Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rail Photography Can't Always Be Perfect... a Lesson For Flat-Landers & Super Picky Rail-Photo Websites

Rail Photography Can't Always Be Perfect... a Lesson For Flat-Landers & Super Picky Rail-Photo Websites
by Jonelle DeFelice

Some railfan photo sites are so picky, they will reject an image submission just because of a blade of grass in the "wrong" place. Or perhaps there's a tiny shadow on a locomotive's windshield.  Well, they seem to think all railfans live in a perfect world of straight rails, great lighting, lots of trains, and absolutely NOTHING to get in the way of a perfect photo.

This photo from Shirley MA during late September is to show what we in Massachusetts have to put up with: Odd sun angles & shadows, curvy tracks, lots of trees, power lines & poles, signs, auto traffic, you name it. And this is a relatively clean commuter track (for now). Get past Fitchburg and things change... they become even harder.  

"Perfect" photos are a lot harder to get in this neck of the woods than railfans in "the flat lands" can ever understand...

Oh, and the above photo is the best I could get as the train rounded the curve.  Point made?

Here is an uncropped shot from Westford Station (MA) on a sunny September day.  Despite the fact this ROW is just about IN the parking lot of a popular walking trail, most eastbound freights will look like this.  Try to grab an eastbound and you need to stand someplace "photogenic" but also SAFE.  Recent trackwork means lineside weeds are gone... for THIS season...

Another uncropped shot from the same location.  This image from a cloudy Autumn day would probably still get rejected because of the sky.  You may not know this, but skies are not always clear blue.  That pile of ties and rail?  Well, that isn't "perfect".  And those signals aren't lit... why not?

This is a westbound work train at  the same location 3/2020.  Better lighting... sorta of.  You can see it was a nice sunny day.  But there are parked cars, moving cars, dead weeds, and yes, odd lighting.  Nothing you can do about it either, unless you stand closer to the road crossing, then you have the gates to contend with and also you need to be safely away from the train itself.  

ZOOMS are your friend.  But I couldn't get nice, well lit shots of the consist.  Had I stood on the other side of the track, which is closer to the rails, I probably would have had shadows to contend with there as well and the angle would have been bad.  I also would have received nasty looks from the crew for being too close to the train.

Here is that crossing during August of 2018.  Yet again... POINT MADE.

Here is a rather rare shot of an MBTA welded rail train at Belmont MA.  No place to stand other than the station platforms.  From this side, you have good light but the angle is sharp.  Oh, and those ties, they may interest some but to make it onto some rail-photo sites you better just delete this one... 

Uncropped, unedited photo of the same train, same location, but to get the train into the shot, I needed to cross the track.  Now lighting stinks.

This Belmont photo is SUPER rare... Pan Am Railways detour freight EDNM 4/3/10.  Also uncropped, we have GREAT lighting on the locomotives BUT only for a split second... soon the shadows will ruin things and the train will be too close to me to get a nice broadside photo.  I couldn't stand further down the platform because the track has a tight curve.

In closing, here is a rather NICE photo... nice lighting, interesting subject... OH BUT WHAT are those things blocking the view at center-left??  Nature??

Welcome to freight railroading in Eastern Massachusetts...

Monday, October 5, 2020

MBTA Forecasts New Orange, Red Line Fleets Will Be Delayed at Least 1 Year


The full transformation of the Red and Orange Line fleets will be delayed by at least a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing manufacturing issues, MBTA officials announced Monday.

Under its contract with Chinese manufacturer CRRC, the MBTA expected to have a fleet of new Orange Line cars delivered by January 2022 and a fleet of new Red Line cars by September 2023. 

The Orange Line delivery is now projected to be 15 months late and arrive in April 2023, while the Red Line set is running a year late and is expected to be done in September 2024, according to MBTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville. 

With those delays, the T also pushed back its target for running trains more frequently with shorter headways to summer 2023 for the Orange Line and winter 2024 for the Red Line. 

Gonneville said the T's contract with CRRC includes language allowing the agency to seek damages for delays and that officials intend to explore its possible application.