Tag Archives: PRR

Delaware Railway Relics—December 15, 2018.

It hasn’t been a bright day, but I don’t visit northern Delaware very often, and in my short visit I made the most of my time investigating some railway vestiges.

Eric Rosenthal brought my dad and I to inspect sights on the Wilmington & Western on our way to catch Amtrak’s Crescent at Wilmington’s Amtrak Station.

I made these views using my Lumix LX7 and then processed the RAW files on my MacBook. To upload the images I set up a personal ‘hot spot’ on my iPhone and linked the MacBook via WiFi.

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Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania-A Dozen New photos.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is one of my favorite American railway museums both because of its great collection of Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Company, Conrail and Amtrak equipment, and for its stunning interior presentation that makes railroad equipment compelling to look at.

I exposed these photos on a visit in mid-November 2017 with Pat Yough having spent the afternoon photographing the nearby Strasburg Railroad at work.

FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm Touit lens. Here’s a trick for making more effective museum photos in a dimly lit environment such as the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s main hall: over expose by about 1/2 a stop (let more light in). This avoids blocking up the shadow areas.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Among the fascinating aspects of the museum’s static collection are the numerous vintage freight cars that span a century of service. Too often the common freight car—the backbone of American railroad freight transport—is overshadowed in preservation by more glamorous equipment.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

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Pennsylvania Station at Twilight.

Pat Yough said, ‘You’ve never been here before?’

‘No, somehow I missed this.’

‘How’s that possible?’

I’d been to Gap, Pennsylvania many times to photograph Amtrak trains. But I never ventured railroad-east along the Main Line to Christiana, instead driving Highway 30 toward Coatesville.

I should have  known better.

Often the most interesting locations are away from the main road.

There’s your tip for the day!

Former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Christiana.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad station at Christiana.

The old Main Line. Now Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor.

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Amtrak’s Keystone at Gap, Pennsylvania.

A mid-afternoon Amtrak Keystone train from Harrisburg, works the old Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line at Gap, Pennsylvania.

Today’s ACS64 ‘Cities Sprinter’ electrics are to Amtrak what the 1930s-1940s era GG1s were to the Pennsylvania Railroad.

ACS64 660 leads Keystone service number 670 eastward at Gap. (Engine number versus train number).

Note my framing of the locomotive between the two catenary poles, leaving room for the farm in the distance and the tree at the far right.

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Dusk at Cynwyd; SEPTA’s most obscure branch?

Dusk is a mystical time to photograph; highlights are subdued, shadows are deep, while the prevailing light is soft and cool. Window light is equivalent to the outdoors, and railroad signal light seems more intense.

The short SEPTA line to Cynwyd in the northwestern Philadelphia suburbs is a vestige of Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill Valley line that once reached northward into anthracite country.

Today Cynwyd is the end of the line.

Until last week, it was one of the last segments of SEPTA’s Regional Rail network left for me to travel.

I arrived at dusk, and in that ‘blue hour’ and I made these photographs using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1 digital cameras.

All things being equal I would have used a tripod, but I didn’t have one so with the XT1, I boosted the ISO to unusually high levels to compensate for the dim conditions.

FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm lens. ISO 1600.

FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm lens. ISO 1600.

Lumix LX7 ISO 200.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon lens. ISO 1600.

FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm Fujinon lens. ISO 3200.

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Diesels Under Wire on the Main Line.

Not just any old ‘mainline,’ but the famous Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Main Line— so called because it was built as the ‘Main Line of Public Works’ in the mid-Nineteenth Century.

I made this view of Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian taking the curve at Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

Where most of the trains on this line draw power from the high-voltage AC catenary, Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian changes from an electric to a diesel locomotive at 30th Street to avoid the need to change at Harrisburg.

This is Amtrak’s only service on the former PRR west of Harrisburg. The lone long distance train on what was once a premier passenger route, and unusual on the electrified portion of the line.

I exposed this sequence at Berwyn using my FujiFilm XT1 and 18-135mm zoom lens.

To make the most of the curve and autumn color, I positioned myself on the outside of the curve at Berwyn. The chug of Amtrak’s P42 diesel alerted me to the approach of this westward train.

 

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Amtrak Crosses the Schuylkill River—November 2017.

 

 

On a warm Saturday afternoon I exposed a series of photos of Amtrak’s bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia using my Lumix LX7.

