View Full Version : November 7-8 on the Rathole

Jonathan Guy
12-16-2003, 06:42 AM
Mark Wurst and I have discussed an adventure on the famous "Rathole"
division for a couple of months. The time had come, plans had been made,
e-mails exchanged, directions given, maps marked...and bags packed, finally we were off. Our adventure began Friday morning shortly after 7am. I picked Mark up, and we headed north on Hwy 153. Leaving Chattanooga, TN our first sighting was a southbound, all NS power crossing Tenbridge, since we were heading the opposite direction at 55mph we let this one go. The day was overcast, we were hoping the skies would clear the farther north we went, didn't happen.

We heard the 2nd train of the day, a southbound at The Cave, we just
caught the rear of the train passing the crossing, but we're in luck 124 is
heading north and we'll chase it off and on again until Oneida, TN.
NS124 - NS9621/NS5440 CRQ/NS 2422 MP15 DIT

North of Dayton we missed a southbound with a CR Blue C40, Horsehead
C40-9W...the last two cars were a Tuscan business car and a stainless
passenger car.

Caught NS 143 with 2 catfish south of Spring City in the S-Curve. Had a
little bit of a dry spell until we got to Roddy where we caught M23, a
southbound, weith Ex-LMS 8467 on the point. Continuing north we come to
Lancing just in time to find 275 SB with 9436/9615 and White Face 2612. 275 has to stop for 124 to pass. 5440 is smoking like a 66 chevy with burnt rings. Continuing on we find 133SB at Mountain View with a catfish and and ex-CR SD70. Stopping at Robbins we caught 50G with another catfish, 6506 the class SD50, and and SD60M in CRQ. 283 was hot on his heels with with 2 more catfish.

Stopping in Oneida for lunch at Sonic we don't hear much moving, and the
only change in the weather is the drop in temperature. Leaving Oneida and
crossing into Kentucky we take the back roads to Stearns and explored, still not much moving. We cross the Cumberland River bridge into Somerset taking the first right to continue to follow the tracks. While exploring we hear 229 tone up the dispatcher and report their second unit is on fire. WHAT?!?! WHERE?!!?! We start trying to find 229! while we work our way back out to 27 we hear the dispatcher ask 229 if they need the Fire Department. 229 replies that they're trying to shut the unit down. 229 advises the dispatcher to go ahead and start the Fire Department. As we get back to 27 we see the black plume of smoke ahead of us and Fire vehicles approach from behind...this must be the right direction. Here are photos of Somerset Fire setting up and then attacking the fire.


Working the back roads to Kings Mountain, our goal for the day, we missed 143's power. NS215 arrives at King's Mountain shortly after we get set up for our first photo. With the clouds hanging overhead we decide to explore around Keno and get some ideas for a hopefully sunny Saturday. While at Keno we see M16, 196, 112, 175 and 125. Mark took a few night photos.

That's it for the day, its dark and cold out so we decided to eat dinner
and find a place to stay so we can get up early and start fresh with blue
skies on Saturday.

Saturday morning brought cold weather, but beautiful blue skies! A quick
stop at McDonald's for breakfast and we're off to King's Mountain. We're
soon rewarded with NS274 and WC 7498 SD45, Alstom 6074? and 2 BNSF Cascade green SD40-2's coming out of the sunrise. 132 came north next with 9091 and another Dash-9. I hope Mark's photos turn out better than mine did, my little digital camera washed out in the bright light.

Caleb Herndon joined us and was an excellent guide for the rest of the
day. The southbounds started with 283 rounding the curve in the cut with
BNSF 4663 in the lead and whiteface 9768 elephant style.

NS230 is next up with an SD60 and a catfish. We hear 197 coming south,
but they stop at South Fork with an air hose problem. The shop truck from
Danville is called and Caleb leads us in a search for 197. 197 manages to
fix the problem before the shop truck can arrive and we run back to King's
Mountain for another southbound picture. NS6798CRQ, an SD60M and NS8792 are on the point.

Since the days are shorter and the shadows were creeping into the cut, we
moved on to Waynesburg to catch 50G with SD70 2535 in the lead.

Continuing to work our way south we found I30 at Science Hill and 264 at
Cumberland Chair. The Cumberland River bridge in Somerset is our next stop. This is where Steve Blake joined the group, great to have a chance to socialize with our Kentucky railfan brethren. I forgot my notepad, so no
numbers of the 4 or 5 trains we photographed at the bridge, but I do
remember CS112 was having problems with their lead unit. The ex-LMS unit was off-line and running hot.

We all left the Cumberland River and headed for Keno. I didn't get any
photos to upload in the dwindling light, but we'll be back!!

Mark and I said fairwell and headed home, chasing a few trains back and a night photo or two in Spring City by the Depot.

We arrived in Chattanooga a little after midnight, 42 hours on the CNO&TP...a great trip!

I'd also like to thank E.M. Bell and Chris Starnes for directions and
ideas for photo locations, maybe we can meet up with them next time.

*NOTE - I've included several of Mark Wurst's photos in this version of our trip report.

12-16-2003, 07:20 PM
Nice report. Keep them coming. :)

12-17-2003, 01:38 AM
Nice Photos! My favorite: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=38658

Jonathan Guy
12-17-2003, 03:32 AM
Thanks, the Cumberland River Bridge in Somerset, KY makes for a beautiful scene. I'll definately have to get back there for more photos!