Posts Tagged ‘Durand Michigan’

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.

That 70s Look in Durand

August 8, 2019

Amtrak’s Blue Water has ground to a stop in Durand, Michigan, right on the money. Actually, Train 365 arrived a little early.

The daily boarding ritual that plays out countless times every day in cities and towns or all sizes is underway.

This image was made in July 2019, but there are two throwbacks to the 1970s.

The station sign in the foreground was hung in that era which was when the Amfleet coach was built.

Amtrak is undertaking a process of replacing its Amfleet fleet and maybe someday it will hang a new sign in Durand.

But for now that 70s look continues on Amtrak if you pay attention to it.

Seeing the Boys Off

July 18, 2019

A Michigan Boy Scout troop boards Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, on a Saturday morning on the first leg of an adventure.

Seeing them off and making photographs of the event are parents and friends.

I didn’t ask where the troop was going but it is likely they are headed for the Philmont Scout ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico, for a week of hiking and camping in the mountains.

Summer is the season when Boy Scout troops across the country trek to Philmont for an experience the Scouts will long remember and talk about.

Some of those Scouts ride Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to Raton. Taking the train to Philmont is a long-standing Scouting tradition.

Charging Through Michigan

July 16, 2019

A visit last weekend to Durand, Michigan, netted the information that SC-44 Chargers are now operating on the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water.

The Chargers, which the Michigan Department of Transportation helped to buy for Amtrak Midwest corridor services, were slow to be assigned to Michigan trains used Amtrak-owned track west of Kalamazoo, due to the need to upgrade the software on the locomotives to be compatible with the line’s positive train control system.

Apparently those upgrades have been made.

Nos. 364 and 365 operate with locomotives in each end to avoid having to turn the train in Port Huron during its nightly layover.

No. 365 is shown leaving Durand for its next stop of East Lansing before continuing on to Chicago.

Boarding in Durand

August 12, 2018

Passengers board Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, with most of them en route to Chicago.

The tracks used by Amtrak here are owned by Canadian National but their ancestry is Grand Trunk Western.

GTW’s trains to Chicago were discontinued with the coming of Amtrak in 1971, but later revived with funding from the State of Michigan.

So Long Durand

June 15, 2018

The passengers have boarded Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water and the conductor has given the highball command on the radio.

Train No. 365 is on time as it departs Durand, Michigan, en route to Chicago. The next stop, though, is East Lansing, Michigan.

P42DC No. 126 is the rear of the train since the Blue Water operates with locomotives on each end so as to avoid having to turn the locomotive or the train in Port Huron, Michigan, during its overnight stay.

Amtrak in Durand uses the Durand Union Station, which once had service provided by the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroads.

The station also houses a railroad museum.

Anyone Want to Board Here?

June 8, 2018

An Amtrak conductor stands by an open vestibule of the westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, but all of the passengers are lined up at another vestibule father down.

That’s because the far vestibule aligned with the gate allowing passengers through a fence that separates the tracks of Canadian National (former Grand Trunk Western) and Durand Union Station.

Eventually, a few passengers were directed to board farther down the platform, perhaps because they were holding business class tickets. The cafe car on Train No. 365 was located toward the rear.

The Blue Water departed Durand on time en route to Chicago.

The ‘Pointless Arrow’ Still Lives at Amtrak

December 31, 2016

durand-station-july-13-02-x

In April 1971, the National Rail Passenger Corporation unveiled its new logo, an inverted arrow that many wags came to call the “pointless arrow.”

It symbolized Amtrak for several years before the current herald was adopted. Although the arrow logo has been more or less retired, it continues to greet the public at some Amtrak stations.

One of those is Durand, Michigan, where it looms over passengers entering the former Durand Union Station. Aside from serving Amtrak, the Durand depot also houses the Michigan Railroad Museum.

Train Time in Durand

August 7, 2016
The westbound Blue Water is running ahead of schedule as it makes its Durand, Michigan, station stop.

The westbound Blue Water is running ahead of schedule as it makes its Durand, Michigan, station stop.

People pulling suitcases were already headed toward the station as I pulled in. In about a half-hour Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water would be making its station stop in Durand, Michigan.

Durand is a small town yet quite a few people boarded No. 365 on this Wednesday morning.

