Tag Archives: #Pennsylvania

Two Main Track

On directional double track, trains proceed on signal indication in the current of traffic. On Two Main track, both tracks are signaled in both directions, which allows trains to proceed on either track in either direction on signal indication.

Last week, I made these views of the westward Amtrak Keystone train 647 on the close track at Leaman Place, PA. From what I could ascertain, it had run around another train on the far track near Parkesburg.

While this move was fully signaled, I thought it was comparatively unusual in that it was the first time I’d seen a regularly scheduled Amtrak westbound using the near track at this location. This made for photo opportunities that I might not have considered if the train was on the far track.

I made this motor drive sequence using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm lens.

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Glory to the old Metroliner Cabs

In its day, the Budd-Metroliner was America’s answer to the Japanese Shinkansen. This fast electric train (MP85) was built for Pennsylvania Railroad and some briefly carried PRR-Keystone heralds before Penn-Central assumed operations of PRR’s lines in 1968. The Metroliner service was introduced using the Metroliner cars in the early years of Penn Central.

In 1971, Amtrak assumed operation of the Metroliner and continued to use the former PRR/PC trains for fast services on the former PRR between New York and Washington D.C.

The Metroliner body style was the basis for the Budd-built Amfleet cars that were introduced in the mid-1970s, and which remain standard for many Amtrak trains today.

Amtrak later assigned locomotive hauled Amfleet consists to its Metroliner services. In their waining years as self-propelled electric trains the former Metroliner train sets worked Amtrak Keystone services to Harrisburg.

Today, some of the much modified old Metroliner cab cars survive on Amtrak’s five-car push-pull sets, many of which are assigned as standard consists to the New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone trains. Until 2014, these consists also routinely worked the Vermonter when it was still routed via Palmer, Massachusetts.

I made these views of Amtrak’s former Metroliner cab cars passing Gap, Pa., a couple of week ago.

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Glinty Reflections in the Susquehanna.

We found a shady place to park in Harrisburg’s Fort Hunter Mansion Park over looking Norfolk Southern’s Rockville Bridge.

We were hoping to catch a coal train. Instead, an eastward autorack freight came rolling across the bridge. As this was passing, a second an eastward train crossed the bridge on an adjacent track—and was blocked from view by the autoracks.

I made this view using my Z7-II fitted with a 70-200mm lens.

Staying in the shade of the trees in the park helped to reduce flare from the sun in the western sky.

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Steam on a Monday!

There aren’t too many place in the United States where you can pull up to a rural grade crossing on a Monday and roll by a steam locomotive .

That’s just what I did the other day on my drive through Strasburg.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7. The scene is timeless. Consider; a Mogul type hauling wooden-body passenger cars, and there no wires, no automobiles, no cell-phones . . . well all that is all behind me-literally.

Lumix LX7 photo exposed in RAW, color adjusted in post processing. Compare with the de-saturated mono-chrome version below.
In post processing I altered the contrast and used the ‘saturation’ slider to convert the image to monochrome (black &white).
Clean burning engine, rods down. Now, if we only switch off the headlight, it could be 1925.

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Color or Black & White at Carpenters?

Sunday morning Kris and I went out to watch Strasburg Rail Road.

I set up for the returning 11 am train at Carpenters cemetery.

As the train approached, I made photos with both my Lumix LX7 and Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm Z-series zoom.

In post processing, I converted the Z7-II file to make a black & white photo.

Which do you like better?

Lumix LX7
Nikon Z7-II with 70-200mm.

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Philadelphia & Reading Bridge—Harrisburg

Third time’s the charm.

In June 2009, I made my first visit to the former Philadelphia & Reading arched bridge over the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pa.

At that stage, I was still using film exclusively, and using my Canon EOS-3 loaded with Fujichrome, I made some photos of the bridge sans train.

Kris and I paid another visit to the bridge in March of 2022, Again, I made photos of the arches, but no luck catching anything on the move.

Toward the end of July, I made my third visit. This time fortune favored me. Not long after I parked on South Front Street, I heard a horn to the west and soon an eastward Norfolk Southern train came rolling across the arches.

I made these images using my Lumix LX7 and Nikon Z6 cameras.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Z6 with Nikkor f2.8 180mm.

