Tag Archives: Swain

Happy Birthday Conrail!

Conrail began operations on April 1, 1976.

The class 1 carrier It would have been 43 years in operation today.

The name lives on as Conrail Shared Assets, the terminal operation jointly owned by Conrail’s buyers, Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Leica.

I made this photo in September 1988 of Conrail OIBU (Oak Island to Buffalo) working the old Erie Railroad near Swain, New York.

May 2019 Trains Magazine features my Conrail retrospective. This is a prelude to a new book I’m working on that will cover Conrail and its predecessors—no foolin’!

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

On the Erie—Off Season Snow at Swain, New York.

Snow in May? When I awoke I was astounded. But sure enough, on May 7, 1989, there was about six inches of fresh snow on the ground at Scottsville, New York.

I’d immediately mobilize to make use of the unusual weather.

Heavy wet snow with freshly budding trees was a disaster for signal code lines. Branches had brought down lines along both Conrail’s former Water Level and Erie routes.

I learned of a couple of trains working east from Buffalo on the Erie line. First I chased DHT-4, a Delaware & Hudson double stack, then I doubled back west to pick up Conrail’s BUOI led by General Electric C30-7A 6598.

Conrail C30-7A 6598 (built by GE in 1984) leads BUOI (Frontier Yard, Buffalo to Oak Island, New Jersey) eastward on the former Erie Railroad at Swains, New York. If you look at old maps you’ll see evidence of a Pennsylvania Railroad line that ran roughly parallel to the Erie and connected with the old Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern not far from this location. This photo was exposed on May 7, 1989 at about 1:20pm.

The train had 103 cars and was moving along at little more than a walking pace.

I exposed this view near Swains, New York using my father’s Leica M3 with a 50mm Summicron. The snow made for some peculiar contrast that was well suited to Kodak Plus X.

My notes from the day read: “Snow! V.Bright” with some light meter readings in footcandles to aid in processing.

Tracking the Light posts daily!