Going To Church

The first night photo of 2017 is taken on Friday the 13th of January, on a full moon night, in the rain outside the Green Mountain Baptist church in Center Rutland, Vermont. Vermont Rail System (VRS), has applied the finishing touches to one of their two ex-Florida East Coast SD70-2Ms, 431, that has been repainted by the shop forces on the Providence & Worchester into VTR red & white! The white part being striping and lettering applied in Rutland. Once 431 emerged from the Rutland enginehouse with its white striping and lettering, fortunately for me (and you) the unit was turned on the Rutland wye to face east! This move made it possible to shoot it going past the church in Center Rutland, one of my favorite locations! I’ve been saving the location for the return of 431 over the past month or so!
I thought of Winston Link when 431 made its debut run over to Whitehall and back the previous night, LOL! I was just starting the drive down to Center from home, when I learned the crew was already headed back eastward just after midnight, light power! I was too late. So tonight I headed out earlier, leaving around 22:45, arriving at the church at 00:15. And this night the crew aboard 431 came by after 04:00. Winston, in a video done of his work at night, had lamented during an interview about how the unpredictability of freight train schedules became an accepted risk/part of the hobby, LOL!. Some photos he took required several consecutive nights before he got a chance at taking the shot.
Tonight, I am all set up by a little after 01:00. The weather is outstanding for a night photo, windy with temps in the forties in January! It deteriorates as the hours pass into a steady light rain with temps falling into the low thirties. Still excellent for a night photo and that is what matters! Ratty weather for humans produces great night photos of trains! After 03:15ish I hear the CLP 263 job departing from Whitehall on the car scanner. I do the usual tweaking of the lighting to keep moving around, not that it needed it. Being careful not to do something I’ll regret, lol! Around 04:00 I hear an air horn, but from the wrong direction! It belongs to the VTR GP 38-2 201 leading the job going to Burlington coming out of Rutland to meet the Whitehall train at Center. Several minutes later I hear 431 coming in from the west, blowing for crossings in West Rutland. I’m thinking how this could be spectacular! Visualizing the 431 wearing VTR red & white at this location.
Atop the stepladder, I hear 431s engineer blowing for the Rte 4 crossing, then a secondary road followed by silence as the train climbs Boardman Hill toward me. Finally I see brush trackside below the church start to lighten up, I fire off the lighting, and watch. Headlights appear behind the evergreen in front of me and I look away at my mark, then as the 431 starts to follow the curved track to my left I look back and watch as the pilot plow slowly drifts up and past my mark. I wait a second then fire. Red and white reflects back! Wow! I give conductor Dominic Cioffi a wave as his side of the cab passes by, the dark shape of 431 towering above me. Then I check the photo on the GRs monitor.............Holy Cow! Dosen’t 431 look great here? Glistening in the rain?
This historic trackage, incorporated as the Rutland & Whitehall Railroad in Nov. of 1848 before being acquired by the Delaware & Hudson, who would eventually sell it to VRS subsidiary Clarendon & Pittsford, saw all the exotic D&H diesels passing by the church here, RS-3s, PAs and the Baldwin Sharks to name a few models. The 431 certainly fits right in tonight with the addition of the evergreen, which I’m sure is a recent improvement to the location! SHot in Center Rutland, Vermont on January 13, 2017 at 04:11. Special thanks to Michael Ricketts! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2017;
Gary Knapp


Stephen Burch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Burch said...

Hey Gary, great job, this is a great photo! I'm Steve Burch, the pastor of this church. I wonder if you'd be so kind to let us use this photo on our website? Again, awesome photo!

Rob D said...

Hi Rob;

Please pass along to Stephen Burch that I grant permission for him to use my night photo of VTR 431 on the church website. Many thanks! 

All The Best;

Stephen Burch said...

Thanks, Gary. Really appreciate it. When we get done designing the site I'll send you a link.

Stephen Burch said...

Gary, here's the link. Thanks again, it makes our site really pop!