Tag Archives: Windsor Locks

Amtrak 490 Crosses the Connecticut River.

While the New CT Rail trains tend to capture most of attention on the Springfield-New Haven route (now branded as the ‘Hartford Line’), Amtrak continues to run its shuttles and through trains on the same route.

I made this view last week of Amtrak 490 working northward to Springfield, Massachusetts as it crossed the Connecticut River between Windsor Locks and Warehouse Point.

I like the distant vantage point, using a telephoto lens to feature the small train on the big bridge.

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Lumix LX-‘Mark3’ with Low Sun.


Back in October 2018, I reported how my old Lumix LX7 suffered a failure owning to being drowned two days in a row.

Later I reported how I resuscitated the camera by leaving it in a zip lock bag with rice for four days in an effort to dry it out.

For two months the camera struggled on.

In the mean time my old friend Ken Buck offered to sell me his rarely used LX7.

Last week I took him up on the offer, as my original LX7 had finally reached the end of its usefulness.

The other day, I put the ‘new’ Lumix LX7 to the test and made these photos of Amtrak 57, the Saturday southward Vermonter making its station stop at Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Low sun is a key to dramatic railway photos, and shortly before the train arrived, the clouds parted.

This is now my third Lumix LX-series camera. My first was a LX3, that I used from October 2009 to April 2014; my second was the ‘Zombie Lumix’ previously described.  Long live my third Lumix!

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Tracking the Light Special: Live from Amtrak 495!

It is 8:00 am on Thursday, June 25, 2015 and my father and I are riding Amtrak 495 toward New Haven, Connecticut where we’ll change for train 95 from Boston.

We are on our way to New York City for an expert tour of the New York subway system.

Amtrak 495 arriving at Windsor Locks on June 25, 2015. Lumix photo.
Amtrak 495 arriving at Windsor Locks on June 25, 2015. Lumix photo.

Richard J. Solomon on board train 495. . Lumix photo.
Richard J. Solomon on board train 495. Note 611 T-shirt. Lumix photo.

Richard J. Solomon checks Tracking the Light on his smart phone. Live from Amtrak 495! Lumix photo.
Richard J. Solomon checks Tracking the Light on his smart phone. Live from Amtrak 495! Lumix photo.

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Special Tracking the Light Post: On the Roll with Amtrak 493.

It’s a nicer day to be on the train. A few minutes ago I boarded Amtrak train 493 (Springfield-New Haven shuttle connection to train 93).

Amtrak sign at Windsor Locks. Just a short platform with a shelter.
Amtrak sign at Windsor Locks. The ‘station’ is just a short platform with a shelter.

Tight view of Amtrak P42 number 111 leading train 493 as it approaches Windsor Locks, just before 11 am today.
Tight view of Amtrak P42 number 111 leading train 493 as it approaches Windsor Locks, just before 11 am today.

Passengers boarding. Three got on here, including myself. Another 5-6 passengers boarded at Windsor, and a good few at Hartford.
Passengers boarding. Three got on here, including myself. Another 5-6 passengers boarded at Windsor, and a good few at Hartford.

Old school Amfleet; rock solid and comfortable, but the windows are kind of small. Standard Amtrak equipment.
Old school Amfleet; rock solid and comfortable, but the windows are kind of small. Standard Amtrak equipment.

I exposed these photos with my Lumix LX7, scaled them on-board the train using my MacBook and uploaded them on Amtrak’s free WiFi.

As I write this the train is approaching Berlin, Connecticut.

Stay tuned for more updates over the coming days!

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Conrail Crossing the Connecticut at Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

I considered leaving out the second ‘Connecticut,’ but for the sake of clarity I’ll risk sounding redundant. The real topic is the nearly tragic tale of the photograph itself.

I’d pulled this Kodachrome slide from my old box of ‘3rds’— my category meaning ‘just above garbage’. In otherwords, if I got tight for space, I’d pitch it.

For years I wondered what had happened to this slide!
For years I wondered what had happened to this slide!

In August 1987, I’d made several trips to photograph Conrail’s New Haven to Selkirk (symbol NHSE) on the former New Haven Railroad New Haven—Springfield line.

The challenge of this project was that the train departed Cedar Hill Yard (near New Haven) very early in the morning. If I recall correctly, it went on duty there about 3am. My strategy was either to drive past the yard in Hartford to see if it was there, and then pick a location for a photograph, or simply set up and wait.

On this day, August 18, 1987, I was waiting on spec. I’d figured, at least I’d catch a few of the southward Amtrak trains, and if Conrail’s NHSE didn’t show up, I’d head off elsewhere.

After selecting my spot by water level, and after Amtrak’s Bankers went south, I was rewarded by a pair of SD40-2s leading a very long NHSE. The light was nearly perfect and I exposed several frames of Kodachrome 25.

When the slides came back I was sorely disappointed. These had two flaws: the color had shifted red (often a problem with Kodachrome that was too close to its expiry date); but worse, the images were off level (tilted). The second problem was especially galling because I’d featured the river so prominently.

Into the ‘3rds’ bin! At that time I could go back to Windsor on any given day and repeat my effort. Except that I didn’t.

Years went by. I remembered the morning of the photograph and I recalled exposing the slides. In searching, I’d found slides of NHSE from other days. But this image was missing, as were quite a few other images from the same period.

Finally, I found it again, and quite by accident. In looking for photos for a book project (Conrail, probably), I opened the big box of ‘3rds’ to see what was inside . . . and, isn’t it amazing to see how slides improve with age?!

Now with desktop scanning and post-processing technologies, the job of adjusting color balance and cropping to improve level are remarkably easy.

And there’s a lesson in photography (well two, really).

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Amtrak Crosses the Connecticut, Windsor Locks, October 20, 2013.

Broadside View of the Old New Haven Railroad Bridge.

Amtrak passenger train.
On the afternoon of October 20, 2013, Amtrak train 54, the Sunday Vermonter crosses the Connecticut river on a 107 year old former New Haven Railroad span. Locomotive 147 is at the back of the train pushing. Leading is a cab-control car. Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens.

What better than a bright sunny Sunday afternoon to execute a classic image of a big bridge.

Amtrak operates the former New Haven Railroad line between Springfield, Massachusetts and its namesake Connecticut city as a branch off its primary North East Corridor route.

In addition to shuttle trains running between Springfield and New Haven, the Washington D.C. to St Albans, Vermont, Vermonter travels this line daily. Infrequent freight services are operated by Connecticut Southern (sister operation to New England Central) and Pan Am Southern/Pan Am Railways.

Although much of the line is scenically challenged as it runs through built up suburban and urban areas of central Connecticut, it does have a few garden spots. I think the scenic highlight is this crossing of the Connecticut River near Windsor Locks.

I’ve made various views of this bridge over the years, and last Sunday (October 20, 2013) I thought I’d look for something a little different. There’s a lightly used road that follows the east bank of the Connecticut south of the bridge, and here I found a safe place to park and walk to the river,

A call to Amtrak’s Julie (the automated agent) revealed the northward Vermonter was operating about 9 minutes behind its scheduled time. I was in position a good 20 minutes before the train and so had ample time to make test shots to pick the best angle and exposure.

I made this photograph with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens. The train rolled across the bridge at a restricted speed so it was easy to pick off several frames. The bigger challenge will be to catch one of the freights on this bridge. It’s been a good few years since I’ve succeeded in that mission.

On the afternoon of October 20, 2013, Amtrak train 54, the Sunday Vermonter crosses the Connecticut river on a 107 year old former New Haven Railroad span. Canon EOS 7D fitted with an f2.8 200mm lens.

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