Leviathan Cometh

The Leviathan made a visit to the Saratoga & North Creek, Brad Peterson got this nice shot!
 Bill Kozel got his shot at North Creek!

"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
 Teddy Roosevelt came to visit!

Nice shot by Brad Peterson
"By gosh, they'll let anybody run the thing won't they!"

Bill Kozel

ALS Fall Meet 2013

Tom McEntee sent a few photos from the Fall Meet at Adirondack Live Steamers in Wilton on September 14th!


Wabash Cannonball

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


Tunnel Motor In Vermont!

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;

Gary Knapp

What I did on my Summer Vacation By William Gill

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.
The summer started slow but turned out to be a productive hobby season that isn't quite over yet, even if I'm starting to see a few trees changing color already. And over at Trains at Night, I'm getting ready for a nice dark fall. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trains-at-Night/345949272176965


New CP SD30C-ECO at Night!

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;


Wayne Sittner- How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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!

Enjoy, Wayne!

Not Really Summer Vacation...

I got to spend 3 days in July running to CSX Office Car Special From Albany, NY to Saratoga, NY for executives and customers. They visited the Saratoga horse track. Randy Epstein snapped this picture of the complete train at Saratoga station.

Bill Kozel got a quick shot of at track speed through Ballston Lake!

Rob D