s Acele Express blasts through Princeton Junction at more than 100mph. Exposed with a Lumix LX-7.

It was here that my father captured the United Aircraft TurboTrain on trial at speed back in the 1960s.

Princeton Junction is also where you can switch to the ‘Dinky’, which traverses NJ Transit’s shortest branch (recently made even shorter) to Princeton.

Old Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals (modified with color aspects) remain standard on the Northeast Corridor. Exposed using a Canon 7D with 200mm lens.
Old Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals (modified with color aspects) remain standard on the Northeast Corridor. Exposed using a Canon 7D with 200mm lens.
On the evening of July 29, 2014, an Amtrak Keystone train approaches Princeton Junction. The old PRR tower is on the right. An eastbound Keystone from Harrisburg was bearing down at the same time. The two trains passed at the station with a closing speed of more than 200 mph!
On the evening of June 29, 2014, an Amtrak Keystone train approaches Princeton Junction. The old PRR tower is on the right. An eastbound Keystone from Harrisburg was bearing down at the same time. The two trains passed at the station with a closing speed of more than 200 mph!
Think fast and act faster; I had only a few moments to turn around and catch this running meet between Amtrak Keystone trains. Both are moving at more than 100 mph!
Think fast and act faster; I had only a few moments to turn around and catch this running meet between Amtrak Keystone trains. Both are moving at more than 100 mph!
An NJ Transit train from New York Penn Station pauses on the platform at Princeton Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An NJ Transit train from New York Penn Station pauses on the platform at Princeton Junction. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An eastbound New Jersey Transit train from Trenton glides toward Princeton Junction. Since track 1 is out of service, passenger will board from platform extensions to track 2. The fading light of this June evening made for an atmospheric image on the busy North East Corridor. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An eastbound New Jersey Transit train from Trenton glides toward Princeton Junction. Since track 1 is out of service, passenger will board from platform extensions to track 2. The fading light of this June evening made for an atmospheric image on the busy North East Corridor. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Tomorrow, Tracking the Light takes a spin on the Dinky!

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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: Amtrak Cities Sprinter Revenue Run, February 7, 2014

 Photos of Amtrak’s Latest.

Yesterday (February 7, 2014), after several months of testing, Amtrak’s new ACS-64 Siemens built ‘Cities Sprinter’ locomotive 600 made its first revenue run on Amtrak train 171 (Boston to Washington).

My dad and I went to Milford, Connecticut on the North East Corridor to catch the new electric. Pop made some B&W photos with his Leica M3 from the east end of the platform. I worked the curve at the west end with my Canons.

I popped off a couple of slides with the EOS 3 with a 100mm telephoto, and exposed two bursts of digital images using the Canon 7D with 20mm lens.

 

Brand new Amtrak electric 600 leads train 171 (Boston to Washington) at Milford, Connecticut at 10:56am February 7, 2014.  Canon 7D with 20mm lens. f4.5 1/2000th second, ISO 200.
Brand new Amtrak electric 600 leads train 171 (Boston to Washington) at Milford, Connecticut at 10:56am February 7, 2014. Canon 7D with 20mm lens. f4.5 1/2000th second, ISO 200.
Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.
Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.
Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.
Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.

Amtrak_171_ACS_64_engine_600_at_Milford_trailing_1_IMG_4213

Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.
Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens. Amtrak ACS 64 number 600.

By the way the 20mm on the 7D has a field of view equal to about a 35mm lens on a traditional 35mm film camera.

The new electric sure looked nice! I’ll be keen to see the B&W photos and slides when they are processed.

After 171 passed, I made a few photos of a Metro-North local, then Pop and I went over to inspect the recently opened Metro-North station at West Haven, where we made a few photos of passing trains.

Did you get to see Amtrak’s latest electric?

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News Flash: Amtrak ACS-64 Debut.

Today Amtrak number 600 worked train 171 from Boston.

Brand new Amtrak electric 600 leads train 171 (Boston to Washington) at Milford, Connecticut at 10:56am February 7, 2014.  Canon 7D with 20mm lens. f4.5 1/2000th second, ISO 200.
Brand new Amtrak electric 600 leads train 171 (Boston to Washington) at Milford, Connecticut at 10:56am February 7, 2014. Canon 7D with 20mm lens. f4.5 1/2000th second, ISO 200.

Click to see more photos: Amtrak Cities Sprinter Revenue Run, February 7, 2014

After several months of testing, new Amtrak ACS-64 ‘Cities Sprinter’ 600 made its first revenue run on Amtrak 171 (Boston to Washington).

