Tag Archives: Tunnel Motor

Pacing the New England Central.

We were trying to overtake the New England Central ballast train extra

(see: Extra train on New England Central. https://wp.me/p2BVuC-5yy).

I rolled down the passenger-side window of my friend’s Golf, and exposed a series of photos with my Lumix.

Lumix LX7 RAW file adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure in post processing.

I’ve described this technique previously; I adjusted the f-stop (aperture control) manually to its smallest opening (f8), my ISO was at its slowest setting (80), and I put the camera to aperture priority.

I intended this combination of settings to automatically select the appropriate shutter speed for ideal exposure, while using the slowest setting to allow for the effect of motion blur.

Lumix LX7 RAW file adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure in post processing.

I kept the camera aimed at the locomotive while allowing for ample foreground to blur by for the effect of speed.

This works especially well to show the large diesel working long-hood forward, which is not its usual position.

Lumix LX7 RAW file adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure in post processing.
Lumix LX7 RAW file adjusted for color, contrast, and exposure in post processing.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

East Northfield, Massachusetts: a Junction; a Tunnel Motor; A Searchlight and Three Quarter Light.

Years ago, the view from the road bridge at East Northfield, Massachusetts was more open than it is today.

The trees have grown up making it more challenging to expose photos of trains at the junction between former Boston & Maine and former Central Vermont lines here.

At one time, a century or more ago, B&M’s Conn River route crossed the CV here. B&M’s line continued across the Connecticut River and rejoined the CV at Brattleboro.

Later, the two routes were melded in a paired track arrangement. However, by the time I started photographing here in the 1980s, the B&M route north of East Northfield was no longer functioning as a through line.

On the morning of April 27, 2018, I made this view of New England Central freight 608 led by a former Southern Pacific SD40T-2 ‘tunnel motor’ diesel.

New England Central 611 approaches the junction at East Northfield, Massachusetts. The lead locomotives have just crossed the Vermont-Massachusetts state line. The old Boston & Maine line once continued to the right of the present NECR alignment (and to the left of the dirt road), running northward across the Connecticut River and beyond via Dole Junction, New Hampshire toward Brattleboro.

The light was spot on for a series of three quarter views featuring a vintage GRS searchlight signal that protects the junction.

Perfect morning light makes for a calendar view from the road bridge at the junction.
NECR 611 continues south toward Palmer, Massachusetts on the old Central Vermont Railway, the old Boston & Maine route diverges to the left toward Greenfield and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

 

 

 

NECR Tunnel Motor at State Line.

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.

View from Crow Hill Road, Stafford, Connecticut. Lumix LX7 photo. I manually underexposed by 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the snow.
View from Crow Hill Road, Stafford, Connecticut. Lumix LX7 photo. I manually underexposed by 2/3s of a stop to compensate for the snow.

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.

After dropping its cars on the siding, the crew of NECR's local freight pulled across and prepared to head back north to Palmer. This allowed me to take a good look at the Tunnel Motor.
After dropping its cars on the siding, the crew of NECR’s local freight pulled across and prepared to head back north to Palmer. This allowed me to take a good look at the Tunnel Motor—so-called because of its specially designed air-flow arrangement originally configured for high-altitude operation in tunnels and snow sheds on Southern Pacific’s rugged line over Donner Pass in the California Sierra.

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?

NECR's conductor sets the derail on the siding. Lumix LX7 photo.
NECR’s conductor sets the derail on the siding. Lumix LX7 photo.
I drove to the north-end of the siding which begins just north of the Connecticut-Massachusetts line. Look to the right of the engines and you'll see the crudely cut granite marker for the border.
I drove to the north-end of the siding which begins just north of the Connecticut-Massachusetts line. Look to the right of the engines and you’ll see the crudely cut granite marker for the border.
Not so many years ago, six-motors were banned from operation south of Palmer. These days its not so unusual. However, daylight moves don't occur on a regular basis. Lumix LX7 photo.
Not so many years ago, six-motors were banned from operation south of Palmer. These days it’s not so unusual. However, daylight moves don’t occur on a regular basis. Lumix LX7 photo.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Tunnel Motor in the Town of Seven Railroads!

Sometimes history has conclusions that no one anticipates.

Here we have a former Southern Pacific SD40-T2 passing the abutments of the old Hampden Railroad near Three Rivers, in Palmer Massachusetts. You could write a book about this scene!

Thanks to Paul Goewey for suggesting this location. It had been 30 years since my last visit. Hey where are the Rock Island GP18s??
Thanks to Paul Goewey for suggesting this location. It had been 30 years since my last visit. Hey where are the Rock Island GP18s??

Brian Solomon is traveling in Finland, but Tracking the Light should continue to post photographs daily!