Friday, August 29, 2014

Trip to Newport News

Hi, I met friend Dale Diacont in Richmond, VA on August 26 for a 2 day trip to Newport News, VA. Our primary objective was to visit the Maritime Museum, which we did that afternoon and found very interesting. As the museum was indoors and consisted mostly of models and items of historical interest we did not take any photos. However, that allowed us more than a day to photograph trains.

We arrived in the Newport area around 11:00 AM and Dale suggested we set up for Amtrak train #67 which was due at 11:50 AM (above and below).

After we finished at the museum we headed over to the Newport News, VA Amtrak station for the departure of train #66. While we waited for the train to depart the yard engine came out to check that all of the switches were in the correct position and that the right of way was clear.  This is necessary for all remote control locomotives.

As can be seen in the photo a new cantilever signal bridge has been installed to replace the existing structure although cut over has yet to occur.

A train of coal empties (at left in photo) would follow Amtrak.

About 15 minutes behind Amtrak the coal empties headed west (above and two below).

Wednesday was spent at Fort Eustis.  The railroad on the base is used mostly for training (no pun intended).  Our first stop was Hanks Yard where a group of reservists was learning about switching.

They had a caboose and we took photos of the group with the car.

Next we went to the shop where we found a GE 80 Ton center cab locomotive and a GP10, product of Illinois Central's Paducah shops.  There are two such rebuilds on the base.  The geeps are used mostly for training.  However, when the center cab is down, as it was when we visited, one of the geeps is pressed into service.

I was fortunate to get a short cab ride.  A group of reservists was practicing loading trucks on flat cars.  Once the cars are loaded the cars needed to be turned as it is forbidden to back the trucks off the flats.  Here we are backing down to couple to the flats.

We took the cars to a wye nearby where I got off the engine to get a few photos from the ground.  The train pulled onto one leg of the wye, and the locomotive cut off and went around the wye.

The locomotive then backed onto the other end of the cut sitting on the wye.

The locomotive then pushed and pulled the cars around the wye

so that they could back the flats into position for unloading.

After lunch we caught both geeps at Hanks Yard; the one I road just sitting and

the other one pushing the caboose into position.

Our final photo was of the 80 ton center cab in front of the shop.  Thanks for looking.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

France - Saint Suliac, Dinan, Chartres

Hi, This will be the final post for our trip to France. 

On the morning of our second day in Brittany we took a walking tour of St. Malo. Images from this activity were included in a prior blog. During the afternoon of our second day we took an optional trip to the old fishing village of Saint Suliac followed by a visit to the small city of Dinan.

Saint Suliac is now a port for pleasure boats.  The homes are of granite construction, typical of the area (above and below).

In a nod to its fishing past some of the houses are decorated with nets.

This cat found our group very interesting.

The port of Dinan is nestled in a valley and is connected to the main part of town with steep streets.  This photo was taken from the remnant of the wall around the old city.  By now I am getting tired of including photos of picturesque old cities and towns so that's it for Dinan.

On our final day in France we drove to Charles de Gaulle airport via Chartres.  We had a couple of hours after our arrival to get lunch and look around the city a bit.  Ruthe and I found a bakery that sold sandwiches which we took to a small park with a shallow pool and fountains, and this merry go round.

As we walked around this display of dresses caught my eye.

Of course the highlight of a visit to Chartres is the Cathedral.  It is truly huge (above and 3 below).

These photos (above and 2 below) show the side of the cathedral.

The ornamentation on both the outside (above and 2 below) and

and inside is amazing. 

Many of the faithful walk this maze while meditating.

The inside also has a great deal of statuary some in dioramas. 

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

France - Mount St. Michel and Concale, Brittany

Hi, The second big driver to take this trip was to visit Mount St. Michel. We had a beautiful day for our visit and felt very lucky.
Mt. St. Michel is a fortified island that sits about a mile off the French coast.  A monastery sits at the very top with great halls for nobles underneath and rooms for stores at the bottom.  Fishermen and farmers lived outside the walls.

The streets within the walls are very narrow.  At the beginning of the climb to the monastery are shops and restaurants (above and below).

Here are a few of the photos I took as we climbed to the monastery (above and 3 below).

The roof of the abbey is made of wood.

This is an interior view of the abbey.

Outside the abbey is a cloister.

By noon, when we left the island, the light had changed so I took a parting photo.

After lunch we visited the town of Cancale, known for its oysters.

The town has a nice beach fronted by a small area given over to shops and restaurants (above and 2 below).

The beach also makes for a good spot to work on one's boat.  This one was being painted.

Thanks for looking.