The old Boston & Maine Railroad’s Fitchburg route hugs the Millers River east of Millers Falls as it ascends toward Erving and Athol.
Last week, Paul Goewey and I followed Pan Am’s slow moving eastward unit grain train destined for Ayer, Massachusetts. This had been delayed by telemetry communication problems with its tail end.
A radio telemetry unit is used in place of a caboose on most North American freight trains. This communicates air pressure information relating to the air brake system, and can allow the engineer to set train brakes from the rear end in event of an emergency.
Four former CSX GE-built DASH8-40Cs were leading the train.
We set up near Farley’s, located at a grade crossing a few miles timetable west of Erving, where I made these photos of the train working the grade.
Back-lighted conditions accentuated the drama of the ascent by illuminating the locomotive exhaust.
June 21st was the longest day of the year. Amtrak’s Vermonter (Train 54) departed Amherst, Massachusetts at 4:32 pm, twelve minutes after the advertised.
Sometimes late trains are a benefit. I was aiming toward Millers Falls, hoping to make a photo on the famous high bridge over the Millers River. I arrived nine minutes before the train crossed this span. If the train had been on schedule, I’d have missed it.
Since 1986, I’ve photographed this bridge on many occasions. It was nearly 25 years ago that my dad and I made images of Amtrak’s re-inaugural Montrealer.
Since then, Amtrak service has worked the old Central Vermont north of Palmer to East Northfield (however, where the Montrealer joined the CV route at New London, since 1995, Montrealer’s successor, the daytime Vermonter, works the New Haven-Springfield line, then over the Boston & Albany route to Palmer).
Not for much longer though. The parallel former Boston & Maine Connecticut River Line between Springfield and East Northfield is being upgraded and will soon be again hosting Amtrak. So, as mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been making opportunities to photograph the Vermonter on the Palmer-East Northfield New England Central line-segment while I still can.