View Full Version : FIMX trip report

10-18-2011, 10:07 PM
As part of a three day trip into Tennessee with a buddy of mine I chased the Franklin Industrial Mineral's railroad on Monday. I had been wanting to chase this line for a long time and it was every bit as good as I had imagined, at the high elevations the fall colors were much brighter than they are at home in Atlanta adding even more scenic interest.
After staying the night in a hotel in Crossville we set out at sunrise for Crab Orchard where we found FIMX 4021 switching the plant, the road power was off to the side but cranked up which was reassuring. Another railfan from Ohio was also there hoping to chase that day.
at 8:35 the road power pulled out of the engine shops and began building its train, the operation reminded me alot of Sandersville with all 4 units scurrying around the plant, kicking cars, crews getting on and off moving equipment, good ol pre bs railroading.
When it looked like the road train was ready to pull, atleast to double out, we went up on the overpass to get a shot of the train with the plant in the background.
After getting the overpass shots we headed for the first trestle located east of town since we knew it would be a steep climb, after climbing the rocky hillside we reached the trestle which we were happy to find was fully lit up. at 10:17 the train slowly eased by us on the spinly trestle with dynamics whining.
at Ozone we managed to get back ahead of the slow moving train and shot it at the main crossing in "town"
A little east on the other end of town we get it crossing a wooden trestle that appears to be getting filled in.
After Ozone the tracks go away from the road for a good distance so we set up at Daysville, we were hoping to get the train passing the station sign, but it appears someone decided to steal it.....
As the train approached a blue truck zoomed up towards the crossing, I thought I was about to see my first grade crossing accident but the truck stopped at the last second.

I was hoping for a late departure because the high bridge in Westel does not get sidelight till late in the morning, while the sidelight isnt pristine, I'll take it!

A bit further in Westel the line goes through a stone tunnel, still bearing the TC logo. This is one shot that is better on a early run, where the nose on light makes it easier to shoot, the shadows make getting any shot very tricky.

At Rockwood the train crosses one final metal bridge, not many people shoot this one because its located behind a industrial property, we were able to get permission to shoot here and soon the train rumbled across the bridge.

At Furnace Ave. in Rockwood FIMX shoves its cars back into a industrial spur for NS to pick up.

Normally FIMX takes a cut of cars back to Crab Orchard but for one reason or the other they ran back light engines to Crab Orchard, while disappointing that we wernt able to get a shot of the lowhood unit leading, its was somewhat compensated for by the later departure. Afterwards we were able to shoot a couple of trains on the CN&OTP 2nd district, including two grain trains with SD60 leaders, pics of that to come later.
Here is the video of the chase, apologies about the shaking when the train passes, I'm not sure what is wrong with my tripod, it happened in alot of clips from the trip.

10-19-2011, 12:09 AM
Great shots Nikos. Who can't love Dash 7 GEs? The FIMX Dash 7s are surprisingly clean too. I love that first bridge shot (378395).

Joe the Photog
10-19-2011, 03:42 AM
Great shots, Nikos. One of the classiest paint schemes ever and on a B23-7 to boot! I'd try to get one of those overpass shots on RP. Don't think I've seen that perspective before on here. Makes me wonder why I didn't shoot it that time I was over.

10-19-2011, 10:54 PM
Thanks guys, I agree that these are among the nicest looking shortline power around, and kept real clean too, especially for a industrial railroad. I want to get a overpass shot on RP, but it may take awhile at 3 slots a day and three full days of shots to upload, might have to pay the 5 dollars for the elite membership....
Dont think I have seen any of your shots Joe, did you chase them to Rockwood?

Joe the Photog
10-20-2011, 03:55 AM
Nah, I didn't get to chase them. We were in Knoxville for the railfan thing at the K&HR and left the hotel Monday morning, ewnt over to Crab Orchard where I got a head on shot that everyone who fans the Frank gets. We waited a little bit, but had to head on back home before they left out.

10-20-2011, 04:56 AM
Ah found it
Unless the road power was off to the side, that train wasnt going to Rockwood, seems like 4021 is kept as the plant switcher. Dont think I've ever seen a picture of them running the road train as a one unit wonder.

03-23-2012, 04:36 AM
Hey guys, just as info for those who may want to visit, I visited the operation last week and had a similar experience to Nikos. The road power pulled from the shop and backed into the plant at about 6:30 AM and for the next several hours, all four locomotives were kicking cars in the yard. The road power started building their train at about 8:30 and departed almost on the dot at 9:00 AM Central. The train takes about 90 minutes to get to Rockwood, switched for about 90 minutes, and then returned to Crab Orchard.





Also FYI, the crews here are somewhat tolerant but not exactly outgoing, at least not those I encountered. They don't seem to mind railfans as long as they stay out of the way and don't act stupid. I definitely don't suggest trying to talk to them or ask them questions though.

03-23-2012, 01:05 PM
They used to be fairly friendly but just wore out on all the visitors/inquiries a few years ago. Great series of photos from you both, and thanks for the operations info.

03-26-2012, 04:16 AM
Nice shots John, yeah I'd say the same thing about the crews, they didn't seem to care that I was on the property for a couple shots but they didn't seem like they were interested in talking either. Did they take any cars back on the return trip? I need to do them again to get the return trip shots of the lowhood leading, plus there looks to be a nice trestle that no one has shot yet near Ozone.

08-09-2012, 01:49 PM
I've heard from a couple of sources the FIMX GEs have been relettered for Lhoist North America, who bought out Franklin Industrial Minerals in 2006. A trip over to "the archives" confirms what I have heard:


It's nice Lhoist put this much effort into the relettering. Not quite as much character as the FIMX to me, but I must say those units look pretty good considering what a lot of companies probably would have done: simply spray out the Franklin lettering and stencil their initials on the cabside.

Joe the Photog
08-09-2012, 04:07 PM
Well.... they do look good, but, wow, Frank is gone!?

08-09-2012, 05:18 PM
When I was through there last year, there were Lhoist signs all around the plant. I was wondering if this would spell change for the railroad, and it eventually has. It appears Lhoist has been slowing working their name into the operation. You'll note they did not change the reporting marks on the locos...

08-17-2012, 01:12 AM
Yeah I guess putting it in perspective atleast they didnt do a bandit patch job on these, but I just hate to see the FIMX scheme go, it looked so good on these units, the big red logo on the nose looked great, glad I got pretty much every shot on the line with the units in the Frank paint scheme, dont think I need to go back for the blue.

Joe the Photog
08-17-2012, 03:33 PM
I still want to go back. They're still Dash 7s! I only had a very short time when I was there last and basically got one shot.