NECR Tunnel Motor at State Line.

The other day down in the valley I heard the roar of a train ascending the old New London Northern grade to State Line.

EMD diesels working hard.

“Hmm. That’s odd. Daylight move on the New England Central?”

In recent months, New England Central’s freight south of Palmer, Massachusetts has been largely nocturnal.

I thought I’d best investigate, I hopped in my car and headed south to intercept.

Driving toward Stafford Springs, Connecticut I heard a telemetry hit on my scanner. (That’s the FRED—the end of train device the sends a signal reporting air-brake pressure from the tail end of the train to the engineer’s cab.) I knew the train was close.

Then, chatter on the radio: engineer to conductor. They were working the ground. The train was switching.

I altered my path and went to the south switch at State Line siding at Crow Hill Road, Stafford.

There I found the train: An NECR local freight from Palmer putting cars in the siding.

View from Crow Hill Road, Stafford, Connecticut. Lumix LX7 photo. I manually underexposed by 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the snow.
View from Crow Hill Road, Stafford, Connecticut. Lumix LX7 photo. I manually underexposed by 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the snow.

Sixteen loads and five empties.

At one end was a GP38 that’s nearly as old as I am. At the other end was NECR’s Tunnel Motor, engine 3317. A former Southern Pacific engine.

After dropping its cars on the siding, the crew of NECR's local freight pulled across and prepared to head back north to Palmer. This allowed me to take a good look at the Tunnel Motor.
After dropping its cars on the siding, the crew of NECR’s local freight pulled across and prepared to head back north to Palmer. This allowed me to take a good look at the Tunnel Motor—so-called because of its specially designed air-flow arrangement originally configured for high-altitude operation in tunnels and snow sheds on Southern Pacific’s rugged line over Donner Pass in the California Sierra.

That’s neat. I’d never seen NECR’s Tunnel Motor south of Palmer before.

Sorry, did I mention that New England Central’s reporting marks are NECR?

NECR's conductor sets the derail on the siding. Lumix LX7 photo.
NECR’s conductor sets the derail on the siding. Lumix LX7 photo.
I drove to the north-end of the siding which begins just north of the Connecticut-Massachusetts line. Look to the right of the engines and you'll see the crudely cut granite marker for the border.
I drove to the north-end of the siding which begins just north of the Connecticut-Massachusetts line. Look to the right of the engines and you’ll see the crudely cut granite marker for the border.
Not so many years ago, six-motors were banned from operation south of Palmer. These days its not so unusual. However, daylight moves don't occur on a regular basis. Lumix LX7 photo.
Not so many years ago, six-motors were banned from operation south of Palmer. These days it’s not so unusual. However, daylight moves don’t occur on a regular basis. Lumix LX7 photo.

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One thought on “NECR Tunnel Motor at State Line.”

  1. That tunnel motor seems like such a monstrous loco on the NECR. Is it that big in person? Nice day for pics, too!
    Dave

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