Tag Archives: RDC

Pudding Pond Posed Panoramic.

If you are not viewing this on post on Tracking the Light, you’ll need to click the link or you’ll miss the panoramic photo.

This is the single-frame conventional view of RDC 23 Millie at Pudding Pond.

Last Friday (July 19, 2019), we traveled on Conway Scenic Budd-built RDC 23 Millie east toward Redstone, New Hampshire on the former Maine Central. On the return we paused at Pudding Pond so that I could make some photographs.

Once I was off the car, by arrangement it moved forward so the front of the RDC was catching the sunlight.

In addition to conventional photos, I also made this panoramic composite using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera. The camera has a panorama preset that requires you to make an even sweep across the scene while holding the shutter release. The camera sews together the images and outputs them as a completed panorama.

Panoramic composite view at Pudding Pond exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens.

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Meet at Mountain Junction

On Select Fridays, Conway Scenic operates an RDC trip for children out on its Redstone Line—former Maine Central Mountain Division running east from Mountain Junction. Last Friday, July 19, 2019, I took the opportunity to travel with the crew on this run.

At Mountain Junction we cleared for the Valley Train led by GP7 573 that was on its return run from Bartlett to North Conway, New Hampshire.

When the Valley Train passed us, I made this view from the cab of Conway Scenic’s former Susquehanna (originally New Haven Railroad) RDC number 23, named Millie.

You know, I could have named this post: The Valley Meets Millie at Mountain Junction.

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Budd Car Sunset.

FujiFilm camera JPG with color profile ‘Velvia’.

The other evening I exposed this trailing view of Conway Scenic’s RDC number 23, Millienear Glen-Jackson on its evening run up to Attiash .

On of the best kept secrets among Conway’s scheduled trains are its RDC runs for Attitash that depart North Conway on select evenings at 6pm.

I like the RDC, a typical Budd Car, that was common to New England passenger services when I was growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s.

For this photo, I was working with a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm prime telephoto. The camera color profile was set to Velvia (see photo above), but ultimately I worked with the camera-RAW file in Lightroom to adjust color temperature, contrast and saturation (see photo below).

Jpg file created from adjusted camera-RAW.

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RDC on the Maine Central at Pudding Pond.

A visit to New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad a few weeks ago was unusually rewarding.

We were invited to travel on a special chartered excursion that worked east on the old Maine Central Mountain Division, a portion of the railroad that only rarely sees trains.

It was my first time over that portion of the line.

Tri-X view of the old Maine Central.

We were treated to a spin on a former New Haven RDC, of the sort that I used to ride in Connecticut many years ago.

Exposed on Kodak Tri-X using a 1980s era Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.

I made photos with my Lumix LX7, FujiFilm X-T1, and old Nikon F3 variously loaded with Fuji Provia and Kodak Tri-X.

The train crew was very accommodating in regards to photo stops, and suggested some great vantage points.

Digital image exposed using my Lumix LX7.

Station sign at Redstone, New Hampshire. Lumix LX7 photo.

Exposed using my FujiFilm X-T1 near Redstone, New Hampshire.

RDC interior exposed with a Lumix LX7 digital camera.

Train crew in silhouette. Kodak Tri-X exposed with a Nikon F3 with 50mm lens.

It was a rare day a Pudding Pond.

Isn’t East Broad Top number 12 also called ‘Millie?’ Lumix LX7 Photo.

Overall our experience on the Conway Scenic was first class and we had a wonderful time! This is a really great preserved railroad. Thanks to Dave and Rhonda Swirk and all the employees of Conway Scenic!

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Old Reading RDCs at Reading & Northern’s Reading Outer Station, Reading Pennsylvania.

Just checking to see if you are reading this correctly.

Last weekend, July 8 and9, 2017, Patrick Yough and I made trips to Reading, Pennsylvania to photograph and travel on Reading & Northern’s former Reading Company Budd RDCs.

I grew up with the old ‘Budd cars’ and it was neat to see these machines on the roll again.

