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View Full Version : P&W/NECR Passenger Extra - New London to Merrow, CT - 8/2/06



TomNanos
08-03-2006, 08:21 AM
Decided to take a half day from work yesterday (8/2) so I could chase & photograph the P&W passenger extra on the NECR. The train traveled from New London, CT all the way up to St. Albans, VT, but I only had time to chase it to Merrow, CT. Fellow photog Dave Parsons (wavey63 here) was also along for the ride. OK, enough blabbing, here's the goods.

Passenger consist tied down at New London station:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0358-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1361)
A westbound Acela pulls into the station passing the passenger cars:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0361-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1360)
http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0367-01~0.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1359)
New London station at dawn:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0389-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1358)
The train crossing a calm Winthrop Cove in New London, entering the NECR New London yard:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0425-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1357)
The observation car pulls around the bend with the Gold Star bridge in the
background:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0433-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1356)
Along the Thames River in Uncasville, CT:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0443-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1355)
Through Fort Shantok park in Uncasville:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0450-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1354)
Out of the haze in Franklin:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0470-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1353)
Crossing Route 207 in Lebanon:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0473-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1352)
Friendly wave from the engineer:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0481-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1351)
The "New Englander" pulls through Lebanon:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0484-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1350)
Ducking under Route 32 in Franklin:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0511-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1349)
Coming up on Merrow Road in Merrow, CT:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/wm_normal__MG_0556-01.jpg
(http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1348)
That's it! Had to get back to work after that.

Thanks for looking & enjoy!
-Tom Nanos

convergent
08-03-2006, 08:27 AM
My favorites are number 5 and the last one. When you chase a train, you chase a train?

For us uninitiated, how exactly do you go faster than the train to get shots like this. They are obviously taking a straight line and you are having to go all over the place, traffic lights, etc. I know when ever I ride on a passenger train, they seem to move pretty quickly and don't stop much at all. It is impressive to get this many shots.

Orgnoi1
08-03-2006, 08:30 AM
Nice chase and pictures!!! I really like the look of the Providence and Worchester car in trail.... thats cool... =)

aceman152
08-03-2006, 08:31 AM
Awesome shots.....how do you go about finding schedules and stuff and other information about trains?

TomNanos
08-03-2006, 08:41 AM
My favorites are number 5 and the last one. When you chase a train, you chase a train?

For us uninitiated, how exactly do you go faster than the train to get shots like this. They are obviously taking a straight line and you are having to go all over the place, traffic lights, etc. I know when ever I ride on a passenger train, they seem to move pretty quickly and don't stop much at all. It is impressive to get this many shots.
Hee, hee...gotta have my secrets... ;) :D

OK, kidding. The good thing with passenger operations on a primarily freight railroad like the New England Central is there's frequently slow orders on sections of track. Plus the overall passenger speed limit on the NECR, I believe, is only 35 MPH. So it's pretty easy to stay ahead of them. Plus around here, most of the mainlines are paralleled by 40-50MPH stretches of road. Route 32 roughly parallels the NECR main from New London to Palmer, MA. So stay on 32 and you'll find some spots. Also here in southern CT, we've got I-395. I used this between Uncasville and Franklin so I could do a touch more than the speed limit of 65 (about 15 over...ahem...shhhh...) to get ahead of them, since the spot in Uncasville required about a 5 minute hike from the parking lot.

The key is studying the maps before hand and knowing the photo spots, in addition to knowing not only the speed limits on the rail, but also the track conditions (slow orders, work areas, etc. - all can be gleaned from listening on the scanner when the train gets permission - called a track warrant or "Form D" - to move). A couple spots need a bit of a hike (like the Uncasville one), so I take that into account. Also traffic was taken into account - there's a couple nice spots in Norwich proper, but with the traffic in the morning, I would never have gotten to the grain silos in Franklin, or even Lebanon. Now if this was an Acela, or even an Amtrak regional on the Shore Line, forget it - you'll never chase one of those where their speed limit is around 90MPH...

Watch the September issue of Railpace - one similar to (and in my opinion better than) #5 should be on the back cover. :D ;)

And for the record, I shot 200 frames on this chase. Pretty typical for a short chase like this (4 or so hours). Some are being held back for magazines & books in the works and won't see the light of the web.

riderchick_05
08-03-2006, 08:42 AM
I like your shots, I like the lst one too! Some of them look like they would come from Germany..

TomNanos
08-03-2006, 08:49 AM
Awesome shots.....how do you go about finding schedules and stuff and other information about trains?
Thanks!

Schedules? There are no schedules. :D

As for finding out about trains like this - I know people who work for various railroads around southern New England. They hear something interesting, they send it my way so I can try to photograph it. Also, there's a bunch of railroad-specific Yahoo groups out there that deal with each of the New England railroads. There's employees from each railroad that are also fans that belong to these lists and post information as they see fit, in addition to other folks with connections who post info when they get it. It's actually pretty easy to find out what's going on where. This one was a special, so it doesn't happen much at all, especially since it was on two different railroads - the NECR and P&W. In fact, the passenger equipment left St. Albans, VT a little after 11pm last night to come back south. Should be back here in New London tomorrow sometime.