To boost contrast and color saturation, I imported the Lumix RAW files into Lightroom and made adjustments manually.

In 1914, the Pennsylvania Railroad built this massive arch over the Schuylkill River to replace it original 1867 double-track bridge constructed of stone arches and a metal truss span.

Although the bridge resembles the stone arches it replaced, this isn’t actually a stone arch bridge, but rather reinforced concrete arches faced with sandstone.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.

 

SEPTA local crosses the Schuylkill. Lumix LX7 photo.

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DASH-9 on the PRR.

 

Mifflin, Pennsylvania is a classic location on the old Pennsylvania Railroad.

I’ve visited here intermittently since Conrail days.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat Yough and I made these photos of Norfolk Southern trains passing Mifflin. I exposed these using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm f2.0 lens of westward symbol freight 21T.

FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed telephoto lens set at f5.0 1/500, ISO 640.

FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm fixed telephoto lens set at f5.0 1/500, ISO 640.

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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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West Chester Railroad’s Santa Train.

Would you read this if I titled it; ‘The photographic benefits of filtered sunlight‘?

The other day, Pat Yough and I made a joint venture of exploring Pennsylvania’s West Chester Railroad. This is a tourist line that runs on the vestige of the old Pennsylvania Railroad Wawa Branch (also called the West Chester Branch), formerly an electrified suburban line connecting West Chester with Philadelphia via Media.

SEPTA discontinued scheduled passenger service 30 years ago, although some its old platforms and signs survive as a reminder.

West Chester Railroad was operating its annual Santa Trains using a push-pull set comprised of a former Conrail GP38, a PRR baggage car and some converted former Reading Company multiple units.

Although the classic ‘clear blue dome’ is a favorite of many photographers, bright polarized light is often limiting on a line hemmed in by foliage.

Cheyney Station. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Cheyney Station. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Our late season photography benefitted from high clouds that diffused the afternoon sun. This made for seasonal pastel light that made photographs of the tree-lined railway more pleasing.

Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Locksley, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Locksley, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Locksley, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Locksley, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

West Chester, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
West Chester, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

West Chester, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
West Chester, Pennsylvania. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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SEPTA on Summer Evening: Silverliner on the old PRR Main Line.

Tracking the Light EXTRA post:

As a contrast to this morning’s frosty portrait view of a tightly cropped SEPTA Silverliner reflecting the snow on its inbound journey over former Pennsylvania Railroad rails, I thought I offer this summer evening’s view.

Berwin, Pennsylvania on the evening of June 30, 2012.
Berwin, Pennsylvania on the evening of June 30, 2012.

Like the earlier photo along the old Main Line (so-called because from the old ‘Main Line of Public Works) this depicts a Silverliner heading toward Philadelphia 30th Street.

However, this was a glorious summer’s evening  with warm low sun in the western sky and fresh green leaves on the trees.

The camera and lens combination were also similar. This morning’s tightly cropped image was exposed with my Canon EOS7D with a 200mm telephoto, while this view used the same camera body but with a 100mm telephoto.

Anyway, if the weather today has you longing for the warmer months, here’s something for which you may look forward!

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On this Day, January 15, 1953, Pennsylvania Railroad’s Federal Express Crashed at Washington Union Station.

In the lead was GG1 electric number 4876.

After the spectacular January 15, 1953 Washington Union Station wreck, Pennsylvania Railroad rebuilt GG1 4876, which required substantial reconstruction resulting in an nearly new machine.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I made a project of photographing old 4876, at which time it was working for New Jersey Department of Transportation on New York & Long Branch suburban services.

I exposed this detailed view with my Leica 3A at Rahway Junction in the locomotive’s last year of service.
I exposed this detailed view with my Leica 3A at Rahway Junction in the locomotive’s last year of service.

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A Window Back in Time; Exchange Place.

This is another of my ‘Then and Now’ attempts from last week’s exploration of Jersey City.

As previously mentioned: my fascination with Pennsylvania Railroad’s Jersey City waterfront terminal at Exchange Place, inspired a family trip to look for vestiges in February 1983. This is my window back in time.

Exchange Place in Jersey City as I photographed it with my Leica in February 1983. I'm looking south toward the Colgate-Palmolive Building. About the only thing left of this scene today is the bank building at the left.
Exchange Place in Jersey City as I photographed it with my Leica in February 1983. I’m looking south toward the Colgate-Palmolive Building. About the only thing left of this scene today is the bank building at the left.