I had the Z6 set up with my 1980s-era Nikkor f2.8 180mm prime telephoto. While a very sharp lens, this is operated manually, which makes focusing a little tricky.

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Visiting the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania with Wayne.

Two weeks ago, Kris and I accompanied Wayne Duffett of TEC Associates on a detailed tour of railroad equipment, artifacts and models displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

This is just a great place. I’m never bored amoung the beautifully restored and displayed engines and cars. Everytime I visit, I find something I’d never seen before. and I can never tire of seeing a magnificent GG1 electric dressed in the classic Loewy stripes. (And recall the New Year’s morning 43 years ago, when my dad, brother and I inspected this very same GG1 on the ready tracks at New Haven, Connecticut.)

We spend several hours gazing in awe at all the great relics of railroading past.

The airbrake training car was a real treat. I never knew that this restored in fully operational condition!

Somehow, I made more than 300 photos, working with my Nikon Z6 and Kris’s Fujifilm XT4.

I made a bunch of side by side comparisons between the Nikon and Fuji cameras, but I’ll display those images in a future post.

Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Fujifilm XT4 photo by Kris Sabbatino.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Fujifilm XT4 with Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.
Nikon Z6 with Nikkor 24-70mm lens.

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Electric, Steam and Diesel in 45 minutes!

Last Thursday morning, I photographed four trains in 45 minutes. Three were scheduled.

I caught eastward and westward Amtrak Keystone trains at Gap, Pennsylvania, then made a short drive over to the Strasburg Rail Road, where I waited for the 10am scheduled excursion to Leaman Place. As this steam hauled train approached Blackhorse Road, I could hear a second horn to the west.

I surmised that Strasburg’s local freight might be following the excursion. My guess was close; Strasburg’s SW8 diesel was leading a ballast hopper toward Leaman Place where it would clear for the excursion to return.

I can’t recall any time in the recent past in America where I caught electric, steam and diesel trains over such a short span of time.

Photos exposed with my Lumix LX7.

Amtrak Keystone train 646 eastbound near Gap, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Trailing view of Amtrak Keystone train 646 eastbound near Gap, PA with ACS-64 665 at the rear of the consist. Lumix LX7 photo.

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Amtrak train 641 working cab car first rolls through Gap, PA. ACS-64 667 electric is working at the back of the train.
Trailing view of Keystone 641 with ACS-64 667 electric as it passes Gap, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Strasburg Rail Road 2-6-0 number 89 crosses Blackhorse Road with the 10am excursion. Lumix LX7 photo.
Strasburg 89 up close and personal!
Strasburg Rail Road’s former New York Central SW8 leads a ballast car eastbound at Blackhorse Road.
Trailing view of Strasburg Rail Roadl SW8 8618 eastbound at Blackhorse Road.Lumix LX photo

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Norfolk Southern’s Royalton Branch

This is a follow up to Thursday’s post. After photographing coal empties on the Port Road at Washington Boro, PA, I followed the train by traveling compass northwest on highway 441.

Norfolk Southern’s Royalton Branch is a former Pennsylvania Railroad line, once electrified, that allows an alternated routing through the Harrisburg area for freights using the Port Road.

Beyond Marietta railroad routes divide, with one line crossing the Susquehanna River via the Shocks Mills bridge to reach Enola Yard. The Royalton Branch runs toward Harrisburg on the east bank of the river.

I’m just learning this territory, so as of now, I’m not completely fluent as the modern names for the junctions and timetable directions of the tracks. However, I know that trains have a choice of routings, so last week I took a chance that the coal empties would run via the Royalton Branch. Previously, I’d scoped out a location near Middletown not far from the famous Three Mile Island.

Fortune favored me, and I arrived with ample time to set up and change lenses. Instead of my 70-200mm Z-series zoom, I was traveling with my 1980s-era Nikkor f2.8 180mm ED fixed focal length manual focus telephoto, which attaches to my Z-series mirrorless cameras using an adaptor.

This is a traditional piece of glass and offers a classic quality, especially when used wide open (f2.8). However, its tricky to set the focus while trying to expose manually.

I made a series of photos with my Nikon Z6 and 180mm and a frame with my Lumix LX7.

