Tag Archives: SD40-2

Haircut and an SD40-2 Trailing View.

So often I’ve heard the following lament, “I saw that once but I didn’t take a photo.”

The other day I was on my way to get a haircut when I passed under New England Central’s 611 departing Palmer, Massachusetts for Brattleboro, Vermont.

The weather was poor, the lighting bland and I had an agenda of things to attend to.

But I had my Lumix LX7 handy and I went after 611 anyway!

I made this trailing view using my Lumix LX7 handheld.

My head-on views were not worth describing here. Not today anyway. However, I like this trailing view at Barretts, Massachusetts of New England Central 721, still in Union Pacific paint (but with NECR lettering).

This captures some of the drama of the accelerating freight and makes reasonably good use of the lighting. Afterwards I resumed my mission to get a hair cut.

My point? Whenever possible, regardless of the weather and other things to do, I take the time to make photographs; of railroads and whatever else catches my interest.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Pan Am’s Fresh Blue Diesels Work West at Shirley—November 18, 2015.

Tracking the Light on the roll!

We were heading for Ayer. We’d heard some non-descript chatter on the radio about Pan Am’s POED (Portland to East Deerfield). I had the MBTA schedules on my lap. The sun was shining brightly.

Bob Arnold was driving, Paul Goewey was riding shotgun, and I was in the back.

“There’s freight cars moving west!”

“It’s the POED, turn around”.

“The new SD40-2s are in the lead!”

These were the coolest engines in New England as this moment in time, and they’d handily presented themselves in nice light.

Our opportunity was narrow and before long we were saddled with waddler (a slow moving car that impeded our forward progress). However, the freight was only ambling up the grade, and we began to overtake it.

I rolled down my window, set my FujiFilm X-T1 to ‘turbo flutter’ (continuous high) with a 1/60th of a second shutter speed to ensure the effect of movement, and made bursts of images of the shinny blue engines on the move.

Art of the pace: Bob was driving so I leaned from the rear passenger window and exposed a series of images. By selecting a slower shutter speed I was able to convey motion. He's a secret: although the pacing action resulted in most of the ground blur, I was also panning back to keep the locomotives sharp and had my image stabilization 'on'. This takes practice.
Art of the pace: Bob was driving so I leaned from the rear passenger window and exposed a series of images. By selecting a slower shutter speed I was able to convey motion. Here’s a secret: although the pacing action resulted in most of the ground blur, I was also panning back to keep the locomotives sharp and had my camera’s image stabilization ‘on’. This takes practice.
Both the locomotives and the car are moving, yet at different speeds, so compensation is necessary or everything will turn into a sea of blur.
Both the locomotives and the car are moving, yet at different speeds, so compensation is necessary or everything will turn into a sea of blur.

Despite the frustrations caused by our less than quick progress, we were soon ahead of the freight. At Shirley, Massachusetts the road and the old Boston & Maine are parallel. Bob asked “where should we stop.”

“Pull in short of the new signal bridge. . . Here, it’s open and clear.”

It was a fire drill as we bailed and assumed photographic stance trackside. POED was bearing down with its diesels roaring. We only a few moments.

I set my camera’s focus position, readjusted my shutter speed (to stop the action), set my zoom to a wide position to allow for more broadside on the engines, and looked to minimize poles, wires and extraneous brush. My shutter setting was still in ‘turbo flutter’.

I waited until the locomotives were close and exposed a prolonged burst of images, while aiming to position the lead locomotive nose at the upper left of the frame for maximum visual impact.

Nice clean locomotives work west on heavily blasted track at Shirley, Massachusetts on November 18, 2015.
Nice clean locomotives work west on heavily ballasted track at Shirley, Massachusetts on November 18, 2015.
I turned for a trailing view looking toward the new signal bridge. Word of advice, get the old searchlights before their gone. (That was our next project).
I turned for a trailing view looking toward the new signal bridge. Word of advice, get the old searchlights before their gone. (That was our next project).

In short; we scored! Yea team!

Tracking the Light posts new material daily!

Pan Am Railways—‘New’ SD40-2 on the roll with RJED—9 fresh photos!

Tracking the Light Daily Exposé!

RJED—Rotterdam Junction to East Deerfield, a good ol’ fashioned carload freight.

Yesterday (Monday November 16, 2015), I heard the train working at Hoosick Junction and set up at Hoosick Falls. After a bit of a wait, I was rewarded by the roar of diesels.