My dad and I went to Milford, Connecticut on the North East Corridor to catch the new electric.

Snow and sun made for a nearly perfect morning.

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DAILY POST: Amtrak to Philadelphia


Snapshot of a Northeast Corridor Trip, January 2014.

I used my trip on Amtrak 475/175 as an opportunity to make a few photographs. While I had some bigger cameras in my bag, I exposed all of these images with my Lumix LX3.

I boarded shuttle train 475 at Berlin, Connecticut just as the sun was setting. By the time I arrived in New Haven, only a faint blue glow remained of daylight.

Amtrak 475 (Springfield, Massachusetts—New Haven, Connecticut shuttle) works as a two-car push-pull with a former Metroliner (MP85) cab car leading. The train glides to a stop in front of the old Berlin, Connecticut railway station. Once a double track line, today this is a single track route. Lumix LX3 photo.
Amtrak 475 (Springfield, Massachusetts—New Haven, Connecticut shuttle) works as a two-car push-pull with a former Metroliner (MP85) cab car leading. The train glides to a stop in front of the old Berlin, Connecticut railway station. Once a double track line, today this is a single track route. Lumix LX3 photo.
Even the branch train has WiFi.
Even the branch train has WiFi.
A Boston-bound Acela Express pauses at New Haven. I had about 15 minutes to make photos before my connection, trian 175, from Boston arrived.
A Boston-bound Acela Express pauses at New Haven. I had about 15 minutes to make photos before my connection, trian 175, from Boston arrived.
The Acela Express accelerates out of New Haven. I panned the rear of the train with the Lumix image stabilization set 'on'; f2.8 at 1/5th of a second, ISO 200.
The Acela Express accelerates out of New Haven. I panned the rear of the train with the Lumix image stabilization set ‘on’; f2.8 at 1/5th of a second, ISO 200.
A Shore Line East suburban train roars away on the platform. These New Haven painted diesels have auxiliary engines to provide head-end power.
A Shore Line East suburban train roars away on the platform. These New Haven painted diesels have auxiliary engines to provide head-end power.
A set of new Metro-North M8s arrived from Grand Central Terminal. It's nice to see a shiny new train every so often!
A set of new Metro-North M8s arrived from Grand Central Terminal. It’s nice to see a shiny new train every so often!
An HHP electric slides westward with train 175 in tow. How much longer will these powerful machines work the Northeast Corridor?
An HHP electric slides westward with train 175 in tow. How much longer will these powerful machines work the Northeast Corridor?

I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I used the station signs and other available flat surfaces on the platform to steady the camera. To avoid camera shake, after composing my image, I set the self timer to 2 seconds and press the shutter button.

Also, I overexposed each image by 1/3 to 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the prevailing darkness.

The trip was uneventful. Amtrak is my preferred means for navigating between cities in the Northeastern USA.

On board train 175 at New York Penn Station.
On board train 175 at New York Penn Station.
Crossing the Delaware at Trenton, New Jersey.
Crossing the Delaware at Trenton, New Jersey.
Philadelphia 30th Street. We were about 5 minute behind the advertised, but that's within tolerance, right? This classic Pennsylvania Railroad station is one of the gems of the Northeast Corridor.
Philadelphia 30th Street. Amtrak 175  arrived about 5 minute behind the advertised, but that’s within tolerance, right? This classic Pennsylvania Railroad station is one of the gems of the Northeast Corridor.
30th Street Station as viewed from the 29th Street side.
30th Street Station as viewed from the 29th Street side.
A classical entrance to Philadelphia; you just don't get the same feeling from an airport.
A classical entrance to Philadelphia; you just don’t get the same feeling from an airport.
Philadelphia.
Looking east on JFK Blvd toward Center City. SEPTA’s former PRR line to Suburban Station is on the left.

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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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Pelham Bay Park Part 2, January 1984.

 

A View From Grandma’s Terrace.

In yesterday’s post, I explained that my grandparents had a Coop City apartment in The Bronx. It was on the 19th floor of a 1970s-era tower block located at the periphery of New York City and the edge of Pelham Bay Park. Looking East, it offered a view of the Hutchinson River (with Goose Island in the middle) and of Amtrak’s former New Haven line to Penn-Station on the far shore.

The best part of the apartment was the terrace, which faced the river and the tracks. As young kids, my brother, Sean, and I would spend hours sending paper airplanes and bubbles, (and sometime heavier items) off the terrace to see how far they’d go. But for me the highlight of the apartment (apart from grandma and grandpa) was the regular passage of trains.

