Tag Archives: Santa Fe

Dusk at Raton, New Mexico.

These days the only regular trains to use the old Santa Fe Raton Pass crossing are Amtrak 3 and 4, the Southwest Chief. The days of helpers over the three percent are all but a memory.

This day two weeks ago: Arriving on No.4, we had more than ten minutes at Raton to stretch our legs and take in the mountain air.

I used the opportunity to make some twilight images of Silver Splendor, the Budd-built Vista-Dome that I was traveling on.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 and Zeiss 12mm Touit lens, I exposed several views in the blue glow of evening. Dusk is a great time to balance the light inside the passenger car with outside illumination.

f2.8 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.
f3.6 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.
f3.2 1/15th of a second, ISO 1600.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

 

 

Semaphores on the Santa Fe—Five Photos.

Between Albuquerque and Raton Pass (on the New Mexico-Colorado state line) I counted three bastions of Union Switch & Signal style-T2 upper quadrant semaphores on our journey over the former Santa Fe in Vista-Dome Silver Splendor.

I watched the blades drop from the vertical as we passed—a scene I’d not witnessed for many years.

The view of a semaphore dropping from ‘clear’ to ‘stop and proceed’ as seen from Vista Dome Silver Splendor on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.
Lumix LX7 photo near Las Vegas, New Mexico.
East of Las Vegas, New Mexico. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.
FujiFilm XT1 photo.

In 2018, these signals represent the last large collections of active semaphores on any North American mainline.

The Style T2 was detailed in my book Classic Railroad Signals in a sidebar titled ‘Sante Fe Semaphores Survive in New Mexico’ by John Ryan and the late John Gruber.

Classic Railroad Signals was published by Voyageur Press in 2015. It is available at:

https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760346921/Classic-Railroad-Signals.html?direct=1

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

 

Relics at Lamy, New Mexico—November 2018.

As we approached our station stop Lamy, New Mexico, I relocated from Silver Splendor’s dome, where I’d been enjoying the old Santa Fe mainline journey at the head-end of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, tothe car’s dutch doors to make photos of antique equipment stored line-side near the station.

The ability to photograph from opened dutch doors is a rare pleasure on modern trains.

In my youth, I’d spent hours soaking in the atmosphere in the vestibules of trains, making photos with my old Leica 3A.

Santa Fe Southern at Lamy, New Mexico.
Santa Fe Southern at Lamy, New Mexico.
Lamy station, New Mexico.

Amtrak station Lamy, New Mexico.

I exposed these modern photos using my FujiFilm XT1.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

 

 

New Mexico Revisited: Soaking in BNSF’s Transcon on the Move.

It had been more than 20 years since my last visit to New Mexico. This was my first by rail.

I was on my way east with Dave and Rhonda Swirk and Derek Palmieri of New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad, documenting  Budd Vista-Dome Silver Splendor on its journey from Los Angeles to its new home in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

As we glided east at the head-end of Amtrak number 4 theSouthwest Chief,we met or overtook dozens of freights, many of them intermodal trains, on BNSF’s former Santa Fe Transcon.

Wow, BNSF sure runs a lot of freight!

Dave Swirk enjoys breakfast near Gallup, New Mexico. Exposed using a FujiFIlm XT1.
View from Silver Splendor near the Arizona-New Mexico state line.
BNSF westward freight near the Gallup, NM station .FujiFilm XT1.
BNSF eastward freight as seen east of Gallup. Lumix LX7 photo.
BNSF’s former Santa Fe has several long sections of split alignments, where mainline tracks are not adjacent. A westward freight can be seen off in the distance to the north of Amtrak No. 4. Lumix LX7 photo.
BNSF westward intermodal freight. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
BNSF westward intermodal freight. FujiFilm XT1 photo.
Amtrak No.4 paused at Marmon, NM for traffic to clear. FujiFilm XT1 photo.

I exposed these photos digitally using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.

Part of the challenge of making photos of trains from the train is trying to compose while in motion of moving subjects. Not only does this make if difficult to level the camera, but it leads to motion blur and other potential defects.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

‘Santa Fe All the Way!’ Arizona Sunrise Rolling East on the BNSF Transcon.

Last week, I awoke to sunrise east of Flagstaff, Arizona riding in Budd Vista Dome Silver Splendor as it traveled east on Amtrak no.4, the Southwest Chief.

The luxurious 1956-built stainless steel dome is a classic car from America’s streamlined era.

It was on its way to a new home on the East coast after years being based in California.

