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MY INSTAMATIC MEMORIES OF THE ERIE LACKAWANNA
1968 - 1974

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, many of us "baby boom" railfans got started with an Instamatic camera. Kodak's Instamatic film loading cartridges were popular for taking the hassle out of loading and unloading film from a camera. But they also reduced the focal quality of the resulting pictures, because the camera had to allow slack in the cartridge device within it (I guess that the cartridges, being made of cheap molded plastic, would vary in size). Sometimes your Instamatic shot was just as good as from an expensive 35 mm camera, but mostly it was a bit out of focus.

So, we saved up and eventually invested in SLR 35mm cameras. But in the interim, we kept on taking pics of our beloved railroad subjects with those Instamatics. And now, we realize that the pix that we got, however blurry, still have their value. Thus I've pulled out some of the old Instamtic negatives and have put up some of them on this page. The composition isn't so great, the quality is often even worse, but the subject material is a different world, a world now long gone.

I hope you enjoy the views of my teen-age stomping grounds along the EL in New Jersey, despite the quality problems!


Here we have an eastbound commuter train stopping at Plauderville station along the Bergen County Line, with the usual EL 900 series RS pulling Stillwell coaches. It's around 9 am on a summer morning, and I'm out on my trusty bike.


It's a cold day in March, 1973, and we're in Maybrook, NY, where the last EL through freight bringing interchange to the Penn Central bound for the former New Haven lines in New England is now a through run with pooled power. This is the eastbound NE-74, with the EL crew leaving and a PC crew getting on board. This operation wouldn't last long, as the Poughkeepsie bridge fire would shut the Maybrook interchange for good later that year.


By 1972, most of the old Stillwells and the first generation diesels that pulled them were replaced by aluminum coaches built by Pullman Standard and U34CH diesels from General Electric. Here I'm at Kingsland on the Main Line, and a mid-day local is pulling away from the platforms, with the GE putting out its loud, almost explosive exhaust. The crossovers lead to the Harrison Branch.


Because of the new equipment bought by the State of New Jersey to upgrade the suburban service out of Hoboken, the old Erie Stillwells and DL&W "Wyatt Earps" were rounded up in Port Jervis yard, awaiting the best bid from a metal scrap dealer.


A few years earlier (circa 1970), a rush-hour commuter train is seen at "the cantilever bridge" just east of Rutherford station.

NEXT PAGE -- more Instamatics!!