Both my dad and I made a few photos. At the time I was trying to get a sense for how things looked decades earlier. (Pop, had made views of PRR MP54s by day and by night at the old terminal, which by 1983 was long gone.)
Fast forward another 32-33 years, and I find that Jersey City has been completely transformed. Most traces of Conrail’s waterfront track have been replaced by modern development, while NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail now winds through the city.

Working from my 1983 view at Exchange Place, on my recent visit I spent an hour walking around in concentric circles trying to figure out where I’d made the old photo. How hard could this be?

Complicating matters, I’d only been there once, my father was driving, and my memories from this one visit are a bit hazy.

Yes, I remember the day, and I recall making the photos, but how the various locations related to one another remained a bit sketchy. This was especially difficult because today the setting has been so completely changed that many of the landmarks in my old image are gone.

Exchange Place in December 2015: Perhaps after the renovation work on the bank building (at left) has been completed, I’ll come back and make another view.
Exchange Place in December 2015: Perhaps after the renovation work on the bank building (at left) has been completed, I’ll come back and make another view.

I’d all but given up. I went for a spin on the Light Rail, and my way back north towards Hoboken, I recognized the setting for my 1983 image.

Now then, how could I have known that my 1983 Exchange Place view was indeed at today’s NJ Transit Exchange Place light rail station!

The location of the awnings makes the direct recreation complicated. Ideally I'd need to stand back a little further with a 50mm lens perspective to precisely the same view of the bank on the right (as shown in the 1983 view).
The location of the Light Rail awnings makes the direct recreation complicated. Ideally I’d need to stand back a little further using a 50mm lens perspective to precisely recreate  the same view of the bank on the right (as shown in the 1983 view).

Construction on the bank building made for a difficult comparison view, as does the Light Rail’s supporting infrastructure: awnings, ticket machines, catenary poles, etc, which precluded standing in the exact same spot.

Actually, the bank building on the left is just about the only common anchor between my two images. Almost all the other buildings in the 1983, including the Colgate-Palmolive building in the distance, have been replaced by newer structures.

Jersey City P1350781

And, while there are tracks in both views, these are on different alignments and serve entire different purposes.

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Four Classic Kodachromes: Ghost Railroad and the Water Level Route—May 13, 1989.

About a week ago I was asked by regular Tracking the Light reader Ciarán Cooney if I had exposed  photos on May 13, 1989.

This request was prompted by my posting images from May 6th of that year. (See: Amtrak 63, Ivison Road, South Byron, New York, May 6, 1989.).

I consulted my notes from that year, and found that I’d photographed extensively on that day! (Hooray for my old notebook!)

At the time I was about a week away from completing my course work at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I earned a BFA in Photographic Illustration, and I was making good use of the fine Spring weather in Western New York State.

That day I began my photography on the Water Level Route at East Rochester, and worked my way eastward toward Lyons, New York.

Conrail SD50 leads symbol freight PXSE (Pacific Express to Selkirk, New York) eastward on the number 1 track at CP342 near Newark, New York.
Conrail SD50 leads symbol freight PXSE (Pacific Express to Selkirk, New York) eastward on the number 1 track at CP342 near Newark, New York.

I was particularly fascinated by the abandoned truss bridge over the old New York Central west of Newark, New York. This had carried the Newark & Marion, which had served as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. [See: AbandonedRails.com for more about this line. ]

Using my Leica M2 with a 35mm Summicron, I opted for a vertical format. Conrail's CP342 near Newark, New York on 13May1989.
Using my Leica M2 with a 35mm Summicron, I opted for a vertical format. Conrail’s CP342 near Newark, New York on 13 May1989.

Another eastward freight with an SD50 in the lead. I wouldn't complain today about seeing three freights with Conrail blue SD50s! Back then they were pretty common, but still nice to see.
Another eastward freight with an SD50 in the lead. I wouldn’t complain today about seeing three freights with Conrail blue SD50s! Back then they were pretty common, but still nice to see.

On an earlier trip, I’d photographed this bridge on a dull day using a 4×5 camera.

On May 13th, I worked with my Leica M2 exposing Kodachrome 25 color slides, and featured Conrail trains passing below the bridge.At that time SD50s were standard locomotives on many of the railroad’s carload trains.

