Tag Archives: tunnel

The Big Bore.

In New England, ordinary people with virtually no knowledge of railroads are aware of ‘The Tunnel’.

They’ll ask me, ‘Have ya been up to that Housantonic Tunnel?’ Or comment, ‘That Hoosick Tunnel, by North Adams, it’s the longest in the world, Right?’

I’d like to speak with an etymologist, or someone with a deeper understanding of the evolution of New England names. I’ll bet that Hoosick, Housatonic and Hoosac all have the same root, but I’m more curious to know about how and when the variations in spelling originated.

But, it’s really the tunnel that interests me; 4.75 miles of inky cool darkness, occupied by legends, stories and ghosts and serving a corridor for trains below the mountain.

The other day, Mike Gardner and I made a pilgrimage up to New England’s longest tunnel; Boston & Maine’s famous Hoosac. (Please note correct spelling).

While waiting for westward freight EDRJ, that was on its way from East Deerfield, I exposed these photos with my FujiFilm XT1.

Telephoto view to draw in the East Portal.

The portal can’t be too dark, but the shafts of sunlight streaming down can easily be over exposed. As a result, I exposed for the light, than adjusted my RAW files in post processing to make for a more balanced image. This isn’t ‘fixing the photo,’ it’s maximizing the data capture and adjusting it for the most pleasing result.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

Amtrak Special at the Bellows Falls Tunnel.

The benefits of familiarity; knowing your locations.

Take the Bellows Falls Tunnel on the Connecticut River line. Back in 1988, I’d photographed a southward Boston & Maine (Guilford) freight in the afternoon and noted that late in the day, when the south portal was in shadow, a shaft of light illuminates the train on the north side of the tunnel.

The location and effect were filed away for future reference.

A couple of week ago, on June 18, 2016, Pat Yough and I were following Amtrak’s Exhibition Train on its way south from Claremont, New Hampshire. At Bellows Falls, Vermont the train paused to refuel, and this resulted in the leading locomotive, Amtrak F40PH 406, pulling past the grade crossing near the station.

I noticed it had gone just far enough to bask in the window of sun near the north portal of the tunnel.

This opened up opportunity for photography.

Below are a examples angles exposed from the south portal, a location reached by a narrow street from the center of town. I like the relative abstraction of tracks and engine appearing to float in a sea of darkness.

The classic Vermont setting of the Bellows Falls Tunnel fascinates photographers and model railroaders.
The classic Vermont setting of the Bellows Falls Tunnel fascinates photographers and model railroaders.
A 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit gingerly takes the turn on the road that leads to the tunnel portal. Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.
A 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit gingerly takes the turn on to the road that leads to the tunnel portal. Exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 digital camera.
This could almost pass for an early 1990s view of Amtrak's Montrealer. (Except that the train was scheduled to come through Bellows Falls in the middle of the night). I like the inky darkness. Exposed manually using a FujiFilm XT1. Careful metering and examination of the histogram will aid in correct exposure of scene such as this one. Most automatic metering systems will ten to try to compensate for the dark tunnel portal which negates the intended effect. Focusing can be tricky too.
This could almost pass for an early 1990s view of Amtrak’s Montrealer. (Except that the train was scheduled to come through Bellows Falls in the middle of the night). I like the inky darkness. Exposed manually using a FujiFilm XT1. Careful metering and examination of the histogram will aid in correct exposure of scene such as this one. Most automatic metering systems will tend to try to compensate for the dark tunnel portal which negates the intended effect. Focusing can be tricky too.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day.