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Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
08-24-2009, 02:53 PM
I have a week off in September which I will be using to go down to North Carolina and into Georgia. I am looking to spend the weekdays doing various shortlines. I am trying to do whatever is the most likely to disappear first.

Some lines I am looking for info/tips on include:
- Carolina Southern. I believe they have parked their older power and now use leasers but if anyone has information I would appreciate it.
- Pickens
- L&C
- Hartwell (Lavonia, GA)

I know I am missing a lot so feel free to give suggestions. I am also interested in shooting as many engine facilities as I possibly can while focusing on the operations of the 'rare' lines.

ShortlinesUSA
08-24-2009, 05:06 PM
Andrew,

If you'll give me your planned routing, it'll help. Along the lines of sticking with I-85, anything. I could give you enough to never make it out of the state of NC easily, but their are some goodies in Georgia and South Carolina, as well. It'll probably be later this evening before I can give you the rundown, but narrowing the focus will help get you what you need.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
08-24-2009, 06:06 PM
Andrew,

If you'll give me your planned routing, it'll help. Along the lines of sticking with I-85, anything. I could give you enough to never make it out of the state of NC easily, but their are some goodies in Georgia and South Carolina, as well. It'll probably be later this evening before I can give you the rundown, but narrowing the focus will help get you what you need.
Okay here is a rough itinerary for the trip:
Day 1 (Sun/Monday): NJ to Holly Springs, NC
Day 2 (Tuesday): Start: Holly Springs, NC... ???
Day 3 (Wednesday): ???
Day 4 (Thursday): ???
Day 5 (Friday): Pickens? Start: Clemson/Anderson, SC. Must end up in Lincolnton, GA by 3-4PM
Day 6 (Saturday): Non-railfan day.
Day 7 (Sunday): GA to NJ via Augusta, GA, Florence, SC, etc.

Basically, I want to stay between I-85 and the Atlantic Ocean. Obviously, I will have to chose to stay closer to one or the other due to time and funds.

My question is what is possible to do in three days on the stretch of I-95 from Rocky Mount, NC to the SC/GA border within a 2-3 hour drive OR what is possible on the stretch of I-85 from Durham, NC to the SC/GA border within a 2-3 drive (to the east)?

In a perfect world I would like to catch something moving the morning, drive from 11-2 and catch something moving in the afternoon. I will have to map out the ETs for all the lines but I could use schedules for the days I have "???" for.

nikos1
08-25-2009, 12:08 AM
If your going to shoot the Hartwell, i would suggest shooting the Great Walton too while your at it, both really interesting lines.

For Hartwell: No telling when they are going to run, since the feedmill in Lavonia shut down the traffic is way down, still most weekdays but it used to be everyday. Active power will likely be up on the north end of the line in Toccoa, they are currently using CSX 1973, a Conrail painte GP38 and CNW 4556. In Lavonia you will find the RF&P unit, crudely put back together with pieces of a wrecked Georgia Northeastern unit after the engine slammed into a set of stored spine cars, coupled to it is DRGW 3044, both of these are being repaired but in no real hurry due to traffic levels. Also in Lavonia is Hartwell painted 3016 coupled to a almost 50 year old fuel tankcar.

The original line down to Hartwell is out of service but by all means take a look, its a fascinating line, i had a chance to chase it in 2003 but i was still parent dependent then and getting home was more important apparently.....
In Airline you will find HRT 454, a SD7 in BLE paint, out of service im guessing, along with a old DLW MU coach complete with big red warning light and tons of other junk. In Hartwell itself you will find another MU coach along with a CofG wood caboose that is in sad shape and quickly deteriorating.

On the former Southern, you wont find much south of Lavonia other than stored TTX flats, theres no customers on that stretch and NS prohibited them from interchanging with CSX.

Heres some shots from my last trip, havnt gotten anything on RP since i would probably have to jump through hoops to get any of it on with the high sun.
http://rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=45418&Page=1

If your interested in other area shortlines junk ask :)
The Great Walton has lots of neat first gen power and the Squaw Creek Southern has the first production GP38, not to mention GC's fleet of U23B's.

