All The best In 2013;Gary Knapp
Taken on November 7, 2013. 643 approaching Delson heading to Montreal with Rob Dennis at the throttle.
All The Best In 2013;Gary Knapp
We return to Riverside Station alongside the Hudson River tonight on the Saratoga & North Creek for another night photo of BL2 #52. I’ll enjoy all the moments universe wants to send my way like this one! In addition to the ever attractive BL2, my friend Greg Klinger has agreed beforehand to pose for me with the BL2 passing by! Mother Nature provides a steady light rain with temps in the low fifties. What could possibly go wrong? Ha,ha,ha! I arrive at the pre-arranged 8 pm, (no small feat in itself) and meet up with Greg, and we go about placing the lights for the scheduled 9:05 pm appearance of train 185. Tonight, keeping in mind how elevation is everything with train photos, no matter day or night, I have planned to go for a higher viewpoint, up atop the caboose. With Gregs help I have camera, tripod and large umbrella in place some twenty minutes before train time. Life is great! Test shots look fine, I ask Greg to move a flash unit for me, otherwise we are ready. We let nine pm arrive before either of us mentions to the other that “hey, we have not heard that ‘boat horn’ yet, remember last Sat. night we heard it some fifteen minutes before we saw headlight glow?” 9:05 passes, the time we saw 185 a week ago, with no sign of a train. No problem we confidently conclude, they are a little late tonight that’s all, maybe the fallen leaves are giving the BL2 problems. 9:30 then 9:45 pass with no boat horn sounds, now we are concerned as this is a scheduled passenger train. All sorts of doubts are manufactured in our heads as to what happened? Ten pm and we hear that most welcome low toned sound! lol! Minutes pass by as we listen to engine exhuast, followed by quiet breaks, then more engine exhaust sounds then finally headlight glow can be detected, then the headlights of 52 come into view below the station, yes! Success is at hand! I direct Greg into position below me............then we both notice..........the train has ah..........stopped! Maybe two thousand feet away, there #185 sits, then the ditch lights go off, never a good sign. We agree that dose’nt imply good things. It becomes a stare down, lol! Nobody moving. Neither Greg or I have our scanners handy to monitor any conversations between crew and dispatcher, so we wait. After several long minutes, happily the ditch lights come back on! Forward! I’m thinking. And the BL2 led 185 struggles up to the station and stops, this time only some fifty feet away from my planned position for the photo! Oh, so close! But no cigar. However, now the conductor appears, walking up the platform past Greg, says a few words with him and continues past the caboose greeting me on the roof underneath the brightly colored golfing umbrella from La Grange, to the grade crossing behind me where he manually shuts off the crossing signals and waves waiting traffic by. Greg hollers up to me.............”wet leaves! They are having problems with wheel slip!” Once the road traffic is cleared the conductor resets the crossing signals and walks back down to us to ask Greg...............”the question”. “WHERE DO YOU WANT IT?” Greg looks up at me, and I holler instructions to the conductor who relays them to the engineer. I reflect how Greg and I just went from “Rags to Riches”, ha,ha,ha! As the crew positions the BL2 for us. I fire off a couple shots, then ask for the ditch lights to be turned back on please, (as I plan for them to be on when setting up the lighting) then fire off several more shots. The engineer emerges from the front door of 52 and I climb down to greet an old friend from long ago, Tom Carver! Amid handshakes, pleasantries and of course the obligatory “chimping”, (oohing and ahhhing at the images on the camera lcd monitor) we are told the train is empty of passengers, and they are out of sand for traction on the wet rail and fallen leaves. They have their doubts about climbing the grade out of Riverside and mention how they will back down below the station to get as much of a run at it as they can . And with that disclosure the crew says goodbye and heads back to their duties on board, leaving Greg and I basking in being spoiled! In my case at least........AGAIN! As the BL2 led passenger train backs away from us, I do the only logical thing to do in this case, and climb back up atop the caboose, as you would I’m sure! This time for a photo runby! A totally different experience versus shooting the train stopped! Once they roll past us and out of sight into the darkness, I climb down and collect the equipment with Gregs help. Before long though..............here they come. Back out of the night into view and over the grade crossing comes train 185, unable to climb the grade out of town! The crew ends up tying the train down overnight out of sight, and a crew van picks them up for the ride back to North Creek, while Greg and I bask in our accomplishments. Having Greg in the photo waving makes a huge improvement in my opinion. And hey? Where else in this world of ours, can one see a BL2 built in 1949 working with a B39-8 built in the mid-eighties in 2013? Only here, on the Saratoga & North Creek! Every night is an adventure! Shot on October 19, 2013 at 22:24 in Riverside, NY. Special thanks to Greg Klinger and the S&NC crew on train 185! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2013;Gary Knapp
