Last night turned out to be an unusual, early night by my standards. Wierd things are known to occur on full moon nights such as last night was. I took my night photo by a little after ten p.m.! It all was made possible by photographer Shaun McGinnis down in Bellows Falls, VT. As I was going through my routine of beginning my night I turned on the cell phone and found a text waiting for me from Shaun. It seemed that the Pan Am Heritage GP-9s that were seen in Bellows Falls the night before had stayed over rather than making the usual southbound run back to East Deerfield Yard! We agreed they should be returning south tonight and I thought of the stone arch bridge in Bernardston, MA. they would be going across. It had been three months since I last had a chance to shoot either of the colorful pair working on the Conn. River Line. I was on the road by 7 pm when I pulled over to read another text from Shaun stating that EDBF, the job the Heritage units would return south on was arriving in Bellows Falls! And I had a two hr. drive ahead of me just to get down to the falls, never mind the stone arch bridge further south! I continued onto the interstate thinking it was worth the chance of catching the pair to risk driving two hrs. for nothing. It turned out to be a good decision!
Maybe one hour later I pulled over again to read another update from Shaun, surprisingly, the two GP-9s were heading out of town NORTHBOUND with a boxcar and a couple tanks! They would be working local BF-1 again tonight rather than returning south! A most fortunate development for both Shaun and myself as normally EDBF and BF-1 exchange power on a nightly basis. Little more than one hour later I was crossing the Connecticut River into New Hampshire, with my new destination, the station at Charlestown a couple miles away. I can hear BF-1 a few miles to the north running around their train prior to performing switching duties at a propane distributor. On the outskirts of Charlestown I spot southbound NECR local 601 powered by GP 40 437 switching out what looks like salt carrying covered hoppers. Apprehensively I arrive at the station, figuring if it looks too run down I will opt for the stone arch bridge in Bellows Falls. I jump out of the Civic and do a couple walks around the building and like it! Owned by what looks to be a building supplier, I have seen the station looking much worse in the past! I adore very tall stepladders but...........not here, stacked on display leaning on the front of the station!
I just get the lighting out of the car and crossing signals activate! Thankfully it is a false alarm as the NECR local comes by behind the 437. I get out the stepladder and spot it to check out a favorite view, inside between the track and station, an angle made possible by the lighting at night. The locomotives jump out at you more from this angle it seems to me. Once I have the lighting set up, test shots reveal a blown out white overhang so I adjust for that, then it just becomes a matter of waiting. A couple and their two kids, perhaps attracted by the flashes of light, come walking down the street off to the right and sit inside a gazebo nearby to watch. Knowing BF-1 was on their way back, I walk to the nearby Civic several feet away for a cup of tea, with the thought of perhaps asking the couple if they would like to be in the photo. This move away from the stepladder of course brings BF-1! I no more finish pouring the tea when crossing bells start ringing above me! I return to the stepladder as BF-1 finishes blowing for the crossing, ST 77s headlights brightening up the track behind the station. The Ricoh GR is ready to go though, as is the lighting, and I concentrate on leveling the small camera as ST 77 comes out from behind the station, drifting along at maybe twenty mph, hits my mark and in a spash of color the lighting reflects back the classic Boston & Maine maroon and gold paint scheme!
And yes, the station really is painted that color! And yes, I was REALLY glad I decided to continue the drive down here even when it looked like the Heritage engines might leave before I arrived. This trackage, part of the Conn. River Line, is now owned by New England Central and was used by CV and B&M prior to NECR ownership. Pan Am trains utilize trackage rights to operate here these nights. Shot on June 3, 2015 at 22:02. Please enjoy! comments are welcomed. Special thanks to Shaun McGinnis for his help!
All The best In 2015;