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Old 11-28-2006, 07:05 PM   #1
Ex. Railroad Employee
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 136
Default Thanksgiving Train Chasing

A Little Train Chasing During Thanksgiving

I decided to go west to visit my older daughters for Thanksgiving and set aside five days for the visit so that I could get to a couple of railroad locations along the way. We picked up Joshua from school on Wednesday and hit the road making it to our first motel just west of Wheeling around nine. I had been checking the weather forecast for days before we left to see what the sunlight situation would be during the trip. The next morning was brilliantly sunny and bitterly cold, but great for photos!

On the road by 9am and my first railroad stop would be Zanesville, Ohio. The Ohio Central railroad comes through here and I’ve seen parked locomotives here in the past. I was not disappointed . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166555
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Originally Western Pacific U23Bs 2260 & 2253, both were rebuilt by GE as Super7-23Bs, sold to Monongahela Railway and renumbered 2308 & 2304, acquired by Conrail as 2038 & 2034, then Norfolk Southern 4098 & 4095, now owned by Ohio Central.

Back on the highway and heading west, we stopped for lunch at a rest area between Columbus and Cincinnati. Jumped off of the interstate in Cincinnati in order to take some photos of Queensgate Yard. Boy, would this be a place to spend a looooong weekend!! First, I found an open spot in the yard and caught the hump switcher passing by . . . .


Then, I simply looked a little to my right and got a somewhat blocked view of the north/west end of the engine terminal . . . .



I checked some aerial photos before I left home and saw that the main control tower for the yard can be viewed from the end of Queen City Avenue, so I had Sandy drive me there in order that I could jump out and get the photos quickly. I’m sure that if you were a stranger to Cincinnati you could never figure out what railroad was in charge of this yard . . . .



If I had had more time, I would have hung out on the Western Avenue Viaduct. It passes over the entire yard and gives you a great view of most of the operations.

After checking into our motel in Clarksville, Indiana (across the river from Louisville, Kentucky), we left to visit with my two of my daughters, one son-in-law, and a granddaughter. On the way, I stopped to get a couple of late afternoon photos of the terminal of the Louisville & Indiana railroad that was nearby . . . .



The next day we went to the Louisville Zoo for a few hours (can’t do train stuff all the time). Afterwards, Sandy went home with my daughter and granddaughter, and I took Joshua, Mikayla, and my son-in-law, and checked out CSX’s Osborn Yard (the former Louisville & Nashville main terminal in Louisville). First thing we found was a welded rail train with a road slug made out of an old GP40 . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166908
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

A northbound train was leaving, but the light was bad for northbounds, so I skipped it. Soon there came a southbound train entering the yard passing that northbound train that I skipped on and the welded rail train . . . .


Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166560
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

I thought about heading to the south end of the yard to see what else I could photograph (the middle of the yard is pretty much inaccessible), but a headlight to the north caught our attention. It was a Norfolk Southern transfer coming over from their yard, but I didn’t get a photo of that train because we spotted another headlight behind it and headed for that one instead. It was a southbound CSX autorack train that had to wait for the NS transfer to get out of its way . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166907
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

While it sat at the stop signal, we headed back to the yard to see if we could catch the NS transfer, but we caught a northbound train doubling over instead . . . .


I heard the autorack train call a clear signal so I skedaddled back to get set up for a nice photo with the signal bridge in the background . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166561
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Now we finally headed for the south end of the yard, but nothing was moving, and all of the bridges over the yard had chain link fencing that made photography impossible. I guess that will have to be enough for today.

Our first stop the next morning was the Kentucky Horse Park on the north side of Lexington, Kentucky. It is a state park that chronicles the history of the horse as it served mankind, as well as famous horses and horse farms from Kentucky. There were also barns with many different breeds of horses for you to see. I guess that it qualifies as a family activity so that I can borrow a few more minutes for train photos.

Our route to Bristol, Tennessee, would pass through Corbin, Kentucky, the main CSX coal terminal in south central Kentucky (ex. Louisville & Nashville). Passing over the US25 bridge at the north end of the yard I spotted an empty ballast train sitting on the mainline across from the yard office . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166569
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

Pretty sad looking power, in fact, it seemed as if CSX uses cheap house paint for its locomotives because I saw a lot of peeling paint on my travels this weekend. When I first arrived at this location I spotted some locomotives heading behind this train, and scanner chatter told me that they were coming back. So, I waited, and, sure enough, a string of eight assorted Helm Leasing units started into the yard . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166570
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

. . . . and passed between a couple of CSX locomotive sets waiting to go to work . . . .


This is another location that is on my “return in the future” list. I didn’t have a lot of time to hang around, so I quickly went to the south end of the yard to see if there was anything there I could photograph. Nope, that was it for here.

That evening we met my youngest older daughter and went to the Bristol Motor Speedway to take in their drive through Christmas light show (another one of those “family” activities). The next morning we were headed for West Virginia and my old stompin’ grounds.

I made two stops to take “Now” photos for a series of “Then and Now” features I am working on. The first one was at Raleigh Yard outside Beckley, but the most dramatic one was at the old Hinton engine terminal. Here it is in 1981 . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 131035
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

. . . . and here is the exact same spot last Sunday . . . .

Pretty sad, huh?

I visited with the yard clerk a couple of train crewmen at the yard office. I had brought with me 15 photos I had taken back in the 80s and shared them with them. Some of them had no idea what these places looked like when they were really active. Just outside the yard office was an eastbound train waiting for a crew . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166697
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

The last two units were rare J&M Locomotive units (ex. Illinois Central Gulf Paducah rebuilt GP-10s), and behind them was the CSX scale test car . . . .


The kids wanted to go see John Henry so we left for Talcott at about the same time as this train. After visiting the statue of John Henry, that eastbound showed up . . . .


Continuing east toward Clifton Forge we twisted and turned until we reached Alderson. It looks like Martha Stewart helped spruce up the old C&O station while she was visiting nearby . . . .


More twisting and turning and we finally made it to Ronceverte. This is sometimes a helper location for the final push over the mountains to the east, and just across from the decaying C&O station was a set of locomotives . . . .



Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166700
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

I didn’t make it to Clifton Forge before the sun went behind the mountains, so I will have to come back (gee, what a hardship). My last planned stop was at Waynesboro, Virginia, to check out the Norfolk Southern yard. What I found was a pair of GEs being checked over by the mobile mechanic . . . .

Image © Rob Kitchen
PhotoID: 166869
Photograph © Rob Kitchen

. . . . and while I was there, the track inspector showed up – it looks like a race to me . . . .


That’s it for my family/railroad adventure over the Thanksgiving holiday. I know where I have to go back, and I know that I probably will.
Rob Kitchen
Harrisburg, PA

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

Last edited by TonytheTiger; 11-28-2006 at 07:08 PM.
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