Four trains at Niantic


With a successful morning walk yesterday, I figured I’d head down to Niantic again this morning and see how things panned out.  As you can tell by the title, things worked out rather well.

While catching up on the morning emails at work, I was also listening to the scanner, trying to figure out where P&W NR2 was.  Having to leave the office a couple times, I guess I missed them hitting Jewett City and passing Milepost 12 in Norwich because the first mention on the scanner I caught was them calling south of MP5 in Ledyard.  Previously that would have been a problem, but this morning I decided that my best bet would be to not shoot along the Norwich Branch for a while – I’ve been finding that I’ve been getting into a rut lately with the usual spots along the Thames – and shoot along the Shore Line.  So that was actually the perfect notice for me – I should have enough time to get down to the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, get a nice half mile walk in, and get a few shots before heading back the other half mile to the car.

While crossing the Gold Star bridge, I got a glimpse of the monster train I’d be photographing this morning.  Coming down the Thames was NR-2, consisting of two engines surrounding a whopping two covered hoppers.  I guess it was bigger than yesterday…but that’s fine.

By the time I got to the parking area at the west end of the path, I still didn’t hear Amtrak’s New London dispatcher let NR2 out onto the Shore Line.  My guess was they needed to do a little work in Fairview before heading west.  Either way, I grabbed my gear, and started towards the walkway.

While heading east, I heard something behind me.  A moment later, Amtrak train 190 rolled past me, and I got a few shots of them heading towards, and over, the Niantic River drawbridge.

Amtrak 190 heads east along the Niantic Bay boardwalk
Amtrak 190 heads east along the Niantic Bay boardwalk
REF#:01-20100305-420204365-_MG_4980.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:08:35
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/640)
Focal Length (mm)157.00 (157/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Amtrak 190 heads east along the Niantic Bay boardwalk
Amtrak 190 heads east along the Niantic Bay boardwalk
REF#:03-20100305-420204365-_MG_4986.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:08:52
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.001 s (1/800)
Focal Length (mm)179.00 (179/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Amtrak 190 crosses the Niantic River drawbridge
Amtrak 190 crosses the Niantic River drawbridge
REF#:05-20100305-420204365-_MG_4998.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:09:21
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)148.00 (148/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

OK, off to a decent start.  Now to continue east to the shot I was looking for – one at the boardwalk that is slated for demolition as a part of the bridge replacement project.

As I was approaching the westernmost end of the boardwalk, a large orange sign was placed in the path with the notice of the boardwalk’s closure.

Notice of the boardwalk's closure due to the construction of the new NAN drawbridge
Notice of the boardwalk's closure due to the construction of the new NAN drawbridge
REF#:06-20100305-420204365-_MG_5001.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:16:30
Aperturef/4.5
Exposure Time 0.001 s (1/1600)
Focal Length (mm)139.00 (139/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Even though it’s technically closed, people were still walking over the boardwalk.  Guess it’ll be a bit before they actually physically close it off.  Glad it’s still open so I can get a few more pictures.  Anyways, off in Niantic Bay, I noticed a US Coast Guard ship (looks like it may be a buoy tender, but I’m not positive) anchored with Plum Island in the background.  Of course I got a shot.

A USCG boat anchored in Niantic Bay with Plum Island in the background
A USCG boat anchored in Niantic Bay with Plum Island in the background
REF#:07-20100305-420204365-_MG_5007.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:20:36
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.001 s (1/1000)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Then it was time to wait for NR-2.

But that wait wouldn’t be too long – about 5 minutes after I walked the half mile to this point, the New London dispatcher gave NR2 the signal to head west on the Shore Line.  Now it wouldn’t be too much time before they got here.

A little while later, I could hear horns to the east – sounded like they were at Miner’s Lane, so they were getting close.  Right about that time, though, the New London dispatcher told NR2 that they’d have to tuck into the Ring’s End siding for 171 and 2150 to pass by.  Apparently 2150 was running on track 1 (where NR2 and 171 were), and would cross over back to track 2 at Crescent (a bit west of the boardwalk).  And since freights are a lower priority than scheduled passenger trains, NR2 gets put in the hole for 171.

Not long after that, NR2 came into view on the Waterford side of NAN – but with only one hopper and a gondola.  Guess they dropped one hopper and picked up the gon in Fairview.

