Tag Archives: rail freight

Classic Chrome: Irish Rail 230 with Bulk Bogie Cement at Limerick Junction.

On 19 May 2003, the sun was shining at Limerick Junction.

I made this view of Irish Rail 230 in Enterprise paint working an up-road bulk-bogie cement from Cork.

Using a Contax G2 rangefinder with 45mm lens, I exposed this view on Fujichrome Sensia II (100 ISO) . Key to my composition was the semaphore to the left of the train.

In 2003, Limerick Junction saw several weekday freights; today there are no revenue freight moves on this part of the system.

In recent weeks, Limerick Junction has been undergoing another major reconfiguration to install a platform on the south side of the Cork-Dublin line.

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An OBB (Austrian Railways) Electric Leads Freight at Bonn-Beuel, Germany.

OBB Taurus at Bonn Beuel. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

In September 2015, an Austrian Taurus electric leads a northward freight at the DB Station in Bonn Beuel, Germany.

Low angle and telephoto view add drama to compensate for an otherwise dull morning.

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February 2018 Foray into the Irish Bog in search of Narrow Gauge freight.

Since 2012, Denis McCabe and I have made detailed exploration of Bord na Mona’s three-foot gauge railways networks.

See: Irish Bog Railways—Part 1 [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-8J]https://wp.me/p2BVuC-oR

Irish Bog Railways—Part 3, March 2, 2013 [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-oR]

Irish Narrow Gauge: Bord na Mona Approaching Sunset [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-28X]

These photos are from our most recent foray. We caught this pair of empty trains working their way east from Clonbulloge to a loading area near Rathangan.

Bord na Mona typically operates trains in pairs to ease the loading process.

Moon-like landscape on the bog east of Clonbulloge.

Fair weather clouds were gradually giving way to sunshine.

Images were exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm f2.0 lens.

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CSX Freight Rolls on the Reading; Two cameras, Four photos.

I made these views of a CSX freight operating on the former Reading Company in Philadelphia. My vantage point was from the sidewalk on the road bridge near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuylkill.

The day was bright, but partially overcast, which benefitted my photography since bright sun would have resulted in a difficult and unflattering high-contrast situation.

This northward freight was moving slowly, allowing me to work with two digital cameras and expose a series of images as it went by.

Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.
A wider view from the same vantage point exposed with my Lumix LX7.
The lighting post provides a hint as to the location ‘City of Phila.’ Lumix LX7 photo.
Trailing telephoto view with the FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom. This offers some interesting roof detail of the General Electric diesels hauling the train.

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Pan Am Southern at Buckland—Pick the best of three Photographs.

Earlier this month, I exposed these three views of Pan Am Southern’s autorack train 287 working westward at Buckland, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Fitchburg route.

The color view is a digital photo made with my FujiFilm XT1. This is Jpg using the in-camera Velvia color profile, which I scaled for presentation here, but otherwise left it unmodified in regards to color, contrast, saturation etc.

The black & white photographs are film images, exposed with a Leica IIIA fitted with a 1940s-vintage Nikkor screw mount 35mm lens. I used Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) processed in D76 (1 to 1 with water) and toned in selenium for improved highlights.

Telephoto view made digitally with a FujiFilm XT.
Wide-angle view exposed on black & white film.
No locomotive in this black & white photo. Is it always important to feature the locomotives?

I like to work with multiple cameras. I have my favorite of the three photos. Do you have your favorites?

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Irish Rail 220 with IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction on 17 August 2017.

Clear blue dome. Nice view. Short walk.

Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin.

I exposed this photo of Irish Rail’s IWT Liner (Dublin North Wall to Ballina, Co. Mayo) on the morning of 17 August 2017 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera fitted with a 27mm pancake lens.

Exposed at f9 1/500th of a second at ISO 400 using a 27mm pancake lens (provides an angle of view equivalent to a 41mm lens on a full-frame 35mm film camera).

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Volcano at Keets Road—Pan Am Railway’s Connecticut River Freight.

Last week, Mike Gardner and I positioned ourselves at Keets Road south of Greenfield, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Maine Connecticut River Line.

