Follow the travels of photographer Kevin Burkholder in pursuit of capturing the ever-changing railroad history around North America. Based in Vermont, the primary focus is on New England railroads, however my travels since the mid-1980s have taken me to every continental state and province of Canada in pursuit of railroad photography. Come along on my journeys as I detail them out for you here. **NOTE: Any of the photos contained in the blogs are available for sale in hi-res format.
Follow by Email
Monday, May 2, 2011
Celebrating Amtrak's 40th with the Vermonter
APRIL 30, 2011
Keeping in the spirit of celebrating Amtrak's 40th Anniversary this weekend, I set out to capture some images that are uniquely Vermont with the star of the show being Amtrak's Vermonter train - both north and southbound. The former Central Vermont trackage that today IS the New England Central Railroad's Roxbury and Palmer Subdivision hosts a pair of through freights and a pair of Amtrak trains daily. This is the same corridor that is currently undergoing the upgrades as part of the ARRA High Speed Rail project and the primary benefactor is the Vermonter train.
Beginning on Saturday evening, April 30, I wanted to take advantage of low evening light and capture the northbound Vermonter train rolling over the Sugar River Trestle in Claremont, NH (OK - it's almost Vermont!). Arriving right on time, Amtrak's weekend Vermonter symbol 54 dwarfs the traffic passing below with P42DC 204 leading the regular 5-Amfleet car consist and the P42DC 102 (yup - half of the leader "204").
Currently with the advantage of highway speed over rail speed, I headed back north to get one more image of this particular train departing White River and passing an old mill building that was once served by the Central Vermont Railway. Running a few minutes off the published schedule, Amtrak's engineer's aboard the P42DC 204 are staring directly into the sun as they roll toward VA Cutoff Road and out of White River Junction proper.
MAY 1, 2011
I set out on Sunday to capture both north and southbound moves of the Amtrak Vermonter and wanted to highlight another momentous bridge crossing - this time of the White River in West Hartford, VT from a vantage point not often undertaken. From a good distance downstream from the bridge, a 300 mm view brings to life the waves of the flood-ridden White River and the Amtrak train passing overhead seemingly oblivious to the overflowing river and making time of its own southbound toward White River Jct.
Following the bridge shot in West Hartford, it was off to Windsor to set up for the train's arrival at the end of the Roxbury Subdivision and a station stop. As the train arrived in Windsor, I took notice to many trees FINALLY budding after a prolonged and stubborn winter. The train is seen leaning into the curve that facilitates a setup for the Connecticut River crossing into New Hampshire in just a few hundred yards. The peak of the depot is barely visible as a church stands tall in the background. I left the pole line visible in the photo, as part of the ARRA HSR project calls for a signal upgrade and pole line removal.
From there it was back home to spend some quality time with my little railfan buddy - 9-month-old Brennen! While he loves to watch the trains go by and - much to his mother's chagrin - get excited about them, he equally loves to play with his toys at home. By evening I was heading back out to Claremont for a different view of the trestle, albeit this one wouldn't produce the same brilliant lighting as the night previous, with a heavy overcast swiftly filtering the remaining sunlight at this location. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I'll throw the shot up from this location to show you what 'might have been' if the sun had been glistening...
And finally - the last locale that I would capture an Amtrak Anniversary image this day would be back in West Hartford, where a well-preserved and maintained wooden overpass still stands a testament to time. With a sweeping S-curve leading into the scene, sunlight was rapidly deteriorating on this night - literally as the train passed this location and before the trailing P42DC was by, the bridge had been engulfed with shadows. The crew gave a few toots and a wave as the train continued the remainder of its 110-mile journey that remained between this shot and the terminus at St. Albans.