Tag Archives: #Pennsylvania

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.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

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.)

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

The Other ‘Millie’.

These days when I think of ‘The Millie,’ it is Conway Scenic’s RDC 23 that comes to mind.

The other Millie is much older. And that is East Broad Top’s Baldwin 2-8-2 No 12.

Last week Kris and I were given a tour of the East Broad Top facilities at Rock Hill Furnace, Orbisonia, Pennsylvania and I was reacquainted with Millie, a locomotive I hadn’t seen or photographed in nearly 25 years.

I made this view using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

More on the EBT soon!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Snow and Shadows at Esbenshade

Fresh snow and fierce wind made for challenging conditions on the Strasburg Rail Road at Esbenshade Road.

The subtle texture and stark environment of the windswept cornfields with the a steam locomotive makes for a timeless scene.

I exposed these views on Saturday March 12, 2022 using my Nikon Z6 with Z-series 70-200mm lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Reading Vista from the Vista Cruiser.

In August 1981, my family and I were on a loosely mapped vacation in Pennsylvania.

On the second day of our trip, we were driving from Hazelton to Strasburg to visit the famous Strasburg Rail Road.

Fast forward 41 years: yesterday, if you’d asked me if I’d ever photographed Conrail running freight on the old Reading Company, I’d have been hard pressed to come up with an answer.

And, yet here is a Conrail caboose crossing PA 501 near Prescott, PA exposed on the move from the rear window of our 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser!

Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens-Kodak 5063 (Tri-X) processed in Microdol-X developer.

I scanned the negative a little while ago. Unsure as to the location, I enlarged the photo. Thinking back, I recalled a train crossing over us enroute, but as a teenager wasn’t good with my Pennsylvania geography. Looking a the photo, I noticed the Route 501 sign, which gave me the needed clue.

A quick Google search placed this location near Prescott (where 501 ducks under the former Reading Company Crossline route). Looking a Google Earth, I’ve nearly confirmed the location.

Ironically, the next few frames on the roll show static cabooses at Strasburg’s The Red Caboose caboose-themed motel. Ironic, because in 1981, cabooses (of all colors) were still common on most America freight trains.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Norfolk Southern Local at Hunt

It was a warm November morning, when Kris and I visited Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on the old Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division.

Years ago, my old pal TSH and I would visit his grandmother who lived in Huntingdon. Kris and I drove around the village and I located the row house where Gram H. once lived. Then we proceeded to the Amtrak station to wait for the eastward Pennsylvanian.

Norfolk Southern fielded a few freights ahead of Amtrak, including this short local frieght led by a lone SD70ACU. Back in the old days, a pair of GP38-2s would have been standard on the local.

Norfolk Southern local freight passes HUNT tower in Huntingdon, PA.

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 with f2.8 70-200mm zoom lens.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tunnel Inn View

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!

Neat place.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Norfolk Southern at Hollidaysburg.

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.

The stone retaining wall along the road caught my attention.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Low Sun on the Middle Track—Cassandra, Pennsylvania.

In the autumn, the sun swings around in the late afternoon at Cassandra, and neatly lines up with the rock cut to the west of the Railfans Overlook bridge.

Looking west at Cassandra.

We heard a westward freight approaching, so I took a position over the middle track to make for a dramatic telephoto view in the low autumn sun.

I exposed this view using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Z-series zoom extended to 165mm.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

CHeck in to the Tunnel Inn—We did.

Last month Kris and I booked two nights at the Tunnel Inn in Gallitzin, PA, located at milepost 248, immediately west of the tunnels below the Allegheny Divide at the summit of the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

I love Pennsylvania.

I’d made my first visit to Gallitzin on a family holiday back in the summer of 1981—40 years ago. There was no Tunnel Inn back then.

In the 1980s, my old pal TSH and I would make photos from the bridge over the line adjacent to the building that would later become the Tunnel Inn.

On arrival last month, Bob, the proprietor of the Tunnel Inn offered Kris and me a room overlooking the tracks named for the old Pennsylvania Railroad MO Tower. (The tower had controlled movements through the interlocking at Cresson, several miles to the west of Gallitzin.)

The Inn is nicely furnished and decorated inside, and there’s a nice tavern just a short walk down the road. Across the tracks is a preserved Pennsylvania Railroad N8 caboose.

Minutes after we checked in to the Tunnel Inn, the first of many Norfolk Southern trains rolled by.