Oh and i forgot, give the office a call before heading out and they can tell you whats running, ive done it once before, very helpful guys, just say your interested in taking some photos. This should be the phone number 706-376-2627

Cameraman
08-25-2009, 02:52 AM
The A&R and the ACW are a destination not to be missed. The A&R is an old time NC shortline, been a shortline for something like a 100 years, The ACW which has for the first time mostly fresh painted power is a newer breed spin off. The ACW looks the best I can ever remember. Both RR's come together at Aberdeen, NC.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
08-25-2009, 04:20 PM
The A&R and the ACW are a destination not to be missed. The A&R is an old time NC shortline, been a shortline for something like a 100 years, The ACW which has for the first time mostly fresh painted power is a newer breed spin off. The ACW looks the best I can ever remember. Both RR's come together at Aberdeen, NC.
The only problem with the A&R is the lack of customers on the most scenic part of the line. Both times I have been in the area (2006 & 2009) all the engines were parked and everything appeared dead. It was a weekday too. Apparently, the interchange in Fayetteville sees regular activity but I am more concerned with the Aberdeen to Raeford portion. If anyone has any schedule info that would be GREATLY appreciated. I would love to be able to catch something.

While at work I marked up a map with the yards, shops, interchanges and regular locomotive bases for the larger shortlines in NC, SC & GA and have a rough outline of what I want to accomplish.

Day 1 (Sunday): NJ to Holly Springs, NC
Day 2 (Monday): Start: Holly Springs, NC...head west through Apex (CSX main) and Sanford (Atlantic & Western HQ) and get to Star as early as possible. See if anything is running on the AC&W and chase for most of the day. Return to Holly Springs via Aberdeen, Fayetteville and Fuquay-Varina (NS)
Day 3 (Tuesday): Leave Holly Springs and head southeast to Chadbourn, NC (Carolina Southern shops/yard). I read that two trains leave Mullins and Conway in the AM and meet in Chadourn and then return. I had always been under the assumption everything left from Chadbourn. Can anyone clarify? After chasing/exploring head west to Florence and Darlington (South Carolina Central). Can kill the rest of the day with whatever they are running or CSX through Florence.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Start in Florence, SC and check out what the South Carolina Central is doing. I have chased them in the past and the crew was very friendly and gave us a lineup for their days work. I would expect the routine to be nearly the same everyday since they deal with major manufacturing customers. Leave midday for the Lancaster & Chester. I am looking for information on their operations as well. Where to spend the night is up in the air.
Day 5 (Thursday): Pickens
Day 6 (Friday): Hartwell (Lavonia, GA)
Day 7 (Saturday): Non-railfan day.
Day 8 (Sunday): GA to NJ via Augusta, GA, Florence, SC, etc.

Nikos, thanks for the Hartwell/GWRR info!!! I wasn't aware the mill in Lavonia closed; that's really a shame. :( I wanted to go see the Toccoa Viaduct so maybe I will have to concentrate on that part of the line.

ShortlinesUSA
08-26-2009, 04:19 AM
ARGGHHHH!!!!!!! Had a very detailed reply that I just lost using the wrong winow in Explorer. I've got to go to bed...I'll take another shot at this later in the week. Some good suggestions you've got for the meantime, I have a few more.

BR549
08-26-2009, 04:53 AM
While at work I marked up a map with the yards, shops, interchanges and regular locomotive bases for the larger shortlines in NC, SC & GA and have a rough outline of what I want to accomplish.

Day 2 (Monday): Start: Holly Springs, NC...head west through Apex (CSX main) and Sanford (Atlantic & Western HQ) and get to Star as early as possible. See if anything is running on the AC&W and chase for most of the day. Return to Holly Springs via Aberdeen, Fayetteville and Fuquay-Varina (NS)
Day 3 (Tuesday): Leave Holly Springs and head southeast to Chadbourn, NC (Carolina Southern shops/yard). I read that two trains leave Mullins and Conway in the AM and meet in Chadourn and then return. I had always been under the assumption everything left from Chadbourn. Can anyone clarify? After chasing/exploring head west to Florence and Darlington (South Carolina Central). Can kill the rest of the day with whatever they are running or CSX through Florence.

Let me know which Monday you're talking about, and I can find out what the ACWR will be doing for you. I plan on doing some video there very soon.

In regards to the Carolina Southern: This railroad is not the same railroad that it used to be, in any way.

Business has fallen way off. Only a handful of their existing customers remain. Alot of the railroad is overrun with storage cars. On a positive note, they have been running a rock train at the end of the week for the past three weeks; but, it's at the end of the week so you'll miss out on that.

There have been many layoffs. I think they have gone from two 3-man crews to one 2-man crew. And they work where the work is. There is no pattern what they can be doing from one day to the next. Yes, the crew reports in Chadbourn; but, that doesn't always mean that's where the train will be. They can begin/end their day anywhere.

Vegetation (weeds) covers the rails almost everywhere. Makes it hard to make any shot scenic. But, one thing that remains consistant ... their poor track conditions. They probably let the weeds get like they do to cover up the surface bends in the joints :roll:

They have parked all of their vintage power. Only thing running the road as of lately are their GP18s and recently aquired GP38s, which still bare ex G&O paint. The Fs and GP30 are holding down the house track in Chadbourn.

