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Railfan Photo Line - September 2010

Welcome to Photo Line! With the recent purchase of both the Florida East Coast Railway and RailAmerica by Fortress Investment Group, power short RailAmerica roads have been leasing spare FEC power that have been in ready storage in Florida. Railfans have been treated to FEC power visiting various RailAmerica roads across the country. Three of the four FEC units leased by the New England Central Railroad have made appearances in the Nutmeg State, making for some interesting photo ops. Photographer Tom Nanos takes us on a brief tour of the New England Central Railroad's operations in Connecticut.

FEC waiting for the handoff at New London, Connecticut

First unit ethanol train south on the NECR

The first unit ethanol train bound for Providence, RI over the Green Mountain Gateway Route (CP-VTR-NECR-PW) made its way south on March 11, 2010. On the last portion of the NECR leg, FEC SD40 #721 pauses in Willimantic, CT as the NECR crew is about to hand it off to the Providence & Worcester.


FEC waiting for the handoff at New London, Connecticut

FEC waiting for the handoff at New London, Connecticut

Here FEC GP40 #437 waits at the north end of the NECR's New London yard, as Providence & Worcester train NR-2X pulls an empty ethanol unit train into the yard off of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor on April 29, 2010. The NECR will pull the 80 empty ethanol cars north towards Vermont where it will be handed off to the Vermont Rail System.


Rolling north along the Thames River

Rolling north along the Thames River

With the train handed off, the NECR crew brings the empty ethanol cars north with a colorful power consist. Here the train is rolling north through Uncasville along the Thames River. Visible in the background is the Dow Chemical plant, a customer of the Providence & Worcester.


FEC in the Nutmeg State

Willimantic power swap

At Willimantic Yard we find FEC SD40 #722 sitting quietly as a southbound loaded ethanol unit extra crew pulls out a pair of Providence & Worcester B39-8s. The reason for the power swap in Willimantic is by timetable rules: Six-axle power is not allowed south of M.P. 27, which is about three miles south of Willimantic. Since the ethanol trains are destined for the Providence & Worcester, they brought a pair of units out to Willimantic from Plainfield for the NECR crew to use for the trip south. This move occurred on May 26, 2010.


Nightfall at Willimantic Yard

Nightfall at Willimantic Yard

A bit later that evening, before the ethanol extra crew returned to Willimantic with the PW power, the pair of six-axle EMDs still sat in Willimantic under a bright moon and clear sky. A couple hours later, some severe thunderstorms would move into the area. The lead clouds of the storm system were just coming into view when we composed this scene. I teamed up with Nick Palazini to execute the Lumedyne flash lighting for this shot.


Mid-summer fireworks over New London harbor

Mid-summer fireworks over New London harbor

New England Central Railroad put together an employee appreciation special that ferried a group of employees from Palmer, MA down to New London, CT to enjoy the fireworks over the harbor on July 10, 2010. Here, just as the finale was beginning, FEC #437 sits shut down as the everyone enjoys the finale to an exciting show.


Along the Middle River in Stafford Springs

Along the Middle River in Stafford Springs

With the fireworks over, the employee special made its trek back to Palmer, MA. Here the train is skirting along the Middle River in downtown Stafford Springs, CT at about 1:00 am on July 11, 2010. This was shot using a pair of synchronized studio flashes (one Lumedyne portable, and one Norman studio light) fired from the camera, lighting up the train, river and surroundings. While the train is only 20 miles from bringing everyone home to Palmer, this FEC unit is more than 1,400 miles from its home in Florida.


Railfan Photo Line welcomes your submissions. We're looking for a themed topic (and "theme" can be interpreted fairly broadly) with five to eight photos. Each photo should be no smaller than 14 inches (or 1024 pixels) across at 72 dpi (no verticals, please). Brief caption information must accompany each photo. The best way to submit Photo Line candidates is via e-mail with "Photo Line" in the subject line and no more than two photos attached per e-mail. Please send your submissions to Editor Steve Barry for consideration.

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