Friday, March 18, 2016

Railfanning 3/14 - 3/16/2016

Hi, Friend Stan Short and I set off on Tuesday for Roanoke, VA. NS units 4000/4001 (dash 8 GE units rebuilt as ACs) were still testing on the Belews Creek, NC coal train and had been leaving Roanoke around eight o'clock.  However, on Tuesday they had departed at about 2:00 AM and already were at the plant.  Therefore, we decided to head for the power plant at Belews Creek in hopes of finding the power where we could get some kind of photos and perhaps catch it leaving for Roanoke.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  The only thing that happened all day was a chance meeting with a member of the county constabulary which resulted in a traffic citation.  Oh well.  Day one gone and no photos. 

As far as the Belews Creek coal train was concerned Day two did not look much better.  While waiting in the vain hope we would catch the train heading back to Roanoke we saw five hi-rail trucks clear the railroad, including a welder and a crane.  On our drive up to Roanoke Stan spotted a production track gang.  It did not look good. 

In fact we learned the coal train had left Roanoke about 4:30 AM and arrived at the plant at about 11:00 AM.  We decided to check out the CPLs on the old N&W east of Roanoke.  Our first stop was Webster where, after a short wait, we photographed #195 (above and below).

About an hour later #098 came east with Onion Pacific (check out the nose herald) SD70M #4628 pulling a flat car followed by five new VRE passenger cars and another flat.

We chased the train to Bedford, VA.

We continued east as the dispatcher had given track and time authority to maintenance people and it was clear nothing would run between Roanoke and Lynchburg until well after 2:00 PM.

Continuing east of Lynchburg our route took us close to Keysville, VA we stopped there to see if anything was happening on the Virginia Southern (operated by the Buckingham Branch).  It was not and there would not be a train on Thursday either.  We did, however, find this sitting coal train (above and below).  On NS it was just more track and time authorities.

After spending the night in Lynchburg we headed up to the north side of the James River where the former Southern Railway mainline crossed.  We hoped to get a northbound train here and it was not long before we heard the dispatcher tell #159 he would meet #12R at Fallwell, south of town.  In due time we heard #12R come into town and begin switching first at Kenny yard and then at Montview.

Suddenly, while we waited the radio came to life as a train called a signal.  The former Southern Railway channel was the only one we were monitoring and the signal was loud and clear so we decided it had to be a southbound train and it was close.  We knew there was another trestle (across Harris Creek) about a block north of us so we hustled there and set up for #35Q (above).

After waiting out the rest of the morning with nothing happening we quit and headed for Fredericksburg where I let Stan off.  The radio was quiet all the way to Orange.

Thanks for looking.

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