Brian Solomon’s Tracking the Light is a Daily Blog discussing Railway Photography.
Another set from the old school: On January 29, 2016 at West Haven, Connecticut, I exposed a series of Fujichrome color slides of Amtrak train 137 (Boston to Washington) using my Canon EOS-3 with 40mm pancake lens.
I’ve found that Fujichrome works very well capturing the wide dynamic range and subtle colors of a stainless-steel train reflecting the sunset.
I scanned these slides using a Nikon Super Coolscan5000 scanner. The files will be ultimately be archived in three locations on portable high-capacity external hard drives, while the slide will be stored with my other film photographs in a cool dark place.
I used to say that with Conrail operations you needed a score-card to figure out what was going on, and by the time you figured out there was too much information to put on a slide mount.
It hasn’t become any easier: Here were have the former New York, New Haven & Hartford electrified four-track main line. New Haven was absorbed by Penn-Central in 1969 (although Penn-Central itself was created from the merger of Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central in 1968). PC collapsed financially and resulted in Congress creating the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).
However, during this time ownership of the Northeast Corridor (comprised in part by the New Haven mainline) was separated from Conrail, with most of the Boston to Washington route conveyed to Amtrak. Except portions of the electrified line west of New Haven that were instead conveyed to the states of Connecticut and New York.
[Clarification: In the aftermath of Penn-Central bankruptcy, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority assumed financial responsibility for the New York portion of suburban services, with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (C-Dot) supporting Connecticut operations on former New Haven Lines—details from my book Railroad Family Trees published by Voyageur Press.]
Yet, initially Conrail continued to provided freight and suburban operations. When Conrail exited the commuter business at the end of 1982, Metro-North assumed suburban operations.
So what’s this? Oh, well this is a former Amtrak P40 (technically a General Electric GENESIS— Series 1, model DASH 8-40BP) working for Shore Line East, which is another Connecticut sponsored passenger operator. Today SLE operates diesel-powered suburban trains between New London and New Haven. A few of these services continue west under wire to Stamford.
However, not all trains carry passengers. (Trains are moved empty to be in position for loading).
Also, as a tribute to the old New Haven Railroad, some SLE equipment is lettered New Haven using the traditional font and livery.
The result is we have an empty diesel-powered passenger train underwire on the former New Haven, partially lettered for the former New Haven.
So for a caption we could try:
Ex-Amtrak P40 (DASH8-40BP) 834 leads westbound Shore Line East train 1169 (deadhead) under wire at West Haven on Metro-North’s former New Haven Railroad mainline at 3:53 pm on January 29, 2016.
On Thursday December 10, 2015, my father and I traveled on Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal.
West Haven, Connecticut is a modern station with long high-level platforms that opened just a few years ago.
Grand Central remains as impressive as always.
Our train was well-patronized and nearly at standing room by the time we departed Stamford.
This is impressive ridership, considering Metro-North operates a half-hourly inbound service from New Haven, with even more frequent rush-hour service from Bridgeport, and additional trains from Stamford. Not to mention Amtrak’s long distance trains to Penn-Station.
As always, there’s always opportunities for photography
I exposed these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.
Sometime last summer, I read a press release proclaiming something to effect that Metro-North’s New Haven Line electric service was now completely operated with the new Kawasaki M8 multiple units, and that all of old Metropolitan cars had been withdrawn.
I thought I did.
Recent trips along the old New Haven seemed to have confirmed this transformation.
So, I was quite surprised the other day when a ghost train arrived at Metro-North’s West Haven Station!
Real passengers boarded and it whizzed away toward Grand Central.
My father and I were supposed to have boarded, as we were on our way to New York. ‘Why didn’t you get on?’
‘What? Ride a ghost train?!’ I’ll wait for the M-8.’ (In truth I was so surprised, my primary thought was to take a photo.)
For my next trick, I’m heading out the Boston & Albany west-end to catch some of the A1 Berkshires on the move. I’ll report back.