NS coal empties at Royalton, PA. Exposed with a Nikon Z6 with Nikkor f2.8 180mm ED fixed telephoto.
NS coal empties at Royalton, PA. Exposed with a Nikon Z6 with Nikkor f2.8 180mm ED fixed telephoto.
Lumix LX7 photo at milepost 11 in Royalton, PA.

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Views with my Nikons at Wanamaker, PA.

The village of Wanamaker, Pennsylvania reminds me of rural German villages in north Central Germany.

I exposed these photos with my Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras on our visit to the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern a couple of weeks ago.

The pastoral former Reading Company Lehigh & Schuylkill branch makes for a lovely setting. Although it isn’t very long, the WK&S is a lovely tourist line with rural charm and a laid back operation reminiscent of branchline railroading of another generation.

Their little World War II era GE seemed a bit out of scale compared with the former Lackawanna coach it was hauling, but the train made for an interesting subject.

I wonder what it will be like in Wanamaker in another 60 years? WK&S celebrates it’s 60th anniverary of operation in September!

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NS Coal Empties on the Port Road Branch

Over the course of recent weeks, Kris and I have explored locations on the Norfolk Southern’s Port Road Branch. This is a portion of former Pennsylvania Railroad that follows the Susquehanna River between the Harrisburg area and a connection with the Northeast Corridor at Perryville, Maryland.

PRR electrified the route in the 1930s, and it handled electrically powered freights until the Conrail era. The old electric catenary supports are evidence of this by-gone era. It has been more than 40 years since electric operations ended on this portion of the former Conrail system.

Daylight freight moves on the Port Road seem to be relatively rare, owing to an Amtrak daytime curfew on the Northeast Corridor route.

Last week, I left Lancaster very early and made my way to Columbia, PA where I picked up the Norfolk Southern Port Road line. In the morning glow, I found that home signal was lit ‘clear’ for a train movement toward Harrisburg. Expecting a train, I proceeded against it on the parallel highway to Washington Boro, PA, where I scoped a suitable location near a local park.

I waited for a few minutes, and soon heard the approaching freight.

I set up with my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens and exposed this sequence of an NS empty coal train rolling up river.

Since the train wasn’t moving more than about 25 mph, I followed it along the adjacent highway. Stay tuned for more!

Former Pennsylvania Railroad electrified line at Columbia, PA. A high dew point made it difficult to keep the front element of my lens from misting over.
In many places the road, the railroad and the Susquehanna River run adjacent to one another. The classic catenary supports visually identify the line as the former Pennsylvania Railroad.
After just a short wait, this Norfolk Southern empty coal train came into view at Washington Boro, PA.
Soft morning light on the coal train made for a classic view.
This wideangle photo is at the same location in Washington Boro.
Trailing view at Washington Boro, PA.
View of the hoppers from Washington Boro Park rolling along from the opposite side of Highway 441.

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An A1 Visit to the Strasburg Rail Road! 21 photos.

Last week, when TEC Associates’ Wayne Duffett visited, we took a trip on the Strasburg Rail Road.

Former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 475 was working.

We traveled in style, riding in parlor car Marian, and each enjoyed a Tröegs beer on the way to Leaman Place.

We passed some Amish farmers at Blackhorse Road.

Wayne commented on the height of the corn and the wonderful pastoral scenery.

As we arrived at Leaman Place, we met Strasburg Rail Road’s SW8 that was departing with a very short freight.

That’s not something you can experience on very many railroads: meeting a revenue freight on a steam hauled tourist excursion.

After we arrived back at the railroad’s East Strasburg Station, I made photos of Wayne with the locomotive, before headed out the line by road to photograph the next run.

Photos exposed digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

A parting view of parlor car Marian at Blackhorse Road.

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Wayne’s Main Line Visit

Owing to its lineage along the route of Pennsylvania’s original Main Line of Public Works, the former Pennsylvania Railroad trunk is known as ‘The Main Line’. This historic route runs just a few blocks from our new home.

Last week our friend Wayne Duffett-TEC Associate’s Bridge Inspector and Conway Scenic Railroad steam locomotive engineer (and Tracking the Light reader) visited Kris and I in Lancaster, PA.

After dinner at the Outback Steakhouse, we brought Wayne on a short tour of the railroad, hitting several highlights of the old Main Line.