Budd introduced it’s self-propelled ‘Rail Diesel Car’ in 1949, and sold them to many railroads across North America. These cars were most common in the Northeast, and the Reading Company was among the lines that made good use of them in passenger service.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm X-T1 with Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.

Reading & Northern operates these RDCs in periodic excursion service on its lines in eastern Pennsylvania.

A new tower, and a really antique signal made for nice props for the RDCs at Reading Outer Station.

Reading & Northern operates these RDCs in periodic excursion service on its lines in eastern Pennsylvania.

 

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I got it Mostly Wrong in New Haven in 1979.

No one ever told me you shouldn’t point the camera into the sun!

I exposed this grab shot in New Haven, Connecticut as I was changing trains with my mother and brother (you can see my mother in silhouette at left).

As the Amtrak RDCs pulled into the platform I made a couple of black & white photos with my Leica 3A.

At the time I was delighted because the leading RDC was still lettered for the New Haven Railroad. At the time this seemed like a relic from another age, but looking back it had only been about 11 years since New Haven Railroad’s demise.

Pity I didn’t have a wider lens, but it’s just as well I didn’t know anything about how you were supposed to make photos. If I had, I might not have made this one!

Amtrak RDCs working the New Haven-Springfield shuttle arrive on the platform in New Haven, Connecticut in the summer of 1979.
Amtrak RDCs working the New Haven-Springfield shuttle arrive on the platform in New Haven, Connecticut in the summer of 1979.

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Why I Liked Budd RDCs—four photos from the lost image file.

It looks to be Spring of 1979: My parents drove my brother, Sean and me to Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station to catch Amtrak to New York.

At that time most Amtrak services on the Springfield-Hartford-New Haven run were operated with vintage hand-me-down Budd Rail Diesel Cars, the much loved RDCs.

I always liked the Budd Cars because I could talk our way into a cab-run, which was vastly superior to sitting on the seats.

Bummer about the post; but I made this view from the head-end of another RDC at Springfield Union Station in Spring 1979 (April, I think.)
Bummer about the post; but I made this view from the head-end of another RDC at Springfield Union Station in Spring 1979 (April, I think.)

On this day we were treated to running ‘wrong main’ (against the current of traffic) because of track-work south of Springfield.

Nothing finer than a forward view. The top of Sean's head is just visible in some this trips images. He was only nine at the time.
Nothing finer than a forward view. The top of Sean’s head is just visible in some this trip’s images. He was only nine at the time. Here we are looking westward at Springfield. Our train will take a hard left before reaching the Connecticut River and follow the former New Haven line toward its namesake.

We were running wrong main because of a track gang on the normal southward track. Note that this is traditional section gang, not a tamper in sight!
We were running wrong main because of a track gang on the normal southward track.

Approaching the Connecticut River bridge between Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This span dates to about 1906. Today it has just one track.
Approaching the Connecticut River bridge between Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This span dates to about 1906. Today it has just one track.

At New Haven we changed trains for an electric-hauled run toward New York City. At that time, Amtrak served Rye, New York (rather than New Rochelle as it does today) where our grand parents would collect us. I always hoped for a Pennsy GG1 leading our train from New Haven, but usually had to settle for a boxy General Electric E60.

I made these views from the head-end of the RDC using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens. The train crews were always friendly and on this day the engineer gave us a detail running commentary about the line, much of which I’ve either forgotten or melded in with my general knowledge of the New Haven Railroad.

Back then all photos were film photos (except for Polaroid, I suppose). If could you make photos like this now with your phone, where do you think you’ll find them in 37 years?

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Berkshire Scenic RDC at Renfrew, Massachusetts—Real black & white.

Yesterday (Saturday June 4, 2016) I exposed this view of Berkshire Scenic’s RDC using my old 35mm Leica 3A rangefinder. I processed the film this morning and scanned it for internet presentation.

Coming up soon, I’ll detail specifically what I did and why.

