Spook Junction #14093
This old train panorama was made in winter snow and sunlight in rural central New York. It’s part of a railroad museum trying to get off the ground which never seems to get there. For that reason, it might as well be a truly abandoned train and things appear so here, sidelined in the snow. The flat roof house in the Victorian style has been renovated and updated to serve as headquarters, but once again, there’s no one around. This scene of winter stillness lies inside a turning wye where a railroad branch begins off a mainline, house and all.
The freight cars behind the old red, blue, and silver Metro North diesel engines, two EMD FL-9s, were gathered for their historical significance. For instance, one is a Swift Meat Packing car which was one of the first with onboard mechanical refrigeration. Before them, transporting cold loads was done with lots of ice and frequent stops to replenish it. That car marks a turning point in moving perishable freight.
These days, most of this railroad equipment has been moved further up the unused wye track and the rest of it is nearby.
Creating This Old Train Panorama
I arrived here just after sunrise one bitterly cold winter morning to shoot in the morning light. It seemed pretty darned bitey leaving the motel earlier in the dark, and no wonder: twenty below zero! Thankfully, the wind wasn’t blowing and a good blue sky with wispy clouds was hanging in the crispy air. It was a great time to photograph if I could make it through the cold.
There were a few ways to approach making this abandoned old train panorama. I settled on this view with the old flat roof house dead center in the middle despite the train being the main subject. It’s clearly unusual, but it worked and adds to the appeal. Better to stretch a little than playing it safe sometimes.
The image was made with a panoramic bracket set on a steady tripod. That was the best tool to shoot twelve vertical images from left to right to make this long view. They were later stitched together in the studio computer to make into one, and I love digital photography for it.
Two GG1 electric locomotives sitting nearby as a part of the museum were photographed after working this train from a few angles. That was about all I could take of the cold and walking in fourteen inches of snow. I couldn’t feel my feet any longer at that point, so it was time to quit but I’d pretty well covered everything. I’m still satisfied with this unusual shot of an old train in the snow. This image is a little weird and a little wonderful at the same time, but always pretty and interesting to me. It’s one of the few pieces of my own work hanging in my house.
Other Pictures Taken Here
I photographed a small array of things in the snow here. First, Deadline #14107 is a front view of this train, an interesting head-on look at that FL-9 diesel locomotive by the nose. The image has its own story too. You can decide for yourself if it’s haunted or not, and if I really should have called this place Spook Junction.
One of two GG1 electrics sitting nearby can be seen in two other panoramas called Snowbound GG1 #14095 and Sidetracked #14068. I was very nearly frostbitten and couldn’t get to the other one to make a trifecta. Further, if steam engines are your thing, I’ve got them aplenty in the Railroads gallery to enjoy. It’s a nice collection of possible railroad decor pieces for you to look over.
Location: Cooperstown Junction, Ostego County, New York. Panoramic picture and story © Andrew Dierks.
Up Next: Louisville Kentucky Skyline #14291