Amtrak 190, P&W NR2, an Amtrak work extra and new steel on the Thames


Holy crap it was cold this morning. The wind didn’t help either, but there was abundant sunshine and glorious blue skies, so I couldn’t pass it up. Luckily, my schedule permitted me to get out for my walk. But things didn’t go as they usually do – I did end up catching the usual trains, and an extra, but not in the typical order. At least things worked out.

I headed out at the usual time, and as per the script, the scanner was spinning away, watching the various railroad frequencies. While driving up Thames Street, the P&W frequency locked in – NR-2 hit the Jewett City detector. So I had plenty of time. Lucky because something caught my eye on the Thames River – a piece of steel was being placed on the west tower of the Thames River drawbridge. With NR-2 far enough off, I had time to get some shots of the workers placing the steel.

I opted for the closer spot to the bridge to get the action. While on my way north, the scanner picked up the Amtrak frequency this time – a flagman was looking for foul time somewhere west of New London. But the Shore Line dispatcher refused to give him the time – there was a work extra heading his way. Interesting, but I have no idea which direction they were going. Doing some quick calculations in my head, I only had about 15 minutes here before NR-2 would be coming into the picture. And I didn’t want to miss them with the blue skies overhead. So I made my way to the parking lot just south of the drawbridge to shoot the steel, and potentially the work extra. First up was a shot of the crane holding up the steel, as a pair of workers survey the joint.

Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
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Then a wider shot of the crane and west tower

The large crane lowers a piece of structural steel into place on the west tower of the Thames River drawbridge
The large crane lowers a piece of structural steel into place on the west tower of the Thames River drawbridge
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Zooming back in, a tight shot of the two workers at the joint

Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
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Back out a bit

Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
Ironworkers prepare to place another piece of structural steel on the Thames River drawbridge
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And slapping the wide angle, here’s a shot of the entire drawbridge, with the moon overhead

The setting moon watches over the progress of the Thames River drawbridge replacement project
The setting moon watches over the progress of the Thames River drawbridge replacement project
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Then I headed back to the car. But as I climbed in I heard horns in the distance. Hmmm, could it be that work extra? A moment later, the scanner had the answer for me – it was Amtrak train 190 pulling out of New London. So I got a shot of them crossing the Thames as work continued.

Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River as work continues overhead
Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River as work continues overhead
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Looking at the clock, it was time to head north to catch NR-2 at Mill Cove. On the trip north, NR-2 reported to the Worcester dispatcher that they were south of MP12 and about 15 minutes from the sub base. Perfect timing – at least for NR-2. Still no sign of the work extra.

I got to the cove about 10 minutes before NR-2s arrival, leaving me enough time to get my walk in before the shooting would begin. The signal that my walk was nearing an end soon came – horns to the north as NR-2 headed through Dow Chemical. Into the car and off to the south end of the cove to set up for my shot.

As I got into position, NR-2 reported that they’re south of MP5, which gave me a moment to park the car and get to my spot. First up was a shot of the train heading past milepost 4 at the top of the cove

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads past milepost 4 and onto the causeway between Mill Cove and the Thames River in Ledyard, CT
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads past milepost 4 and onto the causeway between Mill Cove and the Thames River in Ledyard, CT
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Then a shot of the trio of lead power heading through the curve at the top of the cove

NR-2 heads through the curve at MP4 near the top of Mill Cove
NR-2 heads through the curve at MP4 near the top of Mill Cove
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And a classic shot with the Harvard Boat House

NR-2 heads across the causeway between Mill Cove and the Thames River, with the Harvard Boat House in the background
NR-2 heads across the causeway between Mill Cove and the Thames River, with the Harvard Boat House in the background
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Swapping to the wide angle lens, I got a shot of the lead power set crossing the inlet to the cove, with the moon overhead

The trio of power on the head end of NR-2 heads over the inlet to Mill Cove with the setting moon overhead
The trio of power on the head end of NR-2 heads over the inlet to Mill Cove with the setting moon overhead
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And a slightly tighter shot of the trailing power crossing the inlet, again with the moon in the frame

With the moon overhead, NR-2's tail end heads over the inlet to Mill Cove in Ledyard
With the moon overhead, NR-2's tail end heads over the inlet to Mill Cove in Ledyard
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As the train slipped behind the treeline, I headed back to the car and south on Route 12. As I neared the light at the south end of the sub base, the Amtrak frequency locked in. The Shore Line dispatcher was giving the work extra permission through New London, and telling them that they’re headed for track 4 in Groton to let 215o pass them. He gave them the option to wait at Groton, or head all the way down to Palmer’s Cove. Opting for Palmer’s Cove, I figured it was worth a try to catch them at my spot east of the Groton tower.

So instead of taking a right on Crystal Lake Rd heading for Military Highway, I continued south on Route 12, hoping I could get to the spot before the extra got there. I pulled in, grabbed my gear and headed trackside. Hoping to have a sign if I had missed the extra or not, the scanner once again gave me that sign. It was the P&W frequency this time – they were mentioning that there was some light power heading across the Thames. Perfect – I got there in time.

I bagged a series of shots as the train was passing the Groton Tower, crossing over to track 4, and passing by me.

An Amtrak work extra, consisting of a pair of light engines, heads past the Groton tower on their way to track 4
An Amtrak work extra, consisting of a pair of light engines, heads past the Groton tower on their way to track 4
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The work extra crosses over to track 4 in Groton
The work extra crosses over to track 4 in Groton
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Now on track 4, the work extra continues east to Palmers Cove, waiting to follow Amtrak Acela train 2150
Now on track 4, the work extra continues east to Palmers Cove, waiting to follow Amtrak Acela train 2150
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The work extra continues east on Track 4 in Groton
The work extra continues east on Track 4 in Groton
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The work extra continues east on Track 4 in Groton
The work extra continues east on Track 4 in Groton
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Once they passed by, I headed for the post office – I needed to overnight my Day In North America submissions to Railroads Illustrated. Deadline is the 30th – so I was cutting it a bit close. But it’ll be there just under the wire…glad the USPS has Express Mail!

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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