Monday, June 30, 2008

Trackside Log for Monday, June 30, 2008

I woke up in Beckley, West Virginia this morning to a very nice looking day.  I set out to follow the Norfolk Southern for the day in hopes of finding some trains to photograph.  The first signs of life I discovered were in Kellysville where several engines were moving around.  Unfortunately they weren't cooperating with me and I couldn't photograph them.  Onward it was.  One of the locations I wanted to photograph was the tunnel in Montgomery, Virginia.  Shortly after arrival I was greeted with a pair of eastbounds.  Unfortunately the photograph for the tunnel is for westbounds.

  • 1353 Montgomery, VA - NS eastbound - NS 2549-NS 9837
  • 1411 Montgomery, VA - NS eastbound - NS 9435-NS 6574-NS 6618

While waiting for, hopefully, a westbound a man walks over from a local house and tells me that I'm making the old woman there nervous and she's called the police.  To make life simpler I left and continued eastward.  My thanks to the U.S. government for instilling paranoia in the American populace.  Way to go.  Anyway, I ran across a very nice westbound which would have been great to photograph at the tunnel.  Son-of-a...

  • 1528 Shawsville, VA - NS 23G west - UP 8553-CEFX 3153

Oh, and I got screwed by a cloud on this photograph too.  Alright, time to find one of the other locations I was looking forward to, the four track coaling tower in Vickers, Virginia.  I found it easily enough and even had the required eastbound on the way.  I was angling for a nice photograph when I discovered a very angry dog nearby.  I stayed just outside of leash range, took my photo and left.

  • 1758 Vicker, VA - NS eastbound - NS 7617-NS 9704-NS 8890
Man, this day is not going well.  I was thoroughly frustrated by this point.  The sun was coming back out again but I'd had it.  I drove to Christiansburg and checked into the Fairfield Inn called it quits for the day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Trackside Log for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wow, I got up pretty early this morning. How unlike me. Anyway, I started the second day of my Virginias trip by heading over to the Amtrak station in Charleston to see if CSX would be so kind as to run a train or two.
  • 0746 Charleston, WV - CSX eastbound - CSXT 478-CSXT 656 (photo)
  • 0803 Charleston, WV - CSX eastbound - CSXT 4842-CSXT 532
  • 0821 Charleston, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 5213

That plan worked out rather well. Since I had to drive through Winifrede Junction anyway, I checked out the Big Eagle Railroad again. The two geeps were again missing from the junction so again I drove west along their tracks to find them. I didn't need to go far before I found them dumping balast in Winifrede.

  • 0932 Winifrede, WV - Big Eagle westbound - JTPX 2012-JTPX 2011 (photo 1, photo 2)

After a few photographs I continued my trek toward Thurmond, my primary destination for the day. I was following CSX for much of the way and heard a westbound on the scanner in Pratt.

  • 1010 Pratt, WV - CSX westbound Herzog - CSXT 369-CSXT 218

A little farther east I found a westbound coal train parked in Handley.

  • 1015 Handley, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 5357-CSXT 5463 (photo)

At Deep Water I turned south and enjoyed the drive along some more twisty mountain roads on my way to Pax to begin my search for R. J. Corman. In Pax I found the coal loadout but no locomotives. So I started tracing the track back east toward Thurmond and discovered the three tunnel motors parked at a new office facility in Meadow Fork.

  • 1200 Harvey, WV - R. J. Corman power - RJCX 8718-RJCX 8336-RJCX 8569 (photo 1, photo 2)

After a few cloudy photos I drove the short trek to Thurmond where I visited the National Park Service in the fabulous Chesapeake & Ohio station. Then I began the wait for trains. Nothing showed up for nearly five hours but in that time the sun came out. When the westbounds began to flow the lighting was very nice.

  • 1502 Thurmond, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 7739-CSXT 4838
  • 1700 Thurmond, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 7684-CSXT 5383
  • 1715 Thurmond, WV - CSX westbound rail train - CSXT 2220-CSXT 6917
  • 1731 Thurmond, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 4755-CSXT 871
  • 1750 Thurmond, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 337-CSXT 487
  • 1922 Thurmond, WV - Amtrak 51 west - AMTK 152

Scheduled time for The Cardinal was 1847 so it was late. There were still plenty of clouds in the sky but miraculously every train was sunlit and every train was a westbound. I couldn't have asked for more. Well, Amtrak could have been on time.

