Tag Archives: then and now

New York’s Pennsylvania Station; 1979 and Last Week.

Call it then and now.

Kodachrome and digital.

Both photos were made from the same vantage point on New York’s Seventh Avenue looking at the entrance to Pennsylvania Station.

From a Kodachrome slide exposed with my Leica in 1979.
Last week: July 2018, I made this view from the same place as my 1979 color slide. This time I worked with my Lumix LX7.

More than just the Taxis have changed.

Back in 1979, there were still GG1 electrics down below. And I’ve got those on film too!

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Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 2: Boston & Maine east of Reynolds.

At the end of December 2017, I revisited Mechanicville, New York with an aim of making some contemporary photos at the same angles as images I’d made back in November 1984.

Then and Now comparisons are common enough, but what makes these photos significant is that I’ve exposed both the historic photos as well as the modern images  using the same type of film and equipment (a Leica IIIA with 50mm Sumitar loaded with Kodak 35mm Tri-X).

I describe my technique in the earlier post:

See: Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 1. [https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5ha].

These pairs of photos show the Hansen Road Bridge east of Reynolds, New York, which is just a couple of miles from XO Tower at Mechanicville. In the 1984 views, my friends and I were following an eastward Boston & Maine train.

Back then the B&M route was much busier than it is today, although the line still carries a good share of freight.

Double track from Mechanicville extended east to an interlocking (which I believe was called ‘Schneiders’) east of Reynolds and near Schaghticoke. The main tracks were grade separated on approach to the interlocking, which made this a distinctive location.

Maine Central 252 leads an eastward Boston & Maine freight at Hansen Road east of Reynolds, New York. Exposed on Kodak Tri-X with a Leica IIIA with 50mm Sumitar. November 1984.
Comparison view on  December 29,  2017 also with a Leica IIIA, 50mm Sumitar and exposed on Tri-X. Sorry there’s no MEC GP38 in this view! (You’ll need to visit the Conway Scenic to see that). The other main track was lifted in the early 1990s after a decline in freight traffic on the B&M route.
Trailing view from Hansen Road, November 1984. The open top auto racks really date the photo.
Comparison view from Hansen Road on December 29, 2017. The trees have really grown up in the last three decades.

In the 33 year interval between photos, the Hansen Road bridge was replaced, which slightly alters the angle for photography.

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Mechanicville, New York; Then and Now Part 1.

Back in the mid-1980s, my friends and I made trips to Mechanicville, New York where the adjacent Boston & Maine and Delaware & Hudson yards lent to lots of action and a great variety of diesel locomotives.

The yard was an early casualty of Guilford’s short lived consolidation of B&M and D&H operations. By 1986 the yard was a ghost town.

In more recent times a small portion of the yards were redeveloped for intermodal and auto-rack facilities, but very little of the sprawling trackage remains

In December, I returned to Mechanicville with a Leica IIIA and Sumitar loaded with Kodak Tri-X in an effort to recreate the angles of photos I exposed in November 1984 using the same camera/film combination.

To aid this exercise, I scanned my old negatives and uploaded these to my iPhone. The viewfinder of the Leica IIIA presents difficulties as this is just a tiny window and not well suited to precision composition. (Topic for another day).

Also complicating my comparisons was the fresh layer of snow in the 2017 views.

In some places the only points of reference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ views are the electrical lines crossing the yard.

Horizontal view from November 24, 1984. An eastward B&M freight is about to cross the diamond with Maine Central 252 in the lead.
Nearly the same angle in December 29, 2017.
November 24, 1984.
December 29, 2017 at the same location.
Delaware & Hudson C-420 406 crossed Viall Avenue in Mechanicville, New York on November 24, 1984.
Looking east at Viall Avenue on December 29, 2017. Note the change of grade crossing signals.

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Palmer— Then (again) and Now.

I’d mentioned that among the top ten reasons that I wanted to make photographs in 2018 was to revisit old places to make dramatic then and now comparisons.

This is a work in progress. And I’ve published similar comparisons for Palmer previously.

Below are several views looking west from the Palmer station toward the diamond crossing.

Over the decades I’ve made hundreds of photos here.

The vintage photo dates from Spring 1984. This view works well for modern companions because I conveniently left lots of room to the right of the locomotive while including details such as the code lines.

The color New England Central views were exposed on January 3, 2018.

These are imperfect comparisons because I’m not working from precisely the same angle, nor am I using equivalent lenses.

