Tag Archives: Railfan’s Bridge

New East Deerfield ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ January 2019 Up date!

Over the last two years, I’ve posted progress on the replacement of the McClelland Farm Bridge over the west end of Pan Am’s Boston & Maine East Deerfield Yard near Greenfield, Massachusetts.

See: December 2018 Update


A visit toward the end of January 2019 found the new bridge open to traffic in both directions and nothing left of the old bridge except the concrete bridge piers.

New photographer-friendly fences were in place on the west side of the bridge, while temporary chain-link fences were on the east. Presumably these will be replaced as the new bridge reaches completion.

Photographer friendly fences in place on the west side of the bridge. It is easy enough to take photos from between the fence posts and the new sidewalk (footpath) is a welcome change. Lumix LX7 photo.
A view over the chain-link fence looking East toward the yard and the abutments of the old bridge. Lumix LX7 photo.
Although it isn’t a pretty picture, this shows the temporary chainlink fences on the east side of the new bridge along with remaining vestiges of the old ‘Railfan’s’ bridge, where so many photos were made over the years. Lumix LX7 photo.
Looking along the old alignment of McClelland Farm Road; East Deerfield Yard at the right, and the abutments of the old bridge to the right (east) of the new bridge. Lumix LX7 photo.
Pan Am’s symbol freight 16R arriving from the West as viewed from the new ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ over the west end of East Deerfield Yard. Lumix LX7 photo.

The view west offers several good angles of the tracks; while (as previously discussed) the view to the east of East Deerfield Yard suffers from the installation of new power lines with heavy electrical cables that interfere with photography.

More updates to follow in the Spring!

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East Deerfield Railfan’s Bridge Update: Views from the New Bridge.

The old McClelland Farm Road bridge over the Boston & Maine tracks at the west end of East Deerfield Yard (near Greenfield, Massachusetts) had been a popular place to photograph trains.

Guilford SD26 632 leads EDRP (East Deerfield-Rouses Point) westbound at McClelland Farm Road on August 30, 1987. Kodachrome slide exposed using a Leica M2.

Known colloquially as the ‘Railfan’s Bridge,’ this vantage point had been featured in articles in TRAINS Magazine, Railpace and other popular literature for decades.

For more than a year a new bridge, parallel to the old bridge, has been under construction.

Last week, December 6, 2018, photographer Mike Gardner and I made a brief visit to East Deerfield to inspect progress.

The old bridge was still in place, while the new bridge was open and mostly complete.

Inevitably, fences will be installed, and how these may affect photography has yet to been seen. However, looking to the east, the view has been complicated by the erection of new electrical lines.

Below are a few views of the new and old McClelland Farm Road bridges.

Panoramic view of the new and old bridges.

The view looking west from the new bridge.
Here’s the sorry state of the old bridge. How many thousands of photos were made from this span?

Looking east from the new bridge.

The view from the new bridge looking toward the East Deerfield Loop.

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Overcast Afternoon at East Deerfield—June 29, 2017.

This is the third in my series of farewell posts on the famed East Deerfield ‘Railfan’s Bridge.’

The McClelland Farm Road bridge over the Boston & Maine tracks at the west end of East Deerfield Yard (near Greenfield, Massachusetts) has been a popular place to photograph trains since the steam era. Work has begun to replace this old span with a new bridge to be located about 40 feet further west.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve exposed a disproportionate number of photos here. Yet, it has remained a good place for railroad photography for several logical reasons:

It’s at a hub; because of the bridge’s location at the west-end of Pan Am Railway’s East Deerfield yard, there tends to be a lot of action and opportunities to witness trains here. While waiting along the line can become tiresome, if not tedious, but there’s often something about to happen at East Deerfield.

The location above crossovers at the throat to the yard, this combined with yard leads and engine house tracks, plus the junction with the Deerfield Loop (that connects with the Connecticut River Line) west of the bridge make for some fascinating track work.

Elevation is always a plus.

There’s ample parking nearby.

The light in early morning and late evening here can be excellent. I’ve made some wonderful fog photos here, as well countless morning and evening glint shots. How about blazing foggy glint? Yep done that here too. And about ten days ago I got a rainbow.

The afternoon of June 29, 2017 was dull and overcast. Mike Gardner and I had arrived in pursuit of Pan Am Southern’s symbol freight 28N (carrying autoracks and JB Hunt containers). We’d also heard that its counterpart 287 (empty autoracks from Ayer, Massachusetts) was on its way west.

As it happened the two trains met just east of the bridge.

I exposed a series of black & white photos on Kodak Tri-X using a Leica IIIa with 21mm Super Angulon lens, while simultaneously working in digitally color with my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm lens.

Photographer Mike Gardner on the famed ‘Railfans Bridge’ at East Deerfield.

Pan Am Southern’s symbol freight 28N with a Crescent Cab approaches East Deerfield Yard.

Auto racks roll under McClelland Farm Road at East Deerfield West.

Pan Am Southern 28N (left) meets its counterpart, symbol freight 287 at East Deerfield yard.

One of the attractions of the East Deerfield bridge is the action.

Too many photos here? Undoubtedly. But I bet they age well. Especially when the old vantage point has finally been demolished.

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No Pot of Gold at East Deerfield, Massachusetts.

This is the second in my series of East Deerfield ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ farewell; See: Railfan’s Bridge at East Deerfield—my First Farewell.

Sunday, June 25, 2017, Tim and I had circled Pan Am Railway’s East Deerfield classification yard trying to find an angle, or a train.

The sun was out, and it was raining. Tim said, “This is some pretty weird weather.”

We crossed the old “Railfan’s Bridge” (McClelland Farm Road), and I looked eastward over the yard and shouted, ‘Holy —-, Look at the rainbow!’

It started out faint, and gradually grew more intense as the sun emerged from a cloud-bank.

Although it hung in the sky for ten minutes or more, there wasn’t a wheel turning. Pity too. I think of all the thousands of photos I’ve made around East Deerfield and in all kinds of light, but I’d never caught a rainbow before!

Exposed using my FujFilm X-T1 with 18-135mm lens and Lee 0.6 graduated neutral density filter.


Union Pacific at East Deerfield West—three photos.

Sometimes after making all the wrong moves, luck falls on your lap.

It was Thursday, October 22, Mike Gardner and I had traveled to Brattleboro, Vermont to intercept the southward New England freight, job 611. Instead of my usual route via back roads, we opted for I-91, then got caught in terrible traffic in the town. By the time we reached the yard, 611 had departed.

To Millers Falls we went, only to learn we missed the train by moments. “Now what?” Mike asked.

So, we went over to Pan Am’s East Deerfield Yard, near Greenfield, Massachusetts. Where trains converged from all directions.

Eastward freight, symbol 14R, came into view led by Union Pacific SD70M 3947. “What is this, the Feather River Canyon?”

This was not hard to take; clean Union Pacific locomotives from the famous ‘Railfan’s Bridge’ at East Deerfield West.

I’ve made countless photos from this well established vantage point, but it’s always nice to get something unusual. The bridge itself is on borrowed time, so my philosophy is make use of it while I can.

Pan_Am_14R_arrives at East_Deerfield_w_UPSD70M_DSCF5132


Freight 14R with Union Pacific and NS EMDs works into East Deerfield Yard. Where's the old SW1 that worked as the West End switcher?
Freight 14R with Union Pacific and NS EMDs works into East Deerfield Yard. Where’s the old SW1 that worked as the West End switcher?

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