Pan Am Railways 507 leads symbol freight RJED working east from the CSX interchange at Rotterdam Junction, New York. Seen here on the old B&M at Hoosick Falls, New York, just before noon on November 16, 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Pan Am Railways 507 leads symbol freight RJED working east from the CSX interchange at Rotterdam Junction, New York. Seen here on the old B&M at Hoosick Falls, New York, just before noon on November 16, 2015. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

The 3rd locomotive in consist was one of the former Quebec, North Shore & Labrador SD40-2 in fresh Pan Am Railways blue.

A batch of these handsome locomotives arrived on the property just last week, so I was keen to catch one, even if trailing.

North Pownal, Vermont. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
North Pownal, Vermont. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
The drama of modern railroading isn't always front lit. Image adjusted for contrast in post processing using Lightroom
The drama of modern railroading isn’t always front lit. Image adjusted for contrast in post processing using Lightroom.

The Boston & Maine west end is an old stomping ground, and I’m well-versed with locations and the chase route, so I made the most of a clear sunny afternoon. It helps to know where to go, where to park, when to zip ahead, and when to relax.

North Adams, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
North Adams, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.

Pan_Am_3402_North_Adams_DSCF7269

Along the Deerfield River east of Soapstone, Massachusetts. FujiFIlm X-T1 photos.
Along the Deerfield River east of Soapstone, Massachusetts. FujiFIlm X-T1 photos.

Pan_Am_3402_DSCF7313-2

Pan_Am_Railways_3402_DSCF7337

Fresh Pan blue paint, that’s pretty cool; and a freight with all EMD 645 diesels, sounded great!

Pan_Am_Railways_3402_detail_DSCF7342

Tracking the Light posts daily!

 

 

 

Conrail in the Bowels of New Jersey.

On the old Lehigh Valley, August 1, 1986.

It was a hot, humid and hazy morning. The sunlight was tinted by gauzy smog which softened the scene.

Bob Karambelas and I were exploring the junction at Hunter Tower in Newark, New Jersey, where the former Lehigh Valley crossed the old Pennsylvania Railroad electrified mainline.

Conrail on Lehigh Valley at Newark NJ 206pm Aug 1 1986 Mod-1 Brian Solomon 662698

A westward freight with a pair of SD40-2s was departing Oak Island yard and I exposed this view looking a down a grungy side street with a 200mm lens.

I’ve always been fascinated with urban images like this, where the railroad is prominent but not necessarily dominant, and passes through post industrial decay. Look at the grime on surface of the street and the great beat up old cars!

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please  share Tracking the Light with everyone who may enjoy  it!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Tomorrow: Farewell to an Institution!

Learn more about the evolution of the railroad network, see my book: North American Railroad Family Trees published by Voyageur Press.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

DAILY POST: Pan Am Southern at Millers Falls, Massachusetts, October 2013

Along the old Boston & Maine’s Fitchburg Mainline.

At Millers Falls, New England Central and Pan Am Southern run parallel for a short distance. In this view Pan Am’s westward freight symbol 190ED with a pair of leased SD40-2s (wearing old Burlington Northern paint) has just passed the junction with New England Central. (NECR’s mainline is immediately to the left.

 

Pan Am Southern symbol freight 190ED passes Millers Falls, Massachusetts on October 22, 2013. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Pan Am Southern symbol freight 190ED passes Millers Falls, Massachusetts on October 22, 2013. Canon 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

Bright overcast autumn days can be one of the most rewarding times to photograph trains. Soft warm light accentuates the fading foliage, while the lack of directional sun allows more freedom to select angles that favor railway operations.

Had the sky been completely clear, I’d have been fighting the sun, which would have shadowed the train and put harsh light on the colored trees in the distance.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pan Am Railways Crosses the Connecticut, October 17, 2013

Two Perspectives from the Same Vantage Point.

 

New England is famous for its autumn foliage. When making railroad photos in the season, are the leaves the subject, the setting or simply background?

On the morning of October 17, 2013, I made a series of photographs of Pan Am Railway’s (Pan Am Southern) westward freight symbol 190ED between Erving and East Deerfield. Leading the train were a pair of SD40-2s in the latest corporate scheme.

I made my way to the former Boston & Maine bridge over the Connecticut River where there was some very colorful foliage in the foreground and background. Incidentally, this is the location of the ‘icon photo’ used to introduce Tracking the Light.

Connecticut River Bridge with foliage.
Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens; f4 at 1/320 second ISO 200.

As the freight eased across the bridge, I had ample time to compose several images. Working with my Canon EOS 7D with 40mm lens, I exposed a non-conventional image focused on some foreground foliage, and used a low aperture to deliberately allow the locomotives to be out of focus.

