Tunnel Motor In Vermont!

To give credit; if not for the groundbreaking nocturnal work of Winston Link and Jim Shaughnessy, who discovered landscapes which would otherwise have remained unknown, I would not be experiencing these landscapes I encounter at night presently. Which brings us to arrive tonight in Randolph, Vermont, a railroad town I ignored successfully in my film days (daze?) which has blossomed now that I am shooting at night with digital into a favorite location to visit with its fabulous buildings from another era. The ex-Southern Pacific SD 40-2 Tunnel Motor 3317 arrived on the NECR already wearing its new paint scheme, then languished for months it seemed awaiting repairs and inspection. So when I was tipped off that the engine was leading 323 northward overnight, I instantly visualized capturing an image of the orange, black & yellow tunnel motor here. Knowing when 323 departed from its terminal at Brattleboro, VT, I took my time at home and enjoyed breakfast, did the dishes, made a thermos full of tea, then headed down here, only to wait several hours for the train to appear. In the past I would have dropped everything except brewing the thermos of tea, rushed down here, out of fear of missing “the shot”, eating pizza or something similar for breakfast on the road and still have waited for several hours, I want to think this is a sign I have learnt something. Ha,ha,ha! An addition to the “gizmos” that accompany me trackside at night this year is one of those collapsible canvas camp chairs, with cup holder for tea cups of course, and I ended up relaxing in that while waiting in the darkness here. Again, the thought crossed my mind a few times.............what can possibly go wrong? Which produced a big smile don’t we know! Eventually, the welcome sound of General Motors diesels came to my ears, and several minutes later the scanner picked up the crew calling out they were entering Randolph..........with a track permit to the north switch! Listening from the comfy camp chair in the dark, I thought to myself...........ah........the north switch? Here? That means they will not be coming past me, at least not for a while. Evidently the dispatcher has set up the nightly meet with 324 for Randolph! No worries! I have all night. 323 comes up the main to the north switch for the passing siding and stop, dimming their headlights and sit within sight. Thirty minutes later nothing has changed, and I am not hearing 324s air horn blowing for crossings north of town yet. Out of the blue, the NECR dispatcher comes on the air, and gives 323 permission to run to the north switch at Roxbury! Alright! I’m out of the camp chair as the scanner echoes 323s conductor repeating back the dispatchers instructions, the headlights go on full, the engineer gives two short blasts of the air horn, and starts notching out the engines to slowly accelerate towards me. Atop the stepladder I’m smiling as the lighting does its thing with another test shot...............this is gonna happen! After getting across the two grade crossings below my location here, engineer Ed Ferguson, having seen my test flash, comes drifting into the scene with 3317 at a steady pace and the system captures the image again! I give the crew a wave as they pass by, then inspect the lcd monitor as the consist passes by. You know, 3317 looks pretty good here. Of all the places to shoot an ex-SP Tunnel Motor.............here in Vermont! Shot on August 20, 2013 at 02:08. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2013;

Gary Knapp

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