The pleasure of traveling in a Vista Dome is enjoying its comfortable elevated panoramic view of the passing scenery. An added bonus on BNSF’s former Santa Fe Transcon is the unceasing parade of freights.

Sunrise on the Santa Fe east of Flagstaff, Arizona on November 18, 2018. Notice the headlight of an approaching BNSF freight.
Sunrise on the Santa Fe east of Flagstaff, Arizona on November 18, 2018.
Overtaking an eastward BNSF freight east of Dennison, Arizona. 90mm view.
Rolling east at Winslow, Arizona. 90mm view from Silver Splendor.

These images were exposed digitally using my FujiFilm X-T1. Some of the photos were adjusted in post processing to compensate for the dome’s tinted glass.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Brief Barstow Visit and a Flash From the Past.

Amtrak’s eastward Southwest Chief, train number 4, made a relatively long stop at Barstow, California, affording me time to explore and photograph historic rolling stock (displayed near the platforms) by the Western America Railroad Museum.

I find it strange to see once-familiar locomotives exhibited as static displays. In the 1990s, I regularly photographed Santa Fe’s FP45, such as number 95 seen at Barstow. Back then these were working machines. Today, 95 a decayed appearing vestige of another era.

Compare the static equipment—displayed like dinosaur bones to a curious public—with Budd Vista dome Silver Splendorin consist on the Southwest Chief.The dome is a functional piece of equipment on its transcontinental journey from Los Angeles to its new home.

Growing up in New England, I had a childhood fascination with Barstow, which I viewed as a treeless desert Mecca of all good things Santa Fe. Although I’ve photographed in Barstow several times over the years, this one short nocturnal visit was especially surreal.

All photos were made handheld with my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tracking the Light Extra: Fullerton by Night—Dome Car on the Southwest Chief.

Saturday evening, November 17, 2018, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief—train number 4—made its scheduled station stop at Fullerton, California, its first after departing Los Angeles Union Station.

Budd Vista Dome Silver Splendor  was in consist on its big trip east.

The dome was met by some of its California fans who waited trackside to see it off on its journey.

Silver Splendor was making the trek to its new home on the East Coast after many years entertaining travelers in the West.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, train no.4, pauses at Fullerton, California.
Former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Budd-built Vista Dome on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief at Fullerton, California on November 17, 2018.
Fullerton, California.
A view East on the old Santa Fe at Fullerton. Seven hours earlier I’d been making photos from that footbridge.

I exposed these views hand-held using my FujiFilm X-T1.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday, sometimes twice!

 

Fullerton by Day: Metrolink from LA.

On November 17, 2018, I made this view of Metrolink train 662 eastbound on the old Santa Fe at Fullerton, California.

To make the most of the palm trees that line the platforms, I cross-lit the train, exposing from the north-side of footbridge over the line.

Metrolink’s white locomotive hauling a mix of white and  stainless-steel cars effectively reflect light on the shadow side of the train, which make for a more even exposure and help balance the photograph by compensating for the otherwise inky darkness of the high-sun shadows.

These views are looking west . I used a telephoto lens that compresses the row of palms.

Some seven hours after I made this image, I was back at Fullerton again. Stay tuned for my nocturnal views from the same station.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

4 Views: Los Angeles Metrolink at San Clemente Pier, California.

Just a few views of Metrolink trains on the old Santa Fe Surf Line at San Clemente, California.

California evening sun, surf and palm trees make for a nice light in a pleasant setting.

I exposed these photos from San Clemente Pier last Friday.

Using an 18-135 zoom lens gave me the needed flexibility to adjust my field of view as the trains passed.

Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente.
Los Angeles Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente, California.
Los Angeles Metrolink train 641 at San Clemente, California.
Los Angeles Metrolink train 609 at San Clemente, California.

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday!

Santa Fe in the Tehachapis: On This Day 25 Years Ago.

This was one of dozens of Kodachrome slides I exposed in California’s Tehachapi mountains on April 3, 1993—25 Years ago today.

Fellow photographer Brian Jennison and I were on an epic excursion making images of Southern Pacific and Santa Fe trains.

For this view I’m standing on a hillside near Tunnel 2 looking toward Bealville of a westward Santa Fe intermodal train. It was a beautiful Spring morning and the purple lupin flowers were in bloom.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Nikon F3T fitted with a 35mm perspective control lens (with adjustable front element).

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.

Santa Fe FP45 at Tehachapi Loop; Then and Now Comparison.

