Ethanol Extra on the NECR and P&W 4


As some of you may know a unit ethanol train ran between North Dakota and Providence, RI, carried by a various number of railroads – the last two were the New England Central and the Providence & Worcester.  Well, as the schedule worked out, the NECR and P&W sections were to take place under cover of darkness.  But that never stopped me, so I decided to head out and do a little nocturnal photography.  Of course, that’s not all that came of this train – things changed after I left them in the wee hours.

The train, consisting of 80 loaded cars of ethanol, originated in North Dakota on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, where they ran it to Whitehall, NY, handing it off to the Vermont Rail System (here’s a Kevin Burkholder picture).  VRS then took the train to Bellows Falls, VT where it was handed off to the NECR (and here’s another of Kevin’s shots on the VRS), who in turn took the train south to Willimantic, handing it off to the P&W for the final leg.  Well, as things always are on the railroad, they don’t go as initially scheduled.  As it worked out, the train wasn’t into northern Massachusetts until around 11pm – which is about when I hit the road and started north to see where I could intercept it.

Well, after a little bit of a ride I got into Monson, MA by about midnight, where just as I was cresting the bridge over the NECR in the northern part of town, I saw a trio of headlights to the north coming my way.  Not having enough time to set up, I just sat near the tracks to make sure it was the ethanol extra before heading back south.

Moments later I got that confirmation – the train, powered by a trio of SD40s and a SD70 came rolling past me with 80 loads of ethanol (and a spacer car).  Now the chase was on!  I figured that my best bet for a shot, and having enough time to set up & test the equipment, would be Stafford Springs, CT.

I got to the spot along the Middle River in Stafford Springs and started setting up my gear.  This time, instead of just the Lumedyne, I also had a 200 watt/second Norman 2 head studio flash.  So that gave me three lights to point around the scene to try to light things up as the train passed by.  I decided to place the higher power Lumedyne behind me and to my right, and the Norman to my left with one head pointing at the stone bridge crossing the river, and the other pointed broadside at where the train will soon be.

Once all set up, I took a couple test shots – everything looked good.  Now to wait.  Well, not exactly – I deicded to take a number of photos of the surrounding scene of various exposures.  I was going to combine these using an HDR tool, then combine that resulting image with the final flashed image as the train rolled past.  So I got those in the camera, reactivated the flashes, and waited.

About 10 minutes later I heard horns to the north – here they come!  A little while after that, I could see a glow to the west as the extra approached.  Soon they were in view, and I fired off the shot.  Here’s the final shot, combined with the HDR shot.

New England Central Railroad ethanol extra heads through Stafford Springs, CT on its way to be handed off to the Providence & Worcester in Willimantic.  (HDR image with Lumedyne & Norman flashes)
New England Central Railroad ethanol extra heads through Stafford Springs, CT on its way to be handed off to the Providence & Worcester in Willimantic. (HDR image with Lumedyne & Norman flashes)
REF#:01-20100311-420204365-_MG_5679-hdr.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 00:53:27
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.005 s (499999/100000000) (1/200)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (1800000/100000)
ISO1600
View in the gallery

Then I got a few shots of the passing power – there were four six-packs here…

More power on the NECR ethanol extra
More power on the NECR ethanol extra
REF#:02-20100311-420204365-_MG_5680.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 00:53:39
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.005 s (1/200)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery

FEC 722 brings up the rear of the power, followed by a spacer and 80 loads of ethanol
FEC 722 brings up the rear of the power, followed by a spacer and 80 loads of ethanol
REF#:03-20100311-420204365-_MG_5681.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 00:53:47
Aperturef/6.3
Exposure Time 0.005 s (1/200)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO1600
View in the gallery

Pretty happy with what I got, I packed up the gear.  I ended up getting back on the road before the train cleared the area, so I could easily get ahead of them.

On the way south, I started contemplating my next spots, and scouted them out (MP48, West Willington, Mansfield Depot, Eagleville Dam), all of which didn’t really strike me.  So instead, I headed straight for Willimantic.

When I crossed Bridge Street, I was greeted by not only the P&W power for the extra, but also NECR train 610 was working in the yard.  I got one shot of the P&W power sitting as 610 shoved back into the yard.