Later, I explored other vantage points along the busy Conrail east-west mainline.

Amtrak F40PH 362 leads train 68 along the former New York Central mainline east of Newark, New York. (Incidentally, Newark, New York should not be confused with the larger and better known Newark, New Jersey, that is on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor).
Amtrak F40PH 362 leads train 68 along the former New York Central mainline east of Newark, New York. (Incidentally, Newark, New York should not be confused with the larger and better known Newark, New Jersey, that is on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor).

Thanks to Ciarán for encouraging this foray into my slide archive!

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Tracking the Light’s Classic Chrome Archive: Alcos on Keating Summit

In February 2010, I was traveling with Chris Guss and Pat Yough when I exposed this Fujichrome slide of Western New York & Pennsylvania’s Driftwood Turn (known as ‘the DFT’) on its northward ascent of the former Pennsylvania Railroad grade over Keating Summit.

Alco diesels in Run-8! Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS-3 with 28mm lens. February 6, 2010.
Alco diesels in Run-8! Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS-3 with 28mm lens. February 6, 2010.

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Pennsylvania Railroad at Three Rivers—Five Years Ago!

It was on the afternoon of August 26, 2010 at Three Rivers, Massachusetts, that my father and I made photographs of a pair of restored Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars that were being hauled by Amtrak 56 the northward Vermonter.

These were en route for use on a special excursion for a political candidate running for Vermont office. Two days later, we drove to the Georgia Highbridge south of St. Albans, Vermont and followed the special southward.

Amtrak 56 at Three Rivers with Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D.
Amtrak 56 at Three Rivers with Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars on August 26, 2010. Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D.

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Philadelphia—A View from a Canoe.

I’m always looking for an angle. A family outing on the Schuylkill River in September 2007 provided this opportunity. A SEPTA Silverliner IV glides across the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Connecting Railway bridge.

In my book North American Railroad Bridges (published by Voyageur Press in 2007), I wrote about this Schuylkill span:

In 1914, this massive arch over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia replaced the original 1867 double-track bridge made of stone arches and a metal truss span. Today it carries Amtrak’s North East Corridor. Although it resembles the stone arches it replaced, it is actually a reinforced concrete arch faced with sandstone.

I exposed this image at dusk on Fujichrome slide film using my Nikon F3. The low angle afforded by my seat in the canoe, I was able to make the most of the surface of the river without getting wet.
I exposed this image at dusk on Fujichrome slide film using my Nikon F3. The low angle afforded by my seat in the canoe, allowed me to  make the most of the surface of the river without getting wet. Would a Brunswick green GG1 have made for a better photo?

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Telephoto View at Cassandra.

It was a pleasant warm day at Cassandra, Pennsylvania on June 30, 2010.

Blah, blah, blah . . . new Canon with long telephoto lens, light helpers drifting downgrade, stack train climbing, old PRR-era position light signals, window of light beyond cutting . . . blah, blah, blah . . .

Exposed with a Canon ESO 7D with 100-400mm zoom lens on June 30, 2010.
Exposed with a Canon ESO 7D with 100-400mm zoom lens on June 30, 2010.

Did I mention it was a warm summer day? Ah!

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Prospect Park, Pennsylvania.

Along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor south (west) of Philadelphia, SEPTA’s Prospect Park station features a classic former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station building complete with landscaped grounds on its south east side.

Its canopies and low level platforms are a throwback to another era.

Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, looking north (east). Canon EOS 7D
Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, looking north (east). Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

An outbound SEPTA train pauses at Prospect Park. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.
An outbound SEPTA train pauses at Prospect Park. Canon EOS 7D with 20mm lens.

Inbound SEPTA Silverliners IVs approaching Prospect Park.
Inbound SEPTA Silverliners IVs approaching Prospect Park.

I made this Lumix LX7 view of Prospect Park from the outbound platform in December 2014.
I made this Lumix LX7 view of Prospect Park from the outbound platform in December 2014.

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Special Post: Happy Birthday Richard Solomon!

Featuring Rare Photos!

Today is my father’s birthday.

Richard has been photographing railways for decades and brought me on many of my earliest railway excursions, including a trip on the Flushing Line in Queens way back in the day.

