Old 07-22-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
Ex. Railroad Employee
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 136
Default Two Weeks on the Road - Part I

Over the past two weeks I have been travelling both with my family and to attend the C&O Historical Society Conference in Staunton, Virginia. Although most of the time was not for railfanning, I did set up my route to take as much advantage of possible railfan opportunities as I could without too much complaining from the back seat.

The first opportunity came as we were driving on Highway 7 on the Ohio side of the Ohio River north of Wheeling, West Virginia. I was hoping to catch some W&LE action and spotted a northbound train just after we passed Martins Ferry. It had W&LE power, so we jumped off of the highway at Yorkville and got set up . . . .


We got back on Highway 7, and shortly met a southbound NS train. There was no place to get off of the highway or to turn around, so that memory would have to be recorded visually and not photographically. After that, I wanted to revisit Mingo Junction. Back in the late '70s I wandered around that terminal without a worry about railroad police or being carted off to jail, but that's not the case today. I saw the terminal, but could not get close enough to take any photos without trespassing, so I passed it by.

Lunch was at Fort Steuben (family time), and we heard a northbound train go by along the river. After lunch we headed west to Dennison to visit the depot museum. On the way, we went through a big thunderstorm, which also happened to kill the power in half of the museum. The other half went dark a little while after we started going through it. Outside, however, was a parked Ohio Central train with a GP30 and an F40M-3 . . . .


I picked a motel in Coshocton, hoping to visit the Ohio Central shops, but an even bigger thunderstorm planted itself right over that town for the evening. In the morning, I drove out to the shops, but I was mistaken when I thought that the road approaching it from the highway was a public road, so I didn't go in. An eastbound train was on the mainline, but it was too far away to get a good photo, and I didn't know the area well enough to chase it.

After a day of family activities, I passed through Valley Crossing, on the south side of Columbus, and caught this NS shifter . . . .


Driving over to the CSX Parsons yard, I stopped to photograph this power set . . . .


That was about it for this day, so we headed over to the motel and the pool. I picked a motel near Buckeye yard so that I could shoot a few photos the next morning. I had my wife drop me off on the overpass at the hump, and I recorded a set of locomotives taking a spin on the loop track . . . .


The hump pusher was too far away to get a good photo, so I just recorded the general scene before calling for a lift with the walkie-talkie . . . .


This would be the only serious railfanning day on this vacation. I was going to spend some extended time at Marion and Fostoria. I just missed some action at Marion, and happened to arrive at a lull, but an NS local passed by, and a CSX eastbound came through on the old Big Four mainline . . . .


At Fostoria, I saw five CSX trains and an NS light engine move. One bonus was the passing of the CSX track geometry car. It was heading east. I shot a combination of stills and video. The best of the stills are here . . . .


The videos are still being edited, and will be posted soon. I took a route across lower Michigan that would allow me to visit a few of the shortlines located there. I first came across an Adrian & Blissfield local working just outside Blissfield. I tried to get set up for a nice broadside view of the power, but they stopped a little short of my location . . . .


Passing through Hillsdale, I found a string of four Indiana Northeastern units, one of which was a rather worse for the wear ex-CSX GP30 . . . .


In between family stuff, I made a pass by Botsford yard in Kalamazoo. A westbound Amtrak train passed by while I was there . . . .


That was my first view of an Amtrak modified power unit. After Amtrak passed, I took a few photos of the collection of power at the pit area, including a coupled pair of ex-Conrail blue units with consecutive numbers . . . .


From Botsford, I went a short distance into town to visit BO Tower . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 243301
Photograph © Rob Kitchen


On our way back to Pennsylvania, we spent a night in Lima, Ohio. I took this photo of a long local train entering the yard . . . .


I heard a lot of mainline trains on my scanner, but I must have been in the wrong location to see them pass. Driving around, I came across an Indiana & Ohio train working the old DT&I yard. One unit was a Susquehanna SD60M, still in Susquehanna paint. It was late, and I couldn't get an angle that would allow me to get a photo.

The next morning would find us making a long drive to Huntington, West Virginia. There would be no stops until we got to the picnic grounds at the Greenup Lock & Dam in Kentucky. While we were leaving, I saw a headlight approaching from the west. A lone CSX unit was bringing a long train into Russell . . . .


We drove around Huntington, but I did not see anything to take a photo of. There were long strings of hoppers blocking our view of the shops as well. Continuing down I-64, we arrived at St. Albans just as an empty hopper train was released past the tie and surface gang working on the mainline. I drove in to the old yard office and took this shot as it turned up the wye onto the Coal River Subdivision . . . .


I suddenly realized that I had an opportunity to get a photo of a train exiting the St. Albans tunnel. I hurried through town and arrived at the east side of the tunnel with a couple of seconds to spare . . . .


The actual tunnel was in shadow, but I think I got pretty close to what I was looking for. We spent the night at Hawks Nest, and an eastbound and a westbound came by as we ate dinner. The next morning I saw this westbound go by under our room, and then ran down the 100 steps to catch it again as it passed the dam . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 243510
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 242782
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

We took the jetboat up the New River and met an eastbound as we were returning to the dock at Hawks Nest. It was on #1 main and in shadow, so I couldn't get a photo. We left Hawks Nest and made a beeline for home. I had just enough time to do my laundry before I had to pack for the trip to the C&O Historical Society Conference in Staunton, Virginia.
Rob Kitchen
Harrisburg, PA

You know you are old when the first car you owned is now considered a "Classic".
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