I then changed my focus to the locomotives and bridge and exposed several more conventional images. I also had time to pop off a color slide with my dad’s Leica M4.

Freight train crossing river.
Pan Am 606 leads the westward symbol freight 190ED across the Connecticut River at East Deerfield, Massachusetts on October 17, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens; f4 at 1/320 second ISO 200.

I realize that the image focused on the leaves won’t appeal to everyone. But I find it a bit evocative. It’s more about the foliage than the train, yet the train remains the subject. You cannot help but see the engine’s headlights, like evil eyes, peering from beyond the leaves.

As an aside, the lead locomotive interested me. Pan Am 606 is a variation of the SD40-2 produced with a longer than normal short-hood or ‘nose’ to house 1970s-era radio-control equipment. At this point in time this feature is a left over from an earlier time and its original owner. Pan Am neither has  a need to use such locomotives in mid-train remote service, nor is the locomotive like to remain so equipped. But it is a visually distinguishing feature that sets it apart from other locomotives on the railroad.

Tracking the Light posts new material daily.

See Thursday’s News Flash: Massachusetts Central’s Recently Acquired GP38 makes First Revenue Run

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

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wisconsin & Southern at Lake Monona, June 18, 2013

In the last final minutes of the day’s sunlight.

John Gruber and I went over to Madison’s Lake Monona anticipating Wisconsin & Southern’s (WSOR) road freight heading to Janesville.  I’m working against a deadline, so I brought the laptop with me to read, write and edit, while waiting for the train thus making dual use of my time. John said, ‘You’re putting me to shame!’ All he brought was a camera.

After a 40 minute wait, we heard a horn sounding for a crossing. But it wasn’t coming Madison as we expected. This wasn’t the southward train, but the northward run! So 20 minutes from sundown a pair of SD40-2s crawled across the causeway. It was here that Bill Middleton made some iconic photos more than 60 years ago. John remembered, “His first published picture in Trains; it featured the Dakota 400 crossing the bay.”

Wisconsin & Southern at Madison, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2 4010 eases across Lake Monona with a freight for Madison. Exposed with my Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens. ISO 200.
Wisconsin State Capitol building with freight train.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2 4010 catches the glint crossing Lake Monona in Madison. Exposed with my Canon 7D fitted with 28-135mm lens. ISO 200.

I exposed a few slides with my Canon EOS 3, and a flurry of digital images with my EOS 7D. Then we drove over to WSOR’s Madison yard, where we found another freight ready to leave. I made a few photos with my Lumix LX-3 in the fading light.

 

Wisconsin & Southern's Madison Terminal. Lumix LX-3 exposed at f3.5 1/13 second.
Wisconsin & Southern’s Madison Terminal. Lumix LX-3 exposed at f3.5 1/13 second.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Locomotive Geometry Part 3; Canadian Pacific SD40-2s

CP Rail SD40-2
Trailing view of Canadian Pacific‘s classic SD40-2s at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Provia 100F slide film.

General Motors Electro-Motive Division SD40-2 is classic North American locomotive design. This rugged, powerful, and reliable model was built in the thousands between 1972 and the early 1980s. Its essential boxy utilitarian form shares the same functional appearance common to most of EMD’s American road-freight locomotives built from 1963 until the general proliferation of Safety-Cab designs in the early 1990s. Canadian Pacific ordered large numbers of SD40 and SD40-2s from General Motors Canadian subsidiary and these were its dominant road locomotive for the better part of two decades. In the early 2000s, they remained standard on CP’s Delaware & Hudson lines in New York and Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific's classic 1970s 'Pac-Man' icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f2.0 135mm lens. Fujichrome Astia 100F slide film.

On October 12, 2003, I made a series of photographs of Canadian Pacific SD40-2s on a southward/westward freight at Delaware & Hudson’s Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Here the locomotives were paused in nice light giving ample opportunity to make photographs from different angles. I was working with a pair of Nikon F3s (one F3HP, one F3T), and a Contax G2 rangefinder fitted with an unusual super wide-angle lens. Displayed here are a few of my results. The broadside Contax view at the bottom of the post was among the images featured in my recently published North American Locomotives by Voyageur Press.