Using the ASM.transitdocs.com Amtrak realtime phone app, we were able to time the passage of an eastward Amtrak Keystone to just a few minutes, and watched the train zip by at nearly 90mph.

Photos exposed with a Lumix LX7.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad stone bridge over the Conestoga River in Lancaster, PA. Lumix LX7 photo.
Wayne posing with some goob in at PRR hat. Photo by Kris Solomon.
Amtrak Keystone races eastward on the old Main Line.

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The March of a Twelve-Wheeler

Over the last month of so, Kris and I have paid weekly visits to Pennsylvania’s Strasburg Rail Road to observe and photograph their trains.

During this time, former Canadian National Mogul-type 89 has been the star attraction. However, on Friday, we observed the 5 and 7pm trains that ran with former Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 number 475.

I really like the way this locomotive looks and sounds. It had a long tapered boiler and smoke box that gives it a classic appearance, while its whistle makes a low mournful cry that stirs a vision of the past.

We waited at Esbenshade road for the return of the 7pm train, listening to the engine work upgrade and sound for the crossings.

I made this sequence of photos with my Nikon Z digital cameras as the train approached.

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Location Unknown—Reading Mystery Solved! (And re-photographed)

On February 27, 2021, I posted ‘Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown’, that featured a photograph my father made back in May 1963. Previously, I’d run this photo across the gutter as an opening spread in my book Locomotive (published by MBI in 2001).

At the time I was preparing the book, I quizzed my Dad about the location of the photo, and he was unable to recall the details, except that it was a Reading Iron Horse Ramble ‘somewhere in Pennsylvania’.


In the two and half two years since I first posted “Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown” on Tracking the Light, I’ve received considerable response regarding the location of the photo.

In the meantime, I built an HO-model railroad based on the Reading (my ‘Wee Reading Company which included a model of 2102), got married to my fiancée Kris, and then during May and June this year we moved New Hampshire to Pennsylvania . ( And I had to sacrifice the Wee Reading Company in the process).

Several readers acted as detectives and narrowed the location of my father’s photo and provided me great detail . As it turns out location is less than an hour from our new home in Lancaster.

The other day, Kris and I drove to the crossing in the photo and I made a sequence of ‘Now’ photos to pair with my father’s original slide.

I didn’t have a copy of the photo with me and had to work from memory. (I’d hoped to use the image as posted on Tracking the Light, but the signal in the Brandywine Valley was poor and I could pull up TTL on my phone).

Interestingly, the first photo I made matches up nearly perfectly with my Dads. I sent him a phone photo with my iPhone once we signal, and he wrote back, ‘Yep! That’s the place’.

Special thanks to everyone that helped find location Pop’s ‘Unknown Location’, including Robert Mastrippolito, George Legler (who also supplied the vintage 1/4 mile map), John Hartman, Scott Snell and Chris Bost. Thanks guys!

Back in May 1963, Pop stood at the crossing south of Coatesville near Embreeville in Newlin Township, PA., where Youngs/Harveys Bridge Road, crossed the Reading Company tracks. The view is looking south toward Harveys Bridge, which was located between milepost 26 3/4 and milepost 27 on the former Reading Company’s Wilmington and Northern line, a line now part of the East Penn shortline system.

Photo exposed in July 2023 with a Nikon Z7-11, 24-70mm set to 70mm.

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Revisiting the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridges at Safe Harbor

Kris and I paid another visit to the former Pennsylvania Railroad bridges along the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor, PA.

We have stopped here a couple of times before, but on this visit I wanted to take a look at the upper level bridge which now hosts the Enola Low Grade Trail.

A connecting trail has been built here to reach the high level trestle.

My challenge will be returning here at an appropriate time to catch a Norfolk Southern freight. Owing to a curfew on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor with which the NS line connects, most of its freight moves through here during the hours of darkness.

The bridges are very impressive and offer a great view of the Susquehanna and the Safe Harbor Dam. See the link below the photos for information the Low Grade Trail

The high level trestle at Safe Harbor was last used by Conrail in 1988. It now hosts the Enola Low Grade Trail. The line on the lower level is the old PRR Port Deposit route used by Norfolk Southern.

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z7-II.

