Thursday, February 16, 2012

Railfanning 2-12-2012

Hi, How do you rate your railfanning experiences.  Well, friend Stan Short I rated this day as an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Why?  Because every choice we made paid off and things just worked out.

We began our day at Milford, VA.  We had shot here a few years ago but the lens I was using then produced soft images so I wanted to go back and try again.  First up was Q409, followed closely by

garbage train Q703.

At this point, since the scanner did not indicate any southbound trains close by, we elected to move to Ashland, VA.  A fortuitous stop at Doswell as we headed south netted E573 sitting on the interchange between the former RF&P and the former C&O Piedmont Sub, now Buckingham Branch.

At Ashland I noted that it was possible to work the old hotel, still operating, into a photo of a southbound train.  That's it on the left with Amtrak's Palmetto.

We waited around for over an hour to catch the southbound Carolinian.  We then headed north, destination Woodford, VA.  We would never get there.

On our way north we decided to check out Doswell to see whether anything was happening with the coal empties.  A crew was getting on but it did not seem they would move anytime soon.  As we were leaving another empty train came west and, instead of heading north, we decided to chase the new train, getting a shot at Beaver Dam.  Unfortunately, the sun had not swung around enough to light the end of the station facing us.

At this point we decided to give up the chase and head back to Doswell as we expected the E573 would come west as soon as this train cleared some blocks.  In fact it was still sitting where it was when we first saw it.  On the other hand, by returning to Doswell we encountered friends Jack Bruce, Dale Diacont, and Robert Richardson.

About 1/2 hour after the photo above E573 crawled around the connection.

When he arrived at Beaver Dam the sun had indeed come around.

The other guys decided to head home at this point while Stan and I continued to chase west hoping to get a few more shots.  We did not see anything that peaked our interest, and, as we approached Gordonsville, VA we came upon the first train of coal empties stopped.  We proceeded to the tower where the line to the connection with NS at Orange joins the Piedmont Sub.  Amtrak's Cardinal was stopped waiting to go north and began to do so just as I gained a shooting position on the old station platform.

Almost immediately after the Cardinal cleared, the coal empties crawled past the tower.  However, there had been a power outage and the train would need to stop for the conductor to throw the switch so they could proceed west.

This gave us time with a few minutes to spare to get to a gantry signal Stan knew of.  The train came by just minutes before the sun dropped below the tree line; the perfect end to a perfect day.

We had a great time; for me good photo opportunities and good friends.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

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