If you decide to go, good luck, and alot of it.

Joe the Photog
08-26-2009, 05:54 AM
Andrew;

How long has it been since you were on the South Carolina Central? In the past five years or so, they've moved their yard out of downtown Hartsville closer to where the Nucor plant is in Floyds. I hear they have a GP40-2 and road slug mate now. (I almost want to say it was reporteed as a SD40-2 and slug, but that can't be, I don't think.) SDome days you can get a very northern-type consist of ex-Boston & Maine, ex-CN and ex-GTW. Their remaining GP10s seem to be used for switching.

Coming from the SCC to the L&C, I'm sure you've already mapped it out, but your most direct route would be to turn south onto Hwy. 1 in McBee to Bethune and then follow the road signs. That will take you right into Kershaw where if you're lucky, by mid day, there will be a long grain train heading bcak toward Lancaster. For some reason, it seems the L&C uses the leased power on these trains while the newly repainted GP38-2s are used from Chester to Richburg and back. There are three end cabs still on line. SW900 #91 has been the Circle S switcher for more than five years now. It's in the now old blue and white paint. This is an early morning shot unless you catch the engine uncoupled from the front which seems to be rare. The SW900 #90 and SW1200 #94, both in the new "retro" paint seem to stay around Lancaster. Every once in a while, one might be used to head out to AmeriSteel and, oddly, sometimes one or both are used in tandem with a GP lash up.

Sun angles will be good in the afternoon of trains headed toward Chester, though one out of Kershaw might need to turn into the sun closer to Lancaster.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
08-26-2009, 02:05 PM
How long has it been since you were on the South Carolina Central? In the past five years or so, they've moved their yard out of downtown Hartsville closer to where the Nucor plant is in Floyds. I hear they have a GP40-2 and road slug mate now. (I almost want to say it was reporteed as a SD40-2 and slug, but that can't be, I don't think.) SDome days you can get a very northern-type consist of ex-Boston & Maine, ex-CN and ex-GTW. Their remaining GP10s seem to be used for switching.
Joe, it was this past April that we were there. When the crew dumped the one engine in downtown Darlington where it handles the switching in town they told us how to get to what I assume is the 'new' yard since it was in the middle of nowhere but yet highly accessible. They jumped onto ex-GT 6415 and went back east to work the Nucor plant or somewhere near there. [photoid=42961]We didn't follow since we needed to be home that night and still had 10 hours of driving. I also have to thank you for shooting every shortline that I am researching. :lol: It makes finding and mapping out the shops and yards a lot easier having photos to reference even if they are from 2004 or 2005.

Thanks for all the info guys! I really really appreciate it. As for the Carolina Southern, I don't know if I want to scrap that idea all together and focus on the L&C or still try to do both but just shoot the equipment in Chadbourn or wherever it is.

It's Monday, September 21st that I'll be doing the ACWR. That seems like the only plan that is set in stone unless I happen to catch the NS Fayetteville Turn which I have tried to get 6 times.

Joe the Photog
08-26-2009, 02:33 PM
I also have to thank you for shooting every shortline that I am researching. :lol:

:lol:

Don't forget about the Pee Dee River Railway and Laurinburg & Southern, both are within shouting distance of Aberdeen/Hamlet and the South Carolina Central.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
08-26-2009, 03:30 PM
:lol:

Don't forget about the Pee Dee River Railway and Laurinburg & Southern, both are within shouting distance of Aberdeen/Hamlet and the South Carolina Central.
Got the L&S marked. That would be either Monday evening on the way back to Holly Springs or Tuesday on the way to Chadbourn or maybe a good part of Tuesday now. I didn't get to 'P' in my roster book yet but I will finish that on the way west today, thanks!

crazytiger
08-26-2009, 06:46 PM
I live in Clemson and I can't wait to see how this turns out. You probably will want to catch the U18Bs on the PICK. Saw one on the NS main in Clemson a couple months back.

Joey Bowman
08-27-2009, 03:47 AM
Caldwell County Railroad in Hickory NC. As far as im aware youre not gonna find any other ex Family Lines units still in FL paint any where operating. They are hit and miss, usually running Tuesdays and Fridays, sometimes not at all, other times 4 times a week.

Tuesdays are usually the best bet to see them run, if they dont there is also the Alexander County RR within an hour or less that runs M-F.

Just noticed you wanted to stay on the East side of 85. Nevermind.

