Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Railfanning 5-14 to 5-16-10

Hi, I spent the weekend of May 14-16 visiting with friend Dale Diacont in the area around his home in the Shenandoah Valley. You may recall that Dale and I spent 10 days in February in Nevada and Utah. After I arrived a few minutes before 10:00 AM we got in gear and headed out. Our destination was East Alleghany, VA on CSX's former C&O route over the Alleghany mountains. Here the route down the mountain goes from double track to single track until Moss Run, VA.

We had good sun for awhile. Unfortunately during that period CSX ran an eastbound grain train,

Amtrak #50, the eastbound Cardinal,

and a westbound with a poorly painted GE dash 8 leading. At least the signals are neat.

Then they ran an eastbound coal train.

Finally, a westbound empty coal train with decent power but no sun.

On our way home to Dale's we heard a westbound calling the signal at Callahan so we headed in a few miles west, at Moss Run, for the final shot of the day.

Saturday dawned clear so we headed for a spot I have been wanting to photograph ever since I saw a picture by friend Stan Short at this location. While we waited for the expected eastbound (we had obtained information before we went there) some clouds began to gather. Finally the train showed up and the clouds gave us a break. U793 at Lyle, VA.

Next we decided to take another shot at East Alleghany. On the way we checked out the yard at Clifton Forge and I was able to shoot this C&O geep. It is part of the collection of the C&O historical society and on display.

Dale suggested we check out Low Moor, VA, at the west end of Clifton Forge yard to see if anything was happening. Sure enough empty coal cars were getting ready to head west.

We got ahead of the train at Callahan. Dale thinks the signal bridges along this route will be replaced in the next few years.

Our final shot, just barely, was taken as the train blasted through White Sulfur Springs, WV.

After lunch we went back to East Allegheny. First up was G701.

Then we doubled back to Covington, VA to see if we could find something. Spotting a green signal on the west side of town we set up and shortly E500 came along.

E500 stopped at Moss Run to wait for an eastbound coal train to clear the single track. Meanwhile, Q302 was waiting at East Alleghany. It seemed, based on radio chatter and a conversation with the engineer of Q302, that the dispatcher planned to run a light helper which had descended the hill with the eastbound coal train west and then run either E500 or Q302. However, as we were standing around waiting we heard the sound of locomotives working hard and rushed to set up. Needless to say we were not in our desired position when E500 came into view.

Finally the light helper came up the hill. We did not wait for Q302 to leave as it was too late in the day to shoot an eastbound. We stopped in Covington and shot a yard job before heading home again.

Sunday dawned cloudy but by the time we reached Balcony Falls, VA on the James River line the sun was out. We learned an eastbound coal train was out of Clifton Forge with a grain train about 2 hours behind so we waited and got N660.

Our last planned stop was at Wasp Rock Tunnel, VA where we photographed G958.

On the way back to Dale's we got off I-81 at Buena Vista because there was a traffic problem ahead of us. Thus we stumbled upon a northbound NS manifest which we shot at Midvale, VA and

at the south end of Vesuvius siding.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. It was a very enjoyable weekend and I am grateful to Dale and Audrey Diacont for their hospitality and to Dale for his excellent guiding.

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