Tag Archives: #Then and Now

Westport, Co. Mayo-Then and Now.

Westport, Co. Mayo is at the western periphery of the Irish Rail network. I made my first visit to Westport station in February 1998. Over the years, I’ve called in to make photographs on many occasions.

On our visit to Westport earlier this month, we made a brief visit to the old station where I found an Irish Rail ICR waiting to head up to Dublin.

I’ve included a couple vintage photos of Westport station along with views from 14 March 2024.

Irish Rail class 201 number 216 at Westport, Co. Mayo on 23 February 1998. Exposed on Fuji Provia100 (RDP II) using a Nikon F3T with 50mm lens.
Irish Rail empty timber arriving at Westport on 10 June 2006. In 2024, Irish Rail still loads a weekly timber train at Westport.
Lumix LX7 photo at Westport on 14 March 2024.
The antique post box at Westport is a functional relic from another era. 14 March 2024, exposed with a Lumix LX7.
Lumix LX7 photo at Westport on 14 March 2024.

Then and Now: Changes at Islandbridge Junction!

Over the years I’ve made countless photos at Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

Last month, Kris and I revisited my old spot at ‘the box’ over looking the Junction, just west of Heuston Station.

I found this place much changed from my earlier views. Not only have modern buildings sprouted up but so has the lineside vegetation.

Compare these photos from 17 May 2005 and 18 February 2024. In both views, I show Irish Rail 201-class General Motors diesels leading Dublin-Cork passenger trains.

Jackman, Maine 1984 & 2022

In July 1984, I made a few black & white photos of the Canadian Pacific station at Jackman, Maine using my old Leica 3A with 50mm Canon lens. At that time, Jackman still hosted VIA Rail’s Atlantic and was an open train order station. I had a conversation with the operator before I made my photos.

On my recent visits Jackman earlier this month, I tried to recreat the angle of my earlier eastbound view.

In both photos, I am standing at the Route 201 grade crossing.

The purpose of this comparison is to demonstrate the degree of change at Jackman in the 38-year interval between them. Notice that the 1984 view is far more interesting to look at despite being a technically inferior photograph.

Canadian Pacific Railway/VIA Rail station at Jackman, Maine in July 1984.
Looking east at Jackman, Maine on June 11, 2022.

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South Monson in the Snow!

A few weeks ago, I posted comparative views of southward trains at the South Monson crossing between Route 32 and the former Central Vermont Railway, now New England Central. See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2022/01/25/south-monson-1983-2018/

One view dated from 1983, the other from 2018.

This snow photo was exposed from the same vantage point exactly nine years ago today—February 10, 2013.

Exposed on February 10, 2013 using a Canon EOS 7D.

For comparison, I’ve included scaled versions of the other South Monson photos.

I suppose you could call call these ‘Then, then, and When.’



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Hoosac Tunnel Then and Now

Over 35 years some places have changed beyond recognition. While others have change very little.

The other day, my Fiancé Kris and I visited the East Portal of the Hoosac Tunnel.

Completed in the 1870s, this 25,081 feet long bore is the longest railroad tunnel in New England.

The East Portal has an elusive mystical quality.

I recall another visit here on a chilled evening in February 1985, when my old pal TSH and I waited for an eastward freight to emerge from the depths of the mountain. 

Below is a vintage black & white photo exposed with my Leica on Ilford FP4 film on that trip, and a pair of the recent contemporary color digital images made with my Nikon Z6.

The headlight of an eastward Boston & Maine freight punctuates the inky gloom of the East Portal of the Hoosac Tunnel. Exposed in February 1985 on Ilford FP4 film using a Leica IIIA. Processed in Kodak D76.
September 2021, East Portal of the Hoosac Tunnel exposed using a Nikon Z6 digital camera.
September 2021, East Portal of the Hoosac Tunnel exposed using a Nikon Z6 digital camera.

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State Line Crossing—Then and Now.

Friday, September 17, 2021, Kris and I photographed a southward New England Central freight at State Line Crossing on the boundary between Monson, Massachusetts and Stafford, Connecticut.

Later the same day, I located a print of a black & white negative of a southward Central Vermont Railway freight at the same location exposed c1984.

Since I located the black & white photo after making the contemporary view, the modern photos do not represent an effort to recreat the earlier image. Instead they show how my views of trains at this location have evolved over the last 37 years, and how the trees have grown!