Richard has worked with Leicas, a Rolleiflex, and a Linhof 4×5 view camera. Today has also a few digital cameras to play with including a Lumix LX7.

Many years ago he gave me my first camera, and after I wrecked that one, he gave me another, and finally a Leica model 3A. I continue to wear them out.

Regular viewers of Tracking the Light will recognize the subjects and locations. Together, Richard and I have years of continuous photographic record of railways in the United States and around the world. His photographs have appeared in many of my books.

Richard in eastern Pennsylvania in October 1964. He's sporting two Leica Ms, including one with 135mm telephoto, and a Rollieflex Model T (Which I wore out, but eventually replaced).
Richard in eastern Pennsylvania in October 1964. He’s sporting two Leica Ms, including one with 135mm telephoto, and a Rollieflex Model T (Which I wore out, but eventually replaced).

Last October my father an I photographed New England Central's southbound freight (Job 610) passing Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Photo by Brian Solomon
Last October my father an I photographed New England Central’s southbound freight (Job 610) passing Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Photo by Brian Solomon

Richard goes for a spin at the Railroad Museum of New England. Photo by Brian Solomon with Canon EOS 7D.
Richard goes for a spin at the Railroad Museum of New England. Photo by Brian Solomon with Canon EOS 7D.

A brand new Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Silverliner rolls through North Philadelphia. Richard was panning with his Rolleiflex Model T. He exposed this on Kodacolor negative film, which I scanned using an Epson V600.
A brand new Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Silverliner rolls through North Philadelphia in 1963. Richard was panning with his Rolleiflex Model T. He exposed this on Kodacolor negative film, which I scanned using an Epson V600.

Richard has made good use of his Rolleflex cameras. He bought the first on a trip to Germany in 1960, and used it to expose this classic image of the North Shore Electroliner on the streets of Milwaukee in June 1961. Richard's North Shore photos have been published by David P. Morgan in TRAINS Magazine and by William D. Middleton in his books.
Richard has made good use of his Rolleflex cameras. He bought the first on a trip to Germany in 1960, and used it to expose this classic image of the North Shore Electroliner on the streets of Milwaukee in June 1961. Richard’s North Shore photos have been published by David P. Morgan in TRAINS Magazine and by William D. Middleton in his books.

On August 20, 1960, Richard exposed a Kodachrome slide of this American-style PCC car on the streets of Charleroi, Belgium using a Kodak Retina 3C. See comparison photo below.
On August 20, 1960, Richard exposed a Kodachrome slide of this American-style PCC car on the streets of Charleroi, Belgium using a Kodak Retina 3C. See comparison photos below.

I returned to the same street in Charleroi last month and made similar views of trams. I actually went to almost the same spot as the above photo, but exposed a couple of colour slides, which remain latent. Perhaps at some point I’ll do a ‘now and then’ comparison. (Film and film).

LX7 view in Charleroi, Aug 2014. Photo by Brian Solomon.
LX7 view in Charleroi, Aug 2014. Photo by Brian Solomon.

Canon 7D view in Charleroi, Aug 2014. Photo by Brian Solomon.
Canon 7D view in Charleroi, Aug 2014. Photo by Brian Solomon.

Richard on a recent visit to New Haven, Connecticut. Lumix LX3 photo.
Richard on a recent visit to New Haven, Connecticut. Lumix LX3 photo.

Happy Birthday Pop!

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DAILY POST: Campaign Train, Aug 2010.


New England Central at Montpelier Junction, Vermont.

Brian Dubie's campaign train
Dubie campaign train approaches Montpelier Junction, Vermont on the afternoon of August 28, 2010. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

A freshly scrubbed GP38 led a pair of Pennsy passenger cars in a classic old-school whistle-stop campaign tour of Vermont.

On August 28, 2010, my dad and I drove to the Georgia high bridge (near St. Albans, Vermont) to intercept a New England Central special train hired by gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie.

It was a sunny warm summer’s day, and we made numerous photos of the special as it worked its way south.

This pair of images was exposed at Montpelier Junction, where the train made a stop for the candidate to make a speech to his supporters. Traditionally, this was where Central Vermont met the Montpelier & Barre.

I used a telephoto for these views in order to emphasize the bunting and flags that marked the train’s distinctive qualities. Several of my photographs of the train appeared in Private Varnish.