1984 view exposed with a Leica IIIA with 50mm Summitar. Central Vermont northward local freight crossing Conrail’s former Boston & Albany line.
For point of reference the old eastward Boston & Albany mainline is in the same place, as are the rails used to hold the old Palmer sign in the black & white photo that is now a white box with a yellow stripe near the second locomotive in the color view.
Compare the track arrangements between the 1984 and 2018 views.
Enlarged version of the 1984 view. The old westward main was removed from service in summer 1986, and later lifted.

The 1984 views were made with a 50mm Leica Summitar, while the more recent views were exposed digitally using a Fujinon 90mm lens. However, I also made a few color slides using a 40mm Canon lens. But those are pending processing.

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Irish Rail 2616 at Kent Station-Two Views 17 Years Apart.

Here’s a variation on the then-and-now theme. The same rail car, with the same semaphores, on the same track, but viewed more than 17 years apart!

Irish Rail 2616 at Kent Station, Cork in August 1999. Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome Sensia II.
Irish Rail 2616 at Kent Station, Cork in August 1999. Exposed with a Nikon on Fujichrome Sensia II.
Same railcar, same spot, exposed on Sunday 2 October 2016 using a Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera. Who would have thought back in 1999 that those mechanical semaphores would still be in place!
Same railcar, same spot, exposed on Sunday 2 October 2016 using a Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera. Who would have thought back in 1999 that those mechanical semaphores would still be in place!

Only see one photo? Well you’ll need to visit Tracking the Light‘s original post to get the comparison. Click on the link below.

irish-rail-2616-at-kent-station-two-views-17-years-apart

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2016/10/05/irish-rail-2616-…s-17-years-apart/

Tracking the Light attempts to post new material every day.

(Even when the WiFi doesn’t work, and Brian Solomon is sitting atop a bus en route to someplace with WiFi that does work. Just saying’)

 

Palmer, Massachusetts Then and Now; 1984-2016.

Conrail SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester at Worcester, Massachusetts) makes a drop at Palmer, Massachusetts on Ma7 6, 1984.
Conrail SEPW (Selkirk to Providence & Worcester at Worcester, Massachusetts) makes a drop at Palmer, Massachusetts on May 6, 1984.

I exposed these two views from almost the same angle on the South Main Street Bridge in Palmer, Massachusetts.

In 1984, Conrail operated the old Boston & Albany, and the main line was then a directional double track route under rule 251 (which allows trains to proceed in the current of traffic on signal indication).

SEPW has stopped on the mainline, while the headend has negotiated a set of crossovers to access the yard and interchange. That’s the head end off in the distance.

I made this 1984 view on Plus-X using a Leica fitted with a f2.8 90mm Elmarit lens.

The comparison view was exposed on July 25, 2016 using  a Lumix LX7 set at approximately the same focal length. Although similar, I wasn’t trying to precisely imitate the earlier view and was working from memory rather than having a print with me on site.

Exposed using my Lumix LX7. I used the ‘A’ mode and dialed in -1/3 to compensate for the bright sunlight and the dark side of the train. This image was extracted from the in-camera Jpeg and compressed for internet viewing, but I also made a RAW file of the same image. Both are to be archived on multiple hard drives.
Exposed using my Lumix LX7. I used the ‘A’ mode and dialed in -1/3 to compensate for the bright sunlight and the dark side of the train. This image was extracted from the in-camera Jpeg and compressed for internet viewing, but I also made a RAW file of the same image. Both are to be archived on multiple hard drives.

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A Visit with Jim Shaughnessy and West Warren Then and Now.

My Visit with Jim Shaughnessy—February 2016.

The other day Jim Shaughnessy invited me over to look at some photographs.

Over the years Jim has contributed many excellent images for my books. I’ve lost track to many different books of mine that feature his work, but at least 20 titles.

Presently, I’m gathering material for a detailed look at the Boston & Albany and Jim has hundreds of images of the B&A route in the New York Central and Penn Central eras.

Personally I find these photographs fascinating. Decades before I found the B&A and made photographs, Jim had been there to explore many of the same locations.

Jim holds up a photograph that he made of the westbound New England States at West Warren in 1970. The PC E-unit is long gone but the waterfall and old mill buildings survive.
Jim holds up a photograph that he made of the westbound New England States at West Warren in 1970. The PC E-unit is long gone but the waterfall and old mill buildings survive.

Compare the above view with a photo I made on December 28, 2015 of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited at the same location.

