Finally getting through the backlog, and starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  A couple weeks ago I took Thursday the 23rd off from work for a couple reasons.  First, my oldest daughter had a half day from school, and the youngest one had a doctor’s appointment.  Since my wife hasn’t cloned herself yet (appt. was at the same time as the bus was dropping off), I had to get the big one off of the bus.  But with some time before that happened, I headed out first thing in the morning to Plainfield to meet up with Nick Palazini and hopefully chase the two Providence & Worcester jobs that run south out of there – NR-2 and NR-3.  But as with anything railroad related, nothing goes as planned.

Nick & I planned on meeting up in Plainfield at about 7am, and hopefully we could catch both P&W trains NR-2 and NR-3 heading out of Plainfield, and chasing them south.

Not too long after we arrived, NR-2’s power rolled down from the engine house and onto the Norwich main.  What was odd, though, was that they weren’t getting any cars, and just moving down to the south end of the yard.

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads south out of Plainfield as light engines
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 heads south out of Plainfield as light engines
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Well, when they didn’t stop to pick up any cars, we figured they were heading out of town as just light engines…not the most interesting thing to shoot, but I figured it was worth a try.  Hell, we’d just be sitting around waiting for NR-3 to come on duty, so why not?

Well, because of some slow drivers, and uncooperative traffic lights, we barely caught up to them at Clayville Pond in Griswold.  Just as we pulled onto the bridge north of the pond, NR-2 blasted south below us.  That gave me enough time to jump out of the truck, into the bed, and snap a shot of them rolling away from us along the causeway that bisects the pond.

NR-2 rolls along Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
NR-2 rolls along Clayville Pond in Griswold, CT
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Nick passed on the shot, though…

After that, we figured it would be next to impossible to catch them, so we headed back for Plainfield to wait for NR-3

While sitting around waiting and BS-ing at Plainfield, we noticed the track crew heading this way.  So what the hell, something different to shoot.  Looks like they were heading down the Willimantic branch to do some work to the west.

P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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Detail on one of the Maintenance of Way machines
Detail on one of the Maintenance of Way machines
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
P&W track crew heads out to work on the Willimantic Branch
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Also shot a flock of birds that were heading overhead

Some geese flying overhead
Some geese flying overhead
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After the crew made their way west, we went back to the bullshit session while waiting for NR-3 to come into view.

Not long after that, NR-3 came rolling into view.

NR-3s power comes down from the engine house in Plainfield
NR-3s power comes down from the engine house in Plainfield
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NR-3 grabbing cars in Plainfield
NR-3 grabbing cars in Plainfield
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And the head end power made their way onto the Norwich main, and tied onto the string of cars on the main, left by WONR.

NR-3 grabbing cars in Plainfield
NR-3 grabbing cars in Plainfield
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All the while, the trailing power waited on the wye

NR-3s trailing power waits on the wye
NR-3s trailing power waits on the wye
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While they were moving cars around, a couple shots just struck my eye…so of course I took the shots!

Not sure why, but it just struck me...
Not sure why, but it just struck me...
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Some grafitti caught my eye on the way by, especially since I took the day off from work...
Some grafitti caught my eye on the way by, especially since I took the day off from work...
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Then they were ready to finally assemble the train for the trip south

NR-3s power
NR-3s power
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NR-3s trailing unit heads for the main
NR-3s trailing unit heads for the main
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NR-3s trailing unit comes in for a hitch with the rest of the train
NR-3s trailing unit comes in for a hitch with the rest of the train
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While they were doing their final preparations for the trip south, Nick & I decided to get a head start and get into position just south of the yard limits board.  After a little wait (and more BS-ing), NR-3 rolled into view

NR-3 heads southbound past the TAR yard limits
NR-3 heads southbound past the TAR yard limits
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NR-3 rolls south amongst the changing fall colors
NR-3 rolls south amongst the changing fall colors
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NR-3 rolls south amongst the changing fall colors
NR-3 rolls south amongst the changing fall colors
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And now the chase was on…  After getting in the cars, we headed south on Route 12.  This time people actually got out of our way, instead of driving 10 under the speed limit!  Unfortunately, we didn’t beat them to Clayville Pond, so I tried a pacing shot through the trees.

Pacing NR-3 through the trees on Route 12 along Clayville Pond
Pacing NR-3 through the trees on Route 12 along Clayville Pond
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But our next stop was the Shetucket River, on the Lisbon/Norwich line.  With the speed reduction through Taft’s Tunnel, we were able to get ahead of the train by about a minute or so, giving us enough time to get down by the river bank and shoot them crossing the bridge.

NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
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NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
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NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
NR-3 crossing the Shetucket River on the Norwich/Lisbon town line
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More speed restrictions through Norwich gave us the time to get down to the south end of the short Norwich tunnel and get a shot of them pulling through.

NR-3 emerging from the Norwich Tunnel near milepost 12 in Norwich
NR-3 emerging from the Norwich Tunnel near milepost 12 in Norwich
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And a shot of the trailing power through the signals near MP12

NR-3 heading into the Norwich yard
NR-3 heading into the Norwich yard
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Then the final shot we were planning on – one looking down the yard.  We figured this would be it because it would be next to impossible to catch them once they get rolling out of the yard.

NR-3 slowing down to work the south end of the Norwich yard
NR-3 slowing down to work the south end of the Norwich yard
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But once we got back to the cars, we could hear over the radio that they’d be doing a little work here in Norwich, which should give us enough time to get ahead of them.  We figured we might have enough time to get to the Route 2A bridge in Preston.  So we set our sights on that area.

But on the way south, I figured it would be too close for us to walk all the way out from the commuter lot on Route 12.  So we headed for the little tidal pond near MP7 in Ledyard.

We got there a couple minutes before we heard NR-3 to the north, confirming my feeling that we never would have made it out on the bridge in time.  Moments later, NR-3 rolled across the causeway

NR-3 rolls along the tidal pool near MP7 in Ledyard
NR-3 rolls along the tidal pool near MP7 in Ledyard
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NR-3 rolls along the tidal pool near MP7 in Ledyard
NR-3 rolls along the tidal pool near MP7 in Ledyard
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And at that point we called it a day.  Hey, despite the crappy weather (the weather-geeks were calling for sunny skies – that didn’t happen until I got home!), we did rather well. Stay tuned for Part II…

Thanks for looking!
Tom

2 thoughts on “Oct 23rd Part I – Chasing the P&W with Nick

  1. Tom

    Great photos as always, but I missed the link to the album. I enjoy using the slideshow instead of having to call them up one at a time.

    Bill G

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