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Wednesday Wandering: Blocks of the Waterbury Branch Trains Observations Photos

Some of you out there have been wondering if I still take train photos. While several of my more recent posts have been of a more historical nature, I am still frequently out snapping photos of trains. Many times the photos aren’t necessarily worthy of their own post, so I thought it might be fun to post some of them on Wednesdays, so you can all see where I’ve been wandering about. This past weekend I found myself dodging the raindrops and capturing the blocks of the Waterbury Branch. With the signalization project coming to a close not too far...

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Up Close with Grand Central: Summer Edition Photos

When you’re out taking train photos for over a decade, things are bound to change. You probably will end up upgrading your camera equipment somewhere along the way, and your workflow for editing photos changes when you learn new things, or take advantage of new software. And somewhere along that journey you may suddenly realize that some fundamental part of your aesthetic isn’t quite what it was ten years ago. For some reason I found myself fascinated with panorama photography (which maybe you heard about?) back when I started this site in 2008, but it’s a rare moment today when...

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Hudson Line back on track… sort of Trains Observations Photos

Last week’s Hurricane Ida brought massive winds and torrential downpours from Louisiana on up to the northeast, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. In New York significant flooding adversely effected our entire transportation system—making highways and railroads resemble something more like waterlogged canals. Stuck vehicles were abandoned up and down the Bronx River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway, and the entirety of Metro-North service was suspended.

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The Railroad’s Raucous Arrival. White Plains: Part 1 Trains History

Amid loud booms of celebratory artillery fire and the rousing tunes of a brass band, hundreds of onlookers jockeyed for a spot alongside gleaming rails, cheering and popping champagne corks. The crowd’s cries rose to a crescendo as the mighty iron horse cantered round the last curve and roared into full view, steam billowing behind her. The day was Saturday, October 26th, 1844, and at long last—thirteen years for the rails, nearly three hours for the train—the New York and Harlem Railroad had reached White Plains. The new station to which the train had arrived was a simple wooden affair,...

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Behind the Scenes at the Subway’s Power Control Center Trains Photos Videos

Throughout the city there are countless nondescript structures that garner little attention from passersby. Hidden within one of them is the Power Control Center of New York City’s subway system, which like many important pieces of infrastructure today tries to keep a lower profile. A venerable hive of activity, the Power Control Center occupies an enormous room with long rows of seafoam green control panels running its length. Clusters of desks are arranged in the middle between the panels, with a perfect sight line to monitor the flashing lights and relayed information. The PCC’s expansive control panels display a schematic...

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A Rotary Converter and the Power Historian History Photos Videos

One of the joys of running this site is getting the chance to meet interesting people. When researching the supposed Nazi sabotage of Grand Central’s sub basement known as M42, I encountered a video on YouTube showing one Robert Lobenstein—identified as the retired General Superintendent of Power Operations at New York City Transit—starting up an old rotary converter. I had seen rotary converters before, the very ones in Grand Central’s M42, in fact. Yet I had never seen one in operation, and the video fascinated me. It was clear that the modern static frequency converters I had encountered on filming...

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