Garden and Keystone on the 13th of September


On the second day of my New Jersey work trip, I got out a couple times to shoot – first at sunrise, and then after sunset.  The shots at sunrise were in the Garden State, and the ones in the dark were 60 some odd miles to the west in the Keystone State – both were of Norfolk Southern trains plying the rails of the Lehigh and Reading Lines.

In the morning, I had about a 90 minute window to get out and shoot a bit right around sunrise.  So, just as the sun was coming up, I headed out of the hotel and decided to set my sights on Manville near the water tower and hope for something to come by my lens.

As I pulled off the road at the back of the VFW, the only traffic on the scanner was a Conrail local getting their train together to the east in Manville yard.  So there I sat…

Until I heard some crackling transmission on the radio – sounded like an eastbound job coming down the Lehigh Line.  As time went on, it was Norfolk Southern train 20R heading for me.  Well, at least I’d have one train to photo.

After a little bit of time, NS 20R toned up the Conrail North Jersey dispatcher for a Form D down the Port Reading Secondary.  As they were copying that down, they came into my view, and I got a couple shots as they crossed over 13th Ave.

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
REF#:02-20110913-420204365-_MG_2986.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:19:30
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)157.00 (157/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ

 
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
REF#:03-20110913-420204365-_MG_2999.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:19:35
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)100.00 (100/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ

Then a couple shots with the water tower, both with slightly different framings

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
REF#:04-20110913-1320706060-_MG_6333.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:17:31
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)40.00 (40/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ

 
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
REF#:05-20110913-1320706060-_MG_6336.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:17:31
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)28.00 (28/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ

And finally,  my favorite shot here in the morning – a series of shots into the rising sunlight, accentuating the haze and humidity in the air.  First is a wide shot of the power going past me.

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ
REF#:06-20110913-1320706060-_MG_6347.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:17:38
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ

Then a more telephoto shot showing some of that haze

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction
REF#:07-20110913-420204365-_MG_3006.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:19:51
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)148.00 (148/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction

Next up, as the head end descends the grade into Port Reading Junction, and you can see the headlights of that Conrail local working the yard within the confines of the haze.

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard
REF#:08-20110913-420204365-_MG_3040.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:20:55
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard

And a final shot of all of 20R’s train, and that Conrail local, still obscured by the hanging humidity

Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard
REF#:09-20110913-420204365-_MG_3066.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 07:21:22
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 20R eastbound through Manville, NJ, heading for Port Reading Junction where a Conrail local works in the yard

And the scanner once again went silent.  After waiting another 15 minutes or so, and the scanner situation still the same, I headed back to the hotel to pick up my co-worker who I was carpooling with into the office.

Fast forward to later that evening.

After work, I figured it was worthwhile to head west for the evening and do a little shooting under the stars in Pennsylvania.  So after dropping my coworker off at the hotel, I made my way back to I-78 and headed westbound, setting my sights on Macungie, PA.

When I was passing through Emmaus at about 7pm, I could hear NS train 261 – the westbound RoadRailer – calling signals nearby.  When I determined which signal they were calling – they were about a mile behind me.  Could I make it to Macungie before them?

Nope…just as I was approaching the crossing on Route 100 in Macungie, they were just going through the crossing.  Oh,well – I just sat back and watched the train roll by.

Then I waited.  And waited.  Nothing at all was going on, and the only thing on the scanner I was picking up was on the Allentown yard frequency.

But at about 8:30 I started picking up faint transmissions, and as they got clearer, NS train 33A was approaching from the west.  So I set up for a pretty standard shot at the Macungie pavilion, which was lit with two Lumedyne flashes.

Norfolk Southern train 33A eastbound through Macungie, PA
Norfolk Southern train 33A eastbound through Macungie, PA
REF#:01-20110913-420204365-_MG_3086.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 20:53:48
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.004 s (1/250)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery
Norfolk Southern train 33A eastbound through Macungie, PA

Not a bad start.  But the waiting once again commenced.

