In recent days, New England Central’s Willimantic, Conn., to Palmer., Mass., turn running as job 608, has been back on its daylight schedule, which sees it reaching Stafford Springs, Connecticut at about 730am.
Thursday (November 21, 2019), I made a morning project of intercepting the train and photographing it on its northward run.
At the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line, the railroad crests the top of a divide known as ‘State Line Hill’ and begins its descent toward Palmer. Just north of the top of the hill the tracks cross Route 32, which is where I set up to make my photo.
This view was made using my FujiFilm X-T1 with 90mm prime telephoto.
I aimed to make a split scene, where the highway and railroad cross at the center and direct the eye to opposite sides of the frame.
The subject is the train, which has just caught the sun at the intersection of the state boundary.
The second view in shows the locomotive better, but is a less evocative image.
The other day down in the valley I heard the roar of a train ascending the old New London Northern grade to State Line.
EMD diesels working hard.
“Hmm. That’s odd. Daylight move on the New England Central?”
In recent months, New England Central’s freight south of Palmer, Massachusetts has been largely nocturnal.
I thought I’d best investigate, I hopped in my car and headed south to intercept.
Driving toward Stafford Springs, Connecticut I heard a telemetry hit on my scanner. (That’s the FRED—the end of train device the sends a signal reporting air-brake pressure from the tail end of the train to the engineer’s cab.) I knew the train was close.
Then, chatter on the radio: engineer to conductor. They were working the ground. The train was switching.
I altered my path and went to the south switch at State Line siding at Crow Hill Road, Stafford.
There I found the train: An NECR local freight from Palmer putting cars in the siding.
Sixteen loads and five empties.
At one end was a GP38 that’s nearly as old as I am. At the other end was NECR’s Tunnel Motor, engine 3317. A former Southern Pacific engine.
That’s neat. I’d never seen NECR’s Tunnel Motor south of Palmer before.
Sorry, did I mention that New England Central’s reporting marks are NECR?