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Messages - Kevin Madore

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Museum Discussion / Re: Finding the WW&F on Facebook
« on: January 18, 2017, 09:54:28 PM »
Hi Stewart,

The John Collins photos on the museum FB page are undoubtedly the best I have seen from last weekend.  I see from his page that he's a professional photographer and it shows in the composition and the processing.   I especially like the B&W shot of the two engines side by side at AC Station and the back-lit view of the northbound, 2-engine train at Albee's both are very nice.   I wonder if he has a site where I could see more....I mean other than "Snap Face" or some other social media site?    I'm not much into social media.   ;D

One question came to mind:  On the 2-engine mixed, I am wondering why Monson #3 is the road engine vs. having the WW&F #9 up front?   Since the train is portraying a WW&F Mixed, I thought I would see Number 9 closest to the camera.   I am betting that there's a technical reason why the 3 was up front.

Thanks!  Looking forward to this weekend!

/Kevin Madore

Volunteers / Re: January 2017 Work Planning
« on: January 11, 2017, 07:43:20 PM »
Someone may want to talk to the folks at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.   They probably have more switches than the WW&F has just in their yard alone.   They put on winter photo shoots twice every February and keeping the switches clean is indeed a continuing problem.  I believe I do recall seeing them using torches of some sort....along with a myriad of other things (shovels, ice picks, brooms).    It is important work.  I've seen several derailments happen at NN as well as up at Sumpter Valley due to ice jams.  No equipment or people hurt, but it made for a lot of work cleaning up.   

Matthew Malkiewicz, Jim Wrinn and myself were in a caboose that ended up about 30 degrees off the track alignment in February of 2014 up at Sumpter.....this despite the railroad guys spending a significant amount of time clearing ice jams the day before.   The train was running in reverse (as photo trains often do) and that lightweight caboose suddenly hopped off the rails.   Fortunately, the three of us felt the rough ride over the mile or so leading up to the event and we had prepared for that eventuality.   We elected Jim to dump the air because he was the tallest and could easily reach the brake valve.   When Matthew called out "we're off", Jim calmly turned the valve handle and we stopped very quickly.   Darn good thing we did.  We were on a fill at the time and if the train had continued, we likely would have tumbled down the embankment.  As it was, there were no bumps or bruises and the Sumpter guys had the caboose back on the rails damage-free that afternoon.   

Museum Discussion / Re: Finding the WW&F on Facebook
« on: January 03, 2017, 11:01:36 AM »
This morning, elected to feature one of my Victorian Christmas shots on their Facebook Page, which typically generates a lot of views.   The shot has been up on the site for less than 12 hrs and already has over 4,000 hits and a couple of hundred likes.   The image of #9 and her train pulling into Alna Center in the snow is probably one of my favorites of all time from this event. 

Here's the link to the RP Facebook Site:

And the actual image:

Happy New Year all!   Looking forward to the photo event later this month!

/Kevin Madore

Work and Events / 2016 Victorian Christmas Photos
« on: December 19, 2016, 08:56:10 AM »

On Saturday, December 17th, I attended the 2016 Victorian Christmas Event at the museum.   This was my 9th straight year and it was a memorable one.   For the first time in several years, we not only had snow on the ground, but in the air as well.   The area received about 6" of new snow, which seemed to be timed perfectly (depending on your viewpoint  ;D), basically starting just before operations did and finishing up just about the time the equipment was put away.   And unlike most snowstorms here in New England, it was accompanied by very cold temperatures, which started off in the low single numbers, but did rise somewhat during the day.

It is relatively rare to be able to photograph steam operations in falling snow.   Very few steam operations are still running during the winter months, and unless you happen to live very near one, the odds of getting snow at one of those few railroads during an occasional visit are pretty darn small.   The snow does bring with it some challenges.   Keeping one's camera lens free of snow and ice becomes problematic.   Just getting around to catch the action also becomes difficult.   During VC, I normally hike the ROW from Sheepscot to AC, shooting the trains as I go.   On Saturday, the cold and the rapid snow accumulation, combined with pre-existing snow underneath convinced me that the 1.8 mile hike was probably not a great idea.   Falling snow presents other issues that aren't immediately apparent until you get the images on a computer.   You have to shoot in burst mode, firing multiple shots to try and get one good one.  That's because some big flakes get too close to your lens, and can wind up covering critical elements....such as a subject's face.   The cold presents problems as well.   I dared not wander into a warm building for more than a minute or two for fear that my cold camera lens might not only fog up....but I might also get condensation on the INSIDE, where all of the sensitive and expensive electronics are.   At the end of the day, I actually had thumbwheel controls on the outside of the camera that were iced up and frozen.

