This morning (May 16, 2016), I was out on the Boston & Albany (CSX Boston Line) for the Ringling Bros circus extra. While waiting word came over the wire that a Norfolk Southern intermodal train for Ayer, Massachusetts was detouring on CSX.
A derailment near Charlemont, Massachusetts (on NS/Pan Am Southern’s Boston & Maine route) on Saturday resulted in a traffic disruption and thus this very unusual move.
A CSXT SD40-2 led the Norfolk Southern consist, presumably because of the cab signaling requirements on the Boston Line .
All photos exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 near milepost 129 east of Middlefield, Massachusetts.
It was a day of big excitement. Up north, Guilford was in a knot as result of a strike action. Bob Buck phoned me early in the morning to say that ‘The Boot’ (the colloquial name for Amtrak’s Montrealer) was detouring to Palmer on the Central Vermont, then west on the Boston & Albany (Conrail).
Using my dad’s Rollei model T loaded with Kodak Tri-X, I made the most of the unusual move.
This was nearly a decade before Amtrak’s Vermonter began to regularly make the jog in Palmer from the CV/New England Central route to the B&A mainline.
And, it was only four months before Conrail ended traditional directional double-track operations between Palmer and Springfield.
I’d met some photographers at the Palmer diamond and encouraged them to take advantage of my favorite vantage point at the rock cutting at milepost 84, just over the Quaboag River from the Palmer Station.
As detouring Amtrak number 61 approached with a former Santa Fe CF7 leading the train to Springfield, we could hear an eastward Conrail freight chugging along with new GE C30-7As.
This is among my favorite sequences that show the old double track in action.
Some of these photos later appeared in Passenger Train Journal. Long before I was the Associate Editor of that magazine.