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Thread: A day out with my daughter

  1. #1
    TomNanos Guest

    Default A day out with my daughter

    Everyone needs a day away from the rigors of daily life to decompress a bit - a so-called sanity day. Well, my wife & I noticed that our 3 year old daughter was craving some one-on-one attention away from her 16 month old little sister. So this past Friday I decided to take the day off from work and take her out for the day. I gave her a list of a few different things we could do together - one of which was to watch trains. As soon as she heard that, her face lit up and said "Daddy, let's go watch trains go by," while waving her index finger through the air like she was pointing at a passing train. So it was off to the pickup truck to set up her booster seat, and load in the diaper bags, potty (for her), camera and other essentials for a day trackside.

    We headed out at about 9am with no agenda in mind. First up, though, was to top off the tank with some ($2.39 a gallon!) diesel fuel. Looking at the time, I figured we could catch the New England Central 608 job somewhere south of Willimantic to start out with. So it was south on Route 32 out of Willi for us.

    While enjoying her rare front-seat view, she made it clear where the tracks were, and that trains go over them. As we were approaching Franklin, we could hear some activity on the scanner. yep, 608 was working the Cargill feed plant in Franklin. We pulled in there, and watched the "yellow and blue train" for a while (no names yet, just colors). While she was enjoying the switching moves, the scanner squaked some more - this time it was on the Providence & Worcester frequency. Looked like P&W train NR-2 would be in the picture some time soon. Once she had her fill of the NECR, it was off to Norwich to head south on Route 12, which parallels the P&W Norwich Branch all the way to Groton, where it joins Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

    Not sure if we were ahead of the train or not, I opted to head to Stoddard Hill State Park in Ledyard, where there's a nice view over Stoddard Cove of the P&W main. We sat there for a minute, until we heard a low rumble. Sure enough, NR-2 came rolling along at track speed. "Daddy, I saw the red train! Can we chase it?" How can I refuse that?

    So we jumped back on Route 12 south, and made a bee-line for I-95 south and the Gold Star Bridge to head over the Thames River to New London. Next up we would try to catch them coming into the New England Central yard.

    We got to the trestle that brings the lead from the NEC over Winthrop Cove into the NECR yard when I noticed I didn't have Amtrak's frequencies active on the scanner. wonder why I didn't hear the call to Shoreline from NR2 to get clearance to head west. Luckily when I switched on the frequencies, NR2 was just reporting to the Shoreline dispatcher that they would be heading straight to Old Saybrook. Damn, we could never catch up to them. Plan B....

    Since by now it was nearing 11am, we decided to hit McD's in Niantic for some lunch. After our noon repast, we got back in the truck and started heading toward the I-95 onramp. As we were just getting onto the highway, the scanner started talking again - NR-2 was ready to head east out of Saybrook. Dispatcher informed them that they'd be behind a northbound Acela that was due into OSB any time. OK, not bad - we can get to a spot in Niantic where we can watch the trains go by from the truck with a nice view of Niantic Bay (and the Millstone Nuclear Power complex) in the background.

    We got there in plenty of time to catch both the Acela and NR-2 heading east. More smiles from the little girl in the passenger seat. The Acela passed with a "I saw the fast blue train!" comment. After NR-2 passed, the question came again - "can we chase the red train, daddy?" Talk about a proud pappa!

    So we were off again. Next stop was the trestle over Winthrop Cove in New London again. This time we'd be sure to catch them.

    As we pulled into the parking lot adjacent to the cove, we heard the NECR frequencies talking - 608 was in the picture as well! Around the bend came a pair of NECR GP-38s moving to the main, and right on their tail coming over the trestle was NR-2! We watched the trains passed, and when the P&W power passed by, she gave a hearty wave out her window. The engineer was glad to return the wave, spreading a smile from ear to ear on my railfanning companion for the day.

    At this point, we decided to call it a day and head home to share our experiences with mommy and her sister. I know I'll treasure that day for the rest of my life - I hope she does as well.

    Normally, on a day of railfanning like this, I would have taken around 100 or so photos. This Friday I took four - I was too busy enjoying the time with my daughter. This is the best one of the bunch, but sums up the day:

    Click the image above to head to my site for the image particulars (EXIF, etc.)

  2. #2


    Excellent, Tom! Boy, does this ever bring back memories of when the boys and I would go out. Some of the antics with our winter trips to Stevens and the various camp outs are still discussed in "increasing" detail whenever we manage to get together.

    Get this one topside ASAP, Bob.

    Martin Burwash

  3. Default

    In my house these are referred to as "Daddy - Daughter Days". They are special, that's for sure. In fact every time I drive SR-14 east of Bingen,WA and I pass the "dead deer place" (Rowland Lake to the foamers) I remember a special day with Rachel chasing the SP 4449.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Zanesville, Ohio


    Reminds me of trips my father and I took when I was a kid.

    Do you have a shot with your daughter's face in it? Maybe one with the cars of the train out the window, and her looking out the windshield? A smile would make this one even better...
    Chris Crook

    pictures and yap

  5. Default

    cherish them while you have them, Tom. Far too soon you will be paying cell phone bills, buying prom dresses and laying awake at night until she comes in.

    mine are (boys) 22 (in college) and 26 (married). Neither live at home but I still lay awake at night...... and I reckon I always will.

  6. #6


    Chris, Ken, how about a yes or no vote? We only need one more yes for approval...

    As for the additional photo, he mentioned he only got a few and this was the best, so I think we may have to work with what he's presented.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  7. #7
    TomNanos Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by Bob
    As for the additional photo, he mentioned he only got a few and this was the best, so I think we may have to work with what he's presented.
    Bob, you are correct. There are a couple more publishable photos that I took, but I'm saving them for the magazine that asked to publish the story & photo(s) - who shall, for now, remain nameless.


  8. Default

    thumbs UP.......

  9. #9


    Duplicate image for essay promo
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  10. #10
    Youngwarrior Guest


    Nice story, Tom. As kenw said enjoy each moment. They grow up so fast. My boys are now 28 and 26. My grandsons are 5 and 4 1/2. So I now go railfanning with them.

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