Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

NER Syracuse Day 1

Like last year, I am at the Fall NER Convention and will be posting what is going on here to my blog, at least once a day, maybe more. Day 1 (Thursday) is the drive up to Syracuse NY. I have not been this far west for an NER convention yet (furthest before was Utica, so the area is new to me.

CP Rail modeler Anton M. is joining me for this year's pilgrimage. We made our way into Syracuse by mid-afternoon. We were pacing an NYS&W train along I-81, but were unsuccessful in getting off in time to set up and get a picture. We did get to a good location but just as the engines were passing by. The train was moving! Once in Syracuse proper, we decided to check out the railfanning opportunities and headed towards the west end of the area near Solvay yard. Using the July Railfan & Railroad magazine we found an overpass and a road that put us trackside just east of Solvay yard. I got the scanner set up and soon we heard an Amtrak train approaching and it was quickly upon us. This was quickly followed by a CSX intermodal train. It was pretty easy to figure things out by having the R&R map with CP locations identified. It has been a while since I was able to do some real railfanning where there was a good density of trains and this was fun!

Next we tried to find where the NYS&W moves through Syracuse, and although we did, it was easy to get lost and stuck in downtown traffic. Eventually we maneuvered to CP 286 on the CSX just west of DeWitt yard. We found a good location trackside and were rewarded with a train right away. The scanner picked up notes from the Dispatcher about a train moving from track 2 to track 8 and we were able to see the switches being thrown to do this. Soon the train was snaking through switches and moving past us. The dispatcher was talking to another train with 5 cars for Solvay and soon that too was going past us.

We finished up by scouting out the DeWitt yard area to be prepared for more railfanning later in the weekend. Near the east end we found a god spot to watch as the yard switchers worked a cut of cars using a GP40-2 and a GP38-2.

As it was getting late we decided to head over to the hotel and get checked in. We are not at the convention hotel (it was full when I tried to book), but just down the road at the Hampton Inn. After getting checked in, we looked over the layout book and had time to visit a couple of layouts and get some dinner before calling it a day.

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