Pan Am Railway’s symbol freight EDPL (East Deerfield Yard to Plainville, Connecticut) had departed East Deerfield and was idling on the Deerfield Loop track waiting to head south.

Finally, the train received the signal to proceed and began its southward trek. In the lead was GP40 352, one of several Pan Am diesels equipped with cab-signal equipment for operation over Amtrak south of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Once on the Connecticut River mainline the engineer opened the throttle to accelerate and his locomotives erupted with an dramatic display of noise and effluence.

Here are two of the views I exposed; a color view made digitally using a FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm f2.0 fixed telephoto lens, and a black & white view exposed with a Leica on Kodak Tri-X.

Pan Am Railways symbol freight EDPL approaches Keets Road crossing on the Connecticut River Line south of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
A closer view that I exposed using a Leica IIIa fitted with a 21mm Super Angulon wide angle lens. Kodak Tri-X black & white negative film, processed by hand in a special mix of Ilford Perceptol developer (mixed 1 to 1 with water) for 8 minutes at 68F, and then following stop, fix and rinse,  the negative was toned with a selenium solution (1 part to 9 with water) for 7 minutes, rewash, dried and scanned on a Epson V750Pro flatbed electronic scanner.

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Orange Locomotives on the Roll—611 works North.

New England Central’s 611 works from Brattleboro to Palmer and return.

The other day, Paul Goewey and I intercepted this freight on its northward run.

A former Conrail SD40 was in the lead, and a recently painted Providence & Worcester DASH8-40B was trailing. Two out of three locomotives wore Genesee & Wyoming’s corporate livery.

Then the sun came out.

We drove to a preselected location north of Barretts, Massachusetts and I made these photos with my FujiFilm X-T1.

To make for a more interesting composition, I positioned my camera to include the overhanging branch. The juxtoposition of the branch, clouds and train make for a nice triangular arrangement that is more interesting to look at the than just a train crossing a field. But would this work if the locomotives were black or dark green?
611 is often a very long freight.

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Catching Rail Freight on the Way to the Airport.

Opportunity is the operative.

At the end of April, Denis McCabe and I were on our way to the Basel Airport on the airport bus (image omitted). On the way, we spotted an over bridge on the double-track line that connects Basel with France.

Arriving at the airport, we concluded that we were too early to check in for our flight, so rather than waste time milling around the airport, we doubled back to the bridge, a mere 10 minutes away.

Among the photos I made in the interval at the bridge was this trailing view of an SNCF freight heading to France from Switzerland.

Exposed using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

 

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(It’s more or less true).

Freight on the Italian Mediterranean Coast.

An FS (Italian State Railway) articulated electric locomotive leads a northward freight at Framura on Italy’s Mediterranean coast.

Using my Lumix LX7, I made this photo in the minutes before sunset in early April 2017. To make the most of the camera’s RAW file, I adjusted contrast and exposure in post processing using Lightroom and outputted this as a JPG sized for internet presentation.

Framura, Italy.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Tracking the Light!

Here’s a variation on a theme: another view of Irish Rail’s IWT liner at Stacumny Bridge near Hazelhatch.

Irish Rail locomotive 088 leads the up IWT Liner at Stacumny Bridge on 13 March 2017. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Brian is Traveling for St. Patrick’s Weekend. New Material Daily!

An hour and a half at the Station.

Often when I seek places to photograph, variety is a goal. In other words, I’m not just looking for a steady parade, but also lots of different kinds of trains.

Railways in Czech Republic offer great variety. One of my favorite lines is the route that connects Děčín (in the northern part of the country near the German frontier) with Kolin (an important junction 60 kilometers east of Prague).

This secondary route bypasses the Czech capital and serves as a reasonably busy freight corridor. I’d photographed this line at various locations in 2009 using color slide film

On 14 October 2016, Denis McCabe and I re-visited the line and spent an hour and half at the rural station in Stará Boleslav, located in the Labe River Vallay across from Brandys nab Labem.

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The building was a tired but classic structure with lots of character. In addition to mainline action we were entertained by a man unloading some coal wagons for local delivery.

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We arrived by local passenger train and departed with the next scheduled eastward local.

Below is a selection of images I exposed digitally with my FujiFilm X-T1 and processed with Lightroom to improve contrast, color balance and color saturation.

