Tag Archives: #SW8

Local on the old Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven

Here is another photo from the real-life setting for my one-time Wee Reading Company HO model railroad.

A few weeks back on my birthday, Dan Cupper and I made a productive exploration of old Reading Company lines operated by Reading & Northern.

This included following the PNPV local freight led by a pair of former Lehigh Valley SW8 switchers up the old Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad—one of the oldest surviving railroad routes in the United States, now in operation for more than 190 years.

At Becks this train stopped to switch out the far end of West Cressona Yard.

I admit that this looks very different in real life than on my former model railroad, but it was still neat to be standing there admidst rusty autumn leaves and two 70 plus year-old diesels.

Below are two versions of the same image. The top is the Nikon NEF RAW file, scaled as a JPG for internet but otherwise unaltered.

The next down is the same file adjusted to improve appearance.

I’ve also included a screen shot of the Adobe Lightroom work window that shows how I used the slider controls to obtain my results.

There are my photo secrets revealed!

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Meet at Cherry Hill—Eight Photos

Monday while waiting at Cherry Hill, as we anticipated Strasburg Rail Road No. 89 on its return run from Leaman Place, we heard a horn to west . . .

Also it was beginning to rain.

Sure enough, Strasbrug’s SW8 8618 had been whistling for Esbenshade Road and was running light engine to the new freight yard at Leaman Place.

The two trains met at Groffs, with the diesel taking the siding and No. 89 with the passenger excursion holding the main track.

Soft light, spring foliage, and light rain made for interesting conditions for this sequence of digital images.

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EMD SW8 at Zylonite

Last night, I interviewed some of my friends at the Berkshire Scenic Railroad via Zoom for an article I’m planning for Trains Magazine.

Among the items on the agenda was a bit of history behind SW8 8619.

Kris and I photographed this historic former New York Central locomotive last May on a trip with the New York Central System Historical Society.

I made this image on Ektachrome slide film with my vintage Nikon F3 during a planned runby at Zylonite, Massachusetts on a vestige of the former Boston & Albany Adams Branch operated on weekends by Berkshire Scenic.

This is one of three former New York Central SW8s that I photographed last Spring!

Exposed on Kodak Ektachrome slide film with a Nikon F3 and 24mm Nikkor Lens—May 2022.

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Strasburg 8616 on the roll.

Earlier this month, Kris and I drove by Strasburg Rail Road’s engine house where I noticed that the railroad’s SW8 8616 was nowhere to be seen.

“Let’s take a run up to Leaman Place,”—where the railroad meets Amtrak’s former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line to interchange with Norfolk Southern. (Featured recently on Tracking the Light)

When we arrived there, I started to check the Asm Transitdocs app on my phone to see if any Amtrak trains were close. Then we heard an EMD rumble. My hunch was right!

It was 8616 on its was back toward Strasburg.

I made a few photos with my Nikon Z6 and then drove to Cherry Hill to roll it by again.

Leaman Place, Pennsylvania.
Leaman Place, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Hill Road, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

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Strasburg Rail Road Freight

Strasburg Rail Road is best known for its steam excursions, but the railroad is a common carrier and operates a thriving local freight business.

On our visit to the Strasburg, PA area last month, I was lucky to catch one of their freights on the move. This was led by the railroad’s former New York Central SW8 diesel 8618.

This classic General Motors Electro-Motive Division swticher was built for New York Central System c1953 and carried the number 9618. It is painted in a neo-New York Central scheme, and was Conrail 8618 for many years.

In the 1980s, I made many photos of Conrail switchers, and I wonder if somewhere among my slides and negatives I may have a photo of this locomotive in its former existence.

Strasburg Rail Road SW8 8618
Strasburg Rail Road local freight viewed from Carpenters.
SW8 8618 with two boxcars at Leaman Place along Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor—the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line.

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Strasburg Rail Road Ballast Train

Upon leaving the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Kris and I heard a distant locomotive horn.

Although, there were no trains scheduled, I surmised there was an extra on the line, so we drove to the first grade crossing west of the yard and waited.

After just a few minutes, Strasburg Rail Road’s former New York Central SW8 ambled westbound towing a lone three-bay hopper carrying ballast.

That was a lucky catch!

We then drove to the parking lot opposite the shop where I made a few more photos.

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