Tag Archives: Stafford Connecticut

Two Freights 24 Hours Apart

Orange Engine at Stafford Springs, Ct., 
and Irish Rail’s IWT Liner in Dublin.


New England Central diesel
New England Central 3015 in fresh Genesee & Wyoming corporate colors passes the Stafford Historical Society in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.


Irish Rail’s IWT liner passes Islandbridge Junction in Dublin.

Last week I made these photos, nearly exactly 24 hours apart (one in the morning, the other in the afternoon).

The first image shows New England Central’s freshly painted GP402-L 3015 leading a southward freight at Stafford Springs, Connecticut. I was delighted to finally get this elusive orange engine operating on a road-freight in daylight.

The next image was made in Dublin, after a trans Atlantic crossing courtesy of Aer Lingus. This shows locomotive 073 struggling along with the second IWT Liner at Islandbridge Junction near Heuston Station in Dublin, Ireland.

Later, I heard through the grapevine  that 073 failed a few miles down the line and require assistance.

Both images were made with my Canon EOS 7D. Also both feature 1970s-era General Motors diesels singly hauling freight under bright sunny skies.

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New England Central, South of Stafford Springs, July 16, 2013


Today’s Freight.

New England Central
New England Central, South of Stafford Springs, July 16, 2013

I rarely post photos the same day I make them. Today is an exception. Why? Because, I feel like sharing this image now rather than waiting. It’s a photo I made a little more than an hour ago of New England Central’s southward freight running from Palmer to Willimantic, Connecticut.

I exposed this using my Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm zoom lens. The flexibility of the zoom allowed me to more easily frame the locomotives with grade crossing signals at the right. The train was still en route to Willimantic by the time I was home and downloaded the images.



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Central Vermont Railway at Stafford Springs, Connecticut

Spring 1984

I made this image during my senior year of high school. I don’t remember the specific circumstances, but on that day I’d followed Central Vermont Railway’s southward freight from Palmer to Stafford. I made photos of it south of downtown Monson off Route 32, and at the Massachusetts-Connecticut State Line.

Central Vermont at Stafford Springs, Connecticut in Spring 1984.
Shortly before the train came into view a cloud conveniently softened the sun. Central Vermont GP9s ease toward a grade crossing at Stafford Springs, Connecticut. With a carefully composed vertical in my rangefinder’s view, I released my Leica’s shutter with an audible snap. Many years later I scanned the negative.

This view in downtown Stafford Springs has always intrigued me. The railroad runs tight to a row of buildings along the main street in town. Today, the brick building featured in the photograph hosts a trendy coffee shop where I sometimes meet my friend Roger Ingraham to wait for trains to pass and discuss photography.

In 2013, New England Central operates the railroad, but the scene hasn’t changed all that much. I still make photos here from time to time.

I exposed this image with my old Leica 3A and 50mm Summitar lens, and used a Weston Master 3 light meter to assist in exposure calculation. I processed the film myself in Microdol-X. Typically, I used a weak formula to save money. By doing so, I inadvertently avoided over developing my negatives (which was a flawed inclination of mine at the time).

I made a few minor contrast modifications in post processing and cleaned up a few small spots and scratches on this nearly 30 year-old 35mm negative.

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New England Central at Stafford Springs, Connecticut on May 21, 2013.


Brian’s Milk Run.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 was a clear bright morning. I heard New England Central’s 608 climbing State Line Hill through Monson. I dithered briefly about heading out to photograph it. I’ve only photographed New England Central’s trains about a thousand times (metaphorically).

When I went to make myself a cup of tea I discovered to my horror that there wasn’t any milk! Poor show. So, I made the most of both problems. I drove to Stafford Springs, where I waited all of five minutes to score a few nice bright shots of a pair of New England Central GP38s. (I made a couple of slides too—just for ‘the record). Then stopped in at the shop in Stafford Hollow for milk before heading home again.

New England Central GP38s
New England Central freight 608 crawls through Stafford Springs, Connecticut on May 21, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens; exposed at f8 1/500 ISO 200.

What I find interesting is that, 16 years ago I made similar images of the same GP38s in the same location! A lot has changed in that time. Back then New England Central was part of RailTex. Now, after a dozen years as a RailAmerica road, it’s a Genesee & Wyoming property.

Somehow, I doubt that in another 16 years I’ll still be able to make images just like these. But you never know. It’s nice having an interesting railway nearby.

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