"Here's that RS3 you sold at Albany. I need to touch up the handrails and add number boards but for now she's in service."
"Headlights work, decoder in, the decals were a bitch...old and didn't want to work right. I need a horn and associated piping but that hasn't stopped me from running a loco before."
The night following the captured image of Pan Am Heritage engine ST 77 in Bernardston, MA., found sister Pan Am Heritage engine GP 9 MEC 52 heading northbound out of Claremont,NH as trailing unit on BF-1 bound for White River Jct., VT. I traveled down from Hinesburg, VT armed with prior knowledge of this move from overhearing the conversation between crews the previous night. Arriving around nine pm I monitored the car scanner as BF-1 did some switching moves in Claremont. I was an hour or more early! Very unusual, lol! I poked around looking at various spots before setting my sights on Milepost Five of the NECR Roxbury Sub at Hartland, VT. while BF-1 waited for permission from the NECR dispatcher to come north. With the outside temp in the single digits below zero, I thought it wise to wait in the cah at the little used grade crossing until BF-1 got past me before I jumped out to set up the lighting. It seems like it was just after midnight when BF-1 came by doing track speed, maybe thirty to forty mph, the Civics high beams illuminating MEC 52 as it swept past! I was delighted! This would be a first for Gary, shooting the 52 leading! I pushed the trunk release and jumped out into the cold.............now for the lighting.
This view from Hartland is, to me, a classic New England scene with its towering white barn and connecting white farmhouse for a background. The MEC 52 with its dark green paint would not stand out everywhere at night, but here, with white on three sides it should. Slogging around in the knee deep snow positioning lights kept me warm, and maybe one hour later I was all set taking test shots. Some great memories flash by here from my earlier visits many years back when I was beginning to shoot trains at night with flash units. NECR local 601 was a favorite target back then. Perhaps twenty to thirty minutes pass by before BF-1 tones in the NECR dispatcher for permission to head south.................behind MEC 52! BF-1 received permission down to the signal protecting the main at the south end of White River Yard only around five miles away. Up on the stepladder after fifteen minutes of silence I concluded they were still waiting for a signal. No worries though, BF-1 had permission south, it was only a matter of time before they got out onto the main and past Gary at Milepost five.
Then I hear it! That most welcome sound at night................an air horn blowing for a grade crossing! Then the distinctive sound of a 567 prime mover working, and I’m standing atop the stepladder..............smiling! This is gonna happen! Like I had any doubts?...........lol! BF-1s headlights appear far away up the long tangent track leading away from me to the north. I do the usual test shot of the lighting for the crew so there are no surprises and relax, trying to judge the speed of 52 as BF-1 closes in. The engineer throttles back a bit with a light train in tow and sails down past me. The lighting reflects back as GP 9 MEC 52 delivers the classic dark green and yellow of the Maine Central paint scheme to the scene................SUCCESS! Another “gem” in the world of railfanning in New England, captured! Shot in Hartland, Vermoot on February 26, 2015 at 02:10. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2015;
Alerted to the possibility earlier in the evening about the presence of PAS Heritage engine ST 77, wearing the Boston & Maine (B&M) colors of maroon and gold residing in Bellows Falls, I was reassured it was not being used on local job BF-1 until tomorrow night. Then the text arrived from Scott Whitney, residing in nearby North Walpole, NH,..................”Get your butt down here! It’s being used tonight!” I was moving out of the driveway in forty five minutes after brewing a thermos of tea and loading up the Civic. Two hours and change later I was arriving at the station in Bellows Falls. There sitting on the VRS lead coming off the NECR main sat ST 77, headlights dimmed, waiting for EDBF to arrive from East Deerfield, MA. so the crews could exchange trains and continue with their duties for the night. Within minutes EDBF appeared with PAS Heritage engine MEC 52 trailing! Holy Cow! Both Pan Am Southern (PAS) Heritage engines are in Bellows Falls tonight!
Having already been most fortunate to have shot the 77 a couple months ago I mentally went over possible night photo locations I could catch the MEC 52, which I had never shot, returning south leading BF-1 back from Claremont, NH. Once the crews exchanged trains BF-1 continued north up the NECR main, passing NECR local 601 in N. Walpole, and conveniently (for Gary) telling the 601 crew not to plan on them (BF-1) returning back to Bellows Falls tonight, they thought they would leave the power in Claremont overnight as they needed to go further north to White River Jct. tomorrow night. Realizing the 52 would not be leading anywhere tonight, I turned my attention to southbound BFED, still sitting on the curving VRS lead onto the NECR main. Now I notice, in the darkness behind the 77 is a B&M boxcar...........ST 77 is running alone! Ha,ha,ha! I immediately think of the stone arch bridge in Bernardston, MA as a great location to catch 77 within. Once I see EDBF pull onto the NECR main, following railfan rule number eighteen..........Always make sure the train you want to photograph leaves its terminal before you do.........I head for the interstate!