CP Rail SD40-2
Canadian Pacific’s classic 1970s ‘Pac-Man’ icon on the rear hood of SD40-2 5952. Exposed with a Nikon F3 fitted with f1.8 105mm lens.
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate  barrel distortion).
Broad side view of Canadian Pacific SD40-2 6007 at Bevier Street Yard in Binghamton, New York. Exposed with a Contax G2 rangefinder with 16mm Hologon lens. (This is a flat field design to obviate barrel distortion).
Enhanced by Zemanta

Locomotive Geometry Part 2; Wisconsin & Southern’s Electro-Motive diesels

Locomotive study.
Detailed study of an EMD’s rear hood shows radiator air-intakes, engine compartment doors, handrails, and the engine water level sight-glass that helps distinguish Dash-2 models from their earlier counterparts. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.

Finding static locomotives in nice light offers an opportunity to make studies of the equipment. Wisconsin & Southern operated a fleet of clean, well-maintained second-hand General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD) diesels. These were representative of the classic models built at La Grange, Illinois, during the mid-20th century and dressed in a handsome red and silver livery. For me they were prime examples of GM’s finest American diesels, yet at the time I was photographing them, these locomotives were past their prime and harked back to an earlier era. General Motors locomotives, even their more utilitarian models, were characterized by well-balanced aesthetic designs, while their classic postwar streamlined locomotives are icons of American railroading. These images are a small selection focused on the locomotives.

GP9 from rail level
Wisconsin & Southern GP9 4491 was leading a train on the line to Prairie du Chein; the crew had tied down the locomotive, so the lights are on but there’s nobody home. This low view at a grade crossing captures the long hood with ditch-lights and headlights blaring. Exposed with a Nikon F3T and f1.8 105mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film. Key to making this image was ability to detach the F3T’s viewing prism, thus allowing a view ‘from the hip’ (or in this case from ‘the rail’).
Wisconsin & Southern GP9 study.
Detail of Wisconsin & Southern GP9 4491 showing the battery box door and company logo. Nikon F3T and f1.8 105mm lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film
WSOR_SD40-2_Janesville_WI_Jul2005_©Brian Solomon
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2s are ‘blue flagged’ at the Janesville, Wisconsin roundhouse. The SD40-2 was the most common locomotive of the 1970s, a powerful, reliable 3,000 hp six-motor freight hauler, and in their day, one of the best-liked engines by crews. Although in their prime they were so common as to be barely worth a second glance, today they are American classics. Exposed with a Nikon F3T and Nikkor f1.8 105mm lens on Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.

 

Locomotives at rest.
SD40-2s in light and shade. Clean balanced design was among the admirable external characteristics of EMD diesels. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film
Locomotive truck detail
The initials ‘EMD’ was General Motors’ signature on its locomotives.
HT-C truck detail
Detailed view of EMD’s very successful HT-C truck ‘High-Traction’ with ‘C’ for three-motors that was standard equipment on its SD40-2.
WSOR_E9_detail_Jul2005_Brian_Solomon_444120©Brian Solomon
Wisconsin & Southern operated former Milwaukee Road streamlined E9s on its business train.
Model E9 was EMD’s last E-unit. This nose detail of Wisconsin & Southern E9 10C shows the engine’s dual headlight arrangement, the top headlight is an oscilating light, the bottom light is fixed. While oscillating lights are commonly known as ‘Mars light’, in this situation both headlights are Mars products. Among the classic EMD equipment on this locomotive are the grab irons and nose-door handle. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.
Model E9 was EMD’s last E-unit. This nose detail of Wisconsin & Southern E9 10C shows the engine’s dual headlight arrangement, the top headlight is an oscillating light, the bottom light is fixed. While oscillating lights are commonly known as ‘Mars light’, in this situation both headlights are Mars products. Among the classic EMD equipment on this locomotive are the grab irons and nose-door handle. Fuji Velvia 100F slide film.
SD40-2s at work.
Wisconsin & Southern SD40-2s at work: a freight growls over a highway crossing at Avalon, Wisconsin on August 20, 2011. Canon EOS-3 with f2.8 24mm lens on Fuji Provia 100F slide film.
Not a 'pure' EMD creation; Wisconsin & Southerns' 'SD20s' were a hybrid model built by Illinois Central Gulf at Paducah, Kentucky using the core of a former Union Pacific cab-less SD24. Wisconsin & Southern 2051 displays a patriotic sticker in 2002.
Not a ‘pure’ EMD creation; Wisconsin & Southern ‘SD20s’ were a hybrid models built by Illinois Central Gulf at Paducah, Kentucky. This one was originally a Union Pacific cab-less SD24. Wisconsin & Southern 2051 displays a patriotic sticker in 2002.

See: Locomotive Geometry Part 1

Also, for more information on EMD’s see my book EMD Locomotives.