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For details on Berkshire Scenic’s Hoosac Valley service which is now running out of North Adams, Massachusetts see: http://www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com

Also see Berkshire Scenic Railway on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/berkshirescenicrailway

This Budd Could Be For You!

—For ten NEW photos, click on Tracking the Light—

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Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum’s Hoosac Valley Service is operating with a vintage Budd-built Rail Diesel Car.

Berkshire_Scenic_RDC_DSCF8093

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Budd Company’s RDC made its debut in 1949 and was first used in regular revenue service on New York Central’s Boston & Albany in 1950.

I made these views of Berkshire Scenic’s RDC on the former Boston & Albany North Adams Branch yesterday, May 28, 2016.

Berkshire Scenic plans to operate this car on weekends and select public holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. For details see: http://www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com/schedule.php

Also see Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/hoosacvalleyservice

Berkshire Scenic's new North Adams station area. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
Berkshire Scenic’s new North Adams station area. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

Want to learn more about Budd’s RDC and other classic streamlined trains? Check out my new book: Streamliners—Locomotives and Trains in the Age of Speed and Style published by Voyageur Press.

A Budd with a view! FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
A Budd with a view! FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

 

Looking southward on the old B&A branch. At one time Boston & Albany's North Adams Branch connected its namesake with Pittsfield. As late as the 1940s, through trains operated fro Grand Central Terminal to North Adams using the Harlem line to Chatham and B&A mainline to Pittsfield.
Looking southward on the old B&A branch. At one time Boston & Albany’s North Adams Branch connected its namesake with Pittsfield. As late as the 1940s, through trains operated fro Grand Central Terminal to North Adams using the Harlem line to Chatham and B&A mainline to Pittsfield.

Berkshire Scenic's RDC departs North Adams for Renfrew on May 28, 2016. FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
Berkshire Scenic’s RDC departs North Adams for Renfrew on May 28, 2016. FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

Berkshire Scenic's RDC departs North Adams for Renfrew on May 28, 2016. FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
Berkshire Scenic’s RDC departs North Adams for Renfrew on May 28, 2016. FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

Where else does the old Boston & Albany cross below the old Boston & Maine? Here we have trains top and bottom.
Where else does the old Boston & Albany cross below a route of the old Boston & Maine? Here we have trains top and bottom.

Tickets!
Tickets!

Berkshire_Scenic_RDC-1_at_North_Adams_DSCF8105

Berkshire Scenic Railway’s RDC-1 is on the roll Memorial Day Weekend

Saturday May 28, 2016, I rode and photographed Berkshire Scenic Railway’s RDC-1 on the former Boston & Albany North Adams Branch. (More RDC photos see: This Budd Could Be For You!)

On Saturday May 28, 2016, Berkshire Scenic Railway's classic RDC-1 worked between North Adams and Renfrew, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Albany branch. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.
On Saturday May 28, 2016, Berkshire Scenic Railway’s classic RDC-1 worked between North Adams and Renfrew, Massachusetts on the old Boston & Albany branch. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1; contrast adjusted in post processing.

Last autumn my dad and I rode this classic railway vehicle, but at that time it was being hauled/propelled by a vintage SW8 diesel. Saturday, I found the RDC-1 running as intended as a self-propelled diesel rail car.

I recalled riding RDCs on the Springfield-New Haven shuttle back in the 1970s and 1980s, and on Metro-North branch line trains, as well as Boston area service.

For details on Berkshire Scenic’s Hoosac Valley service which is now running out of North Adams, Massachusetts see: http://www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com

Also see Berkshire Scenic Railway on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/berkshirescenicrailway

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Berkshire Scenic’s Hoosac Valley—A Dozen Photos!

On Sunday October 11, 2015, my father and I drove over the Berkshires to travel and photograph’s Berkshire Scenic’s Hoosac Valley excursion that is now operating on a short portion of the old Boston & Albany branch between Renfrew in Adams and North Adams, Massachusetts.