My visits to California’s Tehachapis in July and August (2016) made me curious to dig deep into my archives and revisit the photographs I made there in the early 1990s.

I traveled with J. D. Schmid on my first visits to Southern Pacific’s Tehachapi crossing. (Then Santa Fe operated in the Tehachapis via trackage rights on SP, as does BNSF on Union Pacific today).

I made this Santa Fe FP45 photo on a rainy morning February 1991. We were on our way back from a detailed study of the SP’s Beaumont Hill and environs.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm PC lens. Santa Fe FP45 91 is the lead.
Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using a Nikon F3T with 35mm PC lens. Santa Fe FP45 91 is the lead.

While hard to beat the great sound of EMD 20 cylinder diesels working the Tehachapi grades, it was difficult working with Kodachrome 25 to capture the experience. The film was slow and its spectral response didn’t favor dull days.

Certainly the weather was better on my more recent visits. I traveled with David Hegarty, and we had ample opportunity to make photographs in the bright California sun.

A southward BNSF intermodal train ascends the loop at Walong, California. In SP days the railroad was viewed on an east-west axis (west being San Francisco). Today, present owner Union Pacific deems the directions of operation north-south (regardless of compass.
A southward BNSF intermodal train ascends the loop at Walong, California. In SP days the railroad was viewed on an east-west axis (west being San Francisco). Today, present owner Union Pacific deems the directions of operation on a  north-south axis  (regardless of compass.)

Tracking the Light posts every day.

 

One Month Ago: In the Shadow of the Santa Fe—San Bernardino, California—Six Images.

August 4, 2016 was a blistering hot day in San Bernardino. I arrived by Metrolink from Santa Ana, and departed a little while later by Metrolink for LA Union.

San Bernardino was a big deal on the old Santa Fe Railway; freight yards, locomotive shops, and a classic station.

An old smoke stack still reads Santa Fe.

Santa_Fe_Stack_DSCF2067

During my short visit there was a steady procession of BNSF freights.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm XT1 digital camera. In post processing, (using Lightroom) I adjusted contrast and lightened shadows to compensate for the harsh effects of midday sun.

BNSF_San_Bernadino_DSCF2096BNSF_San_Bernadino_DSCF2098

Santa_Fe_stack_San_Bernadino_DSCF2099

The old Santa Fe station hosts a museum and offices.
The old Santa Fe station hosts a museum and offices. Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with Zeiss 12mm Tuoit lens.

San_Bernardino_Station_DSCF2062

Tracking the Light Posts Daily

Santa Ana, California—Ten Photos in 45 Minutes—August 2016.

During one of my recent Metrolink blitzes, I rode from Los Angeles Union Station to Santa Ana where I changed for an Inland Empire-Orange County Line train running from Oceanside to San Bernardino.

I timed this brief visit to coincide with a flurry of Amtrak and Metrolink trains. I had just 45 minutes to make images of this classic Santa Fe station having never previously explored here.

I found Santa Ana to be an excellent mid-morning location.

The footbridge is photographer friendly and the old Santa Fe building makes for a suitably California setting. The height of the bridge allows for both distant telephoto views as well as wide-angle down-on photos.

I exposed these views digitally using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm XT1.

I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
I arrived on Metrolink train 600 from Los Angeles Union Station. I had enough time to walk to the headend and expose this view with my Lumix LX7 before the train departed.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
Metrolink 687 arrives behind a borrow BNSF AC4400CW. This framed view was exposed using my Lumix LX7.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
A Metrolink F59PHI works at the back of Los Angeles bound train number 687. Here my Fujinon 18-135mm lens gave me a nice view of the train and station from the footbridge.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink's services that doesn't serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
Metrolink 633 is among Metrolink’s services that doesn’t serve Los Angeles Union Station. This is a short-turn that runs from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo to Fullerton.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
By using my 18-135 zoom on my Fuji XT1 I was able to exposed a series of trailing photos of Metrolink 633 as it accelerated away from Santa Ana.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
This is a telephoto view of train 633 from the same vantage point as the photo above.
Metrolink's timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.
Metrolink’s timetable shows both of its services to Santa Ana as well as Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
A detailed view of the Santa Ana station exposed using my FujiFilm XT1.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Amtrak 566 Pacific Surfliner slows for its station stop.
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!
Metrolink 802 will take me to San Bernardino. I arrived under partly cloudy skies and departed under a California blue dome. Happy days!

Tracking the Light Posts Everyday.

Tehachapi Revisited—Just like I remembered, but different.

