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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Chuggin’ locomotive in Lancaster

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

A steam locomotive pulls passenger cars through the countryside.
Engine No. 89 moves along the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, Pa.

LOCATION: Esbenshade Road crossing, east of Strasburg Railroad, Lancaster County, Pa.

EQUIPMENT: Canon 5D Mark IV | EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

THE STORY: I have wanted to create an image of the Strasburg Railroad's famous steam locomotive and passenger cars in a way worthy of a large print.

I've always wanted to do that for my sons, who all loved trains. Right now, my three-year-old is passing through that rite of passage.

The playroom is covered in Thomas & Friends trains and wooden tracks. He loves watching train videos. Reading train books.

I had a free Sunday and I planted myself at the Esbenshade Road crossing. It's perfect because the train makes a long run up an incline toward the crossing, passing open farm fields and providing a full view of its locomotive and manifest.

The sun slipped westward and seemed to dodge fast moving clouds, which threatened to flatten the light. I could only hope that when the locomotive passed by me, the sun would do me a courtesy.

I considered my 70-200mm, but thought better of it. A wide angle 16mm would be preferable, especially with the dramatic late winter clouds overhead.

It all came together. And I can't wait to print this out in 16x20 and frame it for my three-year-old son.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him at

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