B Dubie 4 govnr campaign train at Montpelier Jct IMG_4331

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DAILY POST: Vestiges of the Pennsylvania Railroad

46 Years Later, Hints Remain of the Old Order.

 Philadelphia was the Pennsylvania Railroad’s headquarters city. Despite multitudes of change in the industry since PRR merged with New York Central in 1968, there’s still plenty of  Pennsy cues around Philly.

For me this is like finding hints of a long lost empire.

Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Railroad’s Suburban Station. Lumix LX3.

Interior of 30th Street Station. The commemorative statue depicts an angel carrying a soldier skyward which symbolizes PRR’s employees who perished in action during World War II.
Interior of 30th Street Station. The commemorative statue depicts an angel carrying a soldier skyward which symbolizes PRR’s employees who perished in action during World War II.

 

The keystone was PRR's symbol. If one searches around Philadelphia's 30th Street, there are still plenty of PRR keystones to be found. Lumix LX3 photo.
The keystone was PRR’s symbol. If one searches around Philadelphia’s 30th Street, there are still plenty of PRR keystones to be found. Lumix LX3 photo.

Old PRR station at Clifton-Aldan, Pennsylvania. Lumix LX3 photo.
Old PRR station at Clifton-Aldan, Pennsylvania. Lumix LX3 photo.

Railroad signal.
A PRR-style position light signal at Overbrook, displays an ‘Approach-Medium’ aspect. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Overbrook Station on the Main Line, as seen on the evening of January 18, 2014.
Overbrook Station on the Main Line, as seen on the evening of January 18, 2014.

 [click here for views of the January 20th 2014 Schuylkill River derailment]

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See:  Exploring SEPTA

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DAILY POST: Exploring SEPTA

January 2014 Philadelphia Photo Exercise

SEPTA_Map_IMG_3911

For me, SEPTA is one of the most photogenic American big city transit systems. Sure, other cities have their charms, but Philadelphia has a lot going for it; variety, accessibility, interval services on most routes, real time displays at stations, visual cues to its heritage, interesting and varied equipment and etc.

On January 16, 2014, my brother Sean and I, spent an afternoon and evening wandering on SEPTA’s rail systems making photographs. I had a minor agenda to ride a few pieces of the network I’d not yet traveled on.

I worked with two cameras; Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D, but traveled relatively light (no film body or big telephotos)

Lumix LX3 photo.
Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA has a App that shows schedules, train times & etc. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA Airport station
Philadelphia is one of the few North American cities with direct heavy rail airport connections. Trains run every half hour with stations at each terminal. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA.
Afternoon sun catches an outbound Silverliner V at University City. A CSX freight rolls overhead on the Highline. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.

All of the lines we traveled were well patronized (some at standing room only) and yet everything seem to run to time. SEPTA’s staff were friendly and helpful. (Especially when we were running for trains).

SEPTA
SEPTA SIlverliner V interior. Built by ROTEM. Lumix LX3 photo.

End of the line at Elwyn.
End of the line at Elwyn.

Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester.
Silverliner V at Elwyn. The line used to continue to West Chester. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA railroad station
Old Pennsylvania Railroad station at Clifton-Aldan.

End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.
End of the Sharon Hill trolley line. Lumix LX3 photo.

69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.
69th Street terminal at Upper Darby. Outbound Kawasaki trolleys for Media and Sharon Hill. Lumix LX3 photo.

Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown High Speed Line at 69th Street. Lumix LX3 photo. Contrast adjusted in post processing to improve the overall appearance of the image.

Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.
Norristown transportation center. The old Reading Company on the lower level. A Norfolk Southern freight rolled through as we boarded the train for Center City. Lumix LX3 photo.

SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA's conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.
SEPTA Daypass; a bargain that cost just $12. We got good value with ours. SEPTA’s conductor sold us the passes on the train. Lumix LX3 photo.

Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.

SEPTA
Market East. Lumix LX3 photo.

Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Market East. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.
Overbrook station on the Main Line. Canon EOS 7D photo, with 40mm pancake lens.

 

Click to see related posts: SEPTA Silverliners at Market EastSEPTA’s Number 15 StreetcarSEPTA Wanderings in Early January 2013; and SEPTA One Year Ago: June 29, 2012

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DAILY POST: SEPTA Silverliners at Market East

Three Years Ago Today: December 30, 2010

I was visiting Philadelphia for the holiday season. I’d just got my Lumix back from Panasonic following a warranty-repair and I was happy to make some photos with it.