Nice chase and pictures!!! I really like the look of the Providence and Worchester car in trail.... thats cool... =)
Thanks Ross! Observation cars are always neat. Too bad this one doesn't have a porch on the back, but it's still better than an open vestibule... :D

And BTW, there's no "h" in Worcester.... ;)

Orgnoi1
08-03-2006, 08:52 AM
And BTW, there's no "h" in Worcester.... ;)

Hey I am a NYer... you have to forgive me...LOL

TomNanos
08-03-2006, 09:03 AM
Hey I am a NYer... you have to forgive me...LOL
Yeah, that's right....OK, I won't hold it against you. :D

convergent
08-03-2006, 09:16 AM
Hey I am a NYer... you have to forgive me...LOL

Yeh, and when he got done scanning his negatives, he stored them in the "draw" of his desk.

Tom, one other question on this series. You said this was a "special". I wouldn't think they'd get a lot of passengers on a "special", so why do it? If they are going slower than you can drive, there's no speed advantage... and if they don't do it on a regular schedule then people couldn't really plan on it.

TomNanos
08-03-2006, 09:30 AM
Yeh, and when he got done scanning his negatives, he stored them in the "draw" of his desk.

Tom, one other question on this series. You said this was a "special". I wouldn't think they'd get a lot of passengers on a "special", so why do it? If they are going slower than you can drive, there's no speed advantage... and if they don't do it on a regular schedule then people couldn't really plan on it.
OK, I guess I should back up a bit here. Forgot which audience this was (I originally wrote the post for railfan lists that have known about this move for a week or so and modified it a touch for here - guess I should have put the background info in :D). Passenger trains around here on the NECR or P&W, except for in the fall, usually don't involve the general public/commuters. That's the purview of Amtrak, Shore Line East and Metro North. Don't think like a New Yorker (no offense) - passenger trains are few and far between in the bulk of Connecticut. They do run specials in the fall that are sponsored by area orginizations (the museum I volunteer for runs a fall foliage special on the P&W every October), but that's it. This was a "special" in that all the lines ridden on (except for the mile or so of Amtrak trackage they need to get across the Thames River between Groton & New London) are freight railroads as a rule.

This train was not open to the public and had certian VIPs aboard - from what I hear it was the management of the Providence & Worcester Railroad, the New England Central Railroad and supposedly representatives of Toyota Motors. From what I've heard the intent of the special train was to tour the route potential autoracks (train cars filled with automobiles) would take, and what facilities each railroad had to offer to get those trains over the road. P&W is trying to expand the buisness at the port in Providence, RI, and one area to expand is autoracks. Right now it's looking like Volvos and Volkswagens will be coming into Davisville, traveling the P&W to Willimantic, then on to the NECR north to Canada. Toyota may be looking to either import more autos, or export autos assembled here in the US via Providence. From what I could tell by looking in the windows, there was 10-20 people aboard.

convergent
08-03-2006, 09:51 AM
Hey, that explains a lot. I am used to Amtrak being the only game in town... which is the case in Albany. You can hop on a train there and go just about anywhere in the country, provided you aren't in a real hurry. We lost out on the Accela deal which would have been pretty sweet... Boston or NYC in under 2 hours! As it is, it takes about 2 1/4 hours to get to Penn Station in NYC, which isn't too bad. Definitely something you can do for a day trip, albiet a long and tiring one. I've also taken the train when I've gone to Phili as well. It takes longer than flying, but I can work all the way down and I'm in the city when I get there.

ATVinBarbie
08-03-2006, 09:52 AM
VERY nice photos. :tup

I especially like #5 :love

zacker
08-03-2006, 10:32 AM
lol i say draw too! and Wash not Warsh! lol

Nice Photos tom... you do seem to have a great sense for train chaseing.. the conductors must think all you train guys look alike..lol I can hear it now, "Look, dont that guy look like the other guy from the last town, and didnt that guy look like the other one?"

TomNanos
08-03-2006, 10:39 AM
VERY nice photos. :tup

I especially like #5 :love
Nice Photos tom... you do seem to have a great sense for train chaseing.. the conductors must think all you train guys look alike..lol I can hear it now, "Look, dont that guy look like the other guy from the last town, and didnt that guy look like the other one?"
Thanks!

Heh, yeah, but most of 'em know me, so they're not surprised seeing me at various spots. ;) Chasing is fun - it is a definate adrenline rush trying to get from point to point ahead of the train - especially such a light train like this. Heavy trains are easy - so long as you know where the steep grades are, you can get ahead of them easily because they'll bog down to 5MPH going uphill. These guys were cruising at track speed (mostly between 35 and 40 MPH) most of the way. If I had time, I would have continuned up to at least Palmer or Three Rivers, MA, with a good 4-6 other stops in between. But work beckoned.... :(

ZR2Blazer
08-03-2006, 12:44 PM
Great pics....what is it with work always interupting the important things :dunno :roflmao