TRACKING THE LIGHT’s DAILY POST: CSX at Brookfield, Massachusetts

Opportunity on a Summer Evening, June 19, 2014.

The other evening, on my way over to visit Dennis LeBeau in East Brookfield, I checked CP64, where there’s a set of controlled signals on CSX’s Boston Line. There I found a pair of GE Evolution-Series diesel waiting with a westward empty autorack train. While the engines were shadowed, I thought if this train got the signal to go west, there would be some nice angles.

I met Dennis, and we had a few errands to run. Afterwards he suggested, ‘Ring Julie, and see how the Lake Shore is doing.’

I phoned Amtrak’s automated agent, and learned that train 448 was expected about four hours late into Springfield. Since that is about an hour to the west, it meant the train wouldn’t pass until well after dark. Besides, Dennis was playing a gig, and that was the main reason I’d come out this way.

‘No joy,’ I said. But as we returned to East Brookfield, we saw that the westward autoracks were on the move. ‘We can catch that, no problem!’ And we reversed, and sped along Route 67 out to an open location near milepost 66 in Brookfield. (I’d photographed a CSX empty ethanol train here last October. (Click to see: CSX Empty Ethanol Train Catches the Light at Brookfield.)

CSX's 922 leads a westward emtpy autorack train near milepost 66 in Brookfield. The train stopped for a few minutes to wait for its conductor. I exposed several views using a Lumix LX-7.
CSX’s 922 leads a westward emtpy autorack train near milepost 66 in Brookfield. The train stopped for a few minutes to wait for its conductor. I exposed several views using a Lumix LX-7. For this angle, I included the Country Bank billboard.
Tight view of CSX Evolution-Series locomotive 922. The lighting was just about perfect.
Tight view of CSX Evolution-Series locomotive 922. The lighting was just about perfect.

CSX_922_w_Q283_w_Meacham_ad_Brookfield_MA_P1040833

After a short wait, the train pulled up and then stopped. We learned that it was waiting for it conductor. This was most likely CSX’s Q283, an empty autorack train that runs from the unloading facility in East Brookfield west toward Selkirk, New York and beyond.

Once the conductor was on board, Dennis and moved west about a mile to the Route 148 Bridge near the old station location at Brookfield. I’d made several photos here last autumn, and was keen to try this spot in June, when the sun swings around. Afternoons in October are more shadowed and didn’t offer a clean view. (See: Boston & Albany Milepost 67, Brookfield, Massachusetts.)

CSX 922 west as view from the Route 148 bridge in Brookfield, Massachusetts. More than 35 years ago, my dad, my brother and I had watched the westward Lake Shore Limited pass this spot with a pair of old E8As in the lead. There used to be a large wooden mill building to the right of the tracks, but this was destroyed by fire a decade or so ago. Lumix LX-7 photo.
CSX 922 west as view from the Route 148 bridge in Brookfield, Massachusetts. More than 35 years ago, my dad, my brother and I had watched the westward Lake Shore Limited pass this spot with a pair of old E8As in the lead. There used to be a large wooden mill building to the left of the tracks, but this was destroyed by fire a decade or so ago. Lumix LX-7 photo.

We didn’t have to wait long, and the pair of GE’s came chugging along with about two miles of autoracks in tow. There was great evening light and it was a nice setting. Not bad for a few minutes effort. It is situations like this one that justifies always carrying a camera!

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