• Railfaning between Albany and E. Deerfield

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by Benjamin Maggi
I have always wanted to railfan Pan Am but haven't yet. But, I plan to take a day off of work in the next couple of weeks and do so. I live in Albany, NY, and wouldn't want to go farther east than E. Deerfield. I don't know the territory, but I have an issue of Railpace with some maps. I don't own a scanner, so I have no way to know if trains are on the move. But, I plan to make a day of it, parking in one spot, and just sitting it out.

Can anyone recommend a public spot that has good visibility in both directions, preferably with some sort of signal nearby that might give an indication of whether a train is in the block or not? Any good places to explore? I don't plan to chase a train (except maybe on the way home).

Also, is one weekday better than any other generally speaking?

  by newpylong
East Portal of the Hoosac Tunnel has a nice lot to sit in and there is an interlocking in plain sight. Also any of the parking lots next to the tracks in North Adams. It's double track, an interlocking, and also the Berkshire Scenic railroad is there.
  by Safetee
north adams has the added attractions of the hoosac tunnel museum which is very good and it's free. also good chow at the adjacent bar restaurant , vestiges of b&m electrification, berkshire scenic has some stuff around there as well but will be closed shortly. traffic is always spotty but usually you get some eastbounds going through around 6am, the adams and north bennington locals maybe mid day, westbounds around 6-7 pm.

The east deerfield yard is hard to beat for train activity with the conn river intersecting the freight main and the yard itself with major old timer buildings lots of power. hang out by rail fan bridge and the bike trail parking lot. regardless of what pas does or doesnt do or run, there are usually two amtrak trains every day on the conn river about half a mile from the yard. i say usually because buses are not unheard of on the conn river service.
  by Benjamin Maggi
Safetee wrote:The east deerfield yard is hard to beat for train activity with the conn river intersecting the freight main and the yard itself with major old timer buildings lots of power. hang out by rail fan bridge and the bike trail parking lot.
Do you mean McClleland Farm Road?
  by B&M 1227
I'll toss Eagle Bridge into the running... clear view of the interlocking (CPF 448), and you never know if the Batten Kill will meander down to make an appearance. Vermont Railway has recently been making appearances there as well when running around their interchange drop.
  by Dick H
If you head east from Eagle Bridge and stay on Rt. 67 into Vermont, when you get into "downtown" North Bennington,
take a left and head up 2-3 blocks to the historic N, Bennington station, now the town offices. If the VTR is in town,'
there will usually be a few railfans around there if the weather is suitable. They may have some details on the
expected PAS action out that way.

The guy with the briefcase (between the bench and the station) is always there, but he "knows nothin'" Thanks to Brian Siegel for the photo.
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?20170 ... n&BOOL=ALL" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Plate C
Nice to see people responding with help, doesn't always happen on here. I've been in some of the locations given multiple times in the past days/weeks, if you haven't been yet I can give some more details and hope others will correct/fill in more pieces. First- expect to sit, a lot. Pan Am and NS only run so many trains and to me, it seems like they're only able to move through a few blocks at a time before getting held up somewhere on the line.

Eagle Bridge is a nice place for sure, there's an abandoned depot that you can add into your shot on Westbound trains. Can't recall now but I believe you have a view of signals for the Westbounds. Have not seen VRS there at all but usually don't chase them. If you miss something you do have points in either direction to still get some kind of shot. Pan Am had trackwork going on nearby last week that may have slowed things down a bit, unsure of present status of that. Also, have seen PAS tie down or stop at Eagle Bridge, including last week. People please add but I'm guessing that morning hours are best here in terms of seeing something. Seen Batten Kill there once in the afternoon time maybe.

N Bennington station is an excellent photo location, especially when you include the station and/or that grain/feed business in your shot. Sadly across time in the past week or even over the past year I have not seen Pan Am come down there. Maybe a time of day thing, but not during any mid-morning to late afternoon hours. I assume they would come for the slurry train. VRS comes down around noon to work the grain/feed and head to the interchange with Pan Am. This spot is about 15 minutes from Eagle Bridge. Also the guy with the briefcase briefly disappeared, I assume for cleaning or he was loaned out, but he is in place again.

East Deerfield is a real nice location but again, expect a lot of sitting. There are newly installed signals that you'll have to drive around to get a glimpse of, probably not a ton of help. Usually another railfan will arrive if something's coming, so without a scanner that's your signal. Nice shots from the bridge there too. I've had luck catching NS bringing the auto racks through there in the morning time. You'll see some different power there. Also with Winter approaching they'll be moving the plows and blowers around, get some snow and you'll be able to see them in use there. Stopped by twice yesterday afternoon and saw a Westbound leaving out at about 4:10.
  by Engineer Spike
There are thousands of nice locations between Mechanicville, and East Deerfield. As a die hard B&M fan, I know the route well. I also live in Saratoga, but have friends and family in the Ayer/Fitchburg area. When heading out that way, my route follows the B&M. Take NY 67 from Mechanicville, and there is a side road called Hansen road, which has an overpass. The overpass on Route 40, in Schaghticoke is good, as well as Fisherman’s Lane. 67 parallels the line through to Eagle Bridge. From there 67 is duplexed with Route 22 to just before Hoosic Falls. Stay with 22. Shout out of town, follow County Route 95, until you reach NY 346. This keeps the same number in Vermont. There are some nice shots through here. Eventually you will come to US 7, which will get you to Williamstown. Here you can take Mass 2, the Mohawk Trail. The museum in North Adams was mentioned. Go up the mountain. Look for Whitcomb Hill Road, which is on the left. This street will bring you down to East Portal. As a note, the hill is very steep, and not recommended in bad weather.

