Old 05-30-2006, 04:09 AM   #1
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Default Derby Trains and Crazy Fools

So it's been a relatively busy month of May for me and I haven't had the chance to work on my Derby Train photos up until a few days ago. I had been meaning to do this a while back, a day or two after the trip, but had too much other crap to do.

Anyway, a little over three weeks ago, Emmett, Greg, and I headed out to shoot the Derby Trains running out of Frankfort and Lexington on the Old Road Sub. CSX was running a train for Governor Fletcher out of Frankfort, while RJ Corman ran a private charter out of Lexington.

Emmett and I met up with Greg in Frankfort, and the CSX train had already been spotted and folks were boarding for a departure at around 9:00 or 9:30. The head end was on the bridge over Wilkinson St. which made photography difficult due to all the overhead lines and what not. Luckily, the sun was just right to take some photos of folks boarding and the red carpet laid out for all the guests.

Passengers Boarding the CSX Derby Train

The Red Carpet

We hear the Corman train call the dispatcher to get a few blocks to proceed towards Frankfort. The CSX train is also about ready to leave, so the three of us head towards Shelbyville. Our only hopes of getting any decent shots lie in Shelbyville. The trains are morning westbounds, which are practically impossible to shoot head on due to the fact that the sun rises in the east.

After making a quick stop for a drink, we head over to a farm just outside the city limits and wait for the trains to arrive. If you were wondering, we did ask for permission to be on the property. Some time passes, and the train enters the "Lewis" block. The train isn't too far away at this point, and I'm just praying that I don't get screwed over by the autofocus on the camera. It has happened before. Luckily, everything worked out all right.

CSX P911/CSXT 9993 - Shelbyville, KY

Those F40s surely do look nice in the "Dark Future" paint scheme. CSX even had one of their new ones in the consist. Also on the train was this Western Maryland dining car which added a nice touch.

WM Diner

We also waited for the Corman train here, but I ended up totally screwing my shot up by cutting off the nose on the lead unit.

Emmett has to stay behind and go to work for a few hours, so Greg and I head on to Louisville for a few more shots of the trains. While merging onto the Watterson, we were cut off by a FIFO, who then proceeded to show a gesture informing us that we were "number one" as we passed him. However, Greg thought the FIFO was "number one" and proceeded to return the gesture.

The two of us ride over towards FX Tower to wait for the CSX train to pull into Osborn yard. A group of foamers had already congregated there, but luckily didn't bother us. Greg and I were actually trying to guess how long it would be before they were run off or run over...the latter being the more probable scenario since they were playing a tad too close to the tracks.

The train comes and goes and then enters the yard. We think about getting some shots of it being wyed, but decide that the sun angle will be less than stellar.

With that, we get on I-65 and head north to Indiana. Amtrak ran a special train down the L&I and Greg wanted some shots of it (what a foamer). Before that, we make a stop at the park in Jeffersonville. The L&I drawbridge is down and we think there might be a train coming soon. So we wait...and wait some more. Nothing comes, so we head over to Jeff Yard where we engage in some kamikaze railfanning. Greg hands me the camera and I shoot every car in the Amtrak consist while he drives slowly along the shoulder of the on ramp to I-65.

We get off I-65 and have plans on going a few miles up the L&I to see if anything's shaking. We don't have to go too far since about the same time we get off the interstate, we see CSX Q511 heading south with an SD45 trio on the head end. A perfect "moonshiner's U-turn" is excecuted and we head back to the park along the river.

I finally find out what the L&I road channel is and we hear the dispatcher tell a train that they were "clear to the Banjo". We think there's only one train coming, but as we set up for some shots along the river, the unmistakable sound of aspirated 645E fills the air and we watch CSX Y129 pull across the bridge with a relatively good sized train. Its power is a GP38-2 and a pair of butt-heads.

Q511 follows about 15 minutes later...

CSX Q511 - Jeffersonville, IN

After getting back in the truck, we decide to try and find another location to shoot this train, but instead take a quick tour of the projects while heading over to see if anything's going on at the P&L. En route to Oak Street, we pass the Who-U-Wit (that is not a typo) motorcycle gang. That's right folks, it's the ghetto motorcycle gang.

Nothing's going on at Oak Street Yard, so we drive around some more. On the way back towards Osborn Yard, we pass a Marathon station (still in the ghetto) blasting what sounded like "G-G-G-G-G G UNIT!!! G-G-G-G G UNIT!!!" out of the canopy speakers. Two blocks later, we passed what I think was a frat party blasting "Dueling Banjos". After that, I thought I was about to experience spontaneous cranial detonation. Listening to "Retads" Attempting Poetry followed by talented banjo pickers is not good for the brain.

Passing by The Pizza Bowl, Greg sees some NS power through the trees and engages in some thrill driving to beat the train to FX tower. It turns out that the train is NS T79 (CSX Z471), the transfer from the Shelbyville Mixing Center. I took a "Hart-esque" shot of this train.

CSX Z471/NS 9106- FX Tower

After shooting that "Hart-esque" shot of T79, the two of us decide to get something to eat and then head back east to meet up with Emmett. While at the restaurant, we direct connect EB (Nextel is a wonderful thing) to find out where he's at and to tell him about that Q511.

We meet up with Emmett at the Flying J in Waddy and then head over to the west end of the siding to wait on a 224 which has a trio of four-axle units leading. 224 will be meeting 161, which had a C39-8 leading, at Waddy.

The talk about GE requires this following anecdote.. We had been at the Flying J long enough for Greg's engine to cool down. When he started his truck up, it started sounding and acting like a GE. Indeed, he could floor it and we would go no faster than 18 mph. The only thing that kept it from being a perfect imitation of a GE is the lack of flame out of the exhaust.

Anyway, we separate to get some different shots of 161 climbing the hill, and I shoot it at the firehouse. I thought about framing it with the trees and the fence, but then see another shot that I like a little better. It requires some elevation, so I climb up on the toolbox in Emmett's truck to get my shot.

NS 161/NS 8569 - Waddy, KY

At this point, I start getting low battery warnings and start hoping I have enough power to shoot 224. Luckily, the battery holds out just long enough for one shot from the bridge near the west end of the siding.

NS 224/NS 7148 - Waddy, KY

The battery finally dies at that point, and that shot is my last of the day. We head over to Shelbyville again for another shot of 224, but I just watch it roll by for obvious reasons. I didn't have my other camera with me, which later would come back to bite me in the hindquarters since I wouldn't be able to take any night shots of the Derby Trains returning to Frankfort.

About an hour or so before the Corman train is scheduled to arrive in Frankfort, this old man appears out of nowhere. The experience of meeting this guy actually warranted a seperate post. Check it out here.

That's all I have for now. Until then, I hope y'all enjoy and thanks for looking!

Last edited by cmherndon; 06-02-2006 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:46 AM   #2
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Great report Caleb, quite funny and neat.
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:21 PM   #3
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Good stuff Caleb!
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the report. Good reading! And some nice shots. "Hart-esque." LMFAO.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:36 AM   #5
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