Roughly one hour later I have the stone arch bridge in Bernardston cornered. I have looked this location up on google maps several times and remember the parking area on the south side of the bridge. I figure to only need four flash units and light stands to light up the scene, as one GP-9 would pretty much fill the bridge. I grab two light stands and flashes, climb atop the snowbank where the plows have piled up the snow, and head out. It soon became apparent the snow was too deep for me and I retreated to the Civic and drove across town to “plan B”, the parking lot at Kringle Candle. This looked a lot more inviting! As I set up the lights I hear an air horn to the north...........Rats! But, now I hear the whine of a turbocharger! This obviously cannot be the 77 coming, and sure enough, a GP 40-2 comes by running light, we are still on! Perhaps thirty minutes later I am standing atop a huge snowbank, watching as 77s headlights sweep above the tree line to the east as EDBF negotiates the curve before the stone arch bridge. Within the minute here comes the 77 down past me, running alone............in the snow! One of the many gems of railfanning New England. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed. Shot on February 25, 2015 at 02:46. Special thanks to Scott Whitney!
All The Best In 2015;
Tonight's night photo is set in Milton, Vermont on the north end of the NECR with its subject being GP-38-2 2048, the newest addition to the fleet, having returned from the G&W shops after being rebuilt (and repainted!) from NECR blue & yellow painted GP-38 3848. A welcome addition during the rebuilding to the locomotive and its looks are dynamic brake grids. After arriving back on the NECR 2048s assignment has been running paired with a second four axle engine between Swanton and Burlington powering the Wood Chip Train during the day and the wayfreight between St. Albans Italy Yard and Burlingtons VRS Yard during nighttime hours. I waited patiently for 2048 to be turned to face north for a night photo as it was always south facing limiting locations to shoot it within and I learned earlier tonight..............it had happened! Tonight was the night! 2048 had indeed been turned to face north. HOORAY!
Mother Nature cooperated with excellent conditions, all things considered for this winter, with temps in the mid-teens compared to recent overnight temps in the minus mid-teens with a wind, and of course the still welcomed snow flying! lol! The “fun factor” goes down a bit at night when handling the aluminum light stands setting up in below zero temps, afterwards of course, the “fun factor” returns with the image captured! So there I was, its 3 a.m., I’m parked with eight or nine flash units blinking away on their light stands set up around the open trunk of the Civic, and a car pulls up across the street. I glance over and see a newspaper wrapped in plastic go into a mailbox. Then the driver, a middle aged woman opens the driver side door and steps out to look across at me and ask..............”Is this a party?” I explained what I was up to and she replied surprised...........”here?” I pointed confidently to the nearby main line, she glances at the track and says “Why trains?” And I go on to explain how much better they look at night with the flash lighting, pointing to the gathering in back of the Civic and she seems to lose interest, maybe it was the papers still to be delivered, and she says “Have fun!” before disappearing back into the car to drive off. One of the attractions this location provides to me is the outside frame wooden Central Vermont boxcar parked under the elevator, seen in front of the 2048s pilot in the photo.
Perhaps one and a half hours after the woman delivering the paper departs, the snow has picked up in intensity, (I’m delighted!) the turn to Burlington is toning in the dispatcher for permission on the main line south of me at Essex Jct., coming off the branch to Burlington, and the town of Miltons snow plow driver has arrived at the town garage, a snowballs throw away from me down the street. Congratulating myself for getting into position for a night photo in heavy snowfall, I’m thinking.........this shows promise! The town plows headlights shining out from the open garage door illuminate the falling snow “and” several light stands across the street. Smiling I imagine the driver wondering............what the heck are those things? lol! To the plow mans credit he pulls the plow out of the garage, backs his pickup in the vacated stall and drives off without a word of conversation or acknowledgement as I stand watching outside the Civic. Then I realize the light stands the plows headlights lit up are placed in the turn around for the plow across from the town garage! No worries! With the 2048 coming onto the main line at Essex Jct. they will be by me long before the plowman is done plowing the towns streets!
The snow is coming down heavy now, its light powder snow, and with no wind it accumulates on the equipment, especially the flash unit heads, further diffusing the light from them. Not to worry though, the snow will NOT be melting for several weeks yet, it can just be blown off the equipment afterwards tonight. The camera and lens being the exception of course. I give the crew ten minutes to pull off the branch and get underway then go over to the stepladder, take the camera out of the bag and get all set under the brightly colored umbrella standing on the second step from the top. Maybe ten minutes later I hear the welcome sound of an air horn blowing for a crossing. The umbrella is carefully collapsed and put away. This is the best! In a snowstorm, at night, GP 38-2s heading towards me and the temps are in the mid-teens above zero! A few minutes later 2048 rounds the curve below me and comes into sight, drifting up the tangent track into position. The flash units light up the scene in the blink of an eye as the GP 38-2s roll past me braking prior to doing their work here at the feed mill. I climb down off the stepladder and kneeling in the snow inspect the image..............Success! Shot in Milton, Vermont on Feb. 19, 2015 at 05:55. Special thanks to Ed Ferguson. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2015;
I thought I'd scanned all from this "Flying Switch" series some time ago but, I came across this one just today. a local crew was switching out this car just north of the U&D switch in Kingston. They were performing a "flying switch" but, gravity alone didn't take that boxcar far enough on it's own to clear, hence the strong arm action! Right place at the right time to catch the move!
For the model railroaders: Neat idea for an operations move or just a scene:-)
Time passes quickly. It's hard to believe it's been four months (almost to the day) since my last progress update. This time I'll let the pictures speak (mostly) for themselves. The prototype photos I used for reference were taken in McKees Rocks, PA.
I found most of it, not in Woodland Scenics, Noch or other commercial offerings but, rather in nature itself. There MUST be variety to create a look of reality.
Regards to ALL,