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Monday, October 29, 2012

12-10-29 PHOTOS: Beating the Storm

Twice a year I head down to Georgia to visit a friend and this past fall it was scheduled for the weekend of October 27th, returning on Monday the 29th. Well on the 25th I was enjoying a drink in Greensboro, NC when someone I was talking with mentioned that there was some "storm" coming that might interfere with my ability to get back home. Of course I had heard nothing about this and couldn't change my plans even if I had, but a bit of research showed that the Hurricane wasn't due until two days after my scheduled arrival on the 29th. Well, we all know how that turned out and I almost got royally screwed being trapped well south of the Donna Dixon line for an extra week or so, but like Geordi rolling under a blast door my northbound Amtrak Train 20 was thankfully only terminated in Washington, DC where I was able to bum a ride the rest of the way to my destination.

Anyway I wanted to say all that to explain why another of my bi-yearly Amtrak Carolinian / Crescent journeys has such a more punchy title. From a photographic point of view the trip had some positives going for it such as mostly sunny weather, but one major downside in the form of a terribly dirty rear window that once again produced a set of rather lackluster photos of the CSX A-Line between Richmond and Selma, NC. Actually the window was so yuck I resorted to taking video for most of the RF&P sub as with all the resignaling there wasn't much left to take photos of in any event.

Also due to the rainy weather on the way back I didn't have the opportunity to take many photos from the Crescent so I was able to cover this trip with a single photo set which you can see here.

We begin in the back of Amtrak Train 79 pulling into Washington DC where I was hoping to get some HD video of the 1990's B&O CPLs installed at F TOWER before they were replaced, but alas I was too late, however I left the camera running until we pulled into the platform at Union Station.

During the power change I took some pictures of the P42 diesels like #95 here sitting over on the engine storage track.

Here is AX #2026 sitting up on the upper level with P42 #202 on the engine track. #202 would be eventually attached to our train.

Leaving DC the weather was gray and misty so I immediately cut to video mode and captured the run from Franconia-Springfield to Quanico. Lots of MoW work in this section which created some dusty conditions and my train was stuck on signals for much of the time as trains has to queue up to negotiate sections of single track. Included in this any my other videos are commentaries provided by a radio scanner.

Here in the second video that runs from Fredericksburg to Ashland we have a lot less dust and a lot more sun, but that dirty window is always on hand to screw things up. Look for for my train passing a CSX freight train at Millford as well as how the last two RF&P signaled interlockings at South Millford and North Doswell have been converted. Passing through Doswell there is a local freight on the siding track and a cut of cars on the northbound main. Waiting for us to clear the bit of single track is the Northbound train 92 on the usually southbound track and you can watch as its signal clears to Approach Medium to cross back over at North Doswell.

South of Ashland I passed a string of large transformers awaiting delivery on the dump siding at Elmont.

The disused Greendale interlocking tower north of Richmond Staples Mill Rd station.

Amtrak P42DC at Staples Mill Road waiting to depart southbound over clear signals.

CSX Acca yard with C44-10W #5213.

CSX SD40-2 #8882 powering an MofW train north of FA interlocking on the Richmond bypass line. I have seen a lot of 8800 series SD40's recently, but never the one that got away.

The new BX interlocking north of Collier Yard in Petersburg where Amtrak's Norfolk Service will change from the CSX A-Line to the former Norfolk and Western main line.

CSX ES44AC #3048 sitting on the siding at Trego waiting for our train to overtake it.

Got juice? At Weldon, NC.

At Rocky Mount the downtown urban renewal project is largely complete. All the city needs now are jobs.

GP38-2 #2698 shifting cars in Rocky Mount yard.

Northbound CSX manifest train about to pass the Approach signal on the MP 125 automatic signal warning of the Restricting indication into Rocky Mount Yard at YD interlocking.

Another approach indication on the northbound searchlight signals at CONTENTNEA interlocking.

Amtrak #202 at Greensboro. NC.

As Amtrak Train 79 departed southward off the former Southern H-Line, a northbound NS mixed freight rolled north taking the curve to stay on the old Southern Main Line.

After that night after drinking a lot at a brewpub where it was specifically pointed out to me that there were no black people in attendance (50 years of progress!), I went up by the railroad crossing and saw the signal on the track #2 at POMONA interlocking was displaying a clear indication.

Because modern freight railroading abhors stale signals a southbound mixed freight with a lot of tank cars was soon on its way past. I love how back in the day someone paid to build an underpass to eliminate the 3-track grade crossing right south of the downtown commercial strip, but the crossing was never closed and today more people use it than the underpass. Power for this train is provided by C40-9W #9638, C40-9 #8870, SD40-2 #3457, B32-8 #3522 and GP38-2 #5051.

Next to arrive on track #2 was midnight Amtrak Train 19 going somewhere with P42DC #1 and #12 providing power.

I had some trouble getting to sleep so when we reached Charlotte at 2am I stepped of the train to get some photos, taking advantage of our train being about 20 minutes early. Here are #1 and #12 waiting for the scheduled departure time.

Uh oh, the "heritage" part of Heritage baggage car #1759 is showing.

End of Train 19 at Charlotte. 

Charlotte train station waiting room at 2am.

Looking north on the platform toward AT&O interlocking at the entrance to Charlotte yard.

I arrived at my destination of Gainesville, GA on time and took this video of Amtrak #1 and #12 departing towards New Orleans.

My friend lives adjacent to the CSX Abbeville Sub that runs between Wilmington, NC and Atlanta, GA. CSX C40-8W #7787 at Bogart, GA.

Here is a video of an eastbound train with a pair of C40-8W locomotives running elephant style, #7923 and 7364, providing the power.

Here a westbound mixed freight passes the MP 510 automatic with C40-8W #7787, SD60M 8776 and another C40-8W #7807.

So after freaking out after getting an e-mail from Amtrak stating that they had cancelled my train only to learn that they had actually just planned to terminate it at Washington due to the hurricane approaching New York City I ventured back to the Gainesville station to board a much emptier train 19 to Washington.

Now I was planning to just take MARC the remainder of the way to Baltimore, but when I saw that MARC had cancelled their service I fell back on taking the WMATA B30 Bus to BWI airport, but then I learned that Metro had also completely shut down. In the end I guess it was a good thing because I ventured out in the height of the storm on Tuesday to get these pictures at the low lying and flood prone Baltimore Streetcar museum. It was crazy with a light rain and a few leaves scattered about.

Totally made the right call because you don't want hapless commuters stepping in puddles or anything now do you?

Well that's it for now. Tune in next week for some inside shots of METRA Tower A-5.

1 comment:

  1. Sadly you'll never see "the one that got away", it has been sent to Boise to be rebuilt as a SD40-3. It's new no is CSXT 4389 and is currently working the hump at the Avon, IN yard.