By age 10, I’d learned to calculate running times. Eastbound (northbound) trains running toward Boston would pass 17-20 minutes after leaving Penn-Station, while Westbound (Southbound) trains were less predictable, and sometimes wouldn’t show up until after they were scheduled to depart Penn-Station.

Until 1981, Amtrak would occasionally operate its elderly GG1 Electrics, and I’d keep my Leica handy for just such an event. On rare occasions, two trains would pass in front of the apartment.

I vividly recall a frenzied moment, when Sean shouted, “there’s two trains!” I panicked and in the 10-15 seconds I had to act, I failed to locate the camera. “You missed it! I can’t believe you missed it!” Eventually, the situation repeated itself, and a photograph resulted.

By 1984, freight had been diverted off the line, while most Amtrak trains to New Haven consisted of eight to ten Amfleet cars hauled by AEM-7 electrics. The one elusive train was Amtrak’s Night Owl that passed in the wee hours (as owls do) and this train carried sleeping cars. Even at night these cars looked different than the others.

In the relative silence of early morning, trains would make an audible clatter crossing the bascule drawbridge that was just out of sight from the terrace. We were visiting for New Year’s at the end of 1983. One night during that visit, my sixth sense for trains alerted me in my sleep that the southward Night Owl hadn’t gone by at its usual time (about 3 am).

By daybreak, the Night Owl still hadn’t gone by. So, I readied my old Leica 3A, and waited. Shortly after sunrise it rolled by, and I exposed several Ektachrome slides. These might have been better if I’d used a longer lens, yet, had I done that, then the photos wouldn’t have shown all the heritage equipment, including the train’s sleeping cars, that distinguished it from ordinary North East Corridor trains. While not my greatest effort, it’s not too bad considering I was half asleep and not yet skilled with the camera.

Amtrak at Sunrise
Night Owl at Pelham Bay Park January 1984.

I found this slide last month mixed in with some ‘3rds’ (my old term for slides that were not bad enough to throw away, yet neither good enough to give away—what I called 2nds, nor acceptable for slide shows—1sts). Time has move it up a couple of degrees. I’m not giving it away.

 

See: Pelham Bay Park Part I, andKid with a Camera Framingham, Massachusetts, 1982.

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Amtrak’s Mayflower at South Norwalk, Connecticut, November 16, 1992.

 

Amtrak AEM-7 911 on the Northeast Corridor.

At 11:11 am on November 16, 1992, I made this image of double-headed AEM-7s leading train 169 The Mayflower passing the interlocking at South Norwalk on the former New Haven Railroad mainline.

Amtrak 911
Amtrak train 169 led by AEM-7 number 911 at South Norwalk; exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a Tokina f5.6 400mm telephoto lens.

This was a routine event. I don’t recall anything unusual or noteworthy about the train itself. I was playing with a Tokina f5.6 400mm lens I’d recently purchased secondhand. I made this photo with that lens attached to my Nikon F3T on Kodachrome 25.

My exposure-notes indicate that the lens was at its widest aperture and the camera at 1/125 of a second. I probably had the camera on my Bogen 3021 tripod as I doubt I would have tried to hand hold the 400mm lens at 1/125th of second.

Telephoto lens compression with truss-bridges under the old New Haven catenary makes for a tunnel-like effect, while giving context to the crossovers.

At that time, Amtrak’s AEM-7s were still in their ‘as delivered’ condition with their original paint scheme. These powerful little locomotives have been the backbone of Amtrak’s electrified operations for more than three decades. Their day in the sun will soon end; replacements are on their way.

 

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Amtrak Capitols Crossing Carquinez Straits, August 12, 2009.

 

Dramatic Bridge Silhouette.

Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.

On the morning of August 12, 2009, I used my Canon EOS 3 with a 100-400 mm Canon image stabilization lens to expose this image of an Amtrak California Capitols train crossing the former Southern Pacific Carquinez Straits Bridge at Martinez, California. (Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor derives its name from California’s old and new capital cities, San Jose and Sacramento)

When this bridge was completed in 1930, it was the largest double track railway bridge west of the Mississippi. Today it carries Amtrak and Union Pacific trains.

Coastal fog softened the morning sun making for a cosmic effect. Making photographs of the bridge is complicated by  the enormous Interstate 680 bridges that flank it on both sides. I’ve found that a broadside silhouette is the most effective way of capturing the scale of the bridges.

For another view from this hillside see:

Union Pacific’s Ozol Yard, Martinez, California, August 12, 2009, posted May 13, 2013.

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