Old 02-10-2007, 04:33 PM   #1
Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
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Default Need help deciding...

I know only a small part of the members can help me out here, but I'm stuck. I am planning a trip up to Vermont over President's Day weekend to chase the VRS train from Rutland to Bellows Falls, but I need ideas on what to do while getting up there Friday.

As of now my plan is to leave the house around 5AM and get up to Peekskill, NY around 8AM. Hang out here until I see something on the River Line or until 11AM or Noon the latest. According to Mapquest it is only a 4 hour trip from Peekskill to Rutland which allows a lot more time to railfan. Here's where it gets tougher, I want to be in Bellows Falls or Rutland about an hour before darkness (not sunset) so I can scout the line a little before Saturday.

The plan I have in mind is to follow the CSX line north until Albany and then shoot across to North Adams and hope to see something on the Guilford. When I get to the NECR just east of East Deerfield I would follow that north into Bellows Falls.

The other option I thought of is to follow the CP (D&H) along the Hudson until I could shoot over into Vermont and then scout the VRS line.

I am trying to find locals or trains to play around with up in the area Friday, but can't seem to find any guarantees.

BTW, here's another twist in the plot. I am going to be traveling with my Dad who doesn't want Friday to be a strictly driving day so I am trying to find the route with the best chance to see/chase something. And you thought it would be easy?! If anyone can help me make up my mind it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

P.S. Another part of my trip plan for Friday is to catch the Amtrak trains into Bellows Falls @ 5:45PM and Rutland @ 8:10PM.
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Last edited by Andrew Blaszczyk (2); 02-11-2007 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 10:40 PM   #2
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message was too long Ed
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spinner of many antennas as well as tall tales and some outright lies..

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Old 02-11-2007, 05:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EdM
ah., 'tis my stamping grounds Ed
Insightful...
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
I know only a smart part of the members can help me out here, but I'm stuck.
I am not a smart part of the membership, therefore I cannot help. Honestly, by the sound of your post you don't need help anyway. Flip a coin, or ask your Dad for advice!
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ccaranna
I am not a smart part of the membership, therefore I cannot help. Honestly, by the sound of your post you don't need help anyway. Flip a coin, or ask your Dad for advice!
HAHAHA! Sorry bout that one, Chuck (and everyone who has read it) that was a serious typo on my part and should have read "small part" as in those who are familiar with the lines in question. The problem with asking my Dad is that he has little to no knowledge of the traffic levels on these lines. My dilemma is where is my best chance to see something running so we are not totally bored driving all day.

I guess the real question in my post should have been how would you do it? It being travel from NJ (departing at 5AM) to VT (arriving in Rutland at 3PM or Bellows Falls at 2PM). A route along an active RR (with some sort of traffic) is preferable. Thanks again and sorry for the misunderstanding.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:23 AM   #6
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Andrew,,

You have a few options and you'll have to decide what fits your time best as I don't know how long it will take you to get to the NY border and what the weather has to offer. I'd take 287 into 87 and head north and you could just skip some chance areas and just go right to Selkirk yard giving a guarantee of seeing action and scope around there till it's time to head north some more.

Since you'll be heading north in the early day hours you'll want to catch more southbounds as the Riverline presents far more angles with the low winter sun. You could get onto 202 and start following the Riverline on Rte 9W from Haverstraw north keeping in tune with the scanner to give you hints of action above or below you. Like I was told with the new sidings they seem to hold several trains while several run one direction and once the others start you have 3-6 trains all in a "parade" and this has both times I was there in the last 3 weeks.

I think one of the better areas to catch some action (hopefully southbounds) would be the Iona Island area and it would give you a easy area to reset or make sure the plan is in order as far as being away from traffic on the Iona Island access. There is always Storm King but with the weather moving in and with some that has passed I have no idea if 218 is still open.

What is great about being on 9W is the fact you can get to the tracks so quickly and aside from some of the towns where you have to slow you can keep up a 50 mph speed or better. If you were to think of the Wilbur Trestle in Kingston, noontime would be a bad angle for there, IMO.

