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.
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.
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?