The Blue Water is funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation and operates daily between Chicago and Port Huron, Michigan.

Like many other Midwest corridor trains, No. 365 leaves early in the morning for a late morning arrival in Chicago. The return train departs Chicago in late afternoon.

There isn’t much time to spend in Chicago for a day trip, but if all goes well the schedule enables passengers to connect with western long distance trains and other Midwest corridor services.

The return schedule, though, is less favorable for connecting from the western trains, particularly if your train is late.

No. 365 arrived in Durand several minutes early and had to wait for time before departing.

I’ve seen and photographed Amtrak trains in Durand in the past, but this would be my first time to get the Blue Water in Durand.

I had photographed the Chicago-Toronto International, which was scheduled through Durand in both directions in mid-afternoon.

That schedule didn’t afford passengers the opportunity to make a Chicago day trip nor did it connect with many other Amtrak trains.

The tracks used by the Blue Water are today owned by Canadian National, but were originally part of the Grand Trunk Western.

The GTW was controlled by CN so many Grand Trunk passenger trains interchanged with CN at Sarnia, Ontario, to and from Toronto.

The Blue Water began in September 1974, using the GTW between Port Huron and Battle Creek, Michigan, but then using Penn Central into Chicago on the same route as Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit trains.

At the time, Nos. 364/365 operated as the Blue Water Limited. It became a Chicago-Toronto train in October 1982, initially operating as the International Limited.

The name was shorted to International in June 1983. Border crossing issues ultimately led Amtrak to suggest that the train be shorted to Chicago-Port Huron operation and put on a schedule similar to that of the Blue Water Limited.

Michigan agreed and in April 2004 the change was made and patronage greatly increased.

I don’t know if any of those who boarded the Blue Water on this day know any of this history or, for that matter, any history of GTW passenger service in Durand.

Most of those boarding were younger and probably know little if anything about the Grand Trunk or CN in general.

They probably were pleased that their train departed on time for its next station stop in East Lansing and, ultimately, to Chicago.

Passengers are lined up to board Amtrak train No. 365 in Durand. Most of them are probably headed for Chicago and some might be going via Amtrak beyond there.

Passengers are lined up to board Amtrak train No. 365 in Durand. Most of them are probably headed for Chicago and some might be going via Amtrak beyond there.

Right this way and to your left.

Right this way and to your left. The Blue Water consist is the standard Midwest corridor train offering of Horizon fleet coaches and an Amfleet cafe car offering business class service.

Two gentlemen sit on benches in the foreground and watch the last passengers board Amtrak's westbound Blue Water.

Two gentlemen sit on benches in the foreground and watch the last passengers board Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water.

The conductor chats with the Durand station caretaker and two railfans along the fence as No. 365 waits for time before it can depart from Durand.

The conductor chats with the Durand station caretaker and two railfans along the fence as No. 365 waits for time before it can depart from Durand.

A portrait in black and white of Amtrak train time in Durand.

A portrait in black and white of Amtrak train time in Durand.

Crossing the CN Holly Subdivision as Amtrak train No. 365 departs on time from Durand.

Crossing the CN Holly Subdivision as Amtrak train No. 365 departs on time from Durand.

The Blue Water operates with a locomotive on each end to avoid having to turn the train in Port Huron during the overnight layover.

The Blue Water operates with a locomotive on each end to avoid having to turn the train in Port Huron during the overnight layover.

Inside the Durand Station

August 2, 2016

Amtrak at Durand 00-x

Durand, Michigan, is like many small towns served by Amtrak in the Midwest in that twice or more a day, people start gathering to wait for the train.

In the case of Durand, a caretaker opens the waiting room of the former Union Station. In many places, the “station” is a glorified bus shelter.

But Durand Union Station has been saved and preserved with part of the structure serving as the Michigan Railroad Museum.

The “union” in the station’s name derives from the fact that it was once served by passenger trains of the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroads.

It has been several decades since the Ann Arbor last ran a passenger train and the former AA tracks on the east side of the depot have long since been removed.

Shown are a handful of passengers in the waiting room in mid July 2016 as they awaited the arrival of Amtrak No. 365, the westbound Blue Water for Chicago.

It is a ritual as timeless as the feel of this old passenger station, which has seen several generations waiting here before embarking on a journey.