Tag Archives: switcher

DAILY POST: Rochester & Southern EMD Switcher

Brooks Avenue Yard, September 23, 1987.

Among my favorite locomotives are Electro-Motive’s classic end-cab switchers, of the sort introduced in the mid-1930s with EMC model SC.

I became familiar with this type as a result of an O-Gauge Lionel NW-2 dressed for Santa Fe that my father bought for me about 1972. Later, I watched and photographed full scale switchers on Penn-Central, Conrail and Boston & Maine.

This type in effect emulated the shape of the common steam locomotive, allowing the engineer to look down the length of the hood, instead of a boiler. Electro-Motive wasn’t first to use this arrangement, which Alco introduced in the early 1930s. But, it was the Electro-Motive switcher that I found to have a classic sound and shape.

EMD SW1200
Rochester & Southern SW1200 107 is posed in front of the Brooks Avenue yard office between 9:45 and 10:15 am on September 23, 1987. I made this photograph with a Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron lens on Kodachrome 25 slide film. At the time was doing a lighting test with my Sekonic Studio Deluxe light meter. Puffy clouds were rapidly passing over and intermittently blocking (and diffusing) the sunlight. I made careful notes of changes in exposure which varied by two full stops between ‘full sun’ and shaded. —
Incidentally, I published this image on page 53 of The American Diesel Locomotive (MBI Publishing, 2000).



When I was studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the late 1980s, Rochester & Southern’s Brooks Avenue Yard was just a few minutes away. I routinely stopped by the yard to see what was going on.

At that time, R&S 107—a former Southern Pacific SW1200—could be routinely found drilling cars. Over the years, I made a number of images of this old goat.

I left Rochester in 1989. I wonder what has become of this switcher? Does it still sport the SP-order oscillating lights?

See previous Tracking the Light posts:  Lehigh Valley 211 at Lincoln Park, Rochester, New York;  Genesee & Wyoming at P&L Junction, November 4, 1987; and Two Freights 24 Hours Apart


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Central Vermont Railway, Three Rivers, Massachusetts May 1984

My Rare Photo of a CV Switcher. 


Central Vermont 1510
Central Vermont SW1200 1510 works the Tampax Factory spur at Bridge Street in Three Rivers, Massachusetts back in May 1984. Exposed on Ektachrome 200 with a Leica 3A and 50mm Summitar lens. Scan modified in post processing to improve contrast and exposure and minimize dust spots.

The other day, I was showing Tim Doherty some photo locations around Three Rivers, Massachusetts. I described to him how the railroad once had a spur into the old Tampax factory.

The spur (siding) had a switch off the mainline near the station (demolished many years ago), then crossed Main Street and made  a sharp curve behind the liquor store before crossing Bridge Street. There’s still vestiges of this track today.

Back in 1984, Dan Howard was visiting from Needham and he and I drove around the Palmer area making railway photos (as you do). The prize of the day, was this photo of CV’s SW1200 1510 working the Tampax factory spur on the Bridge Street Crossing.

It is one of the few photos I have of a CV switcher working in the Palmer area, and one of the few times I caught a rail movement on the Tampax spur. (Might creative minds develop some accompanying humor  ??)

This photo was exposed on Kodak Ektachrome 200 slide film with my Leica 3A using my 50mm Summitar lens. It was a sultry dull day, and not the best for photography. While this is not a world class image, it captures a scene never to be repeated.

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