ShortlinesUSA
08-27-2009, 04:03 AM
Andrew,

I'd scrap the Carolina Southern unless you want to shoot the deadline. That's quite a bit out of the way based on the full schedule you have for yourself. Some good responses you've gotten, and that took away some suggestions I was going to mention before. Pee Dee River was one, so I second Joe's. A&R is a gem. If you can check in with them while you're around Aberdeen, I'd scrap the SC Central in a second in favor of getting them out on the line if you could get solid info on when they were going. Anywhere west of Skibo on the outskirts of Fayetteville is great rural NC scenery.

Laurinburg & Southern can usually be found around the elevator in E. Laurinburg, and you can almost always get a shot of one of the older LRS switchers used by the mill as their unit. Three black G&O SW1500s are the regular power. You may find a unit sitting at the end of the line in Johns if your travels take you that way, but otherwise wouldn't bother.

Pickens gets started in Gluck (just south of Anderson) around 0800, and will work up to the NS interchange in downtown. If they are using two units, they may split and one heads to Belton and the other to Gluck. Greenville & Western works a transload at Belton, you'll probably see them there. PICK keeps stored power & parts units at Docheno, just south of Belton. There is a job on the line to Honea Path that works a couple of times a week on no set schedule last I know.

If you find time while you're around Lincolnton, the Georgia Woodlands is over in Washington. They typically go down to CSX early morning and are back switching in Washington by midday. Not sure how much they are running these days-- not often you hear ANYTHING about this operation.

BTW, on your NS local to Fayetteville, they are typically in there around 0800-1000 to interchange with the A&R. CSX comes in to the interchange yard shortly after, then the A&R around midday. This all goes down at the little yard just south of the Amtrak station. A&R's operations in Fayetteville aren't that photogenic, but there are a few spots that you can find to work with. They start out of the River Terminal around 0900. No photo ops around there, very poorly lit in the morning and extremely tight angles. You can set up in a neighborhood along the way where they pass a school, that's about it. That is just west of the crossing over the big highway there. Some neat angles around the wye and diamond just south of the interchange yard. Nice folks at the office there, be sure to check in if you go around there.

That's about what I have. Any other roads you come across that could potentially be on your list, just ask.

Joe the Photog
09-12-2009, 04:11 AM
FWIW, all the Hartwell road power was parked in Lavonia when I was there on Labor Day excluding the SD& which is stranded in Airline behind a long line of stored freight cars. (And behind foreground clutter to boot.) The Rio Grande and RF&P unit was parked at the old feed mill which was still seeing trucks around and maybe an odd grain car as well. The Conrail and C&NW unit was tied down on the main with cars for that end of the line as well as more empty double stack cars. My assumption was that they were going to shove the storage cars toward Airline with the two units at the feed mill. Additionally, the Hartwell-painted GP30 was closer to the Lavonia depot though parked in a way to make shooting it next to impossible.

The viaduct has some brush in the way, but you can still shoot it. (Hell, bring a weed whacker, if you feel like it.)

Dosheno on the Pickens had four units parked, if you include the old CSX U18B that they use for parts. There was a Pickens Alco, a Pickens U18B and an old Laurinburg & Southern EMD SW1. Three different builders. The little end cab was parked behind the old CSX motor then though.

The Greeneville & Western had both units parked out in the open. One is painted in a green scheme and the other ex-East Cooper & Berkley is in the process of being repainted. There was also an old Southern caboose that I believe they use for a shoving platform.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
09-12-2009, 07:59 PM
I appreciate all the info posted and I hope others can take advantage of it! Unfortunately, I have to put off this trip until another time which I hope will be in December if everything works out. Thanks again!

Joe the Photog
09-12-2009, 08:23 PM
All that typing we did for you!

:twisted:

Hey, don't worry about it. I've been putting off my Memphis trip since 2004.

:roll:

Cameraman
09-13-2009, 06:07 PM
Andrew,

Just a thought as I looked at you proposed hit list. Now that you have time to regroup, I would suggest that you are trying to cover to much ground.

I have done a trip or two like this in the distant past, and I have friends that do this stuff all the time. What I find is you will get a few representative photos of each but nothing outstanding, noting with any depth. I have changed my entire approach to rail photography since my early days, I now concentrate more time on any subject I chose to cover and don't attempt to get "one photo of every shortline in the southeast.

I find on any subject you almost need a day to explore and then a day to shoot. In the past as I chased and shot I would often get a so-so photo at a crossing only to find a dynamite view just as I was catching up to the rear of the train. Shortlines are a little easier since they go slower, but also harder because they often only run one train on any given line a day.

I almost would suggest you spend a week in one state, like NC, and do all the shortlines plus the surrounding class one stuff. NC has some of the best class-one locations I can think of. If you are interested I will elaborate.

Just some food for thought.

CM