Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Willimantic, Ct. May 2015- Followup

Well, doesn't that just figure. We showed up on a Thursday and....the signs say it all.

Another Look At Don Janes

     On our trip to Collinsville George and I had planned to visit a few museums.  We had taken in the Danbury RR Museum on Wed. then headed to our motel in Collinsville.  We planned to head over to the museum in Willimantic, CT. on Thurs. morning and do some other railfanning in Palmer, MA. later in the day.  George had been to Willimantic before and said it was quite a good museum so I was pumped to see it. As we drove in the lane he said the tall barbed wire fence was a new addition since his last visit and as we approached the gate we saw the parking lot was deserted and a big, red stop sign graced the locked gate at the museum entrance.  Well there you go, the first plan of the day was instantly squashed.  I took a few shots through the fence then we headed out, our enthusiasm not quite what it was a few minutes earlier.  
I took this shot through the chain link fence.  It was as close to the museum as I would get on this visit.

Another shot through the fence of the re-built signal that once guarded the mainline in downtown Willimantic.
Just outside the gate we found this old New Haven flat car. The trucks on the deck appear to be temporary trucks to place under locomotives while their trucks were removed for repairs. The high platform may have been for working on overhead wires.
     As we were driving out we stopped and talked to a fellow writing down car numbers on the track beside the NECR mainline.  He said he worked for the P&W and that their train would be arriving in Willimantic very shortly.  Fortunately George knew his way around town and we high tailed it downtown to the sight of the old train station and overhead walking bridge.  We spotted a pair of P&W units sitting on a siding and risking the chance of being arrested for trespassing we ran over and got some shots of them then headed to the overhead bridge.  A police car showed up a few minutes later but we were off the tracks by then.  Once on the bridge it was only a matter of minutes until the P&W train arrived with units and crews on both ends.  They pulled in, did some switching and separated the two units from their train.  It was very interesting to watch and as George stated earlier we even saw three P&W engine movements at the same time.  Not bad for what appeared to be a very little used yard.  And that's when we became local celebrities in the Willimantic Chronicle.
Risking imminent arrest we ventured onto Railroad property to get this shot of a pair of P&W locomotives.  The overhead walking bridge is in the background.
Here is the P&W train heading into town
As the train passed under the bridge we saw this unit was on the rear end which worked out great for the lighting. The old train station sat just to the right of the engine where the parking lot is today.
George and Roxanne from the Chronicle pose for me during a lull in the train action.  She must have recognized us as world renowned railfans.
Another shot of the train pulling through the yard en route to drop cars for the NECR.
And the highlight of the day... three P&W locomotive in this small yard.  A great place to watch trains and all because the museum was closed.


  1. Hi George;

    That flatcar was an old NH wreck train car, as you guess. The framework was used to hang spare hooks and a pair of spreader bars - the bars were on the ground near the car, but the hooks are still somewhere in Cedar Hill yard. The car is a bit of a mystery as I understand NH records list it as scrapped.

  2. Thanks for the update on the NH flat...George