Posts Tagged: steam locomotive

A Visit to the East Broad Top Railroad

In October, I was able to revisit the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, PA. Pete Lerro of Lerro Productions organized a photo charter with EBT’s 2-8-2 no. 16 and a variety of antique cars and reenactors.

I’ll be giving a presentation on the surviving steam locomotives in the US on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. for the Haverhill Historical Society at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH. Free and everyone welcome. We’ll look at a variety of engines operating from coast to coast.

I’ve got a 2024 wildlife wall calendar available. They’re 9×12″ with 13 photos – the cover and 12 months. They’re $25. I can mail them to you for $3 an order if you’d like or catch me around town, I should have some with me. You can order them at

The East Broad Top Railroad was a 3′ gauge coal hauler than ran from Broad Top Mountain to the Pennsylvania Railroad in Mount Union, PA. Built in 1873, the EBT ran until 1956. Since 1956, it has run, off and on, as a tourist railroad. In 2020 a new group of railroaders formed the EBT Foundation and brought the EBT back to life once again.

Our locomotive for the shoot was EBT no. 16. She’s a 2-8-2 Mikado, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1916.
Our goal is to make compelling photographs of historically accurate scenes that could have been. Our train had seven freight cars from the original railroad along with two coaches to make authentic mixed train.
Our first day, the weather didn’t cooperate. We had cloudy weather throughout the day. That didn’t stop the crew from putting on a good show.
Fall colors were muted, but we made the best of the color and clouds.
Our train arriving back at the Orbisonia station. Our reenactors did a great job.
East Broad Top Railroad
Another shot at the station.
Enyart Road was a busy place when the train went by.

Pete always tries to come up with a creative shot after dark. This time he went all in, attempting to recreate O. Winston Link‘s Hotshot Eastbound. Link captured the original photo on August 2, 1956 in Iaeger, West Virginia. The photo required 42 #2 flashbulbs and one #0 flash bulb and was captured using a Graphic View camera that use 4×5” sheet film. The image of the airplane was added in the darkroom. Link’s image:

Pete set up the drive in in the Railroad’s parking lot.
Our second morning dawned with a thick fog. We managed a few moody images around the yard in Rockhill Furnace.
The new management at the Railroad is restoring the buildings the Railroad left. They intend to restore the coaling tower to again coal the locomotives.
The sun was slow to break through the clouds when we got out on the line.
Crossing over the Ronks Turnpike with our reenactors on station again.
A couple of our lady reenactors had some car trouble. Fortunately, a helpful sergeant was around to help.
The sun slowly tried to break through the clouds.
The sun almost cooperated as the day progressed.

Back at the station, our reenactors were again put to work.

Inspiration for this last shot came from Harold M. Lambert Jr.’s shot of a soldier kissing his girl goodbye at the New Hope, PA station during WWII. Lambert’s shot:

Our version.

The new management at EBT has made amazing progress restoring the railroad and buildings. They’re rapidly working to relay the track south of Orbisonia and restoring the other steam locomotives. They run steam excursions regularly. Certainly worth a visit. Get the details on their site: East Broad Top Railroad.

Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309

Long before I started photographing wildlife, I started tracking down our working steam locomotives. Since the 1970s, I’ve traveled throughout the US, Canada and even to Inner Mongolia to photograph locomotives under steam.

This last week, I took a trip to Cumberland, Maryland, to visit the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to photograph restored Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 no. 1309. Pete Lerro, of Lerro Productions, organized the charter. Pete always does a great job on the charters and the Western Maryland Scenic is a great place to visit.

The star of the show is no. 1309, the largest operating steam locomotive east of the Mississippi. She was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in November 1949 and was the last steam locomotive for domestic use produced by Baldwin. She was designed to haul the railroad’s coal trains through Kentucky and West Virginia. She worked for the C&O until retired in 1956. No. 1309 and sister no. 1308 were preserved as static displays. The Western Maryland Scenic acquired her and gave her a complete overhaul. She moved under her own power – for the first time in 64 years – on December 31, 2020. These days, she regularly hauls the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’s excursion trains out of Cumberland.

I have a PowerPoint slideshow of steam locomotives across the US. I’ll be giving the show at the Howe Library in Hanover, NH on Wednesday March 8, at 6:30 p.m. The show is free and everyone is welcome. I’ll have an exhibit of railroad images hanging upstairs at the Howe Library in March and another exhibit of railroad images at the New Hampshire Art Association’s Gallery in Portsmouth, NH in March.

We’re just west of Cumberland, Maryland, in the Cumberland Narrows. The Narrows is
where Wills Creek cuts between Wills Mountain and Haystack Mountain.
Another sunrise shot in The Narrows.
In La Vale, MD, the railroad makes a sweeping horseshoe-shaped curve around the valley. Inside the curve is a farm originally owned by the Helmstetter Family. This curve has long been a favorite of photographers.
Another shot at Helmstetter’s Curve.
We’re a little further up the line at a location known as Coal Tipple, where
Western Maryland Railroad trains used to stop for coal.
Another shot at Coal Tipple.
Crossing C&P Bridge 2, where the Western Maryland used to cross
the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad.
No. 1309 coming out of the west end of Brush Tunnel.
Out of Brush Tunnel from the other side of the tracks.
We stopped at Helmstetter’s curve again heading back into Cumberland.
Pete set up some lights for night shots in Cumberland Station
Across the C&O Canal from the Cumberland station is the Emmanuel Parish of the Episcopal Church.
One last shot in the Cumberland Station.

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