Locomotive and Rolling Stock Photos
Above: LLPX GP15-1 #1504 entering the Oxford Spur on the CBNS in Stellarton, NS, 2015-05-05. (Click to enlarge)
Welcome to the photos page! This is a collection of photos that I have been taking since 1999.
All photos on this site are my own, but they are freely available for non-commercial use. If you would like to share them elsewhere, please provide credit in some way, such as my name and/or the URL of the Trainiax site. If you would like to use any for commercial use, please contact me first.
Searching 15293 photos of 6756 locomotives and cars.
Includes reporting mark, equipment type, date, photo type and display options.
Detail Photo Galleries - Cases where I took 6 or more detail photos at once of a locomotive or car
Photo Updates - Lists of recent additions
Current Primary Camera
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (2007-11-09 onwards)
Also known as the EOS 400D, this 10.1 megapixel digital SLR became my new all-purpose camera on November 9, 2007, and I have used it exclusively ever since. I had previously refrained from adopting digital because of the shutter lag, slow response time and questionable colours I often experienced with point-and-shoot digital cameras. However, this camera retains most of the features that I so enjoyed with my Chinon SLR film camera (reaction time, colour accuracy, SLR design) along with greater image sharpness and much more versatility.
The 18-55 mm kit lens that came with camera (29-88 mm 35mm equivalent) didn't exploit the camera's full potential. In 2010 I purchased Canon's companion 55-250 mm IS lens for zoom shots, which is better than the non-IS kit lens, and in 2015 I finally replaced the original 18-55 with an optically superior IS version of the same lens. The vast majority of photos on this site have been taken with this camera.
Although I've been pondering a camera upgrade for several years (the XTi is now many generations out of date) the improvement in image quality with a newer camera is still not big enough for me to justify the expense.
Previous Primary Cameras
Ansco Vision Mini-MAF (Motorized Auto Flash) (1999 to 2003-04)
For many years, I used my first and only camera for train picture-taking, an Ansco Vision Mini-MAF that had no additional lenses or attachments. Almost all photos posted on the site before May 2003 were taken with this camera, which was a childhood Christmas present from 1993. Although picture quality was about on par with a disposable camera, it survived many hardships and was very simple to use.
Chinon Genesis GS-7 Reflex Zoom (2003-05-03 to 2007-10)
This was an automatic SLR camera from the early 1990s. I bought it from a school teacher in May 2003 and immediately took a great liking to it. With a 35-80 mm lens, infra-red autofocusing and a number of other features, it was a huge step forward from the Ansco camera. It served me marvelously for many hundreds of photos, with fast reaction time, accurate focus, correct exposure, 1 photo per second capability and solid construction. I bought a 1.3X teleconverter in 2006, which I used for a few telephoto shots. However, by 2007, as I began to take huge numbers of photos, film and development became too expensive and scanning and dust correction became a major hassle. This resulted in my conversion entirely to digital.
Up to 2007, all my digital-camera experience came from cameras owned by friends or family. It wasn't until I saw photos online from a Canon Digital Rebel XT that I was convinced the photo quality was sufficient for me to make the transition from film.
Canon Powershot S45 (2005-2006)
My first real experience with digital photography was with this camera, vintage-2003, which my parents owned. It was a 4.0 megapixel camera that I sometimes borrowed for photos at Exporail and in the MMA Sherbrooke yard. It was a very good camera for its time, producing images with a "smooth" appearance and good colours. It was fairly versatile, although it had a limited ISO range and was not particularly fast. The camera's downfall was a failure of the lens cover--a ridiculously complex sliding design that also acted as a power switch.
Sony Cybershot DCS-W50 (2006-2007)
I occasionally borrowed this camera (my parents' replacement for the Powershot S45) mainly when I wanted to take numerous detail photos and/or didn't have my Chinon film camera handy. It was a solidly built pocket-sized 6.0 megapixel camera with generally good image quality and decent reaction time. It had somewhat less flexibility than the Powershot S45 and a limited useful ISO range. I used it while railfanning the SLR and MMA until I bought the Canon XTi.
