On a photo charter in February 2016, Christopher Brang assesses the situation while working on a stuck brake that has halted progress down the hill.
One of my goals for the year is to photograph the people involved in the operations of these historic machines more than I have in the past rather than simply focusing on the trains. Fortunately I have a couple opportunities to practice this year.
One from the archives, this time from a Lerro Productions Photo Charter at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in October of 2013. Shot just after sunset, this scene featured a perfectly restored Mercury pickup truck, Western Maryland 734 and Mr. Helmstetter’s Barn.
Helmstetter’s Curve on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
Photographing steam locomotives in the snow is one of my favorite things to do. The snow acts as a giant reflector bouncing light into the running gear, allowing you to really see all of the detail and textures that is often missed. The cold weather also allows long white exhaust plumes to hang in the air.
This past February I attended a photo charter at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad hosted by Lerro Productions. The charter included a full day of photography on the railroad plus a night session at Cumberland Station. With 734 almost out of operating days before a required major rebuild, the charter sold out quickly as many photographers wanted to spend one more day with one of their favorite locomotives. As it turns out, due to a landslide on the line a couple of weeks after the charter, this would be the last time 734 ran all the way to Frostburg.
After lunch the clouds rolled in, so rather than shoot in poor lighting, a couple of us elected to head back to the caboose and ride with the brakeman for the rest of the afternoon. This turned into a portrait shoot since this particular crew member takes great pride in accurately dressing the part for these photo shoots.
Finally, 734 was parked in front Cumberland Station for one last night session before her rebuild. What made this on unusual is that she was turned facing East when most night sessions had her facing West to take advantage of the water spout at the other end of the station.
It will be a few years before 734 is running again since the railroad is focusing on restoring C&O 1309. Current reports indicate that the WMSR’s “new” steam locomotive will be running next year. As always in the world of steam preservation, “it’ll be done when it’s ready.”
734 simmering at Cumberland Station while waiting for permission to proceed down the line – or more accurately, 734 is parked at the station for a night session during a photo charter hosted by Lerro Productions this past February. Stop back next Tuesday for the trip report.