North of Saugerties around the West Camp area there are a couple of roads that are decent crossings to the tracks on the right and you also have the controlled siding a bit north of that too. One road, Embrought Rd is a good area with a nice setting of a field as a backdrop to the tracks.

North of there is Catskill and another Trestle that crosses right over 9W and you could drive a bit more north and park in this Italian Eatery and take pictures on the bridge of trains running either way. You get a warning from detectors in either direction too. If you want I can go into more detail on this if you are drawn to a particular spot.

There you have Selkirk yard which well has many options with a bridge at each end and "Ben's Bridge" in the middle.

If you want to chance seeing some Guilford action, you could zoom up to Mechanicville and hope to catch a freight coming or going or maybe a bit of yard action. Then you cold take Rte 4 into Rutland or go south a bit and take 7 to 9 to 91 into Bellows Falls. I wonder if you plan on trying to get a picture of a train going through the tunnel in Bellows Falls? It's a neat thing to see but a tough angle to work with, there is still some old equipment sitting in the area though.

Hope this helps and will try to give more details of certain spots.

Rich Clark
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:58 PM   #7
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Drew,

I railfanned the VRS quite often, and my parents still live local to the area. I don't know what exact date you had in mind to do this, but keep in touch, as I have to make a trip up there sometime this month.

FWIW, it shouldn't even be 4 hours to Rutland (directly) from Peekskill, as it's only 5 hours from my location in eastern PA. Jump across the Hudson to I-87 and take that north to Lake George, get off and follow NY 149 / US 4 eastward to Rutland, probably a 3 hour drive.

Working Peekskill to Rutland as your planning to will be more than 4 hours, I guarantee it. Especially by way of Albany, North Adams, East Deerfield & Bellows Falls. The drive from Bellows Falls to Rutland is a good 75 minute drive on VT 103, due to all the small towns you pass through.

The 263 is the flagship train on the GMRC, and they are marked for 0800 Monday through Saturday last I recall. You won't get daylight too far past 5:30pm up there this time of year.

My advice, unless you're trying to make a vacation out of a daytrip, get up earlier & shoot directly to Rutland with plans to be in town by 8am. Guilford is too hit or miss, IMO, and CSXT is just bland ~ worth a day in it's entirety if you're into that sort of thing.

If you're intent on messing around Friday on the way north, try the Housatonic out of Canaan, CT. It's right on US 7, and you can chase them to your heart's content, then have a leisurely drive up US 7 to Rutland for the evening.

Another option is to scrap Peekskill, as most (all?) commuter movements have their power on the north end. They most likely won't be nose lit this time of year. Head straight for Bear Mountain or further north up the River Sub, skirting along on US 9W. Eventually, you should catch something, or a flurry of them...esp. on a Friday I'd think. You'll get to Selkirk eventually, and from there you can jump on I-87 for the trip into Vermont. It sounds to me as if you're trying to cram way too much into a day trip, which is just transfer to be in place for the VRS come Saturday morning.

How I'd do it?

Friday:
- I-287 to I-87 @ Suffern, NY.
- I-87 to Kingston, NY exit
- US 9W along CSXT mainline hoping for some southbounds (NB's won't have light on them anywhere), all the way to Selkirk / Albany.
- Back on I-87 to Lake George
- NY 149 / US 4 to Rutland...in town by 2-3pm, should be plenty early enough to catch "something" in town, or at least the 264 returning from Riverside, VT.
- Stay the night in Rutland, with intentions of shooting the inbound AMTK.

Saturday:
- Chase the 263 over the mountain to Bellows Falls, this will be about a 3-hour chase (9am-Noon), or possibly longer.
- Options: Fart around DA, get lunch...sit on your thumb for Amtrak after 5pm (dark anyway); or chase the 264 back to Rutland as far as you can.

Not sure what you had in mind for Sunday, but I'm not sure what runs over NECR or VRS that particular day. Had this been a weekday, I'd say spend Sunday night around Burlington to chase the chip train out of St. Albans or something.

For Rich, I think the DA Tunnel is still nocturnal movements only. That seemed to be the indication on the NECR Yahoo list a few weeks ago before I jumped off of it.

Last edited by Fotaugrafee, Ink.; 02-15-2007 at 12:03 AM.
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