New England Central southward freight at State Line Crossing, September 17, 2021. Exposed using a Nikon Z6 digital camera.
New England Central southward freight at State Line Crossing, September 17, 2021. Exposed using a Nikon Z6 digital camera.

Southward CV Ry freight at State Line c1984. Exposed using a Leica IIIA.

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Guilford 252 in 1997

Back in July (2020), I posted a photo of Guilford Rail System 252 under the title ‘Unexpected Surprise’. See: http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2020/07/23/unexpected-surprise/

The significance of the locomotive is that Maine Central 252 (pictured) is now owned by Conway Scenic, where I now work as the Manager of Marketing.

Today’s TTL photograph portrays the same train, Guilford’s EDLA (East Deerfield to Lawrence, Massachusetts) a little later on the same May 1997 evening.

After photographing it near Farleys, Mike Gardner and I had continued east on Route 2.

Here on the Wendell-Erving town line, I had aimed to recreate a photo that I’d made with photographer Brandon Delaney a dozen years earlier, when I caught an eastward train from the same spot. In that earlier photo a derelict barn was standing to the left of the road.

In this view all the remained of the barn was the foundation.

I offer two variation of the same photo. The top is a straight scan without post processing adjustment to contrast, color etc. The second features my processing to improve the appearance of the image.

May 16, 1997.

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Belfast, Maine—1980-1997-2020

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw last month when Kris Sabbatino and I re-visited Belfast, Maine.

In 1980, my father and I paid two visits to Belfast, one of which involved a train ride to Burnham Junction and back on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake freight. On those trips I made photos of B&ML’s yard and roundhouse on black & white film using my Leica IIIA.

In August 1997, I revisited Belfast, and found the B&ML yard intact, but ghostly quiet.

I’d read that the good citizens of Belfast despised the railroad yard and its environment and that they had evicted the railroad that the city had once owned.

I was shocked of how completely this quaint delightful compact railroad yard along the Belfast waterfront had been so totally erased from the scene. It has been replaced with a sandy parking lot.

I was unprepared because I had not brought with me the photos from my earlier visits. I found it very difficult to recall exactly where I had stood. The landmarks I knew existed only in my head.

The tracks, the structures, the trains and the character of the environment that I seen in my earlier visits were now gone.

Sadly, I’ll need to return again with my earlier photos in hand and attempt a more accurate series of ‘then and now’ images.

The views below are looking north. My attempts to recreate the roundhouse scenes looking west are not good enough to reproduce here.

August 1980
August 1997
September 2020
September 2020

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Danville Junction Then and Now—Three photos.

In October 1999, I made this view of a meet between the Great Train Escapes tour train and a St Lawrence & Atlantic freight. Both trains were led by MLW-built M-420 diesels.

Eastbound at Danville Junction in October 1999.

Since that photo 21 years ago, much has changed at Danville Junction,

The trees have grown; the track arrangement was simplified, the St Lawrence & Atlantic was amalgamated into the Genesee & Wyoming network, the MLW diesels have vanished from the scene, and the tour train doesn’t operate any more.

Looking east at Danville Junction in June 2020.
Former St Lawrence & Atlantic alignment at Danville Junction in June 2020.

In June, Kris Sabbatino and I paid a brief visit to Danville Junction, my first since 1999. It was a surreal experience for me. So little of it seem familiar.

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Mount Webster from the Time Before.

In August 1984, on my first solo visit to Montreal I spent an afternoon at Central Station hanging around in the tower and photographing train-movements in and out of this busy terminal.

Among the numerous fascinating photos I made that day was this view of CN multiple unit 6749 with a commuter train to/from Duex Montagnes, Quebec.

Today, old CN 6749 is Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mount Webster, a snack car known to employees as ‘the table’ car since it was retrofitted with tables and a snack counter.

I spent Monday measuring and mapping this same car to prepare seating charts for Conway Scenic’s 2020 season.

I never could have imagined on that August day so long ago that I’d be working with 6749 in New Hampshire.

Same car; different time.

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Central Vermont at Palmer—May 17, 1985.

This was a common scene in the mid-1980s; Central Vermont’s southward road freight with a large collection of GP9s crossing the Palmer diamond.

What I find remarkable looking at this image is how few trees were around the tracks back then as compared with today.

At the bottom is a view of the New England Central at the same location a few weeks ago.

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