Thursday, February 17, 2011

Richmond Railfanning, 2-12-2011

Hi, I had the opportunity to railfan in Richmond, VA a week ago with friends Stan Short and Jack Bruce. Being with native guides who know the territory is really nice. I could just go with the flow.

We met at Great Shiplock Park, at the west end of the former C&O Fulton Yard. A loaded coal train went west and then headed up the hill toward the former RF&P Acca Yard. This train could have been going south via the former ACL or it could reverse direction, cross the James River on the former SAL bridge, and head for the Wheelwright power plant, which it did. Fortunately, as we were about to give up on the shot Stan noticed a clear signal for a southbound on our side of the bridge resulting in the photo below.

We returned to Great Shiplock Park but shortly after we arrived we heard Q303 in Fulton Yard. It sounded like it was getting ready to leave and it is a unique train as it operates WB on the normally EB river line. So we moved west to photograph it from across the river on the viaduct the C&O built along the Richmond waterfront. Shortly after getting to our spot we heard a horn to our west, but nothing happened. After waiting another half hour the horn sounded 2 short. A loaded coal train crawled into view and moved toward the yard.

About an hour later another coal train showed up. By this time we had relocated to a spot along the west end of the flood wall, again on the south bank. We stayed in this location for a total of four loaded coal trains trying a variety of slightly different angles and focal lengths.

Finally, after sitting in Fulton Yard for about 6 hours Q303 departed WB. Note, the train originated in Acca yard so it was hauled down the hill and into Fulton by a Yard Crew before it was ready to head west. Q303 would not get very far before requiring a recrew.

By this time it was getting late but we went looking for a location along the Powhite Expressway even though there were still 2 or 3 more loaded coal trains to come. We found the spot but the shadows had already encroached so Stan and I headed north. We stopped at Doswell, VA where a 3 unit set of Buckingham Branch GP-16s sat idling. Too bad the second unit was not leading.

Thus ended a great day. Good weather, good trains, good friends.

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