Wednesday, December 22, 2021


Hi, On December 18 I joined friends Bill and Don Kalkman, and Jim Kleeman for a trip to Cumberland, MD to see and photograph former C&0 2-6-6-2 #1309 pulling Western Maryland Scenic Railroads Polar Express trains. On this date four train operated every two hours beginning at 1:30 PM between the former Western Maryland station in Cumberland and Helmstetter's Curve. We photographed the first two.

Our first photo location was along Wills Creek in the Cumberland Narrows.

A quick exit allowed us to beat the train to a grade crossing off Cash Valley Road.

We then headed up to Helmstetter's curve where we arrived in time to photograph the train returning to the WM station. A pair of diesels were on the other end.

Many people were at the station inspecting the locomotive.

Our photography of the 3:30 train began on the Market Street bridge (above and below).

From Cumberland we drove directly to Helmstetter's curve and arrived just ahead of the train.

1309 posed briefly for a portrait

before it again backed down to Cumberland (above and below).

It was a really good day: good friends and my first look at a very interesting locomotive.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Four Day Pennsylvania Trip - 4

Bill Kalkman and I began our last day, Thursday, October 15, back at the parking lot across from Delaware Lackawanna's Tower 60. When we arrived around 7:15 AM there very few cars present and no locomotives. By around 8:00 AM, with everything still quiet, we decided to head for the Humboldt Industrial Park in West Hazleton, PA, where we expected to find a yard crew working. 

In fact, we found two crews going to work just as we arrived. The first crew went west out of the small yard here and picked up a cut of cars (above and below).


On the rear of the cut was this caboose which the crew used as a shoving platform (above and below).


The crew pulled east of the small yard and began to switch.

Meanwhile, the second switcher sat outside the yard office as the crew prepared to go to work (above and below).

The second switcher pulled east

then backed west and around a curve in the vicinity where the first crew picked up their cut of cars.

They then switched some sidings a few hundred feet north of the yard (above and below)

before heading back to the yard.

Meanwhile I had spotted the first crew switching about a quarter of a mile east of where the second crew was working so we went to investigate (above and below).

Having done all we wanted to do in the industrial park we decided to see if we could get another shot or two of the North Reading Fast Freight (NRFF). We knew from our friend Hunter Richardson the train would probably pass through East Mahanoy Junction about 3:15 so we headed there to wait. We had enough time to clear a considerable amount of high grass (above and below).

Our final location of the trip was in Whitehaven, PA (above and below). The photos were taken from a huge pile of wood chips as there was some construction going on here. If any one knows the history of the road on the lower level I would be interested. I believe it was once the road bed for either the Central RR of NJ or the Lehigh valley. 

Thanks for looking,

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Chasing Amtrak's 50th Anniversary Unit

Hi, On Wednesday, November 10 I joined friends Bill Kalkman and Jim Kleeman on a trip to photograph one of six Amtrak  locomotives that have been painted to commemorate  Amtrak's 50th Anniversary. Locomotive number 108 was the power for train #42, the eastbound Pennsylvanian.

Our first location on this trip was the 17th Street overpass in Altoona, PA. Almost immediately after our arrival an NS GP38/slug set headed down the Holidaysburg Secondary.

After a short wait the Pennsylvanian came into view and crossed over from Track 1 to the station track (above and two below). 


Our second location was Port Royal, PA where photographed #42 as it passed under the PA75 Highway Bridge. The arched portion was built in 1910.


We intended to photograph #42 just east of Duncannon but a delay due to highway construction nixed that idea so we moved east of Harrisburg. Finally, we decided on Elizabethtown, PA for our last shot. Just as we got to the station the train pulled in and we were on the dark side.  However, a quick look at the schedule indicated we had two minutes to get to the sunlit side and find a spot. We just made it.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Four Day Pennsylvania Trip - 3

Hi, On Thursday October 14, the third day of our trip, Bill Kalkman and I had information that a crew would head out to Moosic, PA on DL's Laurel Line and then work the line to Carbondale, PA on their return from Moosic. Therefore, we decided to start our day in the parking lot across from Tower 60; which appears in a few of the photos.

When we arrived there were almost no cars in the yard and only one locomotive in the area around Tower 60. We decided to wait around to see what happened. 

While we we were waiting Steamtown opened its gate so we relocated to their parking lot and took photos. The above photo shows the period freight with the Rahway Valley 2-8-0 on the point.

A Geep in Nickle Plate colors was switching (above and below) and

former Reading FP7s were on display.

Eventually, the train we expected off the Laurel Line arrived, however, on the mainline. The crew cut off the two locomotive shown above (an Alco RS-11 and an Alco RS-32, painted red) off the power set and

began switching with the other two locomotives (Alco C-425s).

Next the crew reboarded the locomotives that had been set out. They are shown here passing Tower 60.

We headed out along the line to Carbondale and got our first shot at East Parker Street in Scranton.
Next up was Boulevard Avenue in Dickson City and then

Church Street in Jessop, PA.

There was a large open area behind the Rapid Pallet Company in Jermyn, PA. The crew must had some work to do as it took time for the train get here; enough time for us to eat lunch (above and below).

The train worked a number of industries in Carbondale (above and five below).

The crew left their train at a siding where it would not block grade crossings and proceeded to the end of the line with just locomotives.

At the end of the line they coupled to a string of covered hoppers (above and below).

The crew then proceeded to the west end of their train. As we could not find the cars that had been left behind and we did not know what the crew would do we elected to see if we could get a photo of the Reading and Northern train NRFF. As it turned out the crew outlawed before returning to Scranton.

We found a clear spot to phtotograph the NRFF at Mountain Top, PA but the train beat us to Pittston, PA.

Thanks for looking.