Posts Tagged ‘black and white photography’

One Day in Joliet

February 14, 2020

It’s April 1972 in Joliet, Illinois. It might look like a Santa Fe train, but it’s one of Amtrak’s Chiefs. Santa Fe F-units are leading an the train into Joliet. AT&SF motive power was standard here in the early 1970s.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The Art of Black and White Photography

August 15, 2019

Digital photograph has many advantages but one of the most underused one is the ability to transform an image from color to black and white.

I don’t often see this done and I’m just as guilty as anyone else in not thinking about doing it.

What I have learned, though, is that recognizing when to convert an image from color to black and white is an art in itself.

It works well in situations in which the colors are subdued, often to the point of the image virtually being black and white anyway.

When I was processing this image of Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water at Durand, Michigan, it all but called out for conversion to black and white.

There is strong back lighting from the sun that washed out the color anyway.

Making the image black and white helped to draw out the contrast and enhance the mood.

Train No. 365 is waiting for time. It arrived in Durand a little early and all of the passengers have boarded.

A few onlookers are gathered along the fence waiting to see of a Boy Scout troop that boarded.

The conductor is standing by a vestibule waiting to give a highball and accommodate any late arriving passengers.

Note also the contrast in shapes of the Amfleet and Horizon coaches in the train’s consist, a testament to competing philosophies of passenger car design.

End of 2 Journeys

May 5, 2019

Passengers disembark at Indianapolis Union Station from Amtrak’s westbound National Limited on Oct. 1, 1979.

For the passengers it is the end of a journey that started somewhere out East or perhaps in Ohio or Pittsburgh.

For the train, it is the last time that No. 31 will call in Indianapolis.

The National Limited began its final trips the day before with the last eastbound No. 30 having already come and gone from Indy last night.

As for myself, I was starting a journey aboard No. 31 that would take me to Effingham, Illinois.

Linking the Seventies With Today

January 29, 2019

There is much that has changed and much that has remained the same in this view of the southbound Shawnee leaving Mattoon, Illinois, during the summer of 1978.

Train No. 391 now operates under the name Saluki on approximately the same schedule that the Shawnee had. That means it is scheduled to depart Mattoon in late morning.

The tracks the Shawnee is using were at the time this image was made owned by Illinois Central Gulf, but today they are in the Canadian National system. Of course the heritage of this line is Illinois Central.

There are still two main tracks here but the tracks at the far left and far right are long gone. The mainline track to the left is now considered a siding.

Those tracks are relics of another era when the IC has branch line passenger service on its line between Peoria and Evansville, Indiana, that operated via Decatur and Mattoon.

Those trains were scheduled to operate between Mattoon and Evansville, and between Mattoon and Peoria. The Evansville passenger service ended in August 1939 while the Peoria passenger service was discontinued in March 1940. Somehow the tracks used by those trains at the Mattoon station survived for several more decades before being removed.

The bridge in the distance carries Charleston Avenue (U.S. Route 45 and Illinois routes 16 and 121) over the tracks. It has since been replaced.

Back in the late 1970s, the standard consist for the Shawnee was two Amfleet coaches and an Amcafe.

Amtrak still uses Amfleet equipment on Midwest corridor trains, but No. 391 today is a mixture of Amfleet and Horizon fleet cars.

Leading No. 391 is an F40PH. Amtrak years ago ceased using F40s to power its trains although a few remain on the roster as cab cars.

The equipment seen here will arrive in Carbondale, Illinois, in early to mid afternoon and be returned to return tonight to Chicago as train No. 392.

For those interested in such things, this photograph was made with Kodak Tri-x black and white negative film and scanned from the negative.

That ’70s Look

December 22, 2017

It is the summer of 1978. Amfleet equipment and F40PH locomotives have been operating on Amtrak’s Midwest corridor trains for nearly two years so the equipment can’t be said to be brand new anymore.

Still it is relatively new enough to be the look of the future having come to pass.

Steam-heated passengers cars are a thing of the past on the corridor routes, but still see service on some long-distance trains in the region.

But on the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans route head-end power is the rule. Steam-heated equipment is not coming back.

Shown is the northbound Shawnee, train No. 392, arriving in Mattoon, Illinois, in early evening. The equipment is state of the art for its time with an F40, two Amfleet coaches and an Amcafe. The train will halt at Chicago Union Station in more than three hours.

At the Throttle of the Last WB National Limited

March 14, 2017

Conrail engineer Russell Smith awaits a highball in Indianapolis aboard Amtrak’s last westbound National Limited.

Smith has his left hand on the throttle of of F40PH No. 310 as it barrels along toward Terre Haute.

Looking over the engineer’s shoulder as Amtrak No. 31 rolls over the former New York Central mainline west of Indianapolis for the final time as a scheduled train.

It is Oct. 1, 1979, and Amtrak train No. 31 has arrived early into Indianapolis. This is a crew change point and for the final time the engineer and fireman will board the head end of the National Limited to take it west, working as far as St. Louis. Both are Conrail employees.

Tomorrow, the National Limited will be no more. It’s last trips departed from their endpoint cities on Sept. 30 and were allowed to continue to their destinations.

I got permission from the engineer to ride in the cab of F40PH No. 310 as far as Terre Haute, Indiana.

All of these photographs were made using Kodak Tri-X film. The images were scanned from the negatives.