This presented an opportunity to travel in an old Budd RDC and ride a rarely used portion of the Boston & Albany. This new excursion service had only begun on the previous day, and should run over the next few weekends.

Berkshire Scenic's former Boston & Maine Budd-built RDC. Lumix LX7 photo.
Berkshire Scenic’s former Boston & Maine Budd-built RDC. Lumix LX7 photo.

Berkshire Scenic train departing Renfrew. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Berkshire Scenic train departing Renfrew. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

At Renfrew I met my friends Otto Vondrak, and Kevin Chittenden. Kevin was the engineer for the day.

The weather was nearly perfect—clear polarized sunny skies.

On the only hitch was that a day or two earlier the RDC had developed an electric fault, and as a result was being towed/propelled by a vintage EMD SW8 switcher.

My Irish friends will note that this 800 hp locomotive is remarkably similar to CIE’s Class 121s (also built by EMD).

I made this selection of photographs with my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. However, I also exposed a few colour slides with my father’s Leica M4 with 35mm Summilux lens.

Thanks to everyone at the Berkshire Scenic/Hoosac Valley for making this an enjoyable day out.

For details on the new excursion service see: http://hoosacvalleytrainride.com/

Or look at: Hoosac Valley Service on Facebook.

Otto and Kevin at Renfrew, Mass. Lumix LX7 photo.
Otto and Kevin at Renfrew, Mass. Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Interior view of the RDC. Lumix LX7 photo.
Interior view of the RDC. Lumix LX7 photo.

Ticket collection on board. Lumix LX7 photo.
Ticket collection on board. Lumix LX7 photo.

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Kevin_C_w_Berkshire_SW8_P1330306

Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

Berkshire_Scenic_train_departing_Renfrew_wide1_DSCF3717
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

Berkshire_Scenic_train_Zylonite_wide1_DSCF3725
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

 

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

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Amtrak RDCs at Meriden, Connecticut—February 1979.

Here’s a pair of photos from the archive. It was a bright and clear winter day, when my father and I intercepted these Amtrak Budd RDCs working the New Haven to Springfield shuttle.

At that time, the Budd Cars (as I knew them) were standard equipment on the Springfield run. I have many fond memories of riding the RDCs.

Exposed with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar on Kodachrome 64 color slide film.
Exposed with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar on Kodachrome 64 color slide film.

Amtrak RDCs at Meriden CT Feb 1979 Brian Solomon 662987

I’m glad I have these slides, but I wish I’d made many more image of the old Budds. A few of the RDCs survived into the mid 1980s.

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Old Budd Cars Don’t Rust

 Bellows Falls, Vermont.

It was the morning of August 28, 2010. My father and I had arrived at Bellows Falls, on our way to St. Albans. It was quiet and nothing was moving on any of the three freight railroads that serve the town.

East of the passenger station there were a few old Budd RDCs stored on former Rutland Railroad sidings. I took a few minutes to made some photos with my Lumix LX3. My father has some nice Kodachrome slides of Boston & Maine and New York Central cars working in the 1960s. I remember riding them out of Boston in the 1970s.

Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

Vestiges of another era at Bellows Falls, Vermont. Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
Vestiges of another era at Bellows Falls, Vermont. Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

New York Central was first to install Budd Rail Diesel Cars in revenue service. They were known as 'Bee Liners.' Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.
New York Central was first to install Budd Rail Diesel Cars in revenue service. They were known as ‘Bee Liners.’ Exposed digitally with a Lumix LX3.

One of the benefits of Budd’s Shotwelded stainless steel construction is that the cars won’t rust. Yet, the overgrowth makes for some interesting studies in decay. The cars still reflected the light nicely.

More than 30 years earlier we’d explored these same sidings. Back then there were decayed vestiges of wooden sided boxcars around the place, and considerably few trees.

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DAILY POST: When the Common is Uncommon.


Remembering the SPVs!

They were Budd’s follow up to its successful stainless steel rail diesel cars built in the 1950s. But where Budd’s RDCs had established standards for self propelled diesel cars, Budd’s SPV-2000 didn’t measure up.