Here are some pics from the October 3rd trip of the NS OCS up CP's A&S. I initially didn't plan of doing anything with the train but with up to the minute texts from "Brian" (Thanks You Again!!!) as I was pulling out of the driveway and really nice weather I said "Ah What The Heck". After a quick stop at Stewarts at 20 and 30 for coffee I followed the ROW from 503 to Gage Road. When I arrived there were a few fellow fans already there who were very well behaved. After about an hours wait the NS OCS came north on its way to Mechanicville. I then left and headed to Colonie. Once I again I was texted around 1:30 that that OCS's power was running around its train so i decided to again head back to Gage Road and do a from the field shot. Around 5:30 the OCS showed up again deadheading south for home. I didn't bother following the train as weather pretty much went to potts again after the train passed. Nice to see some class again on a railroad with not much class left.
Dean J. Splittgerber, Duanesburg, NY
Dean J. Splittgerber, Duanesburg, NY
"This caboose was bought from LV by GE who outfitted it with a complete kitchen for the crew that would guard the big generators that were shipped on the big depressed flats/(Schnables). Ended up on UHR and now S&NC"- Bill Kozel
Nice shot by Brad Peterson
"By gosh, they'll let anybody run the thing won't they!"
Overnight the first member of the NS Heritage Fleet to appear on the D&H North End, NS 1070, The Wabash engine, led train 931 north! I initially planned to catch the 1070 at Port Henry and Plattsburgh, as its crew was called for 15:30 at Saratoga, but I did not plan on them running non-stop, with no meets. If not for an email heads-up from Al Whalen mentioning that 931 was already by Ticonderoga at 18:00, I would have made the disastrous decision to head for Port Henry first! Only to find 931 long gone. Whew! As it was, I departed Hinesburg at the uncomfortable hour of 6 p.m. in daylight, and around 8 p.m. I was on approach to Plattsburgh when I heard 931 at an equipment defect detector located several miles south of the city! The ugly realization was setting in that it was quite possible I had blown my opportunity with the Wabash unit at Plattsburgh as, knowing the running time from the detector to the station, I would not have time to setup before 931 came past me. In rides North End Dispatcher “Sandy” to my rescue! At the time, there was a loaded crude oil unit train, (608) going through the customs inspection further north at Rouses Point. Sandy radioed the crew on 931, telling them they would be pulling in at Bluff Point, located south of the station in Plattsburgh, to meet 608, explaining they were going through customs at the time! Absorbing this “most fortunate” turn of events, the thought occurred to me..............flowers might be in order for this woman, lol! Again I ask you, aren’t railroad scanners wonderful? In light of hearing this news, I happily drove through Plattsburgh down to the lake front where the ex-D&H station is located, to find a small group of railfans waiting to see the Heritage unit on 931. They are all members of my mailing list, and holler greetings to me as I set up the lights well away from their location. Some of these folks have not seen me since before my heart valve replacement operation! We stay apart until after 931 goes past, as some of them are videoing the train from just below where I set up the stepladder opposite the station. I know the lighting setup here well by now, as this is a favorite spot for me at night, and no areas of concern attract my attention when I test the lights. Once 608 goes past us, with veteran D&H engineer Marty Shapiro at the throttle, I take the clippers and cut back some of the offending brush, again...........I “think” I improved things, LOL! After seeing the crowd of railfans as well as myself, setup for a northbound, Marty no doubt wondered what was coming. He would soon find out as his train met 931, we could hear him inquiring about their lead engine over the scanner with 931s crew, and he warned them Gary was up at the station along with a bunch of people waiting to see them. 931s engineer replied they were warned before they left Saratoga that people would be out taking photos of that engine. Then the scanner fell silent, and a happy calmness settled over me, knowing I had eliminated “most” everything that can go wrong in executing these night photos. What better location to see one of the NS Heritage units than here, up close, going past the Plattsburgh Station? Several minutes pass by, then the welcome low rumble characteristic of GE prime movers reaches our ears, and every ones attention is on the crossing at Dock St. as the gates and lights are activated and NS 1070 comes into view! I fire off an awareness flash of the lighting for the crew out of habit, they’ve been told I’m in here, and watch as the Wabash cab rolls into the scene. Sometimes I have a sense of time going