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Edition #61, September 1, 2007

Smoke On The Water

Photographer: Tom Nanos

                               Photo by Tom Nanos

Smoke On The Water

Sometimes itís the shots that you donít plan in advance that turn out to be the best of the bunch. Hereís the story of one.

Back in January & February of 2006 the Providence & Worcester Railroad in conjunction with three other New England Railroads Ė New England Central, Vermont Rail and Canadian Pacific Ė ran a series of unit coal trains from Providence, RI to Johnson City, NY. The roundabout route brought the train through my home state of Connecticut on both the P&W and NECR lines Ė all the while powered by a quartet of P&W GEs.  So for the first run, set for January 14th, I planned on chasing and photographing the train at various points through the state.

Of course, Mr. Murphy and his law also apply to railfanning. The day the train was running not only had a heavy overcast of clouds, but also started out with torrential downpours and gusty winds.

The first half a dozen spots I had pre-chosen yielded some decent photos, but werenít quite top-notch. By the time I got up into the Mansfield, CT area along the New England Centralís Palmer Subdivision, the rain had subsided, and the winds calmed but overcast skies prevailed. The shot I had planned at the Eagleville dam failed miserably. So I decided to sit for a moment and enjoy the train crawling up the grade on the opposite side of the Willimantic River.  At that time for some reason I looked to the north, noticing that the river was quite calm just above the dam and a fine mist was forming over the water. The proverbial light bulb went off over my head. A quick sprint about 20 yards to the north, while swapping the wide angle for the telephoto, yielded the above photo.  Iím glad I botched the shot at the dam. If I had bagged it, I surely would have been in my car and on my way to the next pre planned spot.

Tom Nanos

New England Railroad Photography

Volunteer - Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum, Willimantic, CT


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