I think ‘SPV’ was supposed to mean ‘Self Propelled Vehicle,’ but all the railroaders I knew called them ‘Seldom Powered Vehicles.’

These were adapted from the original Budd Metroliner (MP85) car style and in the same family as Amtrak’s Budd-built Amfleet.

For a few years they were routinely assigned to Amtrak’s Springfield, Massachusetts-New Haven, Connecticut shuttle trains.

Amtrak at Springfield Station.
Silhouette of a Budd SPV2000 at Springfield Station on the morning of September 30, 1984. Exposed on 35mm Kodak Tri-X with a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.

On the morning of September 30, 1984, Conrail B23-7s lead  eastward freight SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester) through Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station. A set of SPVs rests in the shadows. Although not the primary subject, I was sure to include the SPV2000s in my photograph. Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.
On the morning of September 30, 1984, Conrail B23-7s lead eastward freight SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester) through Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station. A set of SPVs rests in the shadows. Although not the primary subject, I was sure to include the SPV2000s in my photograph. Exposed on Tri-X using a Leica 3A with 21mm lens.

I admit now that I didn’t like the SPVs. I didn’t like them because they were new, and I much preferred the traditional RDCs. Also, at the time, I found the round car style un-photogenic.

Despite my dislike of the SPV’s, I photographed them anyway. While I wish that I’d made more photos of them, I’m very glad that I bothered to put them on film at all.

As it turned out, Amtrak appears to have disliked the SPV’s even more than I did! Their tenure on the Springfield run was short. By 1986, they’d been largely replaced with locomotive hauled consists. Other than my own photographs, I’ve seen very few images of these cars working on Amtrak.

A lone SPV2000 makes a station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut in May 1985. From my experience, it was relatively unusual to find single SPVs working in Springfield-Hartford-New Haven shuttle service. Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Canon 50mm lens. Contrast controlled locally in post processing using Photoshop.
A lone SPV2000 makes a station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut in May 1985. From my experience, it was relatively unusual to find single SPVs working in Springfield-Hartford-New Haven shuttle service. Exposed with a Leica 3A fitted with a Canon 50mm lens. Contrast controlled locally in post processing using Photoshop.

Here’s an irony: in retrospect I’ve come to appreciate the SPV’s. They were a rare example of a modern American-built self-propel diesel car, and to my well-traveled eye, I now find them very interesting. So, what seemed new and common, now seems rare and peculiar!

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Also see: Old Pointless Arrow and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

and: Springfield Station, March 31, 1984

The Amherst Railway Society ‘BIG RAILROAD HOBBY SHOW‘ is on this weekend (January 25 and 26, 2014) at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

See: http://www.railroadhobbyshow.com/

Brian Solomon will cover the train show in Tracking the Light.

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South Station Reflections November 23, 1988.

 

Stainless Steel Budd-Rail Diesel Car Catches the Light.

Rail Diesel Car.
Unmodified scan of a Kodachrome slide. MBTA RDC at South Station Boston, Massachusetts, November 23, 1988.

 

On November 23, 1988, I exposed this Kodachrome slide of a former Boston & Maine (B&M) Budd RDC on the platforms at South Station. At one time this had been a self-propelled unit, but by this time, Boston-based Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was hauling trains of old RDC’s with locomotives.

The classic welded stainless steel fluting was a trademark of Budd railcars. Polished stainless steel made for some beautiful trains, although this one was clearly showing its age. The Boston & Maine lettering was a remnant of B&M’s ownership of the car, which MBTA had acquired in the mid-1970s.

Look carefully and you’ll see another Budd-built product reflecting the in the window: one of Amtrak’s Amfleet cars built in the 1970s.

Kodachrome 25 slide film was an ideal material for capturing high-contrast scenes like this one. Look at the great detail in the highlights areas. I used my Leica M2 with f2.0 50mm Summicron. Today, I’d probably try to capture this with my Lumix LX3.

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