1. BNSF 5005-GECX 7619 lead w/b S0G-24 with 194 coke. This coke was loaded at SunCoke Energy, Vansant VA, and is going to Arcelor-Mittal in Cleveland. Naugatuck WV. 06-24-2018.
2. Leaving double track at Panco. Many of these hoppers were “High Tops”, and there was also one Conrail and one Southern. Vansant normally produces about 36 cars of high quality coke each day. These are accumulated at Weller Yard into one train. I have never caught one of these solid coke trains before. BNSF 5005-GECX 7619. Panco WV.
3. GECX, ex-CSX C40-8, 7619 is one of the many engines being leased at this time. GECX 7619. Panco WV.
4. S0G-24 heads into Big Sandy Tunnel No. 1. 06-24-2018. BNSF 5005-GECX 7619. Panco WV.
5. NS 9273-3666-8360 slowly comes off the Levisa Branch with U53 at Thomas Wye VA and crosses Home Creek. The Buchanan Branch is in the background behind the trees. Later this 120-car train will get a three unit pusher and head back up Home Creek. 08-22-2018.
6. Rock train 68Q-23 is parked on the Princeton-Deepwater District (ex-VGN) main at Kellysville WV. This train of 67 loads of scrubber stone is headed from Boxley’s load-out in Princeton Yard to the CP&L/Progress Energy power plant at Hyco NC. The ROKX reporting mark belongs to the utility. 08-22-2018. ROKX 8437.
7. NS 8080-9508 on 68Q-23 are parked awaiting a crew to take the train to Roanoke. The connection with the main line is just a few hundred feet to the east. To my knowledge these rock trains are the only moves on the P-D now between Princeton and Kellysville. Kellysville WV.
8. NS 8080-9508. View 2. Kellysville WV.
9. Approaching Blue Ridge summit, I turned right to find the former location of the famous depot. I passed under a huge stone overpass and backed into a side road to check my DeLorme. I heard an air horn in the distance to the west. I went back to US 460 and turned at the Boxley quarry to a more familiar (famous) location. It took a while, but NS 8902-9255-UP 8904-9015 eventually struggled over the top with e/b intermodal train 236-21 (Columbus-Rickenbacker to Norfolk) with 42 vans. Blue Ridge VA.
10. Now the engines are going down hill. The center siding has been removed. NS 8902-9255-UP 8904-9015. View 2. Blue Ridge VA.
11. 236-21 is crossing US 460 at Villamont. He is really rolling now! The spur goes into a metal recycling business. NS 8902-9255-UP 8904-9015. Villamont VA.
12. This is a grab shot across US 460 at Irving. The highway and the railroad part at Bedford, and I needed to get on to the C&OHS evening events in Lynchburg. NS 8902-9255-UP 8904-9015. Irving VA.
13. On the way home, Sunday 08-26-2018, I detoured out to Blue Ridge again. Again good luck! I heard an eastbound approaching in the distance. NS 9926-8057-9392 struggled up the steep grade with 184 wells on 236-25 (Columbus-Rickenbacker to Norfolk). This was the same train I had shot on the 22nd. The quarry no longer loads by rail. A short section of their spur is used by those maintenance gons. Blue Ridge VA.
14. NS 9926-8057-9392. View 2. Blue Ridge VA.
15. NS 9926. View 3. Blue Ridge VA.
16. Before getting on I-81, I drove out the Cloverdale Branch. Titan America-Roanoke Cement Co. LLC has a huge plant at Lone Star (fka Lone Star Cement), the end of the 8-mile branch. Lone Star VA.
17. This particular car was loaded with Portland Cement for Selma NC. The scenic branch appeared to get frequent use. NS covered hopper 233580. Lone Star VA.
18. Looks like an industrial switcher parked down there. Titan America Roanoke Cement. Lone Star VA.
19. Titan America Roanoke Cement Sign. Lone Star VA.
20. Next I detoured off US 460 to Eggleston VA. Known as the “Palisades of the New River”, this location was featured on the cover of the Virginian 1958 annual report.
21. I walked around the curve. As I would expect, the westbound signal was red. NS signal wb. Eggleston VA.
22. The Whitethorne District is primarily for eastbounds because of its more favorable grade compared with the Christiansburg District across the river. The signal is green. NS signal eb. Eggleston VA.
23. Not a coal train but e/b 272-23, Kansas City to Walkerton (Winston-Salem) NC. UP 5586 has 92 loaded auto racks. A lot of flange squealing here. Eggleston VA.
24. I heard a westbound on the Christiansburg Dist., and that was confirmed by a green signal at Glen Lyn. Soon NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019 rumbled around the curve with 189-26 (Crewe, VA to Portsmouth, OH) and 54 loads/48 empties. Glen Lyn VA.
25. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. View 2. Glen Lyn VA.
26. The engineer revealed to the dispatcher that the 6019 had shut down a couple of times, and if it conked out again on the steep grade up to Bluefield they would not make it. The dispatcher said they would have all green signals. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. View 3. Glen Lyn VA.
27. At Kellysville I found another rock train parked on the P-D main. CEFX 6005-NS 8954 had 62 system stone hoppers to be loaded at Princeton for the Belews Creek NC power plant. An Elmore crew would load this train. Another ex-Soo SD60. Kellysville WV.
28. 189 is doing OK as it passes the derelict former N&W depot at Oakvale WV. On curvy WV 112 it was challenging to get ahead even though the grade was increasing. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. Oakvale WV.
29. I headed for the old US 460 underpass on the steepest part of the grade between Ada and Bluefield yard. That’s new US 460 in the background. An eastbound Progress Energy (PGNX) coal train drifted down hill behind NS 9969-PRLX 4836-NS 4131. NS 9969-PRLX 4836-4131. Ada WV.
30. Yes that is a former CSX SD70ACe which is now in Progress Rail’s lease fleet. NS 9969-PRLX 4836-4131. View 2. Ada WV.
31. 189 came grinding up the hill sooner than expected. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. Ada WV.
32. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. View 2. Ada WV.
33. The ex-Soo SD60 is hangin’ in there! NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. View 3. Ada WV.
34. Coming by the car shop in Bluefield yard. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. Bluefield WV.
35. Just ahead he will pull to a stop in front of the yard office. A new crew will take command for the run down to Williamson. No more stops on the 2 hour, 20 min. lap to Pikeville. NS 8088-7264-CEFX 6019. View 2. Bluefield WV.