Now I booked the sleeper primarily because the sleeper is typically on the rear of the Cardinal, but this time it was on head end. Another issue was that out of Chicago there were two private cars on the back, but luckily they were cut off in Cincinnati. Unfortunately I didn't notice this until nearly Charleston, WV, but the morning was dark and shitty anyway so I didn't really miss much.
My interest in the C&O main line is that it is almost completely unresignaled from C&O days with big old elephant ear US&S colour light signals with big 5" lenses. Also, the C&O was a noted user of pneumatic switch machines and I wanted to see if there were any pneumatic interlockings left.
Now, due to the shitty weather I missed some of the neatest part of the line between Russel yard and Huntington where you have 3-4 tracks with massive C&O signal bridges. I started taking pictures at the famous St. Albans railfan hotspot and while there were railfan out on the ground, from my motiving train the pictures weren't turning out so good yet.
Still, between there and White Sulphur Springs I took a great deal of exciting, yet rather gray photos. My ultimate goal was to photograph the 2200 foot Allegheny summit of the C&O main line, but a number of other ppl had come back to the last car for pictures and the conductor got pissy and kicked us all out :-(
Still, the crew was generally cool and I had carte blanche to take pics from the vestibule window of my Viewliner. Because the Cardinal has been operating without diner cooked first class food for some time now they did a much better job via a vie preparation than I had seen on the LSL a day earlier. of course like always the other travelers in the sleeper were very nice as were the geese back in coach (as opposed to my last Cardinal trip where I was stuck with a family from the no-fly list who thought it reasonable to bring 3 screaming children on a 23 hour train ride.
We were only about an hour down of our scheduled arrival time into DC, which is pretty good for a train that takes a full day to get from Chicago to DC. I had just enough time to grab my kit and run over to the regional train that we were normally scheduled to be tied up behind for the trip to NYC. The other interesting bit was that Amtrak seems to have made a serious scheduling error in that the westbound train is more than 50 min down then they can't re-crew in Charlottesville. We had to preform a flying re-crew at a small siding about 12 mines east of there.
Anyway, all the photos are posted at:
Most are listed by subdivision and then milepost. This means they go in reverse order of my trip and you go west (as I go east) as you scroll down and they you go back east again :-\ Heh, oh well.
The cantilever signal is a C&O trademark and the old C&O main line through WV and KY is littered with them.