Speed meets strength


I managed to get out today a little later than normal, but that was fine. There would be enough time for me to get my normal walk in, as well as catch Providence & Worcester train NR-2. But I’d get a bonus today – a meet in New London with an Amtrak Acela. But the cool part is I wasn’t in New London! Good thing for telephoto lenses…

Things started out normal enough – as I approached the Nautilus, NR-2 reported that they were south of MP12 and about 20 minutes from the sub base. That gave me enough time to get out to Red Top, walk to my spot and set up before NR-2s arrival in Ledyard. And that’s what I did.

I got everything set up well in advance of NR-2 – including my Speed Graphic. I was going to try one shot with the focal plane shutter, which I have yet to give a try. Everything seemed to be working mechanically, but I’m not sure of the timing. So I metered the scene for ISO 400 (I’ve got a roll of T-MAX 400 in the back), and a shutter speed of 1/1000s, which is the highest shutter speed for the focal plane shutter (not bad for something made in 1947, eh?). That came out to about f/8. So I framed the shot up, focused, set the aperture to f/8, and wound the shutter to 1/1000.

A couple minutes later, horns in the distance started echoing down the Thames River valley. NR-2 was sounding for the crossings at Dow Chemical near MP5. Moments later, headlights appeared in the distance, and NR-2 called the dispatcher reporting that they were south of MP5. As they knocked down Red Top, I got a shot of them coming into the light

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls past the Red Top sign in Ledyard, CT
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls past the Red Top sign in Ledyard, CT
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Next the shot with the Speed Graphic (as usual I’ll post a scan once I finish the roll and develop it), and finally a shot of the entire train rounding the bend to the south. Note that all the power was on the head end today

All of P&W train NR-2 skirting the Thames River in Ledyard, CT
All of P&W train NR-2 skirting the Thames River in Ledyard, CT
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I packed things up and headed south to hopefully meet up with them crossing the Thames River.

As I passed by them in Fairview Yard, it sounded like they were doing some work before heading west – it sounded like they were dropping the Tilcon cars that were on the tail end of the train, then continuing west. So I got a shot of the bridgework on the drawbridge

A wide view of the continuing work on the Thames River drawbridge
A wide view of the continuing work on the Thames River drawbridge
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After that I headed south to the next overlook in anticipation of NR-2s trip west. After I got there I got a shot of a small boat speeding south

Speeding south through the Thames River past the State Pier in New London
Speeding south through the Thames River past the State Pier in New London
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And a shot of the boat passing a larger vessel with a crane on board

A speed boat continues south in the Thames
A speed boat continues south in the Thames
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Of course, I have to get a shot of just the bridge work

The work continues on the Thames River drawbridge replacement project
The work continues on the Thames River drawbridge replacement project
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Then a seagull went whizzing past me, and I framed him up just as he was about to land

Ready for touchdown!
Ready for touchdown!
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Just then, NR-2 contacted the Amtrak Shore Line dispatcher for permission to head west to East Lyme, then Old Saybrook. The dispatcher gave them the signal right away, so they were on their way. Before they hit the eastern edge of the bridge, I got a shot of the continuing concrete work on the western pier of the drawbridge. Looks like they’re finishing up the rebar for the second concrete pour

Concrete work continues on the western pier
Concrete work continues on the western pier
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Then NR-2 appeared on the bridge

NR-2 heads off of the Groton side of the Thames River
NR-2 heads off of the Groton side of the Thames River
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NR-2 heads west across the Thames River
NR-2 heads west across the Thames River
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NR-2s tail end heads over the moveable span
NR-2s tail end heads over the moveable span
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And another boat came speeding north in the river. Got a shot of them slowing down for the no wake zone through the drawbridge, and NR-2 coming off of the bridge in the background.

A speedboat heads north as NR-2 heads onto the New London side of the Thames River
A speedboat heads north as NR-2 heads onto the New London side of the Thames River
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Then a wider shot of the ship with the crane aboard at the State Pier

A boat with a crane aboard sits moored at the State Pier in New London
A boat with a crane aboard sits moored at the State Pier in New London
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Continuing south, I headed for the last spot I can photograph trains from this side of the river – directly across from Shaw’s Cove. I got there just as NR-2 was heading for the swing bridge.

P&W NR-2 makes their way along the Thames in New London
P&W NR-2 makes their way along the Thames in New London
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Just then another horn, something that sounded very different from NR-2, started echoing across the river. A quick look to my left told me what it was – an eastbound Acela!

Looks like a meet - An eastbound Amtrak Acela heads towards Shaw's Cove
Looks like a meet - An eastbound Amtrak Acela heads towards Shaw's Cove
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Looks like the timing is just right for an NR-2 and Acela meet on the bridge! Yep, a meet it was

An eastbound Amtrak Acela and the westbound P&W NR-2 head for a meet on Shaw's Cove swing bridge
An eastbound Amtrak Acela and the westbound P&W NR-2 head for a meet on Shaw's Cove swing bridge
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And the timing was also just about right to get a shot of NR-2s power coming off of the bridge, and the Acela’s trailing power car heading for the bridge

NR-2s head end and the Acela's trailing power car pass on the western side of Shaw's Cove
NR-2s head end and the Acela's trailing power car pass on the western side of Shaw's Cove
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Closeup of the passing trains
Closeup of the passing trains
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Then one final shot of the two trains parting ways

NR-2 and the Acela part ways at Shaw's Cove
NR-2 and the Acela part ways at Shaw's Cove
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A pretty cool way to finish off the morning. From there the 2 minute drive south, and back into the office for the rest of the day.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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