A revisit of the Strasburg Railroad and the surrounding Lancaster County was overdue.  (The first visit was in 1965 but I have been back a few times since then.)   To see more images than the sample below click here

The forecasted clear day was delivered;  clear, but tough to photograph in the bright, bright sun.  Nevertheless, a colleague and I journeyed out there and it was worthwhile.  Just driving through the county towards the railroad we encountered several teams out working the land.

 My first thought was that he was dozing in the hot sun but we decided he was really trying to make sure he stayed on track.  You can see the haze we were up against photographically.

At the Strasburg Railroad facilities they were readying the old Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 Consolidation class engine, #475, for its daily work of hauling families out through the farmlands.  They keep a banked fire burning all night so as to minimize the thermal stress of running cold to hot.  Periodically they have to do a so-called blow-down which purges accumulations from the water being evaporated into steam.  It’s a dramatic sight and sound.

Then she can move out to pick up the passenger cars for their daily fan trips.

Later we drove out to a couple of the roads that cross the farmland and also cross the railroad’s main line.  We were rewarded by this sight of her returning home after picking up picnikers from Groff’s Grove along their right of way.  I wish I had taken some video to capture the pounding roar and blowing whistle as she labors past us.  What fun!

Finally, a contrast in cultures.   Steam horsepower vs. real horsepower, with a people power child on each side of the rig inserting seedlings into the soil.

There are several more images from the day at this gallery


  1. Ken Curtis Says:

    Nice photos, Ralph. You were especially lucky to get some that included farmers working the fields.

  2. Steve Robinson Says:

    Great Shots. The blow-down shot is fantastic.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Steve. It was a once-in-a-long-time shot. I saw rthe steam cloud and just whipped up my camera and shot. The guy walking in front of the engine was a total bonus.

  3. Pat Says:

    Great Shots. They show the life of the Amish beautifully.


  4. Mike Pillows Says:

    My fav is the steam engine shot and farmer looking down. Went to the galleries site and found the family pic…. it brought memories of my mom dressing us all the same. The last shot with the juxtaposition of the train and the farmer is well composed and tells a perfect story.

  5. denisebushphoto Says:

    Nice job Ralph! You already know I love the B&W train with steam. It all looks great in the gallery too.

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