Did Someone Say FRA?

Last week I stepped on to Main Street in Monson, just as a single New England Central GP38 was working upgrade through town.

‘It’s a bit late for 608.’ I thought. (608 is the weekday turn freight from Willimantic to Palmer, often featured on Tracking the Light).

It wasn’t 608, as I quickly noticed. Rather, it was NECR 3850 leading a Federal Railroad Administration inspection train, including FRA’s ‘Gage Restraint Measurement Vehicle’.

I had other plans. But had my FujiFilm XT1 with me.

Plans were postponed, as I jumped in my vehicle and immediately headed south on Route 32 to intercept this unusual train.

I caught it twice; once at the Bob Buck inspired South Monson Rt 32 crossing, and then at Bob’s favorite, Smith’s Bridge at Stafford Hollow Road.

Route 32, South Monson.

In my youth this bridge offered an open view of the line; in Bob’s steam-era photo there were fields both sides of the track. Today, there’s only a narrow space between the trees. Lucky for me, the angle of the sun was perfect.

NECR 3850 leads the Federal Railroad Administration inspection train at Smiths Bridge, Stafford Hollow Road, Monson, Massachusetts. Telephoto view.
Wide angle view from Smiths Bridge, Monson.

Score one for being at the right place at the right time (and having my cameras).

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