Sunday's heads-up of the NS OCS 8:15 AM departure from Croxton for a morning run west over the LEHL was enough of an incentive to get me trackside despite overcast skies. After all, shooting a westbound train on the LEHL usually means shooting into the sun. Not so on this morning as there was filtered sunlight. I decided to wait for the train at the Valley Road grade crossing (LEHL: MP40) in Hillsborough. Around 9:10, the scanner came alive with the message "P951 clear Port Reading Junction." It wouldn't be long before the headlight appeared off in the distance. The leader on P951 was NS 4271 followed by 4276, 4275 and 4270. Behind these four units were the eleven coaches. What a clean and beautiful sight it was to behold.
After that it was time to head out to watch the annual John Basilone Day parade in Raritan. Our favorite viewing area is standing on Thompson Avenue, south of NJT's grade crossing. Not only can I watch the parade but keep tabs on what trains will pass by. Caught NJT 4001 leading a westbound passenger train prior to the start of the parade. The USMC Band, waiting by the gate, looked as though they were awaiting the President's arrival on this train. All of the members were decked out in their dress uniforms with the flag bearers standing in front.
With the parade's last units having passed, we made our way back to where our car was parked. Looking down the tracks was another NJT train. No, this wasn't another passenger train. It was NJT 4217 heading up a consist of eleven ballast cars. Not a bad way to end what turned out to be a rather productive day when it came to railroad photography.