4:05 pm a westward local paused for a station stop with a specially painted electric.
At 4:05 pm a westward local paused for a station stop with a specially painted electric.
4:06pm. Car loads of coal were being unloaded for local delivery.
4:06pm. Carloads of coal were being unloaded for local delivery.
4:16 pm. A westward CD Cargo coal train glides through.
4:16 pm. A westward CD Cargo coal train glides through.
4:20pm. The coal train was immediately followed by this IDS Cargo tank train with an ancient but colorfully painted electric.
4:20pm. The coal train was immediately followed by this IDS Cargo tank train with an ancient but colorfully painted electric.
At 4:24 pm, on the heals of the tank train was this CD Cargo train of new automobiles.
At 4:24 pm, on the heals of the tank train was this CD Cargo train of new automobiles.
4:32pm another westward local passenger train makes its stop.
4:32pm another westward local passenger train makes its stop.
Czech Railways use a blue light for 'stop' on their shunting signals.
Czech Railways use a blue light for ‘stop’ on their shunting signals.
5:01 pm, a diesel powered maintenance train rattles by eastbound.
5:01 pm, a diesel powered maintenance train rattles by eastbound.
5:14pm an electric in one of the older CD liveries leads a coal train eastbound.
5:14pm an electric in one of the older CD liveries leads a coal train eastbound.
5:34pm, our local train approaches as the station master looks on.
5:34pm, our local train approaches as the station master looks on.

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Beacon Park Final Farewell—August 2016.

My last view. (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and Google Plus viewers may need to click on Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light to see the big picture).

This former Boston & Albany freight yard was the site of some my earliest photographic efforts.

My last-ever view of Boston's Beacon Park yard. Exposed using a Lumix LX7 and processed with Lightroom to adjust framing and contrast.
My last-ever view of Boston’s Beacon Park yard. Exposed in late-August 2016 using a Lumix LX7 and processed with Lightroom to adjust framing and contrast.

Several years ago, in a deal with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, CSX agreed to close its Boston yard to open the property for redevelopment. As a result, its intermodal yard at Worcester was expanded to accommodate the lost capacity.

The result is that Boston now has virtually no through rail-freight service. The trickle of remaining CSX rail-freight traffic is handled by a local from Framingham, Massachusetts. Container (and piggyback) traffic is accommodated by road.

Many years ago, Boston was a major freight hub, and Beacon Park was a very busy place—those days have long since passed.

For the last few years, the tracks at Beacon Park have sat disused and rusted.

Presently, track gangs are salvaging what remains of the old yard.

Someone, somewhere will declare ‘progress’.

Ironically, I exposed this view from a bus on the Mass-Turnpike Extension, the highway that more than 50 years ago assumed operation on considerable chunks of former Boston & Albany right of way.

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California Freight Cars—18 New Photos.

Too often railway photography focuses on the head-end.

When traveling, I tend to take a greater interest in what’s behind the locomotive(s).

I made these views of freight cars while exploring Union Pacific and BNSF in California.

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It’s interesting to see the mix of modern and antique cars on the roll. Some of these are more than four decades old, others are nearly new.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1, I exposed photos in a variety of lighting situations.

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Articulated_autoracks_DSCF2687

BNSF_ATSF_grain_car_at_Bealeville_sunset_DSCF1366

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BNSF_JB_Hunt_stacks_trailing_Caliente_DSCF2816

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BNSF_earthworm_grain_cars_at_Bealeville_sunset_DSCF1364

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Bord na Mona freight three years ago this day!

A pair of Bord na Mona loaded trains work west toward Lanesborough, County Longford on August 9, 2013.
A pair of Bord na Mona loaded trains work west toward Lanesborough, County Longford on August 9, 2013.

I made this image on Ireland’s three-foot gauge Bord na Mona (Peat Bord) near Lanesborough on this day three years ago.

To compress the space and make the most of the two trains following one another in close succession, I used my Canon 7D fitted with a 200m telephoto lens.

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The Big Chase: Wisconsin & Southern to Reedsburg—Second Try.

