Monday, May 21, 2018

Railfan Trip to New England - 5

Hi, Friday, May 4 was spent on the Housatonic Railroad. Although the weather was mostly cloudy the day was very successful as we had the opportunity to photograph three different jobs, one with a two unit locomotive, multiple times.

After getting information at the railroad's yard we headed south looking for NX-12. We found it on the south side of New Milford, CT where it was picking up cars brought up by the job out of Danbury. As we could not find a way to reach the track without trespassing we returned to New Milford (above and below).

The speed of the train varied with the condition of the track but it was an easy chase. We caught it at Hatch Pond in South Kent (above and below),


West Cornwall (above and below),

and Falls Village, all in Connecticut. As we were close to the yard in Canaan at this point and could not find another photo location we liked, we went looking for another train.

We had been told that NX-11, which works local industries, would either be up at the Specialty Minerals quarry, where they mine limestone and dolomite, or behind the police station. We found the train switching behind the police station (above and two below).

We then moved to an area with what looked like Bradford Pear trees.

Next up was the train passing the union passenger station. At one time the Central New England, running on the opposite side of the station from where the photo was taken and the original Housatonic crossed here. Both became part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford. The part of the station out of the photo to the left was destroyed by fire in 2001 and has been rebuilt.

The NX-11 crew then went up to work Specialty Minerals (above and below).

Returning to the yard we caught NX-12's power coming in.

After lunch NX-13 ran up to Pittsfield, MA, shown here passing the Bradford pears.

We caught it south of Sheffield, MA (above and below)

and behind Sheffield Pottery in Sheffield, MA (above and below).

Having missed the train at Stockbridge, MA I settled for a station shot. Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Railfan Trip to New England - 4

Hi, Thursday, May 3 Jim Kleeman and I photographed the Massachusetts Central.

This was my first visit to this railroad so I was especially pleased to have this opportunity. Fortunately, Jim had been here before and so knew the good photo spots.

After learning the train had left town and would be switching at their transload facility in Gibbs Crossing, MA we headed there. Eventually the train pulled up to the crossing where we waited (above and below). On of the crew got off the engine and came to speak to us. He asked if we were friends of Steve Carlson and told us Steve had called earlier asking that they watch out for a couple of older gentleman who were friends of his. We were able to learn the operation plan for the day from this crewman.

Our next stop was the crossing just beyond the yard.

The crew stopped to switch in Ware, MA. One move was accomplished with an 0-2-2-0 producing two man power.

After crew was done switching they put their train together and left town.

There is a nice open spot in South Barre where Rte 67 crosses the tracks (above and two below).

On arrival in Barre the crew backed a cut of cars down a steep grade

to an industrial park behind these buildings (above and three below).

Then the locomotive went back to the train and brought down a load of pipe.

We stopped for lunch in Gilbertville in what looked like the former station. When we heard the train blow for a crossing north of town we ducked outside for a photo.

Parked on a siding in Ware is former Southern Railway 2100, an NW5. All in all, 13 were built, ten for the Great Northern and two for Union Belt in Detroit. Four remain. We were told Mass Central intends to repair number 2100 and return it to service. However, there is no timetable for doing this.

The last business to be switched was Kanzaki Specialty Papers in Ware.

After spotting its cars the engine returned light.

We noticed this old factory building at Thorndike in the morning as we drove to the transload at Gibbs Crossing. It is the home of O. C. Lighting (above and below).

Our final location was the place in Palmer where the Mass
Central interchanges with CSX (former New York Central/Boston and Albany). The New England Central (former Central Vermont) crosses CSX here and the former station is now a restaurant. While we waited for the Mass central we heard a horn on the New England Central. On going to check it out we found these two GP38s in pre G&W paint.

Finally the Mass Central crew arrived at the interchange, backed its cars east out of site and returned with its pickup (above and below with the pickup).

Thanks for looking.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Railfan trip to New England - 3

Hi, This post will cover May 1st and 2nd. Jim Kleeman and I began May 1st by setting up at the grade crossing at Onawa, ME about 8:00 AM. Our target for the day was Central Maine & Quebec, the reason we made the trip. The plan was to photograph the railroad until we had all the coverage we could get between Brownville Junction and Jackman, ME.

Before we left Maryland we received information from many sources that the CM&Q ran a westbound out of Brownsville Junction Tuesday through Saturday with a call time of 8:00 AM (or later if the eastbound was late). We had estimates that the westbound, called Job 1, would reach the Onawa area between 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM; depending on the actual call time and the amount of work the crew would need to do before leaving Brownville Junction. The early arrival was chosen as we did not want to miss Job 1.

An hour or so after we arrived we spotted a fairly large, grey animal trotting down the track towards us from the east. About 75 feet from us it stopped and just stared at us. At this point I realized it was a Bobcat and started taking photos (above and below). Possibly the clicking shutter scared it because after a few minutes of watching us it took of back the way it came it headed back east, went about 100 feet and went down the fill into the woods. A short while later and a little further east it emerged from the woods and continued east on the track.

We stayed at the grade crossing until 2:00 PM when we decided we needed to find out what had happened. Heading west we spotted some kind of railroad crew getting into a car near the Greenville station. They told us Job 1 would be a night train until further notice so the emergency bridge work could be performed.

As there was nothing else to do we continued west checking out locations for our next trip. Also, we expected that Job 2 would be sitting in Jackman awaiting the arrival of the Job 1 crew. They would bring the Job 2 train east following their rest. The Job 2 train was indeed sitting in Jackman, however, we could not find a public road down to where the head end was sitting. So no train photos on May 1.

We learned earlier in the trip that Pan Am Railroad had an office car train scheduled to run from Rigby Yard in Portland to Ayer, MA on May 2nd and then from Ayer to Mechanicville, NY and back to East Deerfield, MA on May 3rd. This became Plan B. We got an early start from Greenville and headed to Portland. Crossing over the north end of Rigby Yard we spotted the office car train and scouted out our first location.

We found a spot just south of the yard and set up. The first train that showed up was a northbound Amtrak Downeaster (above and below).

Next up was a southbound PAR freight with a former CSX C30-9 on the point.

Then a southbound Downeaster came through. This train taught me a lesson. If I am going to shoot on burst three frames per second is too slow for a 60 MPH train. Shortly thereafter we learned that the OCS was cancelled at 9:40 AM. However, Jim spoke to his friend Steve Carlson who told us The New Hampshire Northcoast had run a train from Dover to Ossipee that morning and the train would return later that afternoon. And away we go.

The town of Milton had this really nice view (above and below) so we decided to wait for the train here rather than risk missing it as we drove north. It showed up about 5:00 PM.

These two days were the least productive of out trip. Things would get better, much better.

Thanks for looking.