And then, there was the 125 mile drive home...... :o

Still, all of the challenges were worth it.  Almost any frame you could shoot looked like a scene from a Currier and Ives print.   I've put together a short Flickr album of some of the things I saw.   I'm not much of an artist, but I hope I was able to capture a little taste of what the event looked like.

Thanks to everyone at the museum for another great time in the woods of Maine!

/Kevin Madore

Museum Discussion / Re: Finding the WW&F on Facebook
« on: December 16, 2016, 08:03:15 AM »
Wow, pretty car!  I have a distinct feeling that this car will be a godsend at VC if the weather forecast holds up.  The snow is supposed to come in right around dawn and the temp is supposed to be around 11F (it is -4F right now at KIWI (yikes!)).  They are calling for 3-5".   I am thinking of grabbing a hotel room tonight in Brunswick.

It's gonna look like Christmas tomorrow!


As to the wooden car argument, the Strasburg Railroad has wooden passenger cars and crosses several state highways with flashing lights, but they may have steel frames (I'm not sure).  Another thing to consider is the length of the ride.  Familys with small children, pregnant women and old geezers with BPH (I know one) might not necessarily enjoy a longer ride.  I don't think your coaches have rest room facilities, do they?

All of the crossings that the Strasburg Rail Road's regular tourist trains use are both lighted and gated.  

Work and Events / Re: Portable Platforms for Special Events
« on: November 11, 2016, 09:21:23 AM »
Photographer trains have to deal with step boxes just like every other railroad.

That's correct.   The portable platforms idea is great for events with the public, when there are lots of passengers who are not used to getting on/off century-old equipment at relatively primitive (by today's standards) station locations.   Those passengers just want to get on and off safely and easily and really don't care what things look like.   On photo trains however, most of the photographers are pretty used to loading and unloading where there are next to no facilities at all.   Even some of the older folks amaze me with their ability to make the big steps.  Heck, I'm only 5ft. 6in. and I've yet to find a location where I can't get on without a step-box.   For photo trains, the regular step-boxes are generally fine.   It certainly helps to have a trainman on the ground to help the folks who are older, or perhaps carrying a lot of gear.   The key thing is that when the train pushes back, there should be nothing left on the ground that is not more or less historically accurate.   Equally, it is important to make sure there is nothing showing on the platforms that wouldn't have existed on a historic train.

A couple of years back, a new tourist line in south central PA decided to install permanent steps at a historic depot at which President Lincoln stopped on his way to Gettysburg in November of 1863.    While I suspect that these steps do enhance the efficiency and safety of the normal tourist operations, the railroad's inability to temporarily remove them for a 2014 Carl Franz Charter pretty much spoiled this historic site as a photo location.

The shot from the other side is even less appealing, as there are multiple yellow steps visible.

Here is the Brady shot allegedly depicting Lincoln at this location.

No steps back in 1863.   :o


General Discussion / Re: All Female Steam Loco Crew
« on: October 29, 2016, 10:19:26 PM »
Strasburg Railroad has a female employee who is a machinist as well as qualified as a fireman (firewoman) and an engineer.

Strasburg actually has a couple of ladies who are cab-qualified.  Both participated in Pete Lerro's "Rosie the Riveter" shoot in August of 2015 and will likely do that again when we go back there for another Rosie shoot next weekend. 

Here are Shelley and Andrea (aka "Sparkee") putting on a welding demo in the Strasburg Shops

There are actually a number of tourist railroads and museums with female cab crew members.   For years, Amy Beck fired for long-time Cass Engineer Dirk Caloccia.   Out at Railtown 1897, Stephanie Tadlock is a fully qualified Engineer on Sierra #3 as is her husband Dave.

I think that being a Steam Locomotive Engineer is a bit like being a Fighter Pilot.   For whatever reason, not many women are attracted to either job, but those that are seem to be very capable people.

