Learning to love the diesels of the Northeast

Victor Hand
Erie Lackawanna E units lead a passenger train through fall foliage at Pond Eddy, Pa., on Oct. 11, 1964.
Victor Hand fell in love with steam locomotives at a very young age – the only problem was, by the time he was old enough to photograph them, they were nearly gone in the U.S. He traveled far and wide in search of steam, first to Canada, then to Mexico, and then around the world. He made remarkable photographs and had many memorable adventures, but wherever he went, steam eventually ended. And he loved photographing railroads enough that he still wanted to have worthy subjects close to home, for all those times he wasn’t able to travel quite so far afield.

Eventually, Hand made his photographic peace with the diesels that vanquished his beloved steam engines. We should consider ourselves fortunate that he did. With a job inside the industry, Hand had a front-row seat to the changes that swept through railroading in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. While he would eventually photograph diesel operations almost as widely as steam, the railroads of his native Northeast occupy a special place in his mind, and in his photographic archive.

On Oct. 29, 2016, Hand will present his diesel-era photography at the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s Conversations Northeast conference in Storrs, Conn. Referencing a favorite movie, Dr. Strangelove, Hand has titled his presentation, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Diesel.” Tickets for the conference are still available through the Center’s website. In the meantime, we are delighted to share this preview with you.
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