Thursday, January 3, 2008

P&W Extra to Willi

On December 20th I received an e-mail saying there would be a P&W extra going to Willimantic on the 22nd. It would go on duty around 7AM in Plainfield, CT. There would be an overcast most of the day however there was some snow on the ground. I figured the train would be in the Willimantic area somewhere between 10:30AM and 11:00AM. Tom Nanos decided to cover the train from Plainfield and westward. I decided to meet the the train enroute and would call Tom from time to time to see where he and the train were.
As I was driving through Lebanon I gave him a call to see what was going on. He said the train was still there and would be leaving shortly. He said he'd call me when it left. He called again and said the train was leaving. At this point I was passing through Baltic and decided to see if I could make it to Packers Pond just off Lillibridge Road in Plainfield. Just as I was getting out of the car Tom was pulling up behind me. We than went cruching through the snow we found our locations to take our photos. It wasn't too much longer when we could hear the train off in the distance. Shortly it came across the back of the pond.

In a few more seconds it would cross Lillibridge Road and continue wesatward.

We quickly got back into our cars and headed off to the next location. As we came up to the state highway I turned right and Tom turned left. Not sure where he was headed but I was heading over to where the road and the trains cross the Quinebaug River just off Butts Bridge Road in Canterbury. It seemed like quite a while before we could hear the train approaching from the left. Soon it was crossing the long trestle amongst the sound of winders.

Back to our cars and we were off to Versailles. We got there well ahead of the train and while were looking for some good vantage points we heard the train blowing nearby. The way it sounded with the wind and bounching off buildings it sounded like it was already west of town. So back to our cars and off we went. As we came through Baltic Tom noticed the tracks were still rusty. I was ahead of him and continued the pursuit. A short time later Tom called me to say the train was still behind us. I continued to Willimantic and figured I would wait for him there. I set at a trestle over the Shetucket River next to Route 14. Shortly Tom came flying around a corner , parked his car in the lower lot and joined me on the bridge. Soon the train rumbled across the bridge.

We than headed off to Pleasant St. to get a few more photos. The day before the New England Central had dropped four cars for the P&W to pick up. Once the P&W did this they headed into town. Both locomotives were coupled in the middle of the train. On one end were the cars they just picked up and on the other were the cars they were droppin off. A few more photos and we headed up to Bridge St.

Once we got to Bridge I was hoping to get a photo of the P&W power sitting on the Bridge St. crossing. The way the train was configured this wasn't going to happen so I headed back to just east of the Frog Bridge. Here I would capture the EMD led train passing under the Frog bridge with the frogs adorned in their red Christmas scarfs.

After the train passed Tom and I bid farewell. I figured I would get my final shots of the day at Scotland Dam. I headed over there ahead of the train to look for a good vantage point as the train passed. I noticed in the cut next to the dam there was a nice ice formation which would add some nice effects to the photo. After the train passed I headed for home after a very satisfying morning.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking for Snow - 12/31/07

The final day of 2007 proved to be more challenging than originally planned. A nor'easter was predicted to hit the area on the 30th and last until the 31st. If this had turned out the way it was suppose to it would have been beautiful. However when I awoke on the 31st there was no snow on the driveway or the sidewalks and very little on the lawn. I checked local waether and found out that more snow had fallen to the north. I decided to head over the border to Springfield, MA.

Once I got to Springfield I discovered a few things. First the snow was considerably deeper here which would make for some great photography. The view looking west from the station was beautiful as snow was caked on all sides of the CSX bridge that crossed the Connecticut River. (photo 1)
However a few more things became pretty clear which would limit my photographic abilities. Amtrak was operating on their weekend schedule which didn't impact this area too much since they don't operate a lot of trains anyway. CSX was on a holiday schedule and CSO wasn't operating at all. At the station P42 no. 20 was idling next to the station with a pair of Amfleet coaches in tow. (photo 2)Since I was here I would make the best of it and go home with some pretty decent photos.

The crew for train 401 came out of the station and boarded their train. A few passengers came and also boarded. At 10:20AM the engineer blew the horns for departure and P42 moved forward and pulled away from the station. (photo 3) A few minutes after train 401 rounded the curve west of the station
I could hear the approaching train 450 blowing for some grade crossings south of Springfield. A few minutes would pass before P42 no. 107 would round the curve and approach the station. (photo 4) Today's consist was an Amfleet coach and a ex-Metroliner cab car no. 9644.

A couple more hours would pass before I would see anymore activity. The next train to depart would be Train 463 wit cab car no. 9644 in command. (photo 5)
After train 463 departed I would hear train 460 off in the distance and in a few minutes P42 no. 103 would round the curve and approach the station. Photo 6)
Another hour would pass before the sounds of any train would be heard. A pair of light Amtrak P42's (nos. 71 and 136) would pass through the station heading west. probably going to Rensselaer for some maintenance work. (photo 7).
Before leaving I got a photo of cab car 9639 at the station (photo 8).
After this I decided to head south back into Connecticut. My plan was to photograph the nothbound Vermonter (Train 54) crossing the long span over the Connecticut River at Enfield, CT. I arrived there and met a good friend of mine, Steve Stomper. We chated for a while and than we could hear train 54 at the Windsor Locks station to the south. I got in postion and got a nice shot of the train crossing the trestle. (photo 9). After this I headed for home to take part in the New year's eve festivities.