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;