The last NR-2 of 2007 – OR – Snowstorm my ass 1


Today being a company holiday, I had the day off from work. And with the weather geeks calling for a significant snowfall last night and into this morning, I figured I might be able to get out in the pre-dawn hours and get up to Plainfield to catch Providence & Worcester train NR-2 and chase them down into the Norwich area in some nice fresh snow before heading home. Well, I caught the train, and that was about it. Needless to say, but the weather geeks botched the forecast yet again.

NR-2 is typically on duty at 0715 in Plainfield, so I aimed to get into the bustling metropolis of Connecticut’s Quiet Corner (it’s not called the Quiet Corner because the inhabitants are extremely shy, but instead there isn’t all that much out this way of the Nutmeg State) by 7am. I got there a bit early, so I scouted the line a bit to the south into Canterbury and Griswold.

By the time I got back to Plainfield yard, I began hearing chatter on the P&W frequency – NR-2 was beginning their day. A little while later, a lone GE B39-8 made its way down from the engine house and towards the Norwich Branch’s main.

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield, CT
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield, CT
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NR-2 heading for the main
NR-2 heading for the main
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I thought I heard a familiar voice on the radio, and as the locomotive pulled onto the main, my suspicions were right – Tom Mik was at the controls of the GE.

Tom at the controls of NR-2
Tom at the controls of NR-2
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As he passed by, he was surprised that I was driving my pickup. Well, I thought there would be snow, and also, it does give me a little higher vantage point, as you’ll see in a bit.

He continued to pull the engine past the switch, when his conductor got off to line it for the main.

NR-2s conductor heads across the tracks after lining the switch
NR-2s conductor heads across the tracks after lining the switch
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They then pulled back to cut a few cars off of a string tied down on the main, north of the old diamond

Backing up to pull some cars off of the main to head south
Backing up to pull some cars off of the main to head south
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Just then, a GE B40-8 made its way down from the engine house and waited for his cohort to clear the switch so he could head onto the main

NR-2s trailing power makes their way towards the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
NR-2s trailing power makes their way towards the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
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Once the air was connected, Mr. Mik pulled the short cut of cars south, as the 4003 waited nearby

NR-2s head end rolls past the former diamond location, as the trailing power waits
NR-2s head end rolls past the former diamond location, as the trailing power waits
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And the short train headed across Route 14A

NR-2s head end heads for the south end of Plainfield Yard to make up the rest of their train
NR-2s head end heads for the south end of Plainfield Yard to make up the rest of their train
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As soon as the train cleared the grade crossing, the B40 made their move towards the switch, and stopped short to line it for the main

NR-2s trailing power stops the throw a switch, while the head end makes up the southbound train
NR-2s trailing power stops the throw a switch, while the head end makes up the southbound train
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And then made its way south over Route 14A, as the head end began to pull another cut of cars from the string to the left

NR-2s trailing power crosses Route 14A in Plainfield as the head end prepares the train for the trip south
NR-2s trailing power crosses Route 14A in Plainfield as the head end prepares the train for the trip south
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At that point, I figured it was time to head to my first spot – just south of Clayville Pond in Griswold.

I got there a couple minutes before the train – they got their Form D from the dispatcher as I was heading to the spot on Lily Pond Rd. Here’s where having the truck gave me an advantage – I was able to climb in the bed and get my camera above the chain link fence on the bridge over the tracks. A minute or so later, NR-2 came rolling under me.

NR-2 rolls under Lily Pond Road, heading for the causeway through Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
NR-2 rolls under Lily Pond Road, heading for the causeway through Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
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Then they headed onto the causeway that splits the pond down the middle

NR-2 heads for the causeway through Clayville Pond in Jewett City CT
NR-2 heads for the causeway through Clayville Pond in Jewett City CT
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NR-2 crosses the causeway thorough Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
NR-2 crosses the causeway thorough Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
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The next spot I had in mind was down in Norwich by the Bob’s Furniture distribution warehouse, where the tracks, and Route 12, cross over the Shetucket River. I got there a couple minutes ahead of the train, and bagged a couple shots of them crossing the river in the less than ideal weather

NR-2 heads over a very calm Shetucket River in Norwich, CT
NR-2 heads over a very calm Shetucket River in Norwich, CT
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NR-2s tail end crosses the Shetucket River in Norwich
NR-2s tail end crosses the Shetucket River in Norwich
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Next I headed for a Bob LaMay spot – the truss bridge that spans the Quinnebaug River just before it empties into the head of the Thames River in Norwich. I got there a minute or so before the trains arrival, and once the crossing to the right of me activated, I got into position. I wasn’t able to get into Bob’s spot down by the water, but I got a so-so shot of the head end of the train crossing the river

NR-2 crosses the Quinnebaug River in Norwich, CT
NR-2 crosses the Quinnebaug River in Norwich, CT
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For my final shot of the day, I wanted to get them across the water as they headed south along the Thames River. Luckily they had some switching to do in Norwich Yard, or I would have never been able to get the shot – it seems that all the traffic lights on Route 12 were not cooperating with me. I got to Chelsea Landing while the train was working the yard.

But something happened while they were working the yard – the 3909 shut down. So they had to take the 4003 off of the tail end, and run it around to the head end so it could lead the train to New Haven. After reporting it to the dispatcher, and also giving him the heads up that they were 20 minutes from the Sub Base, they were on their way south again. I got my final shot of the day as some rain began to fall

NR-2, now with the 4003 on the point, heads south out of Norwich
NR-2, now with the 4003 on the point, heads south out of Norwich
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View in the gallery

Well, so much for snow shots today. Oh, well – at least I came away with some decent shots. As the train slipped out of view in the distance, I headed back to the house to get ready for our nice and easy New Year’s Eve at home. Just the wife & kids tonight.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all have a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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