4 Trains in 90 Minutes 1


This past Monday I had to take the day off for a midday doctor’s appointment.  So I had a few hours to kill in the morning – why sleep when you can be out taking pictures!  My intentions were to catch Providence & Worcester train NR-2 somewhere between Plainfield and Groton, then head to the doctor’s appointment in Bolton.  Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned – I did catch NR-2, along with P&W NR-3, New England Central NERWNE and Amtrak 190, all within a span of less than an hour and a half.  Hey, not all botched plans are bad.

So my intention was to head out of the house at my normal time, and set my sights on Plainfield.  Hopefully I could catch NR-2 getting ready to pull out of town, and chase them south.  As usual, I ended up getting out a little later than I wanted, but still decided to head for Plainfield.

By the time I got there, NR-2 was pulling across Railroad Avenue onto the Norwich Branch, and into the yard south of the grade crossing.  OK, timing wasn’t bad, but are they highballing south, or do they need to do a bit of switching?

As they cleared the crossing, I got my answer on the scanner – the conductor hopped off and was preparing to pick up some cars from the yard.  OK, that gave me a bit of time to get ahead of them.  But as I looked down at the dash a little yellow light in the shape of a gas pump reminded me of something – “E” doesn’t stand for Enough gas in the tank.

After a quick stop at the gas station – all the while listening to the switching on the scanner – I was now set to head south.  Well, almost.  I never got breakfast either.  And being diabetic, I really couldn’t go without food for my entire intended trip.  So a quick stop at McD’s on Route 12 was in order.

With sandwich in hand, I got back into the car and was greeted by NR-2 getting their Form D from the Worcester dispatcher, and reporting that they were southbound out of TAR.  Great…now where can I catch them first?

I figured with the track speeds, and what I can do on Route 12, my best bet would be down near the Lisbon/Norwich line.  Once I got there, however, that wouldn’t work – as I pulled off of the road near the town line, I noticed something new – big “NO TRESPASSING – STATE PROPERTY” signs at the paths leading down to the tracks.  Crap!  Not wanting to tempt fate, I gave up on the shots here and continued into Norwich.

With the extra time ahead of the train I had, I figured on checking out the side streets off of Route 12 through downtown Norwich for any new angles.  Well, as I was on my 3rd street, I heard NR-2 talking to the brushcutting crew just to the north that they were clear of their work area – then suddenly, they came into view.  Crap!

Back onto Route 12 heading south to find my spot.  I decided that where the tracks skirt the Shetucket River and run along 12 would be a good spot.  I’d have time since they’d have to slow down to roll through downtown Norwich.

And I did have time – enough to park, get my gear, and walk to my spot.  When I got there, NR-2 was sounding for the crossings to the north, and after a few, came into view.

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls through Norwich, CT
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls through Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

Then a wider shot as they rolled past me

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls through Norwich, CT
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 rolls through Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

Then something unusual – a locomotive in the middle.

A locomotive mid-train on NR-2
A locomotive mid-train on NR-2
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View in the gallery

Looks like they were going to drop the Tilcon cars in Fairview, then head west on Amtrak.  Speaking of Tilcon cars, I got a shot of them streaking past a mailbox in Norwich.

Tilcon hoppers roll through Norwich, CT
Tilcon hoppers roll through Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

From there, I figured my best bet would be to get down to either Stoddard Cove or MP7.  With the calm wind, a nice reflection shot was in order – even though it was cloudy as hell.

I ended up at MP7, and walked out to the tidal pool.  The tide was low enough for me to get out and do a near broadside shot of the train as they rolled past.  But first, I got a long shot of them rolling along the Thames up in Preston.

NR-2 heads through Preston, CT along the Thames River
NR-2 heads through Preston, CT along the Thames River
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View in the gallery

A couple minutes later, the rumbling of the train grew louder, and they appeared behind a swan’s nest

NR-2 appears near milepost 7 in Ledyard, CT, as a pair of swans guards their nest
NR-2 appears near milepost 7 in Ledyard, CT, as a pair of swans guards their nest
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View in the gallery

NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
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View in the gallery

Then a couple wide shots of them rolling along the water – one of the lead power, and one of the mid-train GE

NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
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View in the gallery

NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
NR-2 rolls along the tidal pool nearl MP7 in Ledyard, CT
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View in the gallery

Back up at track level, I got a shot that’s only possible now that the brushcutters have come through

All of NR-2 is visible as they head south towards Dow Chemical in Ledyard, CT
All of NR-2 is visible as they head south towards Dow Chemical in Ledyard, CT
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View in the gallery

With plenty of time until my doctor’s appointment, I headed down to Groton to see what I could catch there.  Soon after parking the car south of the drawbridge, Amtrak train 190 crossed the Thames River

Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River
Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River
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View in the gallery

Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River
Amtrak train 190 crosses the Thames River
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View in the gallery

As that happened, NR-2 was still switching in Fairview, so I opted to head north.  I still had time, but wanted to see if I could catch NECR train NERWNE somewhere.  So I crossed the Thames, and headed up Route 32.

As I continued north through Norwich, I heard what sounded like P&W train NR-3 on the scanner.  As I got close to the head of the Thames River, it was clear that NR-3 was working in Norwich yard across the water.  So I headed back south a bit to catch them across the river from the NECR’s Thamesview siding.

It wasn’t much of a wait before NR-3 came into view.

P&W NR-3 appears across the Thames River in Norwich, CT
P&W NR-3 appears across the Thames River in Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

Then the end of the train came into view rather quickly.

A short NR-3 appears across the Thames River in Norwich, CT
A short NR-3 appears across the Thames River in Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

And one final shot as they rolled along the river

NR-3 skirts the Thames heading south through Norwich
NR-3 skirts the Thames heading south through Norwich
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View in the gallery

As they headed out of sight, I was thinking that this was a nice surprise.  And just as I was getting into the car, something to the north caught my eye – a trio of headlights on the NECR main!  Here comes NERWNE.

Looking at my watch, I had a little time, so I got a few shots of WNE switching the south end of Thamesville.

New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
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View in the gallery

NERWNE's engineer Hans looks back as he shoves cars into the Thamesville siding
NERWNE's engineer Hans looks back as he shoves cars into the Thamesville siding
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View in the gallery

New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
REF#:24-20090518-_MG_3786.jpg
View in the gallery

New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
New England Central train NERWNE works the south end of the Thamesville siding in Norwich, CT
REF#:29-20090518-_MG_3799.jpg
View in the gallery

Then it was time to hit the road for the doctor’s.  I got there with 5 minutes to spare.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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One thought on “4 Trains in 90 Minutes

  • George Raymond

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for all the work you (and your daughters!) put into taking these photos and writing them up. I made a rare visit to southern New England in Feb-March but only had time to see the part of P&W around my native Middletown CT. But coming flying down the New England coast toward JFK I was very pleased to spot the “twin towers” at the mouth of the Thames River.

    George