Kyocera Samurai X3.0 (2002-07)
This was an unusual motorized SLR half-frame camera that was my parents' primary camera before the Canon Powershot S45. It had a built-in zoom lens and was capable of producing very good photos. However, double-sized film grain and a terribly indecisive autofocus system made it useless for photos of moving trains. I experimented with it for just a couple of days in the middle of July 2002, and no photos from this camera are currently online.
Olympus OM-1 (2003-03-28)
I borrowed this camera to take pictures of the March 28, 2003 SLQ derailment in Lennoxville, QC, since I wanted better quality than what my old Ansco camera could offer. It was a top-notch all-manual film camera that still worked flawlessly at 30 years of age. The results convinced me to get a better camera of my own, which happened a month later with the Chinon GS-7.
Kodak Easyshare C533 (2007-01-14)
I was invited to try this 5.0 megapixel camera by a friend, and I used it for some photos in the MMA Sherbrooke yard in January 2007. It left me unimpressed. It had middling reaction time and flexibility, and settings were reset every time the camera was turned off. Images suffered from purple fringing, grain and colour casts so odd that they could not be corrected.
HP Scanjet 5100C flatbed scanner
Up to 2003, prints were scanned with an HP Scanjet 5100C. It was a good scanner for its time, but the outdated parallel port on the back has long since relegated it to retirement. Very dark areas tended to get a blue cast. There might still be one or two old scans floating around on the site that were made with this scanner (for which the negatives were damaged).
HP S20 Film Scanner
In July 2003, I purchased an HP S20 to scan the negatives, to take advantage of much-improved image quality from the Chinon GS-7 camera. In the following years all previous photos were rescanned with this scanner. The HP S20 is a consumer-level film scanner capable of scanning up to 2400 DPI. Colour balance, contrast and shading are accurate, and the easy-to-use software allows many possible corrections or crops. The scanner does produce some noise in dark areas, which is why shadow detail tends to be better with negative film than with slide film. As of 2021 the scanner is still functional, but it requires a computer with Windows XP; I haven't used it in recent years.
Film and Digital Image Processing
The Eternal Debate: Film vs. Digital
At one point, I was firmly convinced of the superiority of 35mm film over digital. I resisted converting to a digital camera right up to 2007, since none of the digital cameras I had tried could offer the performance and consistency that I was obtaining with 35mm film and the Chinon GS-7 camera. Chief among my concerns were the slower response times, questionable colours and limited dynamic range I had experienced with early digital cameras. With full-resolution scans of good 35mm film, I was getting clarity similar to a 6 or 8 megapixel digital image, which at the time was beyond the range of consumer cameras.
Then I discovered the digital SLR—and in particular, the Canon Digital Rebel series.
Forget theoretical charts of colour depth and line resolution that attempt to prove the merits of 35mm. After visually comparing hundreds of online photos from a Canon Digital Rebel XT to my own 35mm film scans, I concluded that the image quality—the sharpness, the colour accuracy, the absence of grain—substantially exceeded what I could obtain with 35mm, including films much better than what I was using. I arrived at this conclusion very reluctantly, but it was the last hurdle in the face of digital's other major advantages in terms of cost, time and flexibility. The one noteworthy weakness of digital compared to film is in dynamic range, where film is very forgiving (as I discovered with highly over-exposed photos from my earliest film camera).
So I converted entirely to digital, with a new Canon Digital Rebel XTi. By 2020, the XTi had surpassed 30,000 photos total—with a large portion of them being train photos posted on this site. The equivalent film and development costs would have been astronomical. Sadly, the Chinon GS-7, a fantastic camera that still works perfectly, hasn't taken any photos since.
The standard film I used from 1993 to 2004 was Kodak MAX 400. Starting in 2004, I experimented with other films after the Chinon camera and the HP film scanner revealed the grain of Kodak MAX 400. My final choice (from 2005 to late 2007) was Fujicolor Superia Reala 100, after which point I converted to digital.
There are two programs that I use for editing the images before posting them online. One is Digital Photo Professional, a simple but full-featured program for image-editing and batch-processing that came with the Canon camera. The second is IrfanView, which I use mainly to create thumbnails without EXIF data (which is not possible with Digital Photo Professional).
For scanning film, I used the software that was provided with the HP S20 film scanner.