Tag Archives: 608

Stafford Springs and New England Central 608: Part 2.


On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, I revisited the scene at Stafford Springs, having made photos there two days earlier.

In fact, I’ve been photographing trains passing this Connecticut village since the early 1980s, but I find it always helps to try to look at an old place with fresh eyes.

I like the arrangement of old brick buildings, the tracks along the creek/old mill race, and other elements characteristic of southern New England.

Working with my FujiFilm XT1 with 18-135mm lens, I exposed these views of New England Central 608 on its return journey from Palmer to Willimantic.

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Smith’s Bridge, Monson, Massachusetts—May 31, 2017

Years ago I’d ride my ten-speed bicycle to the Stafford Hollow Road Bridge in Monson, Massachusetts. I’d wait for Central Vermont’s freight to New London.

If I was lucky, I’d catch CV working upgrade with GP9s/Alco RS-11 making a healthy roar as they approached Stateline Summit.

On the morning May 31, 2017, I was leaving the Monson Post Office (having just mailed a letter to Ireland) when I heard New England Central 608 (running south from Palmer to Willimantic) tackling the grade in town.

I was surprised to see a Providence & Worcester GP38-2 in the lead. I supposed since New England Central and P&W are now both in the Genesee & Wyoming family it makes sense that the locomotives of these two connecting lines would get a bit mixed up.

Regardless, I knew that this would make for an interesting photograph. Among the places I caught 608 was at my old Stafford Hollow Road location.

My late friend Bob Buck had photographed here since the 1940s and always called the location ‘Smith’s Bridge’. I know he would have been delighted to see these photos of a P&W GP38-2 leading the southward freight.

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New England Central—Southward with 608 on May 17, 2017.

Earlier in the month I’ve highlighted various photographic adventures with New England Central 608 (freight that works from Willimantic, Connecticut to Palmer and back). Today’s post focuses on the southward journey.

Over the years, I’ve photographed many trains climbing the former Central Vermont Railway grade over State Line Hill, and beyond into Connecticut, so this chase is old hat for me.

Yet, I’m always looking for a new angle, or to place today’s train in a classic setting that I may have captured years ago.

These views are all from the morning of May 17, 2017 and exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Do you have any favorites?

New England Central 608 at Bunyan Road in Monson, Massachusetts.

New England Central 608 from Academy Hill/Main Street Monson, Massachusetts.

New England Central 608 at Stateline looking toward Monson, Massachusetts.

New England Central tracks at Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

Tight telephoto view of NECR 608 at Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

South of Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

New England Central 608 viewed from the Track 9 Diner in Willington, Connecticut.

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New England Central at Eagleville Dam, Connecticut

Classic Locomotives at Scenic Spot.

In recent months, New England Central’s operations have been altered. This has benefits for photography. Since the times trains tend to run have changed, different locations have opened up for photographic possibilities.

For many years, New England Central operated a southward freight from Palmer, Massachusetts in the early morning (typically as job 608), this worked into Connecticut (to Willimantic and beyond) and returned in the afternoon or early evening.

Now, on many days, the railroad runs a turn from Willimantic to Palmer (often as job 610), that goes on duty at Willimantic in the morning, runs northward to Palmer, and returns. From my experience the return times vary considerably.

Once I was aware of this change, I began thinking about various places to make photographs based on afternoon lighting angles. Last week, I heard 610 working south from Palmer. I was in luck as a pair of vintage GP38s in the railroad’s original scheme (the locomotives were painted by Conrail in preparation for New England Central’s February 1995 start up).

Track speeds south of Palmer make following a train easy enough. My first location was Stafford Springs, where I’ve often exposed photographs of New England Central. From there I followed southward.

New England Central GP38s
New England Central GP38s lead freight 608 southward at Eagleville, Connecticut on October 21, 2013. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.

My final location of the day was at the Connecticut Eagleville Preserve, where the line passes an old Mill dam (I’m not well versed on the specific history of this dam, but the arrangement is common enough in New England, where in the 19th century water powered local industries. For more information on the park and area see: http://www.willimanticriver.org/recreation/pg_park_eagleville-preserve.html).

Afternoon sun favors this location, and I made the most of the light, waterfall and autumn foliage as well as the GP38s.

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