Thanks, and Peace this holiday season!

Well, here we are in the midst of the 2016 holiday season.

I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do on this blog or at Laughing Frog Images this year.  The “day job” was simply too busy, and it was hard to find a couple of hours a week when I wasn’t working or commuting to spend time on images and writing.

On the other hand, as I sit here today, I’m thankful and humbled.

I just looked at the only demographics I can find for Laughing Frog Images, and that tells me that people like and follow the Frog in seventeen (17) different countries in seven (7) different languages.  I can’t tell how many other countries would be counted if I could tell who has viewed the Laughing Frog on our website, Google + page, Facebook page and our fairly new Instagram page.  Hence, I’m humbled that these words and images touch so many people in so many places.  I hope you enjoy the images and the little photography lessons that pop up along the way.

I know that a simple “Merry Christmas” doesn’t properly cover my holiday wishes for all.  The challenge and problem that I have beyond that is I simply don’t know how to properly convey my holiday wishes and greetings to all of you and yours out there somewhere on the internet (and I’m not going to embarrass myself trying!).

When you read or watch the news these days, it certainly does seem that we could all use a little more peace – whether that’s personal, familial, political or otherwise, it just seems that the world could use a little more peace (in the broadest sense of the word).

So, my peace to you and yours.  May you pass your peace on to others this holiday season.

Every year for the past 25-plus years, I’ve done a Christmas card with a train picture.  This is I believe the first year I’ve posted it for all of you.


Guilford Rail System (Maine Central) train SDPO is heading west through Danville Junction, ME. The train originated at the S. D. Warren paper mill in Hinckley, ME and is headed to Rigby Yard in Portland, ME. It's February of 1994. GP-9 51 is the youngster here at 37 years old, while GP-7 10 is a proud 41!

Guilford Rail System (Maine Central) train SDPO is heading west through Danville Junction, ME. The train originated at the S. D. Warren paper mill in Hinckley, ME and is headed to Rigby Yard in Portland, ME. It’s February of 1994. GP-9 51 is the youngster here at 37 years old, while GP-7 10 is a proud 41!


If you are so inclined, please take a minute to comment on the post and share with us your “local” holiday greeting wherever this finds you.

The B&A Turkey Train


Holiday traditions aren’t all what they used to be, especially in the corporate world.

Parties during the holidays are now all “Holiday Parties”, regardless of their timing and which holiday they’re really celebrating. That is, if your company still has a party.

Acknowledging the employees with “something” isn’t what it used to be.

Change is what this image speaks to.

It’s December 11, 1994. I’m at the north end of Brownville, Maine along the main line of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad waiting for a train. My Canon T-70 and Sigma 28-70mm lens are around my neck. There’s K64 in the camera. And, it’s a tad cold… But I’m not waiting for just any train… I’m waiting for the Turkey Train!

It was kind of what it sounds like – a train carrying turkeys.  Not live ones mind you, but fresh turkeys.  For the employees.  As part of the railroad’s tradition that was as much a part of the holidays for B&A (that’s how the road was known to many – and not to be confused with the Boston and Albany Railroad either!) employees as was cutting down a Christmas tree.  A train.  Carrying turkeys.  The Turkey Train.

So, I’ve got a borrowed Digital 8 camcorder set up on a tripod.  My camera is around my neck.  I’m getting cold.  And, it seems like the only thing moving is the clouds.  They’re moving slowly – but they’re moving.  I really wanted to sit in the car and wait – but I had never shot a train here, so I didn’t know how far out I’d hear it – or if I’d even hear it, before it got to me.  So, I waited.  In the cold.  And got colder.  And waited (you get the point).

Finally… the blat of an air horn  punctures the silence as the train approaches the bridge.  The Turkey Train is here!  Press “start” on the camcorder, pop the lens cap off and shoot.

BAR Turkey Train, BV, 12-11-94 crop wm itdbd9_004 360w

A GP-38 passes by with a boxcar full of turkeys and the road’s business cars.  Wheels click on the rail joints, and get quieter as the train continues south.  It’s all over in a minute or so.  The quiet returns.  It’s broken again when at the train whistles for crossings south of Brownville.

The moment is over.

As far as I know, this was the last Turkey Train.  The decline of paper and allied industries had been affecting the B&A for years.  Potato traffic had almost entirely been taken over by trucks (some attribute this to the poor connecting service provided by the Penn Central Railroad in the late 1960s and early 1970s).  Maine’s economy was in transition – and it wasn’t kind to the railroads.  The B&A was purchased in early 1995 and became part of the Canadian American Railroad (CDAC).  The CDAC was not long lived – it later became the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railroad under new ownership who tried to make a go of things as the traffic continued to wane.  The MMA had a tragic incident in Megantic, PQ in 2013, and it too is gone.

But I have this image. And the memories of that day.

I’ve got some video of the Turkey Train to post on the Frog’s YouTube channel of this train as soon as I master some degree of proficiency with video editing.  It’s not the greatest, but then again – what most people could afford in the way of video equipment in 1994 was vastly different from the quality that you can get these days in your smartphone.

There will be a B&A gallery up on Laughing Frog Images as scanning progresses.

Thanks for taking a trip back to 1994 and better days for the B&A and its’ employees.