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Nocturnal NECR

Tonight I had to head into Willimantic to run an errand, but like the other night, I got a little sidetracked (pun intended) as I crossed over Bridge Street by the New England Central.

On my way to Stop-N-Shop, I traveled my usual route down Bridge Street in Willimantic.  As I crossed the tracks, I did my usual peek into the yard, and I saw the FEC 721 sitting on the P&W track, picking up the cars left there (probably by NERWNE).  So I fired up the scanner to see what was going on.  I sounded like they were still doing a bit of work, so I figured it would be best to hit S&S first and get my errand over with now.

After rushing through the grocery store, I got back into the car and headed back towards Bridge Street.  But as I was passing by the CL&P offices, I saw the train heading north – the tracks run right behind the substation to the rear of the offices.  A quick turnaround (ironically in what used to be known as the Iron Horse Cafe) and I was headed north.

On the way, I decided to make my first stop at Depot Road in Mansfield Depot, and get a shot from the west side of the crossing.  I got there with about 10 minutes to decide on my lighting and set up the shot.  Just as I finalized the Lumedyne location, the train started blowing for the Plains Road crossing about 3/4 of a mile to the south.

A few moments later, headlights appeared, and the train crossed over Depot Road

New England Central train NERWPA, powered by a lone FEC SD40-2, crosses Depot Road in Mansfield Depot, CT heading north to Palmer, MA
New England Central train NERWPA, powered by a lone FEC SD40-2, crosses Depot Road in Mansfield Depot, CT heading north to Palmer, MA
REF#:20091120-420204365-_MG_8760-Edit.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2009:11:20 20:40:22
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.008 s (1/125)
Focal Length (mm)24.00 (2400000/100000)
ISO1600
View in the gallery

A quick look at the LCD and I was happy with what I got.  So I packed up the Lumedyne and got back in the car.  I had a bit more time before I had to be back home, so I figured a quick run up to Stafford Springs was in order.  Oh, yeah, if you’re curious, the Lumedyne was to about 8 feet behind and to the left of me, and about 10 feet in the air.

Once again, I got to my spot along the Mill Ponds River about 5 minutes ahead of the train, so I could scout around a bit for the right positioning of myself and the light.  After figuring out the best spot, and firing off a couple test shots, I heard horns to the south – they were getting close.

Not much longer after that, the sound of flanges squealing on the sharp curves of Stafford Srpings were followed by blasts of the SD40s horns.  Soon after that, the train crawled into view, and I got my shot of them rolling along the river.

NECR train NERWPA heads north through Stafford Springs, CT along the Middle River
NECR train NERWPA heads north through Stafford Springs, CT along the Middle River
REF#:20091120-420204365-_MG_8767-Edit.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2009:11:20 21:15:21
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.013 s (1/80)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (1800000/100000)
ISO3200
View in the gallery

That was followed by a couple friendly hits of the horn from the engineer as the train rolled past me.  Another review of the LCD told me that one came out halfway decent as well.  And the light was again 10′ in the air, and about 25′ directly to my left, just out of the frame (for those who are familiar with the area, it’s centered on the bridge spanning the river).

With that in the bag, and me being pretty much out of time, I packed up the gear, and made my way home.  Not bad for only two shots.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

4 comments to Nocturnal NECR

  • David Jodoin

    Nice photos Tom.

  • Bryce Lee

    Looks good.
    Some questions…
    as to the Lumedyne, it’s on a tall tripod?
    And the tripod is part of the Lumedyne package as purchased?
    And your camera is on a tripod or handheld?

    Interesting to see the globe lights along the bank
    of the river, rather different.

    BTW we have some ex-FEC units on the Goderich-Exeter;
    we’re waiting to see one of those units plowing snow
    in the winter, and we will get winter here in Southern
    Ontario.

    • Bryce-

      Thanks! The Lumedyne head is on a 10′ light stand – essentially a tripod with a 10′ center column (telescoping of course). I’ve also got a 10′ extension cord for the head, so the pack is safely on the ground. Both the cord and stand are beyond the basic Lumedyne kit (which is the head, booster, battery & pack). Camera is handheld in both shots. I figure I can get away with handheld with the faster shutter speeds.

      That should be odd seeing an FEC unit plowing snow! Interesting how RailAmerica is spreading the spare FEC units around. We get to see one of the GEXR GP38s down this way every now & then – affectionately referred to as “Barney” by the crews. I got a few shots of it when I rode with a CSOR crew a couple years back. Click here for some photos of Barney on that CSOR ride.

      The globe lights were nice, and I worked to get them in. I’ll probably be shooting that angle again (probably along with a friend’s Lumedyne to add a bit more light), and will try to get a few more of the lights in – there are about a half dozen more beyond what’s in the frame here.

      -Tom

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