The P&W ethanol extra power sits in Willimantic, as NECR train NERWPA (610) shoves back into Willimantic yard.
The P&W ethanol extra power sits in Willimantic, as NECR train NERWPA (610) shoves back into Willimantic yard.
REF#:04-20100311-420204365-_MG_5684.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 01:40:25
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time11.000 s (11/1)
Focal Length (mm)148.00 (148/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

Then one of the entire A-B-B-B-A set of P&W power

the Providence & Worcester's power for the last leg of the ethanol extra to Providence, RI
the Providence & Worcester's power for the last leg of the ethanol extra to Providence, RI
REF#:05-20100311-420204365-_MG_5700.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 01:58:36
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time16.000 s (16/1)
Focal Length (mm)82.00 (82/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

After a little bit of time, the NECR leg of the extra showed up.  First shot was of the headlights streaking out from behind the P&W power

The NECR ethanol extra appears behind the P&W's power waiting in Willimantic
The NECR ethanol extra appears behind the P&W's power waiting in Willimantic
REF#:07-20100311-420204365-_MG_5707.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 02:06:04
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 6.000 s (6/1)
Focal Length (mm)29.00 (29/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

Then a shot of the FEC 722

The NECR ethanol extra's lead unit - FEC 721 - waits for the conductor to cut the train off
The NECR ethanol extra's lead unit - FEC 721 - waits for the conductor to cut the train off
REF#:09-20100311-420204365-_MG_5710.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 02:07:11
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time11.000 s (11/1)
Focal Length (mm)21.00 (21/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

As the NECR crew cut the train off, I repositioned, and got a couple shots of the NECR power pulling away.

The NECR ethanol extra power, now cut off of the train, heads for Willimantic yard so the P&W can tie on
The NECR ethanol extra power, now cut off of the train, heads for Willimantic yard so the P&W can tie on
REF#:11-20100311-420204365-_MG_5712.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 02:09:48
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time15.000 s (15/1)
Focal Length (mm)26.00 (26/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

The NECR ethanol extra power continues towards Willimantic yard as the P&W power waits
The NECR ethanol extra power continues towards Willimantic yard as the P&W power waits
REF#:12-20100311-420204365-_MG_5713.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 02:10:22
Aperturef/5.0
Exposure Time 6.000 s (6/1)
Focal Length (mm)26.00 (26/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

At that point, I decided to head home – it was starting to rain pretty hard, and I really didn’t want to risk firing of multi-kilovolt flashes in the pouring rain and have them fry – that and it was about 2:30am.  So I headed home for some much needed sleep.

A few hours later, I got up and checked email and got a huge surprise.  Apparently the train had derailed some of the cars just outside of Willimantic yard.  So I got suited up and headed back out to check things out.

I got there just before the fire department and State Police, and walked down to the derailment site with a State Trooper.  I got one shot before that, which is the only one I’m going to release of the derailment.

The rear of the ethanol extra with a total of 4 cars derailed - two of which are visible.
The rear of the ethanol extra with a total of 4 cars derailed - two of which are visible.
REF#:01-20100311-420204365-_MG_5717.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 08:24:22
Aperturef/5.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO200
View in the gallery

After taking a few photos down around there, the FD and Police cleared the area.  On my way out, I spoke with Bob LaMay who was on his way out to catch the remainder of the extra, which was back underway and heading east to Plainfield.  So I decided to head out that way with him.

We decided to head to Packer’s Pond in Plainfield and get them near the waterfall.

With about 10 minutes, we picked our spots – Bob took position up by the tracks, and I went down into the river.  Soon after setting up, the train came into view, and I got my shot of them crossing the bridge overhead.

The remainder of the ethanol extra crosses the stream out of Packers Pond in Plainfield, CT
The remainder of the ethanol extra crosses the stream out of Packers Pond in Plainfield, CT
REF#:11-20100311-420204365-_MG_5847.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:04:35
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)15.00 (15/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

Then one of the ethanol cars

The remainder of the ethanol extra crosses the stream out of Packers Pond in Plainfield, CT
The remainder of the ethanol extra crosses the stream out of Packers Pond in Plainfield, CT
REF#:12-20100311-420204365-_MG_5858.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:05:01
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)15.00 (15/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

From there, I figured we’d have time to get to the crossing just west of the old diamond in Plainfield.

After the climb out, and the drive down, we did indeed get there before the train.  We got into position, and got our shots.