A week ago, I traveled with John Gruber and Scott Lothes for a day’s photography on the Wisconsin & Southern,

A couple of days previously, John and I had made some photographs exploring the line to Reedsburg (see previous posts). So armed with that experience plus good information on operations, we set out with Scott for another run.

Among the three of us we have a bit of photographic experience and a lot of railway knowledge, so we were in good position to make the most of the day. I always like learning from fellow photographers as everyone has their own way of seeing.

I have to admit that the old Chicago & North Western line between Madison and Reedsburg isn’t my strongest field of interest. When I lived in Wisconsin this line (then still operated by C&NW) was largely nocturnal. However in more recent times, John and I have made daylight photos.

Until a few months ago the route still featured some vintage wig-wag grade crossing signals, and these had been the focus of my earlier efforts on the line. Since these are gone, we were able to take a more diverse approach.

The Reedsburg line is now but a branch on the sprawling Wisconsin & Southern freight gathering network, but historically the line was a key Chicago & North Western mainline between Chicago, Madison and the Twin Cities. For me this legacy makes the line more interesting.

We picked up the train at Wisconsin & Southern’s Madison Yard, and over the next few hours intercepted it more than a dozen times.

Knutson Drive in Madison, Wisconsin.
Knutson Drive in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sunny weather plus a single clean SD40-2 running short-hood first put us in a good position to make satisfactory images. On the previous run John and I needed to make do with the engine running long-hood first, which is a more challenging subject to photograph.

Here are a few digital photos from our second chase. Any favorites?

A view of scrap cars from an over-pass west of Lodi, Wisconsin. After all, a freight train is about the freight, right?
A view of scrap cars from an over-pass west of Lodi, Wisconsin. After all, a freight train is about the freight, right?
Pastoral Wisconsin scene near Okee.
Pastoral Wisconsin scene near Okee.
Crossing the Wisconsin River at Merrimac. John brought the car across on the ferry, while Scott and I waited on the south side of the river for the train.
Crossing the Wisconsin River at Merrimac. John brought the car across on the ferry, while Scott and I waited on the south side of the river for the train.
Devils Lake, Wisconsin. There's a variety of angles on this place, most of them better in the afternoon or evening. We were there at lunch-time and had to make the best of it. I've adjusted the contrast in Lightroom.
Devils Lake, Wisconsin. There’s a variety of angles on this place, most of them better in the afternoon or evening. We were there at lunch-time and had to make the best of it. I’ve adjusted the contrast using Lightroom. I’ve tried to maintain the sense of lighting while balancing it to produce a more pleasing overall image. It is of course possible to overdo contrast control, which may result in an unnatural appearing image.
Baraboo station. Compare this photograph with my black & white views posted a few days ago.
Baraboo station. Compare this photograph with my black & white views posted a few days ago.
Our freight works at Rock Springs where it dropped grain cars for loading.
Our freight works at Rock Springs where it dropped grain cars for loading.
Scott picked this spot. On the previous trip I'd tried a long telephoto view of the same bridge. I like this wide angle broadside better.
Scott picked this spot. On the previous trip I’d tried a long telephoto view of the same bridge. I like this wide angle broadside better.
We were a bit tardy arriving at the crossing. This is a quick grade crossing grab shot. Not much time to set up. As with a few of the other images, I've adjusted the contrast using Lightroom.
We were a bit tardy arriving at the crossing. This is a quick grade crossing grab shot. Not much time to set up. As with a few of the other images, I’ve adjusted the contrast using Lightroom.

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Tracking the Light Extra—IWT crosses in front of my bus to the airport

Posted live from Dublin Bus. I’m on the 747 bus on the way to the airport. The Wednesday-only second IWT liner (Ballina to Dublin Port) just crossed the road. I had a perfect vantage point from my  seat on the top deck.

I using my Lumix LX7, I exposed these views.

What fantastic luck!

IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
IWT at the North Wall waiting to cross the road. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from the 747. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
3:15 Pm September 30, 2015. Dublin Port.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.
View from Dublin Bus. 3:15 Pm September 30, 2015.

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Tracking the light EXTRA: Irish Rail 233 works IWT on evening path

Most days Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina IWT Liner (International Warehousing and Transport; see: http://iwt-irl.com) departs the North Wall in the morning, typically between 9:20 and 11 am.

