Friday, July 15, 2011

Railfanning 7-14-2011

Hi, I visited the Reading and Northern with friends Jim Kleeman and Rodney Peterson on Thursday. We had a very successful day in beautiful weather. Jim did a tremendous job of preparation bringing detailed maps and a lineup he got from a conductor he met on a previous visit.

We caught our first train, QAMC (Tomaqua to Mount Carmel turn) at about 10:40 AM just south of Ashland, PA.

We then caught it again in Gordon, where it stopped to switch a coal loader,

and an industry.

When the train continued on to Mount Carmel we broke off and went looking for a coal train, QAJE, that had 4 six axle units.

We spent about an hour looking for the loader before just settling for a grade crossing just south of Jeddo. It turns out the loader was located west of Jeddo.

It was an easy chase because the train ran at mostly 10 MPH, and never more than 25 MPH. Our next location was on the eastern outskirts of Hazelton on Norfolk Southern trackage.

We easily beat the train to the south side of Hazelton where we met a local railfan who told us there was a nice location at Lofty.

However, before we headed for Lofty we were able to get a shot at McAdoo.

The track at Lofty is former Lehigh Valley.

We broke off at Lofty and headed for Tamaqua because the Reading Turn was called for 4:00 PM. However, we heard on the radio that the QAMC (the first train we photographed) was recrewed a few miles west of Tamaqua and left Tamaqua as the reading turn without stopping. QARG is shown here passing through downtown Tamaqua,

Hecla, and

Millers Crossing Road.

At this point we could not find another location and it was almost 6:00 PM with a long drive ahead of us so we called it a day. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Railfanning 6-25 to 6-27, 2011, Part 2

Hi, This is the second and final post for this long weekend. We pick up at Alderson, WV with N672, eastbound coal loads.

About an hour later westbound coal empties show up. Amtrak's Cardinal is already 10 minutes late.

About 10 minutes later the dispatcher crossed G980 over from track 2 to track 1 and sent it east.

Finally, the westbound Cardinal arrives, almost 4o minutes late. This ended our day's activities.

Monday, June 27 dawned perfectly clear in Beckley, WV, where we spent the night. Our first target was the R.J. Corman operation that operates the former CSX branch out of Thurmond. WV. We headed to Pax, WV where there was an active coal loader to begin the hunt. An empty coal train was arriving as we got to Pax. We could not see its power, but assumed it was CSX so we went looking for R.J. Corman's locomotives; to no avail. We followed the line all the way to Thurmond, passing the railroads office on the way, but did no engines. Moreover, there was extensive track work underway that must have started immediately after the empty train had cleared. This did not bode well for the loads leaving the mine any time soon.

When we arrived at Thurmond, WV Dale was able to find out an empty and a loaded coal train would meet in front of the depot. N670, the westbound empties, arrived first.

A few minutes later T677 went east.

Then N670 resumed its westbound journey.

As there was nothing else close to us we headed east, had lunch, and stopped at Ronceverte, WV again. We were rewarded with T227, a Newport News, VA bound coal train with 150 loads. It pulled up in front of the coaling tower to pickup a helper.

We elected to pick up an angle at White Sulfur Springs, WV we wanted,

and then moved a few hundred feet west for the helper.

Beating the train to Moss Run, VA was easy.

At this point we needed to head for Dale's house as he was going to work that evening. However, on the way we encountered westbound coal empties on the Buckingham Branch RR which we were able to photograph at North Mountain,

and at Craigsville, VA.

After this shot we headed for Dale's and dinner. I then began the long drive home. It was a really enjoyable weekend and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Railfanning 6-25 to 27, 2011 - Part 1

Hi, I met friend Dale Diacont on Saturday, 6/25, for a 3 day guided tour of the former C&O between Clifton Forge, VA and Thurmond, WV. We headed west from his home in Waynesboro, VA at about 10:30 and as we got into Clifton Forge we noted Q139 leaving the yard. This train, and its companion Q130, have been rerouted off its former RF&P/B&O route due to National Gateway work. The trains use the James River line between Richmond, VA and Clifton Forge.

Our shot of the train was at Moss Run, VA, west of Covington.

Because we heard a train of coal empties following Q139 we retraced our route back east to Callahan, VA. Just as we arrived we followed a van to the tracks with a recrew for a grain train sitting at the signals waiting to go east. However, first E640 ran west.

Shortly thereafter G750 headed for Clifton Forge.

Dale suggested we try our luck at Fort Spring, WV tunnels. We caught T102 there with westbound coal empties.

Then we photographed westbound empties and this eastbound loaded coal train at Ronceverte, WV.
The next morning we returned to Ronceverte. The first train up was another westbound empty, E323.

About 1/2 hour later T135 arrived and stopped to pick up a helper. This was a tidewater bound train with 150 cars.

We got ahead of it and shot it again at North Caldwell, WV,

and then again at Tuckahoe, WV, just west of the west portal of Alleghany Tunnel.

It was now almost time for the eastbound Cardinal and we thought White Sulfur Springs was the appropriate place to photograph it.

About 10 minutes after the departure of the Cardinal Q303 came west, and
Q130 roared by eastbound.

Radio transmissions became confusing at this point so we left White Sulfur Springs thereby missing Q302, which scooted up the mountain on Track 1. However, we were able to return to White Sulfur Springs in time for me to catch T132 on track 2. There was an empty train coming up the mountain on Track 1 and it would wait at Tuckahoe. We expected Q302 to cross over from 1 to 2 at Tuckahoe and continue on down the mountain. However, for some reason the dispatcher held Q302 and allowed T132 to catch up at Tuckahoe to precede Q302 down the east slope, thereby further delaying the westbound empties. Strange.

After lunch we headed for Alderson, WV as Dale badly wanted to photograph the westbound Cardinal here. The Cardinal ran late. However, while we waited CSX ran E502.

We chased the train and easily beat it to Talcott, WV.

This seems like a good place to stop for awhile. Hopefully I'll get to the second, and final, installment this weekend. Hope you enjoy.