What a cool place! More to follow soon!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tamaqua Station

I work in the classic railroad station in North Conway, NH built in 1874 , and as it turns out the old Reading Company station at Tamaqua, Pennsylvania was built the same year!

On Thursday November 10, 2021, while on our way to Wisconsin, Kris and I stopped in at Tamaqua Station for lunch. My friend and fellow photographer Pat Yough recommended this station restaurant to us.

Several years ago Pat & I had visited Tamaqua but the station restaurant was closed for an event. At that time, I made seasonal Christmas photos of the station lit up for the season, and later used one in my book Railroad Depots, Stations & Terminals. I’ve been eager to return.

I exposed these most recent Lumix LX7 photos during our visit last Thursday.

While enjoying lunch we heard the rumble of EMD diesels . . .

Stay tuned!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Antracite Country in HO—Progress

On snowy Saturdays and dark evenings, we’ve continued to recreate a vision of Eastern Pennsylvania anthracite country in HO Scale.

Yesterday, I focused on track laying and preliminary wiring.

My girlfriend Kris Sabbatino made these photos of the wee railroad using her new FujiFilm XT4.

See my previous posting for earlier photos of the wee railroad:

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/wp-admin/post.php?post=30559&action=edit

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Reading Company 2102 Location Unknown

In May 1963, my father exposed this Kodachrome slide of Reading Company class T-1 4-8-4 number 2102 leading one of the railroad’s popular Iron Horse Rambles.

21 years ago, I ran this photo across two pages in my large format book Locomotive published by MBI.

Today, this image of great interest to me as part of our on-going model railroad project, which aims to recreate the spirit of the Reading Company in anthracite country.

Leica M3 with Summicron lens. Photo by Richard Jay Solomon.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Minersville Station

A minor station on the former Reading Company will be a significant focus of the model railroad I’m building with Kris Sabbatino.

On a visit with Pat Yough in December 2015, I exposed this unusual angle of the oddly angled Minersville Station using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

This is one of the few photos I found in my collection that shows the rarely pictured east face of the building, which sits at the junction of two lines.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Reading Company Retrospective

Recently, my girlfriend Kris Sabbatino and I decided to build a model railroad.

For a prototype we selected eastern Pennsylvania anthracite country.

I began scouring my archives looking for material.

Part of my inspiration for this model railroad began many years ago when I was looking through my father’s photographs of Reading Company’s Iron Horse Rambles that he exposed over a five-year period beginning in 1959. Many of these photos were made from the excursions or on chases through eastern Pennsylvania. Most were not captioned at the time of processing, which often makes location details elusive but also part of the dreamlike mystery of building the scale railroad.

Reading Iron Horse Ramble, exposed in May 1964 on Agfachrome using a Leica M. Location unrecorded.Photo by Richard Jay Solomon ©1964.

In 2007, I assembled a book titled the Railroads of Pennsylvania, and made a detailed study of the region.

In 2014 and 2015, I was researching on books on steam locomotives and made several trips with Pat Yough to photograph the Reading & Northern.

The model railroad will blend together all of this inspiration and much more.

As part of a new on-going feature on Tracking the Light, I’ll be reporting on progress with this model railroad and the source material from which we draw.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

RoadRailer at South Fork March 10, 2001

Working with Fuji Provia 100F loaded in a Nikon F3, I exposed this photo of an eastward Norfolk Southern RoadRailer at South Fork, Pennsylvania on March 10, 2001.

I was traveling with fellow photographer Mike Gardner, while making photos for a book to be titled ‘Modern Diesel Locomotives,’ published by MBI.

I scanned the slide the other day using a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 digital slide scanner, driven with VueScan software.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Pittsburgh Light Rail October 1992.

On October 12, 1992, my father and I traveled on the Pittsburgh Light Rail, traversing both the 47 Shannon and Drake Shuttle routes where vintage PCC cars still roamed. Both lines are now defunct. Later in the day, my brother Sean and I revisited these lines by road to make a few more photos.

On that trip, I exposed this Kodachrome slide with my Nikon F3T fitted with a 35mm perspective control lens.

While I was aiming to fill the frame with the rarely photographed PCC car, in retrospect I wished that I’d allowed a little more space around the streetcar.

I’m happy to have made this photo, since it was my only photographic adventure with the Pittsburgh PCCs.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!