After the westbound extravaganza I packed up and drove to the Fairfield Inn in Beckley for the night.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Trackside Log for Saturday, June 28, 2008

For a little vacation time this year I decided to take a drive through the Virginias to photograph some railway scenes. After work the previous night I drove to Fairmont, West Virginia and stayed at the Fairfield Inn. This rainy morning I awoke and made the short drive to Grafton to see what was going on at CSX. There was a variety of motive power parked at the fuel racks and quite a few LLPX engines leased by the Appalachian & Ohio at the far end of the yard. A CSX westbound was parked under the Bridge Street bridge and provided my only photograph in Grafton.
  • 0840 Grafton, WV - CSX westbound - CSXT 403-CSXT 452 (photo 1, photo 2)
Very little seemed to be going on at the time so I continued on to the West Virginia Central in Belington. I've been there a couple times in the past but every time I go there's something different. Today was no exception. Fortunately the rain subsided enough for some photography.
  • 0937 Belington, WV - West Virginia Central power - WVC 92 (photo)
  • 0939 Belington, WV - West Virginia Central power - RT 10 (photo)
  • 0940 Belington, WV - West Virginia Central power - WVC M-3 Edwards Motor Car (photo)
  • 0941 Belington, WV - B&O C3014 caboose (photo)
  • 0943 Belington, WV - West Virginia Central power - WVC 39 Plymouth ML-8 (photo)

My next destination was the Appalachian & Ohio. I stopped by Buckhannon but no motive power was there. I figured the abundance of LLPX engines in Grafton explained that. So onward to Burnsville I drove where I found a pair of CEFX SD90MACs.

  • 1112 Burnsville, WV - Appalachian & Ohio power - CEFX 130-CEFX 125 (photo)

While photographing the SD90MACs the sun started to come out which was nice. When I got to the Elk River Railroad it was mostly sunny but a bit hazy.

Every time I visit Gassaway the Elk River geeps are in a different location yet I never get to see them actually working. Well, except for ELKR 4 which never goes anywhere.

  • 1158 Gassaway, WV - Elk River Railroad power - ELKR 4 and ELKR 1-ELKR 3 (photo 1, photo 2)
  • 1206 Gassaway, WV - Elk River Railroad power - ELKR 2-ELKR 5 (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3)

From Gassaway I began to make my way toward the night's destination: Charleston. This part of my drive was great fun. The route I chose took me through some wonderfully winding two lane roads through the West Virginia mountains. I had a great time winding my Mustang around them. All good things must come to an end though. Shortly before I got to Gauley Bridge the skies opened and it rained hard. I pulled off the road to wait it out near Alloy where coincidentally a set of Norfolk Southern motive power was parked with a coal train. Once the rain stopped I took a few photos.

  • 1547 Alloy, WV - NS power - NS 8730-NS 9368 (photo)

Just as I was finished photographing these two engines I noticed a security guard coming out of the coal facility they were parked at. I'm not sure if he was interested in me or not. The fact that I was leaving anyway made it moot. Other sets of mixed Norfolk Southern and CSX power were to be found on the opposite side of the facility and easily photographable from the side of Route 60.

  • 1551 Alloy, WV - NS power - NS 7576-NS 9631 (photo)

Next stop was the Big Eagle Railroad in Winifrede. First I stopped off at Winifrede Junction but neither of the JTPX engines were there so I deduced they were out on the line somewhere. I drove west along Fields Creek Road which parallels the track. I ran across the train loading gravel just beyond the town of Winifrede.

  • 1628 Winifrede, WV - Big Eagle Railroad eastbound - JTPX 2011-JTPX 2012 (photo)

They were just finishing the load so I drove back along the track to find a suitable location to photograph them again.

  • 1654 Winifrede, WV - Big Eagle Railroad eastbound - JTPX 2011-JTPX 2012

With some more time left in the day I drove back to Winifrede Junction and photographed the train as it passed under the CSX line and Interstates 64 and 77.

  • 1720 Winifrede Junction, WV - Big Eagle Railroad eastbound - JTPX 2011-JTPX 2012

After a fun day I checked into the Fairfield Inn in Charleston. I had some time to kill so I walked around town and then noticed the lights on at the Apalachian Power Park. I walked over and watched the minor league West Virginia Power defeat the Lexington Legends 3-1.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trackside Log for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I was home from work not feeling well today but by mid-afternoon was starting to feel a bit better.  I heard a southbound Canadian Pacific train and walked out behind me house to see it.
  • 1419 Fenwick - CP 426 south - CP 8613-CP 5978 (photo)
OK, that was enough.  I went back inside and laid down again.  It's depressing when you're ill on a nice day.