into “slow motion” as I watch the cab coming into the scene, but..........not tonight! Suddenly they are at my mark, and I press the shutter release, capturing the moment! Then attempt a wave as the cab passes by. Thank You! What a sight! Examining the lcd monitor afterwards, I conclude part of the appeal of this location is the obvious contrast between the ugly weed growth in the foreground, the glamorous Wabash heritage engine, and the elegant ex-D&H station in the background. Glowing after shooting this scene successfully, I go up to join the group below the station, meeting people I know by name only who are on this list, as well as personal friends I have not seen in a long time due to our different lifestyles, lol! SHot on September 15, 2013 at 21:27. Special thanks to Kevin Burkholder for making this possible, and Al Whalen for a timely “heads up” on 931s time at Ticonderoga! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2013;Gary Knapp
To give credit; if not for the groundbreaking nocturnal work of Winston Link and Jim Shaughnessy, who discovered landscapes which would otherwise have remained unknown, I would not be experiencing these landscapes I encounter at night presently. Which brings us to arrive tonight in Randolph, Vermont, a railroad town I ignored successfully in my film days (daze?) which has blossomed now that I am shooting at night with digital into a favorite location to visit with its fabulous buildings from another era. The ex-Southern Pacific SD 40-2 Tunnel Motor 3317 arrived on the NECR already wearing its new paint scheme, then languished for months it seemed awaiting repairs and inspection. So when I was tipped off that the engine was leading 323 northward overnight, I instantly visualized capturing an image of the orange, black & yellow tunnel motor here. Knowing when 323 departed from its terminal at Brattleboro, VT, I took my time at home and enjoyed breakfast, did the dishes, made a thermos full of tea, then headed down here, only to wait several hours for the train to appear. In the past I would have dropped everything except brewing the thermos of tea, rushed down here, out of fear of missing “the shot”, eating pizza or something similar for breakfast on the road and still have waited for several hours, I want to think this is a sign I have learnt something. Ha,ha,ha! An addition to the “gizmos” that accompany me trackside at night this year is one of those collapsible canvas camp chairs, with cup holder for tea cups of course, and I ended up relaxing in that while waiting in the darkness here. Again, the thought crossed my mind a few times.............what can possibly go wrong? Which produced a big smile don’t we know! Eventually, the welcome sound of General Motors diesels came to my ears, and several minutes later the scanner picked up the crew calling out they were entering Randolph..........with a track permit to the north switch! Listening from the comfy camp chair in the dark, I thought to myself...........ah........the north switch? Here? That means they will not be coming past me, at least not for a while. Evidently the dispatcher has set up the nightly meet with 324 for Randolph! No worries! I have all night. 323 comes up the main to the north switch for the passing siding and stop, dimming their headlights and sit within sight. Thirty minutes later nothing has changed, and I am not hearing 324s air horn blowing for crossings north of town yet. Out of the blue, the NECR dispatcher comes on the air, and gives 323 permission to run to the north switch at Roxbury! Alright! I’m out of the camp chair as the scanner echoes 323s conductor repeating back the dispatchers instructions, the headlights go on full, the engineer gives two short blasts of the air horn, and starts notching out the engines to slowly accelerate towards me. Atop the stepladder I’m smiling as the lighting does its thing with another test shot...............this is gonna happen! After getting across the two grade crossings below my location here, engineer Ed Ferguson, having seen my test flash, comes drifting into the scene with 3317 at a steady pace and the system captures the image again! I give the crew a wave as they pass by, then inspect the lcd monitor as the consist passes by. You know, 3317 looks pretty good here. Of all the places to shoot an ex-SP Tunnel Motor.............here in Vermont! Shot on August 20, 2013 at 02:08. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2013;
On the first night of spring, I went out to shoot an empty ethanol on the Green Mountain Railroad. I spent the night wrapped in a tarp on the bank of the Black River and watched it snow from my seat atop a huge block of ice. Spring came late this year. It seemed to follow that summer would come late as well. The first half of the summer was rainy in Troy, NY. I got my hopes up when the rain stopped only to find that inches upon inches were falling in Vermont - which was hosting three trains a night on the New England Central. Equal doses of good and bad at the same time. By the time Vermont dried out and warmed up, the slightly-longer-than-twevel hour cycle had rotated around a bit and photos were pouring in of the NECR running in summery daylight. Ugh!
