New Paint!

Tonight finds me parked alongside the Pan Am Railways main line at East Kingston, NH, having driven down from Hinesburg under the pretense of catching the Pan Am Office Car Special (OCS) returning eastbound to Portland overnight after spending the weekend at the Glory Days railfan event in White River Jct. In theory, a great idea! In reality, while the OCS rarely runs at night, my back up plan was to shoot the New Hampshire Northcoast (NHN) gravel train, dependably returning around 04:00 from Boston. There also was a good chance the Pan Am freights EDPO and SEPO would be seen, powered by the newly acquired ex-CSX C40-8s. For a nice change, I was not dealing with a single train.
The drive down from Hinesburg consumes close to three and a half hours. At this time of night though, it is a breeze, mostly interstate with little traffic. The drive went well until..........I was closing in on the last turn, from rte. 125 onto rte. 107. It’s eleven thirty and as I am looking for the sign for 107 I come upon on of those temporary led road signs warning of planned activities. This one read...........NIGHTTIME PAVING DETOUR AHEAD. Coming upon the paving, I was (predictably) detoured around the stretch of road that contained the turn for 107. I realized this after I had driven south a few miles. I then backtracked and asked some paving company folks how to get to 107 and East Kingston from here and they helped me out. A twenty to thirty min. delay.
Arriving at East Kingston the eastbound signal is green already!  I was hoping this was not the OCS and was relieved to see EDPO come by. Now I could set up the lights and cut back the new growth sumac again, lol! I was last here in April, and was impressed at the reclaiming of ground the sumac had made! By midnight twenty three I was taking my first test shot. The next eastbound train would not show up until 04:39! By then it was obvious the OCS was not going to appear. It was the timeframe for the NHN gravel train making its return trip from Boston. I kept busy tweaking the lights, then listening to Coast To Coast AM while staring at the eastbound signal. Trying to “will it” to turn green. That didn’t work well at all, lol! While in the car I spotted a good size skunk wandering the area, so when I was outside I kept “awake” with an eye open for it.
It was well after 04:30 when the signal lit up green! This must be the gravel train I concluded. Running behind NHN GP 38-2s, this would be a nice catch indeed! I get up atop the stepladder, test the lighting, idling along all this time. and it looks fine. Within a couple minutes the crossing signals directly behind my position activate, the track down below the station lights up reflecting approaching headlights. I fire off an awareness flash for the crew. Now headlights appear, here comes the head end! I watch judging train speed as the lead unit quickly closes in on the station and my mark, I press the shutter release before the leaders pilot plow is by my mark. It turns out to be a good move as in the split second it takes for my eye to hand coordination to function, the front of the lead engine moves ten feet and is past my mark! 
But................the reflection! In the instant the lighting reflects back I see the striped yellow and green nose of the newly repainted and rebuilt GP 38-2 3823! 3823 is the only GP 38-2 with the stripes I believe? Then darkness envelopes the scene, in a rush of wailing air horn and locomotives the head end roars past me followed by the empty hoppers. Once the last car is by me, I get down and inspect the image. It looks good! I like the nose! The station is its usual photogenic self. The wait was worth it! It is an honor to shoot trains at night here! See what you think? Shot on September 12, 2017 at 04:39, 1/800 at f3.5. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2017;
Gary Knapp

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