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March 1998 - Page 53


A M acro Snowstorm
But March 4 brought another bit of winter. It wasn't unusual that it was snowing-what was unusual was that it was snowing in the daytime, I was working, and I had my camera with me. The view out of the rear window at Nan, which is to say the east end of the cab in (also a tower-the terminology is your choice) far thest from the entryway-revealed trees coated with snow and ice. This was a spring-like macro snowstorm, and a mousy one, at that. lt shifted mostly out to sea, veering off at the last minute. Forecasters had expected between two and five inches to be dumped on us the preceding night. My drive. between 5 : 3 0 a.m. and 6:45 a.m from my home in Cranston, Rhode Island, to my job at Niantic was over c lean road s , prepared for the day's com muters. To be honest, I t hought winter was virtually over. Why, just a few days before, we had had a near60F day. No. 95 with F40PH 29 1 and six cars, conductor J . H ughes a n d Johnny H obson at t h e t h ro t t l e aga i n , whizzed b y through t h e snowfall, o n time at 7 : 3 3 a.m . , e n route t o Virginia. The Motor Vessel Mi/oy 7 47 l e ft town for a bout a week a n d wen t over to the T h a m e s River a nd Groton to get its barnacles scrubbed off. I t 's an an nual chore. Meanwh i l e , C h i p H e a ly's w e s t b o u n d work extra-with two M P 1 5s, t h e 5 3 1 pulling seven loads and one empty and the 5 34 bringing up the rear and in tow-went west. It had picked up some of track fore-

man Chris Nelson's loaded gons at the Millstone nucle ar power plant spur, just around the bend east of Nan and a scant mile away. The extra was en route through t h e snow to Pine Orchard to get a t rain of loaded "stone cars , " and then travel a few m iles yet farther west to Cedar Hill Yard. Engineer Chuck DeAngelis eventually tied up both switchers in Motor Storage at New Haven. By 1 7 1 's time, with John Sweeney in charge and Joe Terio lashing the 6,000 horses between the 203 and 2 7 1 to haul l O cal's, the snow was falling a bit heavier. Gary H o bson brought N o . 1 2 eastward through the snow, wi t h unit 4 1 4 o n the poi n t , and passed Nan at exactly 1 0 a.m . , about seven minutes late. Chris Nelson had track 2 out of service again, pok ing in the snow for more telephone poles. By now he was well past Nan and would later tie up for the day at Lyman-Blackhall (m.p. 1 07 . 8 ) , a former industrial spur now used solely for M of W equipment, near Conn at m.p. 1 07. Conn, known to boaters as Old Lyme Draw, is the biggest movable bridge on the Shore Line, span ning the Connecticut River between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. The snow continued falling until about one o'clock, then quit rather quickly. By 2 :45 p . m . , when my relief, Normand Morin, came in, most of it had melted. So much for winter . . . and the quiet Nan.

ABOVE: D uring an early March
1997 macro snowstorm, unit 414-guiding No. 12-slows as it approaches Nan.

L eo King brings 1 0 years ofAmtrak employment ex perience to his writing and currently works as Amtrak Train Director/Interlocking Operator, New England Di vision, South Bay Tower, Boston. He is intrigued by railroading's "never-ending story. " RaiiNews
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