RailPictures.Net Photo: NH 3025 Valley Railroad Steam 2-8-2 at Essex, Connecticut by Kevin Madore
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» Valley Railroad (more..)
» Steam 2-8-2 (more..)
» Essex Yard 
» Essex, Connecticut, USA (more..)
» December 23, 2018
Locomotive No./Train ID Photographer
» NH 3025 (more..)
» NPE-1 (more..)
» Kevin Madore (more..)
» Contact Photographer · Photographer Profile 
Remarks & Notes 
The Essex Yard Shuffle. Valley Railroad Mikado #3025 hauls an 8-car train of heavyweights out of the Essex Yard in the late afternoon sun in what looks like the first North Pole Express of the day......except that's not what's happening here. The first NPE isn't due to leave for about 45 minutes and by then the light won't be nearly as nice. No, the 3025 crew is in the midst of what I call, the "Essex Yard Shuffle", a carefully choreographed set of moves designed to position all of the Valley's train-sets for the nighttime NPE operation. Just a few minutes prior, the 3025 and her train were occupying the run-around track in the yard, leaving the platform clear for VALE 40 and the last of the Santa Specials (SS-6) to arrive and discharge passengers. With that operation complete, the 40 has since pulled south out of the yard and across Rte 153, clearing the platform track. In the move you see here, 3025 then pulls her train north, out of the yard and across Rte 154, until she clears the north yard switch. In just moments, she'll reverse direction, backing her train onto the platform track, where she'll be ready to load for the 3PM NPE-1 train. Once she's positioned, the 40 will then shove back north, putting her train on the run-around track with the locomotive still on the south end. There, she'll wait until NPE-1 leaves at 3PM, when she'll once again pull south to the south switch, then push north, positioning her train on the platform track and then run-around to pin-on the north end to be ready to depart as NPE-2 at 3:30PM. Meanwhile, VALE 97, will come out of the engine house and once 40 is in place, she'll pin on to the south end of her train, which has been parked on a storage track. There, she'll wait until NPE-2 leaves, before pulling south to the south switch and pushing north to position her train on the platform track and then running around to pin-on the north end. VALE 97 will be NPE-3 at 4:30PM.

Got all of that? And folks, that's just the beginning. The three trains will do the Essex Yard Shuffle 2 more times before they call it a night. This heavy operations tempo will be repeated each weekend day, from mid-November through the end of the year. On the weeknights, the pace is a little less frenetic, with only 4 NPE trains, instead of 9.....unless of course, they add extras.....which they frequently do. Wanna work for a very busy steam railroad? Get your application in for next year.

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