A wander around Center City on December 30, 2010 with my family made for ample opportunities to exercise the shutter. Sometimes the ordinary scenes make for interesting photos, and over time these tend to age well; witness below.

Panasonic’s Lumix LX series cameras are idea for making urban images. Compact size, ease of use, plus a very sharp lens and the ability to shoot RAW files, gives benefits of both snapshot and professional quality cameras. I’ve enlarged my LUMIX LX3 images to 16x20 inches with excellent results and routinely included LX3 photos in books and articles.
Panasonic’s Lumix LX series cameras are idea for making urban images. Compact size, ease of use, plus a very sharp lens and the ability to shoot RAW files, gives benefits of both snapshot and professional quality cameras. I’ve enlarged my LUMIX LX3 images to 16×20 inches with excellent results and routinely included LX3 photos in books and articles.

This view was exposed on the platforms of SEPTA’s Market East station (the 1980s replacement for Philadelphia & Reading’s Victorian train-temple, Reading Terminal—today a convention center, sans tracks).

Here I found a pair of 1960s vintage Silverliners working the R3 service. These elegant classics were nearing the end of their working careers. After nearly five decades, the last of these machines were withdrawn in June 2012.

 

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DAILY Post: Special Anniversary, Raymond Loewy’s 120th birthday.

The Industrial Designer Famed for his Steamlined Locomotives was Born November 5, 1893.

I’ve rearranged my postings to honor Raymond Loewy, whose streamlined industrial designs greatly impressed me during my formative days in railway photography.

PRR_4935_120_scan_Brian Solomon 488206

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 Electric 4935 is displayed in Strasburg at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Exposed on 120-size Fujichrome 100F using a Rolleiflex Model T fitted with a 75mm Zeiss Tessar lens mounted on a tripod.

As a youngster, I was thrilled by former Pennsylvania Railroad GG1s and made many photographs of these electrics in service on Amtrak and NJ Transit.

Today, I’ve chosen a relatively modern image of preserved and beautifully restored PRR Electric 4935 that is displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. I exposed this photograph in June 2007 while working on my book Railroads of Pennsylvania.

Among Loewy’s early assignments for Pennsylvania Railroad was to refine the styling on its new GG1 electric. Loewy suggest using a welded body instead of a traditional riveted design, while providing the classic ‘cat’s whiskers’ livery and tidying up marker light housings, cab windows and other body details.

The GG1 remains one of Loewy’s best known designs and an American classic.

Just over 30 years ago, on October 29, 1983, I was among the faithful that rode New Jersey Transit’s ‘Farewell to the GG1’ excursion.

Thanks to Stephen Hirsch for reminding me of today’s significance!

See some of my vintage GG1 photos: January 15th and Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 4876

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RJ Corman on the old Beech Creek, September 1997

 

Coal Train in Central Pennsylvania.

On my external hard drive I have a file of photos called ‘Miscellaneous US Railroads’. I picked this photo at random. I thought it’s a neat image. Only after, I selected it, did I learn the the owner of the railroad, R.J. Corman himself, had very recently passed away. Odd how that works.

RJ Corman coal train along the Susquehanna.
An RJ Corman empty coal train works compass south from the Conrail interchange at Keating, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1997. This line follows the West Branch of the Susquehanna River through some exceptionally isolated rural areas of central Pennsylvania—scores at least ‘five banjoes’. Exposed with a Nikon N90S on Kodachrome 25.

Back in September 1997, Mike Gardner and I were on one of our many “PA Trips”. (In case you didn’t know, ‘PA’ is the postcode for Pennsylvania). While we would usually head to the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line for a ‘traffic fix’, often we’d then take time to suss out less-traveled lines.

On this day we called into Clearfield (the base for RJ Corman operations on former Conrail branches known as the ‘Clearfield Cluster’) , where we had a chat with some railroaders. They told us that a crew was called to take set of engines up to the Conrail connection at Keating to collect an empty coal train.

So armed with this knowledge we made a day (or at least a morning) of following RJ Corman’s former New York Central Beech Creek line. This traverses some very remote territory and access to the tracks is limited.

I made this photo a few miles south of Keating of the returning train. It was one of the few times I caught an RJ Corman train on the move.

 

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