Today, it was set back to an evening path, much like the traditional liners that ran nightly up until mid-2005.

An added bonus was Enterprise painted Irish Rail 201 number 233.

This was like turning the clock back ten years or more.

5:54 pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
5:54 pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the North Wall in Dublin. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015.  Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin.
7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo
Containers into the sunset! 7:08pm, 23 September 2015. Irish Rail 233 on the IWT Liner at the Gullet in Dublin. Lumix LX7 photo

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Double-headed Empty Coal Trains

Pairs of red electrics leading more or less uniform consists of coal cars make for great subjects as they wind their way along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley.

Most locomotive-hauled trains traversing Germany’s Rhein Valley work with just a single locomotive, and an ever-greater number of passenger trains use electric multiple units.

By comparison to continual parade of these more common trains, dual-red electrics on coal trains/and empties are relatively rare, and only make an appearance every few hours (often just after you move to change locations).

Here I display two empty trains train, both exposed on 10 September 2015. The first is a morning view on the Left Bank with a pair of DB class 185 electrics, the second is in the evening on the Right Bank across from Oberwesel.

Both feature scenery and sunlight.

Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half and hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half an hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Exceptionally Busy Double Track—September 12, 2015—Dozens of photos!

Die Bahn/Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) operates an intensive nation-wide railway network. The traffic on many lines is impressive.

Conveying volume in photographs is perhaps best done with image sequences.

On the morning of September 12, 2015, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy and I arrived at the Bonn-Beuel station (located on the Right Bank line between Koln and Koblenz) to make a few photographs.

Our choice of locations was fortuitous. As it turned out, planned line works at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof on the Left Bank line had resulted in diversions, and this normally busy line was pushed to its potential capacity.

In addition to the normal half-hourly passenger service and parade of freights, the line was also handling InterCity and EuroCity long distance express trains, plus a mix of freights that might ordinarily use the Left Bank route.

In addition to the two main tracks, Bonn-Beuel has passing loops (passing sidings), which were well used this day. In several instances, a train was held on the main track, while higher priority traffic was routed via the loops around it.

This selection of images is intended to demonstrate how DB handled a mix of traffic on a double track mainline; keep in mind that stopping passenger trains and freights coexisted on the same route.

I’ve included the time that each photograph was exposed, and organized them in chronological order.

10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while an diverted IC is accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while another diverted IC, southbound,  is seen accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:36 am.
10:38 am.
10:38 am.
10:39 am.
10:39 am.
10:42 am. Notice the freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I 'm sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me.
10:42 am. Notice the southbound freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I ‘m sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me. (One is hidden by the southbound)
10:42 am.
10:42 am.
10:47 am.
10:47 am.
10:53 am.
10:53 am.
10:56 am.
10:56 am.
10:59 am.
10:59 am.
11:02 am.
11:02 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.
11:06 am.

I decided to relocate to the island platform, as this offered a better angle for the sun.

11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:11 am.
11:11 am.
11:13 am.
11:13 am.
11:14 am.
11:14 am.
11:17 am.
11:17 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:18 am.
11:21 am.
11:21 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:24 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:27 am.
11:29 am.
11:29 am.
11:32 am.
11:32 am. Regional express arrives.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:35 am.
11:35 am. Southward IC arrives at Bonn-Beuel.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:38 am.
11:38 am.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.

To avoid getting blocked again, I walked further south along the platform.

11:47.
11:47.
11:48 am.
11:48 am.
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11:50 am. An old DB Class 140 in heritage olive green paint.
11:53 am.
11:53 am.
11:59 am.
11:59 am.

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TRAXX Roll Freight at Kaub—September 11, 2015

The Right Bank of the Rhein is a busy freight corridor. Trains run in waves, and often follow each other several minutes apart on their north-south journey across Germany.

Kaub station sits wedged into a hillside with a castle above, and a sweeping curve to the south. In the afternoon, the sun swings around, which makes it a great place to photograph trains on the move.

Bombardier’s TRAXX locomotives family includes several classes of electrics. While the DB red class 185s may seen repetitive, open access operations make for a bit of variety. It seems that there’s always another freight working its way up or down the Rhein Valley. And this provides an opportunity to refine photographic angles and technique.

Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
5:24pm.
Kaub, 5:24pm.
Kaube, 5:28 pm.
Kaub, 5:28 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.

I made this selection using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Extra Post—Freight from the St. Goar-St. Goarhausen Rhein Ferry.

The wonders of technology! I’m writing and posting this from a bus on the roll. The bus offers better WiFi than I have in my apartment.

Anyway, here’s a view I made from the Rhein ferry looking down river toward the famous Loreley Rock on Wednesday September 9, 2015.

Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1. One of the great features of this camera is the active level in the viewfinder. Such a tool aids making level images from a boat!

St Goar, Germany.
St Goar, Germany.

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Blue and Silver Electric at Speed—September 10, 2015.

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The fine art of the pacing shot was perfected many years ago. In the steam era, Jim Shaughnessy and others paced big steam across the prairies and grasslands in a quest for dramatic images.

I was traveling along the west bank of the Rhein a couple of days ago with Denis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and Gerry Conmy.

The railway here is exceptionally busy. The sun was bright and we were searching for photographic locations.

‘Green signal. Southbound.’

A minute later, ‘there’s a train overtaking us!’

I unrolled the window, switched my Lumix on, set it to ISO 80 at f8 and used the ‘A’ (aperture priority) mode, and exposed this series of images in rapid succession.

Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.
Lumix LX7 photo, south of Boppard, Germany on September 10, 2015.

P1310673

By using the  settings described above, I allowed the camera meter to adjust the exposure to compensate for changing lighting conditions, while insuring the slowest possible shutter speed to maximize the effect of background blur.

Complicating the exposure was the reflective silver paint.

Other than scaling for internet presentation, I have not altered these images in post processing.

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Looking Back along the Rhein.

April 10, 2010.

Germany’s Rhein valley is one of my favorite places to make railway photographs. The combination of great scenery, a fantastic variety of locations, the historic architecture, and a continuous parade of freight and passenger trains on both sides of the river make it hard to beat.

And, at the end of the day (in the most literal use of the cliché), the beer is great!

A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.
A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.

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Deutsche Bahn Freight near Dordrecht Zuid, Netherlands, September 2013

 

Red Electric in Soft Sun Light.

Thunderstorms had blown through earlier in the afternoon. Then the sun beamed. All the while Netherlandse Spoorwagen’s double-track north-south mainline south of Dordrecht was saturated with an unceasing parade of trains. (See my earlier post: Netherlandse Spoorwagen Koploper near Dordrecht Zuid, Septemeber 2013).

 

NS keeps trains flowing one after another, and doesn’t seem to have any qualms about running freight tightly between passenger trains. I found that about every half hour a freight would be slotted in.

rail freight

I made this photograph with my Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens, set at ISO 400 f 4.5 at 1/1000th of a second. In post-processing, I made minor adjustments to contrast and saturation to match how I perceived the light at the moment of exposure.

This was one of the last exposures I made before sundown. A former Netherlandse Spoorwagen electric leads a southward Deutsche Bahn freight. While I’d seen several of these classic electrics on the move, this was the only one I caught in nice light hauling freight.

 

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Rhein River Valley Part 3

Views from the East Side of the Rhein—September 2013.

Rail Freight in Germany.
A DB freight rattles northward near Filsen on the east side of the Rhein in September 2013. Lumix LX3 photo.

For me the Right Bank (east side) of the Rhein has always been more challenging and more intriguing. This side has more freight, but the vistas are more difficult to access. Certainly getting the viewpoints that I envision take a little more work.

On this trip, with the help of maps and some advice from local photographers, I found several satisfactory spots to work from.

Where the Left Bank (west side) remains dominated by passenger traffic (with the occasional freight slotted in), the Right Bank is primarily a freight route, with the requisite hourly (half-hourly at peak times) stopping passenger train.

Since my last visit to the Right Bank in 2010, the passenger service has been upgraded with modern Stadler three and four piece Flirt-model railcars. The tide of freight ebbs and flows, but its not difficult to get four or five freights at one location in a relatively short span of time.