My technique for getting a sunburst and retaining definition in the sky is using a very small aperture (in this case f22) and exposing manually for the sky.
It has been more than 40 years since Conrail discontinued electrified operations and yet the catenary masts remain as a legacy to Pennsylvania Railroad’s high voltage electric operations on these lines.
Afternoon view of the Safe Harbor dam powerhouse from the Enola Low Grade Trail.

To learn more about the trail, click on the link below.

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Reading & Northern 2102 in Motion!

I’ve been sifting through hundreds of photos that I made of the July 1, 2023 Reading & Northern Iron Horse Ramble to Jim Thorpe, PA.

The railroad put on an amazing show of steam and I was very impressed by the performance of the locomotive and its crew.

Below are a couple sequences made on the outward leg of the trip. These were exposed using my Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

My goal was to capture Reading & Northern’s 4-8-4 steam locomotive at work. In these images, I’ve tried to picture the engine in the classic ‘rods down’ position that was favored by many traditional locomotive photographers.

More 2102 images soon!

Hamburg, PA.
Hamburg, PA. Lens set at 43mm.
Crossing River Road near Atlas Park, West Penn, PA. Lens set at 49mm.
Lens set at 49mm.
Crossing River Road near Atlas Park, West Penn, PA. Lens set at 24mm.

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Rosy Keystone Approaching Greenfield.

Yesterday evening (June 28, 2023), poor air quality made for a rosy sunset in Lancaster, PA.

Kris and I took a short drive over to Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line to catch Amtrak’s Keystone service train 653 that was down about 18 minutes from the advertised.

I especially liked the trailing view because the stainless steel train caught the rich evening light.

I made some minor adjustments in Lightroom to make the most of the reddish glow.

Amtrak Keystone train 653 westbound. Nikon Z6 with 80-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom set to 175mm; f2.8 1.1250 sec, ISO 800.
Clear signal at 64 dot 5. 175mm f2.8 1/2000th of a second, ISO 800.
Glinting Amfleet at Greenfield.
Sunset in a smoky sky. June 28, 2023.

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NS Local Freight at Dusk

Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg runs a short distance from our new home. While this is primarily the route of the Keystone and Pennsylvanian trains, it also hosts Norfolk Southern locals that use the line to reach secondary lines and serve local industry.

Since we moved in, I’ve heard a few NS trains but not had the opportunity to investigate their movements in daylight. However, last night we saw this local near Greenfield Road in Lancaster, PA.

As a trainman was setting up the telemetry device on the locomotive that would become the rear of his train, I made a few photos with my Lumix LX7.

Lumix LX7 photo. Exposed handheld at f1.8 for 1.5th of a second at ISO80. Locomotives were positioned at each end of the short local freight. GP38-2 5607 was being set up as the rear of the freight.

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Steam and Shadow at Esbenshade Part 2

Esbenshade! What a great name for a crossing suited to silhouette?

The other day I presented an example of a telephoto view of Strasburg Rail Road Number 89 leading the Saturday 6pm excursion at Esbenshade Road in Strasburg, PA.

Today, I’m offering two examples of wideangle views at the same crossing. These were exposed as NEF RAW files with my Nikon Z7-II, which has incredible dynamic range.

In this situation to make a silhouette, I set the camera in ‘M’-mode (manual) and used the in-camera meter to expose for the sky. I have my display showing an exposure histogram, the helps me best balance the detail captured in the extreme highlights and shadows. Although this detail isn’t evident in the thumbnail camera display, it has been captured in the NEF RAW file.

After downloading the camera, I import the NEF files into Adobe Lightroom, and use the ‘Light’ slider controls (including ‘highlights,’ and ‘shadows’) to adjust the images to better reveal details across the range of exposure. Again, by keeping an eye on an exposure histogram, I can avoid pushing the limits of adjustment and minimize data loss.

To allow for individual control of the sky, I made some adjustments using the ‘select sky’ mask.

Below are two examples of unadjusted NEF RAW files and the corresponding adjusted images.

This is how the unadjusted NEF RAW file appears (file converted to a scaled JPG for internet presentation) Note the lack of detail in the shadow areas.
This is the adjusted version of the same photo.
Unadjusted NEF RAW file.
This is adjusted version of the same file.

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Strasburg Rail Road Freight

Strasburg Rail Road is best known for its steam excursions, but the railroad is a common carrier and operates a thriving local freight business.

