On the evening of June 7, 2015, I exposed these two color slides of a northward Amtrak train on CSX’s former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac pausing for a station stop at Ashland, Virginia.
This was on a trip with Pat Yough to photograph Norfolk & Western J-class steam locomotive 611. On this day, we’d made a side trip to Ashland to catch up with photographer/author Doug Riddell.
I was working with a Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens. At the time film choice was very limited, and so I had the camera loaded with Fujichrome Provia 100F. Ten years earlier, I would have had a much greater choice of emulsions to pick from.
It was three years ago that Pat Yough and I traveled to Manassas, Virginia, where we were joined by our friends Vic and Becky Stone, and spent several days with Norfolk & Western J-Class locomotive 611 under steam.
Although I largely worked with digital cameras, I also exposed some color slides to capture the spirit of the event.
These images were made using Fujichrome Provia 100F with my Canon EOS-3, I scanned the slides yesterday (June 5, 2018) using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 using VueScan software.
Here is a sequence of three views made in rapid succession of Amtrak 99 on CSXT’s former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac route at Neabsco, Virginia.
Making this photograph was a joint effort: I was traveling with Vic and Becky Stone and Pat Yough. Vic suggest the location, Pat drove the hired car, and I consulted the Amtrak schedules.
Over the past three years in Tracking the Light, I’ve posted thousands of images. Yet, an underlying purpose of this site is the discussion of the process of making the photos.
It would be easy enough to simply display wonderful calendar quality images, but I’m hoping to enlighten the reader with some of the background behind the photo.
Occasionally a photograph comes easily; by sheer dumb luck an opportunity will present itself that makes for a stunning photograph. However, most of the time making interesting railway images requires research, patience and skill with the camera.
I’ll continue to do my best with providing hints to the research, tips on how to more effectively use a camera, and bits of background behind the photographs. You are on your own when it comes to patience!
Tracking the Light normally posts original content on a daily basis!
This train originated in Boston the night before. I recall in the 1980s, when this run used to be named the Night Owl. Back in those times it ran Boston-Washington and carried a sleeping car.
At some point it was re-named the Twilight Shoreliner and carried a Viewliner. These days it’s the nameless train 67, which runs from Boston to Newport News, Virginia., sans Viewliner.
It’s a pity there’s no Amtrak sleeping car service overnight on the Corridor anymore.
Doug Riddell provided this location for Pat Yough and me during our Virginia-tour in early June. Eleven years earlier, Doug and I photographed a CSX coal train from nearly the same spot.
Yesterday’s post (see: A Thoroughbred versus a Heron) featured a series of photos of a Norfolk Southern freight on the lift bridge in the foreground that were made just a few minutes before I exposed this image.
I’d spotted the Heron standing on the old Southern Railway lift-bridge at Richmond’s Great Ship Lock Park, before I heard the low throb of the 645 diesel.
“There’s a train coming.”
Doug Riddell was giving Pat Yough and me a thorough tour of the area, and we were looking for an angle to photograph Amtrak 67 on the nearby Chesapeake & Ohio viaduct.
I focused on the bird. Would it stay still long enough to catch it with the locomotive?
Here my zoom lens was invaluable. I made tight angle of the heron, and then pulled back to include the scene.
The SD40-2 eased around the bend. I kept my eye on the bird. How long would it stand there? Finally as the train drew closer the bird raised its wings and with a squawk took flight. I exposed a short burst of images. The tightest is a cropped view.
Amtrak’s Autotrain (trains 52/53) is one of America’s most unusual daily services. This runs non-stop between Lorton, Virginia and Sanford, Florida and is designed as a passenger/auto ferry.
It is Amtrak’s longest and heaviest train. It is one of the only trains that is regularly scheduled to use the older 800-series General Electric Genesis diesel-electrics (model P40).
Because of its length and unusual motive power, it makes for an interesting subject, provided you can find a place to photograph it that conveys these attributes.
On Monday, June 8, 2015, Doug Riddell met Pat Yough and me at Ashland, Virginia. Among our goals for the day were to photograph Amtrak 52 (the northward Autotrain).
Based on our experience a few days earlier (see: Tracking the Light visits Ashland, Virginia—June 4, 2015) where we’d photographed the southward Autotrain in the rain, I’d suggested Ashland because of the long tangent and accessibility. Doug concurred and suggested a favorite spot near Patrick Street.
And so we waited. Good things come to those who wait! The morning was clear, and although 52 fell down a bit (it was running behind schedule), its delay benefited us greatly. Not only were we treated to a steady parade of northward trains with soft June sunlight, but the light gradually improved.
In the last couple of decades, a number of North American cities have adopted light rail as a preferred mode of public transport.Personally, I don’t make distinctions between light rail lines, streetcar lines, interurban electric lines, and/or trolley lines, since all use essentially the same technology with minor variations in the way they are adapted.
In early June, in between other Virginia-based rail-events, Pat Yough and I made a brief visit to Norfolk, Virginia to take a spin on that city’s new light rail system, which is cleverly called ‘The Tide.’
Nice Siemens trams (light rail vehicles) glide along on regular intervals. Part of the route is built on an old railroad right of way. It is my understanding that plans are in the works to extend the route east toward Virginia Beach.
Last week, Doug Riddell and I made a visit to the diamond crossing at Doswell, Virginia where the old Chesapeake & Ohio line (now operated by Buckingham Branch but hosts CSX traffic) crosses the former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac mainline.
We arrived just in time to catch an eastbound train. I was fascinated by these short CSX sand hoppers rattling across the diamond.
I was on a personal tour of Richmond hosted by my friend Doug Riddell. This was aimed at making photographs, while exploring some history of the area and the nuts and bolts of real railroading.
We paused at Richmond’s Main Street Station to make this photograph of an Amtrak train bound for Newport News. Hoppers roll by on an adjacent bridge.
I was intrigued by the technological contrast between the Genesis diesel-electric and the old Budd-built baggage car behind it. Now, ten years later, Amtrak is replacing its old baggage cars with new cars.
The old baggage were among Amtrak’s last heritage equipment inherited from the private railroads when it assumed passenger operations more than four decades ago.