Railroad Royalty

We have visiting royalty this weekend in New England railfan circles! The Norfolk Southern, Norfolk and Western Heritage engine wearing its one of a kind paint scheme! Even better, it was arriving in the preferred position...........LEADING its train, a 28N, which terminates at Ayer, Mass on Pan Am Southern (PAS) and has the same train number both coming and going, an oddity to me at least. Announced well in advance of 28Ns arrival in the area, when the train finally arrived at the PAS yard in Mechanicville, NY around 6 a.m., it sat in the yard all day and into the night waiting for a PAS crew to take the train eastward into Mass.!  Crews were called then reassigned, another crew call time was set back a couple hours into Friday evening. I found out about this crew being set back a couple hours afterwards, and it dawned on me that I might get lucky tonight!
So it was that at twenty one minutes after midnight I was driving through downtown Hinesburg southbound for PAS at Eagle Bridge, NY! I have never done well with eastbounds coming out of Mechanicville on PAS because of this variability in departure times, but here was a Heritage engine! Certainly worth making the effort to shoot! I have shot the N&W engine once before, down in Summerhill, PA. during spring of 2012. My plan for this adventure was to arrive at Eagle Bridge (over two hrs. away) and check signals, hoping to get some indication of 28Ns whereabouts. If an eastbound is out of Mechanicville the signal would be other than all red indication. The dreaded sunrise would come around 06:21 this morning. I had a small window of time for 28N to appear in darkness.
Arriving in Eagle Bridge around 02:40ish, the e.b. signal was displaying red over yellow over red, indicating an e.b. was indeed out of Mechanicville! The westbound Home signals were all red, telling of a meet planned at Eagle Bridge. I scampered over to nearby Hoosick Falls only to find both my locations featured a dump truck in the view! That would’nt do! I headed out further east for North Adams, meeting the westbound heading for Eagle Bridge roughly half way between the two towns around 03:15ish, and figured to have ninety minutes at minimum before this unknown e.b. would be in North Adams. My window of opportunity before sunrise was closing fast! I finished my trip, arriving across from the yard office in North Adams and setting up the lights and all by 04:45ish. As I wait the dispatcher comes on air talking to a 28N asking to make a move in Mechanicville Yard! I stare over at the car scanner perched on the half open window, saying to myself............”You gotta be kidding me!” 28N has been there for a good part of the day and they are just now switching out the train?! I conclude this 28N must be todays 28N, not yesterdays with the Heritage engine leading that I am set up for.
I can hear the unknown e.b. slowly approaching for over twenty min. Air horn blasts and GE prime movers revving up! It is well after five a.m., the surrounding mountains are silhouetted by the brightening sky. My window of time before dawn closing faster! Suddenly, the equipment detector west of town comes on air, proclaims no defects, and silence returns. I’m happy, this guy is going to make it past me before dawn! But........is it 28N? And, will he stay on the main? If he comes up the (closer to me) passing track...............I’m screwed! Headlight glow brightens the area below the bridge over the Hoosac Trench, I fire off the lighting and watch as headlights come into view...........ON THE MAIN! Yes! Holding up the tiny Ricoh GR I’m watching my edges and the level indicator as the leader rolls upgrade into the scene at around twenty mph. I glance up at the leaders number boards..............8103! That’s the one! Passing my mark, the shutter is released and the lighting reflects back SUCCESS! What a location to see the N&W engine!
Shot in North Adams, MA. on August 27, 2016 at 05:19. Special thanks to John “Cully” Cullinan for pointing out this location to me and train info! Also to Richard Wingler for his help! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2016;

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