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