At this point, I remembered what one does when it rains: model. Before the rain stopped, I brought my two GP38s (both of D&H heritage) up to 80% complete. They will join last year's caboose on the yet-to-be built Troy Industrial track. http://thursdaynightrr.blogspot.com/2013/07/getting-there.html, http://thursdaynightrr.blogspot.com/2012/07/sc-1s-caboose.html
Having done a winter's worth of modeling (at the speed that my skill allows) it was OK to return to night photography. Vermont Rail System turned in their (impossible-to-photograph-at-night) SD90s and picked up some photo-friendly GP38s leasers for use on their C&P/Rutland-Whitehall job. Pan Am's West end has stayed busy at night this summer and the NECR schedule currently includes two trains at night on the Palmer Sub. Perhaps the highlight of the summer was spending a day at the Valley Railroad shooting in their shop as steam experts preserved their motive power. After dark, there was an opportunity to pick up a shot or two while Chinese built no. 3025 still had a small head of steam built up.
During the early morning hours of August 27, I visited a favorite location at the ex-D&H Station in Plattsburgh, NY. I saw four trains pass by, and took FOUR night photos as a unit train of crude (608) had an AC4400 running in DPU mode at the rear. In New England, that is a great night! The highlight of the night was the appearance of the elusive (for me) SD30C-ECO 5010 leading empty ethanol train 643 back north!
The SD30C-ECO model are rebuilt for CP from aging SD 40-2s. Featuring flared radiators and a new paint job externally, only twenty have been completed at this time and are in use across the vast Canadian Pacific System. The paint appears to be a different “red” than CP ordered for the last batch of AC’s, ( at least I hope so....) as it appears to be “redder” than what we have seen in the past with new AC’s. In any event, the new paint job looks superb on the 5010. And, what better location to feature the new engine northbound than here going past the Plattsburgh Station! When I arrived here, I called friend Richard Wingler, who lives in nearby Cadyville with wife Bonnie, neither of whom I had seen since my operation and recovery, and I succeeded in rousting Richard out of bed to come down to meet. Richard is a videographer so we had a fine time shooting the busy railroad while staying out of each others views. We enjoyed visits from the local police, who pay attention to the area at night as it is a well worn pathway for college people (Pub Crawlers?) going to and from a lakefront bar. The first train to appear tonight was southbound 252, whose AC’s I happily watched pass by, knowing they were meeting 931 with NS power, and the star of the night 643, running behind 931 on the other side of town at Bluff Point. Perhaps thirty minutes after 252 got by us, 931s b&w diesels rolled around the curve above the station, and I took the opportunity to use the NS engines on 931 as a practice shot to check the manual focus. I busied myself cutting back the rag weed growth along the tracks, (I......think.....I made a difference....lol!) then Richard returned from his position near the crossing and we both joked about our good fortune knowing 643 was coming! The line “What can possibly go wrong?” was repeated a few times jokingly, both of us recalling instances in the past when, thinking we have “got ‘em cold” so to speak, we have in fact, ended up getting screwed by the dispatcher or..........”The Chief”. A potential wrench in the works appears with the arrival of 608 north of us at Rouses Point, and we listen in silence as the crew speaks with the D&H North End dispatcher, who informs the crew of his plan for them to wait for both 931 and 643 before heading south........WHEW! Then the dispatcher mentions to the 608 crew 643s location, which is maybe twenty minutes away from Richard and myself! We realize............yes! It is going to happen! We happily talk for fifteen minutes or so until our scanners puick up- the crews of 252 & 643 talking as 643 passes by at Bluff Point, then split up, Richard going back to the Dock St. crossing area, and I looking for the stepladder amongst the rag weed. With the lighting waiting and ready, life is great at times such as this! The minutes pass and then the distinctive sound of EMD SD 40-2s coming towards us can be heard, the Dock St. crossing gates and lights are activated above the station, and out from behind a building comes the 5010, gleaming even under the street lights! The engineer throttles back a notch as they roll into position for a portrait at Plattsburgh, the lights do their thing, capturing the moment with the 5D and lens, and they are gone, leaving a smiling Gary checking the lcd monitor as empty ethanol cars glide by. Shot on Aug. 27, 2013 at 02:25. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best in 2013;
Every summer we go out to Gunnison, CO to visit my older daughter and family. I always make it a point to take at least one day to trace a bit more of the old narrow gauge lines with my son-in-law Jeff. Over the years I've seen the Salida to Montrose segment of the D&RGW as well as the branch from Gunnison to Crested Butte. This year we covered Ohio City to the Alpine Tunnel on the DSP&P. The surveying, engineering and construction of this line makes you truly appreciate what the old railroaders accomplished with just dynamite, pick and shovel and teams of mules. Circa 1880!