It seems that no sooner than one train has clattered out of sight when the next is on its way. If action on the east side ebbs too much, there are plenty of boats and barges on the Rhein as well as trains on the left side. Regardless of what happens, I find it easy to expose lots of images.

Stadler Flirt
A Stadler Flirt railcar is ready to come out of the sidings at Kaub. These modern electric railcars provide interval passenger service between freights on the east side of the river. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Lorchausen, Germany
Picturesque villages line the east side of the Rhein. This view of Lorchausen was exposed shortly before sunset with my Lumix LX3.
Rhein River Valley
A southward freight is led by a common DB Class 185 electric. This view is made from a vineyard near Lorch that offers superb views of trains on both sides of the Rhein. Lumix LX3 photo.
Grapes.
Plump grapes ripen in the autumn sun near Lorch, Germany. Lumix LX3 macro view.
Coal train on the Rhein.
A blue electric leads a train of PKP coal wagons on the west side of the river (as viewed from a Vineyard in Lorch). Exposed using a Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.
Looking south from a level crossing near Kaub, Germany. Lumix LX3 photo.
BLS freight on Rhein.
A BLS Cargo electric hums northbound at a lightly used level crossing near Kaub. Once a manned crossing with classic signal tower, gates are now automated. The BLS freights from Switzerland are among the most prized daily catches for some photographers. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

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Rhein River Valley Part 1

 

The Left Bank at Boppard and Vicinity—September 2013.

Germany’s Rhein offers one of the World’s great railway experiences. Here busy double track railways occupy both sides of the river, largely in sight of one another. This narrow picturesque valley is dotted with old villages, castles, churches and blanketed with vineyards which adds to its charm and make for more interesting photographs.

Germany ICE high speed train.
An ICE train glides northward along the Rhein as morning mists give way to sun. Canon EOS 7D photo.

For the all the challenges of wandering down lightly travel rural branch lines, or seeking out unusual, peculiar and elusive railway operations, sometimes it’s nice to get ‘a fix’ and go to a place where you will see a great volume and variety of trains in a comfortable setting.

The Rhein in early September hit the spot. The weather was perfect; a mix of sun and mist made for great lighting conditions, while temperatures were comfortable. No rain, no heavy wind. And best of all every few minutes a train comes rolling up or down the river.

Historically, the line on the west side of the river, the ‘Left Bank,’ was almost exclusively a passenger line and featured a continuous parade of Regional, IC, EC, and ICE trains, while the ‘Right Bank’ carried freight and an hourly local service.

Today, there are fewer IC/EC/ICE trains on the Rhein as many through services run on the high-speed line between Köln and Frankfurt. While IC/EC/ICE trains still operate about once an hour in each direction (plus local stopping services) now there are more paths for freights on the Left Bank which makes the line more interesting and more varied.

Boppard is located south of Koblenz on a elbow bend and allows for a variety of angles as the sun swings around. I’ve found from previous trips that Boppard is best in the morning. These photos are a selection from three days of photography based around Boppard.

I worked with three cameras; a Lumix LX3, Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 3 with Provia 100F film. Only the digital results are displayed here.

Rhein river valley.
A container train hums northward behind an ERS Railways Class 189 electric. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

Rhein valley
A DB Class 101 electric leads southward IC train through vineyards near Boppard, Germany in September 2013. Exposed with a Lumix LX3. The Lumix is fitted with a Leica lens that allows for great depth of field.
Rhein valley
Light cloud softens the morning sun making for better contrast on this back lit southward freight near Boppard. Careful placement of wildflowers adds depth and interest to the image. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Desiro railcar
This class 642 Desiro railcar made for an unexpected visitor in the Rhein Valley. These are not the normal railcars used on the line. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
German signals.
Old style Germany signals at Boppard. DB has been replacing this style of hardware with less complex signals. Many of the older signals survive on the Right Bank line. Canon EOS 7D photo.
German passenger train with castle.
A DB class 120 electric shoves on the back of northward IC train departing Boppard station. Lumix LX3 photo.
German passenger train at Boppard.
The morning sun glints off the side of an IC train paused at Boppard for a station stop.I’ve used the platform awning to shield the direct light of the sun from the camera lens to avoid unwanted flare. Lumix LX3 photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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