From E. Portal, River/Zoar Rd. will follow the tracks, and bring you back to Mass 2. The scenery is good through to Shelburne Falls. There is a trolley museum there. Unfortunately, there is no good road near the tracks to Greenfield. You may, however want to find Bardwell’s Ferry. There is a historical iron truss bridge near the tracks. This was also near a former junction with the New Haven.

I’ll skip talking about E. Deerfield, since you already know about it. Route 2/2A has some nice areas east of there. South Royalston is a good place, as is Birch Hill Dam. If you have gone this far, follow the line through to Ayer. This is where you might get some big league action.

Along this whole route you may need to take a side road to find a nice spot. Have fun, and there are many neat tourist traps along the way, especially on the Mohawk Trail between North Adams, and Greenfield.
  by B&M 1227
Good info above... Pan Am only runs to North Bennington Sunday's now, if that. AD-1 no longer ventures to North Bennington, I think RJ-1 may still head east on Tuesday and Thursday but only as far as Hoosick Junction. XO-1 runs Sunday to conduct the interchange, and last I checked, does make it all the way to NB.

To add to Engr Spike's, after crossing the state line into Massachusetts on US 7, hang a left on Sand Springs Rd. This will take you by the old Williamstown station, and parallel the tracks into North Adams. The Berkshire Scenic operation is right next to the west end of the North Adams siding.

If you don't have a scanner, you can make some choo choo directional deductions based on the signals.

Going West to East.
Ferry St in Schaghticoke- where NY 67 crosses the Pan Am main, the double track ends at the crossing. There is a w/b signal on the east side of the crossing. If anything but red, there is a route lined up for a westbound train.

Fisherman's Lane Schaghticoke- If you look to the east down the causeway, there is an automatic block signal (ABS) that is approach lit (only illuminates when a train is in the block on either side of the signal). If it's anything but red there is an eastbound coming at you. If it is red, there is a train in the block on either side, direction unlikely an eastbound.

Rt 67 Johnsonville- The Pan Am main sit above the road on a high fill. This an approach lit ABS signal. If its lit there's something in the block on either side.

Buskirk-West Hoosick Rd Buskirk- I always liked the shot by the old warehouse here. From time to time there's ancient MOW cars stored here (last time it was D&H gons). If you look to the west, you can see the approach lit ABS signal.

Eagle Bridge- From Beck Rd you can see the eastbound CPF448 signals, and from Eagle Bridge station you can see the westbound signals. This is a control point, and the signals are illuminated constantly. If there's a yellow or a green, the dispatcher has plugged in a route and a train will be going that direction at some point, probably sooner rather than later.

Hoosick Falls- The set of signals at Hoosick Falls can be tricky, and I wouldn't put a whole lot of faith in them, but if its anything but red, the dispatcher has a route plugged in for that direction. These are not approach lit.

346 State Line Crossing North Pownal- there is an approach lit westbound signal right at the crossing. If it's green there's a westbound in the block, and if its red you either just missed a westbound, or there's an eastbound coming.

VT7 North Pownal- CPF 428 eastbound distant signal.... some of the easiest to see, they are not approach lit but will tell you if the dispatcher has a route for a train at CPF428.

Sand Springs Rd Williamstown- CPF 428 westbound distant signal. These are approach it.

North Adams- CPF 423 is approach lit, and will only illuminate if a train is on the #1 or #2 tracks. anything here mean's there's a train between there and west portal.

East Portal Hoosac Tunnel- CPF 415 eastbound signals clearly visible and approach lit. If something's coming east out of the tunnel they'll pop on.

Zoar- Approach lit ABS signals.

Charlemont off Tower Rd (not currently open for through traffic)- approach lit ABS.

Shelburne Falls- CPF 398 visible from Ashland St. Approach lit interlocking.

Bardwells Ferry- ABS approach lit.
  by B&M 1227
Also, if you get a train, you should chase it. It could be the only one you'll see. 14R/11R run mostly at night. 11R may pop out west of Eagle Bridge in the early morning sun. Same goes for 14R east of east portal. 22k leaves Mechanicville early afternoon, and 23k runs after dark. RJED/EDRJ are 3 days a week now, I believe still on duty at 0400, so you're likely to snag one of them. I'm not sure but my guess is Tu-Th-Sa EDRJ and either M-W-F or W-F-Su RJED. AD-1 ferries cars North Adams-EDFLD M-W-F and does the Adams Branch Tu-Th, but that may have changed. RJ-1 might venture east of Rotterdam on Tu-Th as well. 28N/287 have been popping up after dark. Now and then there's an empty or loaded grain train, but don't plan around these and if you see a coal train, alert the local authorities because it probably got lost (I got called for one of the last ones in the spring of last year).
  by lexon
I rail fan in Northampton at a former Union Station with an Amtrak platform nearby. Good dining also. Right next to US, Rt 5.
Signals a little North and South of the spot. Goes from dual track to single track at the North side.
A rail trail either side of the main line I ride bicycle a lot during good weather. Rail trail tunnel recently installed under the single track portion of the main line.

  by B&M 1227
A good friend of mine used to work at the Platform Bar & Grill in Northampton Station. Pretty decent food, and ED-2/PLED/EDPL go flying by in the late afternoon. Not really the season for outdoor seating anymore, but come summer it's nice to sit outside and watch the locals go whizzing by.
  by FirstEliminator
Hi guys, my name is Mark. This is my first post on this forum. I live in North Adams on Massachusetts Avenue. Someone mentioned Sand Springs Road in Williamstown, this turns into Mass Ave in North Adams. Part of the criteria for choosing this house was I can see the train out my front windows.