/Kevin Madore   


During the week of October 1-8, I traveled to Colorado and OD'd on steam engines and fall color BIG TIME! This was a really manic trip involving visits to 4 railroads, and including a pair of 2-day charters. I basically ran myself ragged and went home with my first head cold in about 2 years. Having made my first pass through the photo take however, I'd have to say that all of the air miles, road miles, heavy exercise and lack of sleep was probably worth it. The combination of steam and fall color made for a great take of photos. I've created a few Flickr albums for those who would like to see what it all looked like. Feel free to browse as you'd like.

Saturday, October 1st: After landing in Denver, I spent a few hours at the Colorado Railroad Museum. While I had seen Goose 7 a few weeks earlier at the NG Rendezvous, I had never seen any other pieces of this collection before. I was very fortunate this day as the K-37 #491 just happened to be running around the loop. The time of day and the position of stored equipment around the grounds made photography just a bit challenging, but I did manage one back-lit shot of the 491 on the back side of the loop. That was my first live K-37. I've now seen at least one example of all of the running D&RGW classes.

DRGW Locomotive 491 at the Colorado Railroad Museum:

Sunday, October 2nd - Wednesday, October 5th: After a very long drive in the dark I arrived at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad for 4 days of action. During the first 2 days, D&RGW 315 made a couple of runs associated with a private charter for a small group of people. I was fortunate to be able to photograph some of that. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was a full participant in the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Fall Charter. During the 2 days, we saw 3 Cumbres Turns with K-27 and K-36 Locomotives, followed by the assembly of a 30-car freight and a round trip to Osier. The weather was generally sunny and the foliage on the run to Cumbres was nothing short of stunning. Here's what it all looked like:

Cumbres & Toltec Fall Charters:

Thursday, October 6th - Friday, October 7th: Completing the Friends Charter, I hopped in my rental car and made a bee-line for Durango on Wednesday night. On Thursday, I participated in the Willow Creek Productions Charter on the Durango & Silverton, hosted by Dave Gross. Dave's last charter in 2011 was a home run, so I wasn't going to miss this one. We had K-28 Locomotive #473 and a Silverton Mixed Train with some freight loads and Grande Gold coaches. On the first day, we ran one-way to Silverton, then stayed overnight at the Grand Imperial Hotel, before running back to Durango the following day. Once again, the weather was awesome and our crew put on a most excellent show:

Willow Creek Productions Charter on the Durango & Silverton:

Saturday, October 8th: When Dave Gross' charter finished up, I again hopped in my trusty rental and headed back north, stopping overnight in Salida. The next morning, I headed for another railroad I had never seen: The Georgetown Loop. Newly restored Baldwin IRCA #111 was running this day and once again, the weather was great. Although this is a tough railroad to chase, there are some great photo spots. I would love to see a charter there some day. Sign me up!

Georgetown Loop Railroad:

All in all, I had a great time in Narrow Gauge Land this month. I have enough photos on my hard drive to keep me playing with Lightroom for a very long time to come.

/Kevin Madore

168 is in the tear down and inspection stage.

That's a pretty good way to describe it.   I first saw the 168 last fall in Antonito, which is where it will be based whenever it becomes operational.   At the time, very little had been done with it since it was moved to the C&TS.   I saw it again in March of this year, when I was back in Antonito for the Friends Flanger Trip.   Just a few days before, it had apparently been taken outside the engine house for a quick photo shoot.   I would have hoped they'd leave it out for us to photograph, given how much we'd all spent on the charter, that would have been a nice bonus, but that was not to be.   A few days later, they started disassembling it, in an effort to develop an accurate scope of work for the restoration.   Even when that's done, they still need to raise the funds to make it all happen.   

Realistically, I think it will be a period of years before it runs....unless someone like Bill Gates or Paul Allen suddenly decides to become a railfan.

/Kevin Madore

I posted the following on the Narrow Gauge Forum tonight, but thought there may be some folks over here who appreciate standard (meaning 3 ft.) gauge railroading on the old Rio Grande.  If so, enjoy....


Last weekend, I attended the 2016 Narrow Gauge Rendezvous at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. The event ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday and featured a freight train headed by D&RGW Consolidation #315, as well as two of the Rio Grande Southern's famous Motors, popularly known as Galloping Geese. The weekend featured many events, lots of interesting equipment, excellent food and some great opportunities to socialize with fellow narrow gauge fans. If my experience was any measure, a great weekend was had by all. By my count, I shot 2,087 frames with my two Digital SLRs. In that lot were a ton of keepers. I've spent the last few days sorting through the take and running a sampling of them through Lightroom. The result is nice little album that shows some of the highlights of the event.