Last weekend, I gazed down upon that famous spiral officially known on the late Southern Pacific as Walong, but to the rest of the world as the ‘Tehachapi Loop’.

It was, and still is, one of the great places to watch trains; and on this day it didn’t disappoint. I’d been away a long time and now I was back.

The last time I was here, I’d stayed with my friends Dave and Helen Burton, who lived just over the hill on the north side of the spiral. Back then, Southern Pacific still owned the line, and the merger that was to consume the Santa Fe Railway was still more than a year away.

Now, SP, Santa Fe, and Dave and Helen are all just memories.

It was strange to watch a train traverse the loop. I was delighted to see it, but sad. It was like seeing some weird vision of the future.

So, I made these images—my first digital photos of this often-photographed landmark—while thinking back to earlier times.

BNSF_stack_train_Walong_CA_Tehachapi_Loop_DSCF0845

BNSF_stack_train_Walong_CA_Tehachapi_Loop_DSCF0851

BNSF_stack_train_Walong_CA_Tehachapi_Loop_DSCF0854

BNSF_6936_stack_train_near_Walong_CA_DSCF0861

BNSF_6936_stack_train_near_Walong_CA_DSCF0864

BNSF_6936_stack_train_near_Walong_CA_DSCF0866

I dedicated books to both of my friends: to Dave, I dedicated my BNSF book of 2005.

Tracking the Light is Daily.

 

 

 

Tracking the Light’s Classic Chrome Archive: Santa Fe at Port Chicago, California

While I’m on the road in late July 2015, I thought it would be nice to look back to August 1993. I made this view on the Santa Fe of an eastward GP60M at Port Chicago, California.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using an F3T with 35mm PC lens. Perspective control  made this angle possible.
Exposed on Kodachrome 25 using an F3T with 35mm PC lens. Perspective control made this angle possible.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

Santa Fe on Alhambra Viaduct

Martinez, California—September 1990.

When I was exploring Santa Fe’s Bay Area operations in the early 1990s, the railroad tended to operate a fleet of westward trains to its Richmond, California yards in the afternoon and early evening.

One afternoon, Brian Jennison and I had set up at the Alhambra Viaduct near Martinez. This was a relatively scenic portion of the line, but beginning to get hemmed in by suburban growth.

We knew that the 899 was on its way. This was a short high-priority piggy back train. The real prize of the day was the premier 199, which often had new ‘Super Fleet’ locomotives wearing the reintroduced Warbonnet paint scheme. But we wanted to make the most of the short train as we had time to make different photos of both trains.

To make the most of Santa Fe’s ‘shorty’ 899, I climbed atop the tunnel west of the bridge, and set up this view using my Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor f4.0 200mm lens. The light was classic California blue skies with soft autumnal haze that favored Kodachrome 25. My exposure was f5.6 1/250th of second.
To make the most of Santa Fe’s ‘shorty’ 899, I climbed atop the tunnel west of the bridge, and set up this view using my Nikon F3T fitted with a Nikkor f4.0 200mm lens. The light was classic California blue skies with soft autumnal haze that favored Kodachrome 25. My exposure was f5.6 1/250th of second.

This view minimized the suburban sprawl on both sides of the bridge, along with high tension lines in the valley, while putting the steel viaduct in a good perspective. Was it really 24 years ago?

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

Santa Fe Freight Cars on the Roll!

Free Film and a Borrowed Camera.

It was autumn 1986. As a photography student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I’d receive an annual ‘care package’ of new, and sometimes experimental, Kodak products.

At the time I was a loyal Kodak film user, and dedicated to the careful exposure of Kodachrome 25. However, since I was on a shoe-string budget, I was happy to make use of the free roll of ‘Ektachrome du jour’—as we’d call whatever the latest flavor of Ektachrome was being peddled at the time.

Blessed with a rare bright day, and armed with my free roll of film, I wandered around Rochester documenting the railroads and the city. I had K25 in my Leica for the important photos, and loaded the free film into my roommate’s Canon A1 for experimental shots and comparison views.

I exposed this slide of Santa Fe freight cars on a westward Conrail freight with the Canon and 50mm lens. I panned using a 1/30th of second to convey a sense of motion.
I exposed this slide of Santa Fe freight cars on a westward Conrail freight using the Canon A1 fitted with a 50mm lens. I panned using a 1/30th of second to convey a sense of motion.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

DAILY POST: Santa Fe in the Tehachapis, 1993.