Something, anything, to do indoors in the AC. Did I mention humidity and mosquitos as well as the 93 degrees? I had fun doing these crates of tie plates inspired by one of the "junk" photos I took in Ringos on the BR&W. They'd probably look better in S or O but, they seem acceptable in HO. N, probably not.
Any of you remember E. L. Moore and his leaning, saggy roof buildings in old RMC's. Making these plywood creates reminded me of his articles.
Just pieces of styrene from the "everyman's" scrap box.. The sides are .010. I should have used .005 for the galvanized corner braces instead of the foil from the yogert container left after lunch.
My model of CP 7307 was a little harder. I ebayed a Atlas 'Trainmaster' gp38. The first order of business was removing the numbers with a wet pencil eraser and replaced them with new decals. Next, the horn got removed from the front of the cab roof and replaced it with a casting at the proper CP location on the long hood. A GP-38/40 grab iron kit from Bowser was used to replace the molded on details which had been carefully shaved off. I painted them on the model and used a bit of thinner to bend the new paint into the old and to cover the areas a scratched while removing cast on details. I used a brass stanchion kit to replace the thick plastic railings provided. The model's anti-climber was removed and replaced with a thin brass L shape to closer match the prototype.
7307 had its black surfaces lightened a bit using several coats of extremely dilute white paint. Rust was added to the cab roof by applying nearly dry brown paint and following with some chalks. Black was added in the same manner around the exhaust. 7309 got its blue surfaces faded using the thin white paint. It then got its trucks, walkways, and bottom of the long hood dirtied up with some chalk.
Ditch lights are currently missing from both models... the process of running wires between the frame and shell scares me a bit and I'll put it off until these two have some track on the Troy Industrial Track where the can run.
Getting there.... Nearly time for a photoshoot up at the club. Nearly have 7307 (in CP red) done too.After I get these done, I think I'll be time for the R&S shops. Going to scratch build the front part of the building ... should turn out to be about 12" x 12" and then going to build one wall section for the long building out back and cast/repeat that.. that section will be another 3' long. My great grandfather worked in there and I really loved that building. I only ever saw it as the scrap yard, so I'll build it like that.
How much would you pay to take a ride on a time machine? I hope these attached photos give you an idea of my ride just this Saturday! I took about 90 ghotos all told.
Our Wyoming Valley group met at 08:30 for a three hour guided tour of this anthracite breaker operation in Laflin. It's one of only 2 left in the Wyoming Valley. The other operation (a bit larger and much more formal) is in nearby Pittston. The run of mine coal that's processed here comes down from Carbondale. You can pick a load up yourself or have it delivered in one of a fleet of trucks. There's no provision for bag coal as is still done at Blaschak in Mahanoy City.
This breaker is a perfect size for those who might model such things. It has everything contained on a site I judge to be no bigger than 8 acres.
On Sunday our Wyoming Valley (rail) Historians Group and a few selected invitees had an all day charter to ride behind the last engine in original LV paint.The time machine ride continues! We arrived a bit before 11:00 AM and were treated like royalty by Scott (112's owner) and his crew. There was a bit of switching to do along the line and there were had several photo run-by's on the out and back. I took another 90 + photos on the day which finally ended for me at about 6:0PM.
I hope you enjoy me sharing my good fortune. It'll be tough to come up with a scenario of equal value next year!
Best to all,