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Monday, May 28, 2012

12-05-28 PHOTOS: Southern Memorial Day

Just in case you were wondering this is not some photo set documenting some long standing commemoration of Confederate civil war dead. No, it's just me happening have been booked on Amtrak Train 20 (northbound Crescent) on Memorial Day 2012. I've taken this trip before, but this was the first time that my train was substantially late before it reached Gainesville, GA. There had been a disabled freight train west of Birmingham and it took several hours to not only clear it, but then to clean out the resulting log jam of trains. The result was that my train was just about exactly three hours late by the time it reached my station.

Now part of this initial delay was eaten up by my ability to hang out with my Georgia friend a bit longer, but I still wound up waiting at the station for a good hour before my train showed up. Anyway, even a three hour delay on Amtrak is a funny thing. Because my train lost no more time between when I got on and when I arrived at my destination, my section wasn't so much late as it was time shifted. One huge benefit of this is that useful daylight was also shifted by three hours so instead of only being able to take photos starting at Charlottesville, I could start as early as Danville.

So anyway I got another good set of out the back photos on the southern end of the Crescent route between Danville and Orange augmenting a pair of somewhat more grainy sets of photos I had taken on previous tripe.

We start off in Gainesville where I had some time to take some photos inside the NS freight office, which the evening crews soon closed up for the night, which was new for me as I had never had my train this late before.

I was a bit confused by this safety banner. If they go injury free does every employee get a model train set or do they just get one set for the office? Also it seems that the only quarter worth not getting injured in is Q4 as you can always play with model trains as long as you have one engine.

The Conrail painted unit was nowhere to be seen, so here is random SD40-2 #3425.

Gainesville Station at night with a mostly full moon.

While waiting for my train to arrive I was treated to a southbound NS mixed freight, shown here in a video passing the station and knocking down the Approach Diverging signal at MIDLAND interlocking.

When Train 20 finally did arrive I was surprised to find Phase III Heritage P42 #145 on the front. I guess it was sort of a consolation for the three hour delay.

Jumping ahead to Virginia, here we encounter NS C40-8W #8454 at the head of a southbound intermodal train passing under the MP 200 automatic signal.

The delay gave me another chance to get some photos of FAWELL interlocking next to the world infamous Liberty University. If NS ever gets a rail franchise in Germany they could build a Goebbels interlocking next to the old Ministry of Propaganda. 

 Standard Cab NS SD70 #2556 flat switching in the Lynchburg Yard.

Shadow of the train as it crossed the James River viaduct.

MoW camp train at MP 165.

 No freight congestion this year at KINGSWOOD interlocking.

Looks like the old C&O cantilever at ORANGE is going to get replaced. This is where the tri-weekly Cardinal splits off on its eventual trip to Chicago. It will cross back over the Southern main line at Charlotte. I got a great audio recording of the pulse code CTC equipment clicking away at that old relay cabinet, but lost it due to a memory card mixup. If anyone knows anything about data recovery from SD cards let me know.

At Washington DC I could get a better photo of the Phase III engine on the front.

Behind it was Phase V P42 #74.

Hanging out nearby was HHP-8 #664.

And standing ready to provide the power to NYC was another HHP-8, #652.

The power change took about 4 minutes from the uncoupling of the diesels to the coupling of the electric, seen in almost its entirety in this video here.

Amtrak pup SW1000R switcher #783 on the lower level at Washington.

Departing Washington we see another pup, #796, about to pass under the 'J' signal bridge with a slow clear on signal 347.

The modern CPL signals at F TOWER on the CSX line are soon to be replaced due to wasteful use of state and federal stimulus dollars. :-(

Not commonly seen gantry mounted pedestal signals at FULTON interlocking at the west end of the B&P tunnels in Baltimore.

Well that's it for this week. Next week tune in for part 1 of another METRA interlocking tower tour.

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