Amtrak 449 The Lake Shore Limited passes West Warren on December 28, 2015. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Amtrak 449 The Lake Shore Limited passes West Warren on December 28, 2015. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

In the 45-year interval between images, the railroad was reduced from directional double track to a single main track and the old road bridge over was replaced with a modern span that is slightly higher.

In recent years, CSX has undercut the line and cut back much of the brush along the right of way.

Jim’s Penn Central photo is just one of the many I’ve borrowed for consideration in the B&A book.

While I was visiting Jim, my friend Dennis LeBeau phoned from East Brookfield and set up the next day’s adventure which has ties to the B&A project among other things. Stay tuned for more!

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A Window Back in Time; Exchange Place.

This is another of my ‘Then and Now’ attempts from last week’s exploration of Jersey City.

As previously mentioned: my fascination with Pennsylvania Railroad’s Jersey City waterfront terminal at Exchange Place, inspired a family trip to look for vestiges in February 1983. This is my window back in time.

Exchange Place in Jersey City as I photographed it with my Leica in February 1983. I'm looking south toward the Colgate-Palmolive Building. About the only thing left of this scene today is the bank building at the left.
Exchange Place in Jersey City as I photographed it with my Leica in February 1983. I’m looking south toward the Colgate-Palmolive Building. About the only thing left of this scene today is the bank building at the left.

Both my dad and I made a few photos. At the time I was trying to get a sense for how things looked decades earlier. (Pop, had made views of PRR MP54s by day and by night at the old terminal, which by 1983 was long gone.)
Fast forward another 32-33 years, and I find that Jersey City has been completely transformed. Most traces of Conrail’s waterfront track have been replaced by modern development, while NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail now winds through the city.

Working from my 1983 view at Exchange Place, on my recent visit I spent an hour walking around in concentric circles trying to figure out where I’d made the old photo. How hard could this be?

Complicating matters, I’d only been there once, my father was driving, and my memories from this one visit are a bit hazy.

Yes, I remember the day, and I recall making the photos, but how the various locations related to one another remained a bit sketchy. This was especially difficult because today the setting has been so completely changed that many of the landmarks in my old image are gone.

Exchange Place in December 2015: Perhaps after the renovation work on the bank building (at left) has been completed, I’ll come back and make another view.
Exchange Place in December 2015: Perhaps after the renovation work on the bank building (at left) has been completed, I’ll come back and make another view.

I’d all but given up. I went for a spin on the Light Rail, and my way back north towards Hoboken, I recognized the setting for my 1983 image.

Now then, how could I have known that my 1983 Exchange Place view was indeed at today’s NJ Transit Exchange Place light rail station!

The location of the awnings makes the direct recreation complicated. Ideally I'd need to stand back a little further with a 50mm lens perspective to precisely the same view of the bank on the right (as shown in the 1983 view).
The location of the Light Rail awnings makes the direct recreation complicated. Ideally I’d need to stand back a little further using a 50mm lens perspective to precisely recreate  the same view of the bank on the right (as shown in the 1983 view).

Construction on the bank building made for a difficult comparison view, as does the Light Rail’s supporting infrastructure: awnings, ticket machines, catenary poles, etc, which precluded standing in the exact same spot.

Actually, the bank building on the left is just about the only common anchor between my two images. Almost all the other buildings in the 1983, including the Colgate-Palmolive building in the distance, have been replaced by newer structures.

Jersey City P1350781

And, while there are tracks in both views, these are on different alignments and serve entire different purposes.

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Irish Rail, Stacumny Bridge, June 17, 2000.

 

Looking back at a Place Transformed.

During my fifteen years in Ireland, few railway locations have changed as much as the area around Hazelhatch. I made this photo of a single 121 leading the empty gypsum train (destined for Kingscourt) on June 17, 2000 from Stucumny bridge.

Irish Rail 128 w ety Gypsum at Stacumny Bridge 2000 Brian Solomon photo 2009241

It was my first visit to Stucumny. I was there with Colm O’Callaghan and Mark Hodge, who were well familiar with the spot.  It was a Saturday afternoon and there was an air show going on at the nearby Baldonnel Aerodrome. While waiting for the up gypsum we watched the airborne acrobatics.

Compare this photo with those exposed at the same location last week. (see yesterday’s post: Irish Rail, September 27, 2013)

The gypsum traffic left the rails in 2001. Locomotive 128 was cut up in early 2003. During the late 2000s, Irish Rail added two tracks to the Cork line between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch.

Cues that link this image with modern ones include the old barn/castle to the right of the tracks and the high voltage electric lines in the distance.

I exposed this image with my Nikon F3T on Fujichrome Sensia 100.

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