Today's trip will focus on three main areas. The first is the diamond crossing between the Abbeville Sub and the former Central of Georgia branch to Lima. Second is the MP 511 intermediate signal that I have featured in the past and third are the MP 515 and 517 intermediate signals that I went on a little road trip to document.
You can locate the entire set of photos right here.
I'll kick things off with a video taken at the MP 511 automatic showing a short doublestack container train heading north on the Abbeville Sub lead by ES44AC #759 and C40-8W #7873.
Here we watch as a southbound doublestack train pounds the insulated rail joint at the 511 automatic. That train was lead by C40-8W #7715.
Next we move downtown where we see CSX GP38-2 #2768 sitting across from the old Athens Station on an industrial siding.
The old station building itself is pretty impressive and today is used as a CSX maintenance and crew base.
The crossing with the CofG is non-interlocked, relying on electrically locked derails on the former CofG line and Rule 293 "Stop and Check" signals on the Abbeville Sub. Beyond the crossing is a long viaduct over Sandy Creek.
A signal equipped with a (C) plate means that when displaying an all red indication, Rule 293, Stop and Check, applies instead of Rule 292 Stop or Rule 291 Stop and Proceed. Trains making a stop and check must...stop and....check that the derails or movable bridges the signal is attached to are in their properly locked position. In this case if the derails on the CofG line are in the proper place it is safe to proceed over the crossing at Restricted speed. Here we see the southbound mast signal equipped with the appropriate (C) plate.
The SAL/CofG diamond has since been fitted with flange riding crossings to eliminate the maintenance intensive and speed reducing flangeway gaps on the main line. Similar to the Darby Rt 11 crossing this shows you do not need a sharp angle to make flange riding diamonds work.
One good thing about the crossing was that unlike the other interlockings and block signals, these were not approach lit. Unfortunately that also meant that just because traffic was flipped and one of the signals displayed a Clear indication a train was not necessarily approaching.
The Abbeville Sub is easy to railfan because a good deal of it parallels the Atlanta Highway so it was not hard to find and photograph the intermediate block signals such as this one at Milepost 518. Here you can see the US&S style N cast iron integrated color light units which were dropped from production for their current line of modular stack signals. This intermediate signal is also the southbound distant for the siding at HARPER.
At the Milepost 515 intermediate I was quite fortunate to have the southbound signal light up indicate an approaching train.
This turned out to be a mixed freight with another C40-8W #7809 and followed by C40-8 #7571 and SD40-2 #8020
The last car of the train turned out to be a former Conrail steel coil car.
Back at Gainesville for my trip home on Train 20 I ran into NS SD60 #6644, CITX SD40M-2 (rebuilt UP SD45) #2788 and GMTX SD60 #9071 making flat switching moves out of the small yard there, onto the main and back.
Also caught pulling ahead lite on the industrial track were high hood former Southern RR SP40 # 3220 leading NS SD60s 6700 and 6696. Local SD40 power #3283 and 1646 were still parked where I had caught them several days earlier.
The Gainesville station serves a primary role as an NS crew base and MoW facility, with the Amtrak station being a clearly secondary task. On this trip employee of the month was Mike Nash.
Shortly before my Amtrak train arrived a southbound NS autorack train shot past meeting lite engine #6696 on the industrial siding. This train was in a hurry to clear the station and the interlocking so that Train 20 could cross over and platform. Check out some of the brand new 3-car articulated rack sets.
Here is that autorack train knocking down the Approach Diverging signal at MIDLAND interlocking. As soon as it was gone Train 20 got its lineup, crossed over and pulled into the station.
So while I don't often get much of a photo opportunity on Train 19 and 20 due to the times of travel, any use of the rear facing RWF was ruled out by another two private cars being attached on a ferry move to DC. That's right, someone was paying a lot of money to have their private cars moved empty. One of the cars was MRLX #7007, the blue painted dome car "Southern Hospitality".
The other car was New York Central Diner #448 operated by American Rail Excursions. This could be a nice friend to the ex-NYC CMSL Parlor Car.
Our power on Train 20 that day was Amtrak P42DC #53 and 176.
Heading out ahead of us past K tower was Aclea Power car #2005 and #2008.
Well that is it for this trip via Amtrak LD. Tune in next week for Part 1 of the 2010 Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys Farewell to the Silverliner II excursion trip.