If you're one of the folks who's been waiting for the photos, you need only click on the link below to see what it all looked like. Once the album appears, click on the first thumbnail and the full page for that image will appear, along with the caption. For an even better experience, you can click in the upper right-hand corner and go full-screen. Arrows on the right and left sides of the images will allow you to page back and forth. If you notice any inaccurate information in captions, please PM me here on the forum and I'll correct as needed.

And the photos:

/Kevin Madore

Work and Events / Re: 2016 Annual Picnic Photos
« on: August 18, 2016, 03:41:13 PM »

Work and Events / 2016 Annual Picnic Photos
« on: August 18, 2016, 08:25:51 AM »

It has taken a few days, but I've managed to sort through the 412 frames that I shot last Saturday at the 2016 Annual Picnic and come up with a small album of what I witnessed.   In addition to train operations, I tried to get photos of the various speakers during the noontime celebration.   The album contains a sampling, but I do have others.   I think I have most of their names, but if I have missed on any of them, please PM me and I'll fix it.

The weather on Saturday made photography a challenge.  Anytime you have a bright sky, but no sun, it's a balancing act getting exposures right.   Thank goodness for Lightroom!!!

Here is the link the album:

After you click on the first photo, you can use the arrows on the right and left to go back and forth through the album.   If you mouse over the upper right-hand corner of each image, an icon should appear that will allow you to go full screen if you like.   I think the images look better that way.

I had a great time at Annual Picnic.   Looking forward to my next trip up there.

As always, thanks for the hospitality!!

/Kevin Madore

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / Re: WW&F Visits....
« on: July 04, 2016, 03:07:16 PM »
If you're down at Cass, don't miss the "Durbin Rocket."  That's just about half an hour north of Cass in the little town of Durbin and in the past, has featured a 55-ton, 2-truck Climax.   The former Meadow River Heisler #6 is currently handling the "Rocket", while the Climax gets a 1,472 at Cass.   When the washouts are repaired and the line from Cass to Durbin is fully restored, the "Rocket" operation will come under FRA jurisdiction.   For years, the Climax operated with only the blessing of the State Boiler Inspector.    When I first rode the "Rocket" years ago, the state of the track was first-hand testament to the old saying that Climax would track two scratches in the dirt.   The track is better now. 

Someone mentioned that the crews at Cass don't fancy the Heisler.   One long-time Engineer down there once told me that he considered his duty days on #6 to be "Shay Appreciation Days."

Glad to see that James made it down there.  For those who haven't and would like to see what it looks like, here are a few photos from a couple of recent Railfan Weekends.   The only difference between what you see here and normal operations is that the locomotives normally PUSH the cars up the hill.   For the photography sessions, they put the locos on the front of the train: 

Neat place.....   And yeah, pretty remote.  Nearest civilized hotel rooms are either at Snowshoe Ski Resort, or in Elkins, about an hour to the north.


I have worked with the gentleman who made that request for photos, and am a bit familiar with the reason for this particular request.  I wish I had some photos to offer him and would really like to see some sort of photography session up there, similar to the ones that the WW&F folks did in March and April.  From what I understand, the Phillips operation may not have a lot of track, but they do have some interesting infrastructure, including a roundhouse and turntable.   They also have a fair amount of rolling stock.   If all goes according to plan, they should also have MRR#3 back up there shortly.   If the locomotive could be re-lettered for the SR&RL, and day/night photo session could be arranged, it could produce some pretty compelling images for the internet that might get more people up there, either to visit or to volunteer.   The place is largely a secret now, and the remote location makes the situation even tougher.   

I've often thought that a combination of photo events at the WW&F and the SR&RL might make it attractive for one of the well-known charter operators (Lerro, HTP, etc.) to do a multi-day event in Maine.   In order to get their diverse clients to travel from all over the country, they need to be able to provide 2-3 days of justify the airfares, hotels, rental cars etc.    To me, one of the big attractions of the Maine 2 ft museums is that they are among just a handful of places where authentic trains can be re-created. 


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