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.

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