Brian’s Blue Diesel Distraction: Pan Am Railways SD45.

Sometimes it helps not to plan too hard. With the sun at our backs we headed out on the open road aiming to find our subject, but situations change, information is imperfect, and unexpected opportunities present themselves.

Tuesday February 9, 2016 wasn’t a day I’d expected to be  making photos. But when at the last minute the task set for the day was postponed and the weather forecast improved, suddenly I had an opportunity to spend the day with cameras in hand.

A snowplow clearing the drive woke me up. I rang my old friend Paul Goewey to see if he was keen on a day’s photography and soon we were on the road.

My thoughts were to head toward Brattleboro, Vermont to intercept New England Central’s job 611, the southward freight to Palmer, Massachusetts.

However, all we knew was that at 8 am it hadn’t departed Brattleboro yard.

Driving north I made a spontaneous decision to divert and instead drove to Pan Am Railway’s East Deerfield Yard. After arriving we heard of an EDRJ (East Deerfield to Rotterdam Junction) that was being prepared for its westward journey.

Pan Am's EDRJ lurked at East Deerfield. The prospect of a day long westward chase across the Boston & Maine's Fitchburg Line reminded me of olden times. But would the train depart promptly? Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan Am’s EDRJ lurked at East Deerfield. The prospect of a day long westward chase across the Boston & Maine’s Fitchburg Line reminded me of olden times. But would the train depart promptly? Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.

So much for our quest of the New England Central.

While we waited for EDRJ to be organized, Pan Am’s POED (Portland to East Deerfield) arrived with a consist of seven EMD diesels.

Pan Am's POED with a monster consist; seven locomotives all old EMDs. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan Am’s POED with a monster consist; seven locomotives all old EMDs. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.

Finally, EDRJ was ready to go.
The sun was out, there was a blue SD45 in the lead (well its was a locomotive that had once been a proper SD45) and we had plenty of daylight. I anticipated following the train all the way to the Mohawk Valley.

Finally, about 11:22 am, Pan Am Railway's EDRJ was on the move with a handsome SD45 in the lead (yes yes, I know, this locomotive no longer has its 20-cylinder diesel. But it sure looks nice!). Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Finally, about 11:22 am, Pan Am Railway’s EDRJ was on the move with a handsome SD45 in the lead (yes yes, I know, this locomotive no longer has its 20-cylinder diesel. But it sure looks nice!). Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1.
Pan_Am_EDRJ_East_Deerfield_DSCF0897
The one caveat was that today’s EDRJ had only two cars. Not the monster freight that I’d expect of Pan AM. Yet, a small consist meant that the train was likely to make good time. Plus it had a pickup at Hoosick Junction and as they say; ‘it is what it is.’
EDRJ catches the sun crossing a field freshly covered with snow near Buckland, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
EDRJ catches the sun crossing a field freshly covered with snow near Buckland, Massachusetts. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
The road to Zoar was in better shape than I expected. Here EDRJ works west.
The road to Zoar was in better shape than I expected. Here EDRJ works west.
A few minutes earlier EDRJ had met an eastward train at Soapstone. We opted to continue following EDRJ. I expected to reach the Mohawk Valley by dusk. Such was not the case though, as soon we had another distraction!
A few minutes earlier EDRJ had met an eastward train at Soapstone. We opted to continue following EDRJ. I expected to reach the Mohawk Valley by dusk. Such was not the case though, as soon we had another distraction!

So further and further west we went. Later we found a fortuitous surprise.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our lucky Tuesday prize—handed to us like a birthday cake. Silver stars for going out; gold stars for persistence!

 

Tracking the Light is Daily!