The P&W ethanol extra enters "GLUCK" in Plainfield, CT
The P&W ethanol extra enters "GLUCK" in Plainfield, CT
REF#:14-20100311-420204365-_MG_5898.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:12:32
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)87.00 (87/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

The P&W ethanol extra enters "GLUCK" in Plainfield, CT
The P&W ethanol extra enters "GLUCK" in Plainfield, CT
REF#:16-20100311-1320706060-_MG_9553.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:10:42
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.006 s (1/160)
Focal Length (mm)43.00 (43/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

A look at the ethanol cars
A look at the ethanol cars
REF#:17-20100311-420204365-_MG_5902.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:13:12
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)148.00 (148/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

And a couple going away shots

Heading for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
Heading for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
REF#:18-20100311-420204365-_MG_5916.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:13:37
Aperturef/5.6
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

Heading for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
Heading for the Norwich Branch in Plainfield
REF#:19-20100311-420204365-_MG_5931.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 10:14:36
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO800
View in the gallery

While sitting there, we met up with Dave Jodoin, who just overheard that they’d be changing crews at May St. in Putnam.  So we decided to head up that way and get the train there.

We got up there about 15 minutes ahead of them, so we spent the time talking about, well, stuff…

After a bit, the train appeared to the south

The ethanol extra rounding the bend in Putnam, CT where a crew change will occur before continuing on to Providence, RI
The ethanol extra rounding the bend in Putnam, CT where a crew change will occur before continuing on to Providence, RI
REF#:22-20100311-420204365-_MG_5951.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:17:55
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Then pulled up to the Putnam board

The ethanol extra coming to a stop in Putnam, CT where a crew change will occur before continuing on to Providence, RI
The ethanol extra coming to a stop in Putnam, CT where a crew change will occur before continuing on to Providence, RI
REF#:23-20100311-420204365-_MG_5961.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:18:55
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)107.00 (107/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

With that in the camera, I got a wider shot of the fans as well as the train

The fans at Putnam, CT get their shots
The fans at Putnam, CT get their shots
REF#:24-20100311-1320706060-_MG_9565.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 40D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:16:52
Aperturef/8.0
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/320)
Focal Length (mm)18.00 (18/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Once the train stopped, the group decided to head up to the French River in Thompson, but I had to get back home, so I got into position to get a few overhead shots of the train heading out with the fresh crew.  After a few minutes, they began heading north again

With a fresh crew, the ethanol extra continues north on the Norwich Branch
With a fresh crew, the ethanol extra continues north on the Norwich Branch
REF#:26-20100311-420204365-_MG_5978.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:26:56
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

With a fresh crew, the ethanol extra continues north on the Norwich Branch
With a fresh crew, the ethanol extra continues north on the Norwich Branch
REF#:27-20100311-420204365-_MG_6003.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:29:06
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)70.00 (70/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

And one of just the cars, still coming around the corner

A look at the ethanol cars from above
A look at the ethanol cars from above
REF#:29-20100311-420204365-_MG_6004.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:29:34
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)70.00 (70/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

Finally a couple going away shots looking north

The ethanol extra continues north through Putnam, CT
The ethanol extra continues north through Putnam, CT
REF#:30-20100311-420204365-_MG_6009.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:30:18
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

The ethanol extra continues north through Putnam, CT
The ethanol extra continues north through Putnam, CT
REF#:32-20100311-420204365-_MG_6053.jpg
Taken withCanon EOS 50D
Date Taken2010:03:11 11:31:13
Aperturef/7.1
Exposure Time 0.003 s (1/400)
Focal Length (mm)200.00 (200/1)
ISO400
View in the gallery

With that in the bag, I headed back to the car and home.  Not a bad previous 12 hours…

Thanks for looking!
Tom


Leave a Reply

4 thoughts on “Ethanol Extra on the NECR and P&W

    • Tom Nanos Post author

      Thanks Dave! I can imagine it was a little reluctant to start rolling again… No problem – I actually wasn’t paying attention to who the new crew was, and didn’t realize you were on it…

  • John Smythe

    Hi, You did a great job staying with this event, capturing as much as possible . I am the owner of New England Railfan . com It would be an honor to have you as a member to post news events ans detailed photos to my site. Check out my site and e mail me as well and tyrto keep it new england based or near as possible. Thanks.

    Regards,

    John Smythe

    http://www.newenglandrailfan.com