OC&N 45-ton 4764 shadows our Mileage Special
(Photo by Dave Brown)
OC&N Mileage Special
May 16, 2010
Story and Photo By Dave Brown
It started with an email from Mass Bay RRE member Bob Douglas in New Jersey: with a number of “mileage collectors”
coming in to ride our May 15 Day Cape Codder excursion, and then going on to North Creek, NY for another “mileage trip,”
would it be possible to organize a Sunday excursion over the entire length of the Old Colony & Newport? A few emails and
two phone calls later, the trip was set up.
This would not be the leisurely, multiple-stop round-trip event
that Mass Bay RRE had staged many times before at the OC&N,
with leadership from Vic Campbell. With many riders facing a
five-hour drive to New York on Sunday, and with the OC&N
wanting to protect their regular Sunday schedule of trips from
Newport to Melville, there was only time for a one-way journey.
Our band of 42 passengers gathered at the diminutive Newport
station on a bright morning for a quick bus ride to Anthony
Road, at the northeast end of Aquidnick Island. There we met our
train: OC&N 45-ton, side-rod center-cab diesel 84, vintage ex-
Boston & Maine wooden coach Ruth Blount, and 1884 parlor
car Nelson Blount (built for Canada’s Intercolonial Railway.
East of the grade crossing was GE side-rod diesel 4764, which
had hauled the train north from Melville and would scurry along
behind us back to Newport.
We departed on schedule at 9:00 AM, making our way south to
the first photo stop. The track was in remarkably good condition,
though there hadn’t been a revenue train on the northern end of
the line in more than two years. OC&N’s Don Elbert and his all-volunteer
crew laid on a spread of coffee and danish for us, and
regaled passengers with the history of the line and the sights
along the way. Mass Bay RRE member John Roy organized our
two runbys, at Willow Lane and beside Burma Road near Greene
Lane (above). We opted to skip the traditional photo locations
further north to get a better morning-sun angle on our train.
Approaching Newport, a military guard opened the gate to
allow us to pass through the Naval Reservation (and almost
closed it in front of 4764, following behind us). We had a good
look at the mothballed aircraft carriers Forrestal and Saratoga
(or what’s left of them) before rolling into Newport station
shortly before 11 AM, where a handful of new passengers
awaited the OC&N’s scheduled 11:45 departure.
For many of us who had ridden the morning train, it was time
to hit the road for upstate New York.