Warbonnets among Iridescent Rolling Hills.

Santa Fe Railway
The head-end of Santa Fe’s second 199 works Southern Pacific rails in the Tehachapis between tunnel 1 and 2 near Bealville, California at 7:45am on April 3, 1993. I exposed this photo on Kodachrome 25 slide film using a Nikon F3T with 35mm lens at f4.5 1/125 second. Here’s a secret: the F3T has a removable prism; and to make this image, I pre-focused then took the prism off and held the camera close to the ground. Incidentally this means I composed the image in reverse. At the time, my camera didn’t have a motor drive, so this was a one shot effort. Take careful notice of the lighting and focus points.

California’s rolling Tehachapi mountains south of Bakersfield is one of the West’s great places to watch and photograph trains. Here through creative use of scale, depth-of-field and backlighting, I’ve made a real railroad look like a model!

In the early 1990s, I made several productive trips there. In Spring 1993, Brian Jennison and spent a few great days making images of SP and Santa Fe trains. On this morning we were joined by local photographers Bruce Perry and the late David Burton.

On the morning of April 3, 1993, I climbed a grassy hill near Bealeville to make this  image of Santa Fe’s westward second 199 winding its way downgrade between tunnels 1 and 2.

Working with my Nikon F3T and 35mm PC lens, I played with focus and scale to make an image that looks like one exposed on a model railway. This was my way to cope with some difficult lighting on a photogenic subject and following in the California tradition, I’ve micturated on established ‘rules’ of conventional railroad photography.

I’ve always liked the purple lupin in the foreground.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please spread the word and share Tracking the Light with anyone who may enjoy seeing it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Santa Fe FP45 Leads an Eastward Intermodal Freight


Mojave, California, June 1992.

Santa Fe FP45 near Mojave Calif in 1992
Santa Fe EMD-built FP45 number 98 eastbound near Mojave, California. I exposed this on Kodachrome 25 using my Nikon F3T with an f4.0 200mm lens positioned on a Bogan 3021 tripod with ball head.

In the early 1990s, I made several productive trips to the California Tehachapis. Southern Pacific owned and operated the line over the mountain, while Santa Fe operated by virtue of trackage rights.

Yet at that time, Santa Fe ran about three times the number of trains as SP. On this morning, T.S. Hoover and I were set-up on the east slope of the mountain. While catching a Santa Fe FP45 in the ‘Super Fleet-Warbonnet’ livery leading was certainly a coup, it wasn’t especially unusual.

Dry desert air and clear skies were nearly ideal conditions for Kodachrome 25 film. This was one of many choice chromes exposed that day. I wish I could turn back the clock!

The locomotive survives at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. I made some more recent photographs of it on visit in June 2008.

Locomotive Geometry Part 5; Wisconsin Central F45

Cowls on the Prowl.

Among Wisconsin Central Limited’s 20-cylinder EMD fleet were six F45s and a lone FP45, all former Santa Fe.

Santa Fe had been first to order the FP45—intended as a dual service machine used passenger service and for fast freight. The only other customer for the FP45 was Milwaukee Road which bought five of them. Significant of these designs was the external semi-streamlined cowling leading the locomotive’s ‘Cowls’ nickname.

Santa Fe F45 5972 at N Fond du Lac wis March 11 1995 by Brian Solomon 234116_2
Santa Fe F45 5972 on Wisconsin Central at North Fond du Lac on March 11, 1995.

EMD’s F45 was intended primarily for freight so it didn’t feature a large steam generator. As a result it was several feet shorter. Santa Fe ordered 40, while along with Great Northern and its successor Burlington Northern, bought 56 F45s. Like its SD45, EMD rated both FP45 and F45 at 3,600 hp.These locomotives had a similar appearance to the SDP40F and F40C (see: Locomotive Geometry Part 4).

EMD F45
Former Santa Fe 5959 leads a northward freight near Slinger, Wisconsin in May 1995.

Although Wisconsin Central operated seven of the big cowled EMDs, I found these to be relatively elusive when compared to WC’s far more common SD45s. Yet, I count myself  fortunate to have caught the cowl 20-cylinder locomotives at various occasions, both in Santa Fe and Wisconsin Central paint.

This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
This broadside view of a northward WC freight in Spring 1996 demonstrates the length difference between the leading F45 and trailing FP45.
Nose view of a WC F45.
Nose view of WC F45 6656 on May 4, 1996.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
F45 interior view showing the 20-cylinder 645E3 diesel engine.
Enhanced by Zemanta