Providence & Worcester train NR-2 comes into view on the Waterford side of NAN
Providence & Worcester train NR-2 comes into view on the Waterford side of NAN
REF#:08-20100305-420204365-_MG_5013.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:34:17
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And since they were crawling along, I was able to get a series of shots of them rolling along the boardwalk

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:10-20100305-420204365-_MG_5033.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:34:47
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:11-20100305-420204365-_MG_5041.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:34:56
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)168.00 (168/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:12-20100305-420204365-_MG_5049.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:35:03
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)107.00 (107/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Then finally the shot I was looking for

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:15-20100305-1320706060-_MG_9450.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:33:29
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

But of course, I wasn’t done.  Got to follow up with a couple going away shots

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:16-20100305-420204365-_MG_5056.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:35:33
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)114.00 (114/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:18-20100305-420204365-_MG_5070.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:36:08
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And one that struck me as I was walking back to the west end

NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
NR-2 continues west along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:19-20100305-420204365-_MG_5075.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:36:51
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)179.00 (179/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Not too bad overall.  But then I heard on the scanner the New London dispatcher talking to 171, and how he’s going to hold him at Crescent so 2150 can cross back over to track 2.  So that would mean at the very least I could shoot an NR2/171 meet.  But where?

I figured it was worth the walk to head further west past the pedestrian underpass that leads back up to the parking lot and check things out.  Well, I’m glad I did – I found a couple new angles!  On my way up, I got a quick shot of NR2’s nose peeking through the brush along the tracks.

NR-2, now tucked into the Ring's End siding in Niantic, waits for 171 and 2150 to pass
NR-2, now tucked into the Ring's End siding in Niantic, waits for 171 and 2150 to pass
REF#:20-20100305-420204365-_MG_5083.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:45:29
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)157.00 (157/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

But the shot I really liked was further up the hill.  The only thing is there were plenty of tall vines that were in the way.  So I did what any good photographer would do and did a bit of “landscaping.”  No, I didn’t go crazy, just snapped off the tops of some of the vines.  That opened up a nice window.

About 5 minutes later, 171 came into view, crawling over NAN

Amtrak train 171 creeps across NAN
Amtrak train 171 creeps across NAN
REF#:22-20100305-420204365-_MG_5097.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:55:32
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/640)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And then NR2s engineer got out of the cab to give the train a roll-by

NR-2 waits at the Ring's End siding for the two Amtraks to clear
NR-2 waits at the Ring's End siding for the two Amtraks to clear
REF#:23-20100305-420204365-_MG_5102.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:56:44
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

While 171 was slowly approaching, I got a couple shots of them, using some of the scenery in front of me

171 continues west along the boardwalk
171 continues west along the boardwalk
REF#:24-20100305-420204365-_MG_5109.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:57:11
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)157.00 (157/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

171 continues west along the boardwalk
171 continues west along the boardwalk
REF#:25-20100305-420204365-_MG_5111.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:58:04
Aperturef/10.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)179.00 (179/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Then finally the NR2/171 meet

171 passes by NR2 slowly
171 passes by NR2 slowly
REF#:28-20100305-420204365-_MG_5133.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:59:52
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And a wider shot of just 171

171 continues towards Crescent in Niantic
171 continues towards Crescent in Niantic
REF#:30-20100305-1320706060-_MG_9457.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2010:03:05 09:58:39
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)50.00 (50/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Not too bad at all.  Satisified with what I shot, I started walking back to the car.  But one shot struck my eye…not the greatest, but what the hell.

NR-2 still patiently waits in Niantic
NR-2 still patiently waits in Niantic
REF#:31-20100305-420204365-_MG_5152.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 10:02:38
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/500)
Focal Length (mm)179.00 (179/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Then just as I was about to duck under the tracks, 2150 came rolling by.  So I got a going away shot of them along the pathway

2150 rolls along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
2150 rolls along the Niantic Bay Boardwalk
REF#:33-20100305-420204365-_MG_5160.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:05 10:03:59
Aperturef/9.0
Exposure Time 0.002 s (1/640)
Focal Length (mm)100.00 (100/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And at that point I called it a morning – a pretty good morning at that!

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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