This time it was longer.  With the continued lack of activity on the radio, I headed over to the Turkey Hill mini-mart to use the bathroom and get a soda.

A couple hours later the detector in Emmaus tripped for an eastbound – this time it was NS 25R heading my way.  This time around, I tried something different – working in some of the flowers that are planted on the west end of the pavilion.  But I didn’t have much time to set up – looking to the east, 25Rs headlights were bearing down on me.

I set up one Lumedyne behind me to light up the train and garden, and the other on the opposite side of the pavilion to light up some of the train.  By the time I got this set up, 25R was on top of me.

NS 25R heads westbound through Macungie, PA
NS 25R heads westbound through Macungie, PA
REF#:02-20110913-420204365-_MG_3089.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 22:32:17
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.004 s (1/250)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery
NS 25R heads westbound through Macungie, PA

Not bad – but there’s room for improvement there.

But it was back to what railfans do best – waiting.

This time, however, it wasn’t all that long.  After about 15-20 minutes I could hear NS 64J coming east.  So I set up for an eastbound shot.

With the gear set up, I could hear them first call the signal at Alburtis, then sounding for the various crossings between Alburtis and Macungie.  But then over the radio came “EMERGENCY, EMERGENCY, EMERGENCY…NS64J IS IN EMERGENCY”  OK, I guess there’s going to be a delay.

Waiting around, and deciding on what I wanted to do – since it was close to 11pm, I figured that if they got a knuckle or had to replace an air hose, it would be a while before 64J got here.  So I decided to pack it in for the night.

But just as I was putting the gear away, NS 11K was asking 64J where he was – and that they were approaching Emmaus.  I guess I need to set up again!

I did a setup to refine the westbound shot with the garden.  This time I moved the flash behind me a bit further back, so I get a little more light on the flowers, and I moved a bit closer to the fence.  Once I got that set up, 11K was in view.  As they crossed my field of view, I tripped the shutter

NS 11K heads west through Macungie, PA
NS 11K heads west through Macungie, PA
REF#:03-20110913-420204365-_MG_3096.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 23:04:42
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.004 s (1/250)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery
NS 11K heads west through Macungie, PA

Not bad – still something not quite right to my eye.

But with 11K gone, and 64J still stopped, I figured that was it.

Until 64J contacted the dispatcher and reported that his air was coming back up, and it appeared that his train was still together.  The dispatcher gave him the go-ahead to proceed east.  Time for one final shot…

This time, though, I set up for a going-away angle for the eastbound.  And I also did the shot from the other side of the fence, to get some of the flowers in the foreground.  I also swiveled the Lumedyne on the opposite side of the pavilion about 45 degrees towards me, trying to illuminate more of the side of the lead unit.  (in hindsight, I should have left it alone to get some more light in front of the train, but, live & learn).  After a bit, 64J crossed over Route 100, and passed by my lens.

After going into emergency to the west, NS 64J is back on the move, and rolls east past Macungie, PA
After going into emergency to the west, NS 64J is back on the move, and rolls east past Macungie, PA
REF#:04-20110913-420204365-_MG_3100.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 23:18:35
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.004 s (1/250)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery
After going into emergency to the west, NS 64J is back on the move, and rolls east past Macungie, PA

And as the power passed, a UP unit caught my eye, so I popped that one as well

The trailing unit on 64J - a UP AC45CCTE
The trailing unit on 64J - a UP AC45CCTE
REF#:05-20110913-420204365-_MG_3101.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2011:09:13 23:18:38
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.004 s (1/250)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery
The trailing unit on 64J - a UP AC45CCTE

With it now nearly 11:30PM, I called it a night.  I still had a nearly 90 minute drive back to the hotel, so I packed things in and headed back – despite the fact that another eastbound was headed for Macungie as I was packing.  Gotta draw the line somewhere.  But overall, even with all the waiting I did, I’m pretty happy with the results.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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