On our visit to the Strasburg, PA area last month, I was lucky to catch one of their freights on the move. This was led by the railroad’s former New York Central SW8 diesel 8618.

This classic General Motors Electro-Motive Division swticher was built for New York Central System c1953 and carried the number 9618. It is painted in a neo-New York Central scheme, and was Conrail 8618 for many years.

In the 1980s, I made many photos of Conrail switchers, and I wonder if somewhere among my slides and negatives I may have a photo of this locomotive in its former existence.

Strasburg Rail Road SW8 8618
Strasburg Rail Road local freight viewed from Carpenters.
SW8 8618 with two boxcars at Leaman Place along Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor—the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line.

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1980s-Retro passes Gap, Pennsylvania.

I was lucky last Wednesday as Amtrak P42 number 145 wearing ‘Phase III’ heritage paint was leading train #42, the eastward Pennsylvanian.

Although the so-called Amtrak Phase III was introduced in the mid-1970s, for me it represents the predominant scheme that adorned Amtrak locomotives during the 1980s. I made countless color slides of F40PH diesels, and AEM-7 and E60 electrics in this scheme.

Amtrak repainted a several of its P42 Genesis diesels in 2011 to mark the railroad’s 40th Anniversary. In addition, several of Amtrak’s dual-mode 700-series Genesis units have also been painted in this scheme.

I was delighted to catch Amtrak 145 working the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line at Gap, Pennsylvania, and made a series of digital images using my Nikon Z-series digital cameras.

Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom. Photo cropped for effect.
Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom.
Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z-series zoom.

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Misty Morning at Christiana, PA.

It was a retro 1970s moment at Christiana, Pennsylvania, when I made these coming and going views of Amtrak Keystone train 648.

The Conrail caboose to the right of the train is former Erie Lackawanna that was painted in an usual variation of COnrail blue at Erie’s Meadville, Pennsyvlania shops in 1976.

The cab car is one of the former PRR/Penn Central self-propelled Metroliner cars developed by Budd in the 1960s and characterized Amtrak’s high-speed services in the 1970s and early 1980s. Later these cars were modified and routinely operated to Harrisburg on this route.

Former Metroliner cab car leads Amtrak 648 eastbound at Christiana, PA.
Amtrak ACS64 669 works at the back of Keystone train 648 at Christiana, PA.

Photos were exposed using my Nikon Z7-II and adjusted for contrast, exposure and color temperature using Adobe Lightroom.

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We Arrived at Strasburg Just in Time!

January 15, 2023: Kris and I spent the day driving to Strasburg, Pennsylvania. We arrived just in time to make photos of 2-10-0 No. 90 arriving with the last scheduled train of the day.

With the setting sun just above the horizon, we had some beautiful winter light to photograph this historic machine in action. Cold weather can offer the best conditions to photograph steam locomotive because of the superior light and dramatic effects of condenstation.

I made these images using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor zoom lens.

Strasburg Rail Road No.90 at East Strasburg station, Pennsylvania.

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Rare Diesels at Middletown, PA.

In March, Kris and I stopped by the Middletown & Hummelstown railroad yard in its namesake town.

My last visit here was in 2009.

I made a few photos of M&H’s rare diesel locomotives, which includes an Alco S-6 switcher, an Alco T-6 switcher (that was one of last diesels built by Alco before it exited the domestic locomotive market) and a GE 65-ton center cab.

While I exposed a handful of black & white photos on film, I also made these digital images with my Nikon Z6.

Middletown & Hummelstown Alco S-6 diesel switcher is painted for Western Maryland, the locomotive’s original owner.

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Reading Company 800

A week ago (March 17, 2022), Kris and I visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg, where we saw a variety of finely preserved locomotives and rolling stock.

Among the most interesting and unusual pieces on display was Reading Company 800, a perfect example of an overhead electric multiple unit car that once operated on suburban lines in the Philadelphia area.

Of the thousands of locomotives and railcars preserved across the United States, there are relatively few electric multiple units in their as-built condition, which is what makes this display so unusual.

I got a kick out of seeing this car again because it is a Reading Company car and thus relates to our model railroad enterprise in Kris’s basement (although we don’t delve into electrified territory on the wee pike.)