NS GP40-2 3046

Sunday, May 31, 2009

ClevelandTrains Web Existence

I was reading a post over at Trainorders about the ten anniversary of the Conrail split up between NS and CSX. This made me think about back 10 years ago. I remember the break up very well. I was in my second year of college starting my summer job as a labor for a great group of carpenters at Cleveland State University. During this time, I was able to take some great pictures of the NS, CSX and Amtrak trains due to split. Some of these pictures made it to my first website that was hosted at www.trainweb.org/clevelandtrains. Thinking about my first site at TrainWeb made me wonder how long I have been on the web and how things have changed. I don’t remember my go live date, but for this post, let’s say that I have had a web presence between 10-11 years. I have hosted over 40,000 visitors at my sites. I have noticed that my visitors span the globe. More impressive is that I receive visits from Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, NS, CP, CN and even DB Bahn in Germany.

Now instead of mostly taking pictures of trains, I lend a hand to a great group of guys at http://www.midwestrailway.org/. I’m also so grateful for the short line that has allowed me to fulfill my dream of working on the railroad. Because of this possibility, I have a totally different view of railroading. When I’m at work, it’s just that. Safety is always first.

Since I know that staff at Class I railroads visit, I am going to ask you for a kind favor. Is there any way you could consider donating a couple of locomotives to Midwest Railway Preservation Society? The units would be used on excursions and at our open houses. We are a 503(c) organization if you might be wondering about tax status. Pretty please? Let’s talk……..

I think I can......

Remember the story about the little engine that could? Well, this is a real life railroading story about Amtrak being contracted to move 20 ex-American Orient Express (AOE) cars to Denver. Enjoy the post and pictures.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buckingham Lining Bar Gang (Gandy Dancers)

During Trainfest 2004, I had the honor to watch the Buckingham Lining Bar Gang perform some of their songs while demonstrating how they lined track (tamping). Usually a track consisted of 8 to 12 men. The gang would lay new rail, replace rail, replace railroad ties and spread ballast. This was done manually. At the roundhouse, I had the chance to help lay about 60 feet of 90 pound rail. And I must say, laying 60 feet just almost killed me! I have nothing but the upmost respect for these men who did it day in and out no matter the weather.

I have posted my pictures of the Buckingham Lining Bar Gang in my photo gallery.

I was also able to find this short documentry on Gandy Dancers at FolkStreams.com

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

IC coach leaves BGRM 4-20-2009

This car is making its way to the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. I will post pictures of the car once it makes it to our yard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Becoming A Better Writer

Over the last few days, I have started reviewing some of my early works taken with my old Canon Powershot A20. This model only had 2 mega pixels, but it did deliver some great shots. My review was inspired by my recent railroad readings and reviewing works by other fellow rail photographers especially Scott Lothes. I mention Scott Lothes because of his speech “Great Writers Lessons for Railroad Photographers”. I’m finding my writing is straining to convey a story, but my photography skills are improving. I’m traveling to places I have been many times with hopes to understanding my scenes better. Anyone can take a picture, but I wish to take meaningful pictures that include more than just a train. Most of my shots are taken in an urban environment. Most rail photographers try to stay away from urban areas for safety reasons. These places are not in the best of shape or the prettiest, but one could still convey a story from these scenes. If it was not for my grandmother’s Ambler street home being located next to Conrails’s Shortline route, I would have little to no exposure to trains. This is my way of paying homage and sharing the story of trains and the folks who reside by the tracks.

Below is a photo I snapped on 1-7-2003 at Cleveland’s Amtrak station of train number 43 conductors walking back to their train. The Pennsylvanian was a “junk” train when it ran between Chicago and New York City. It usually had two units, three coaches, 1 cafĂ©/coach and 20 roadrailers. This train was usually ahead of schedule that allowed an abundance of time to photograph it sitting in the station. On this day, 43 had plenty of time to kill. The assistant conductor and conductor would go into the station and talk with the station agent while the few passengers aboard who smoked enjoyed several cigarettes and the remaining passengers looked at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from the platform. Those days are now over with since the Pennsylvanian now starts and ends in Pittsburgh.