On Sunday, April 10th, Chase Freeman and I took a short trip over to the Pocahontas District.
NS shifter U52 behind 7714-9703 was parked on the Levisa Branch just south of the Kentucky state line, but there was no prospect of it moving.
1. At Weller we found N&W diesel crane 514882 and idler flat 590372. The crane was built in 1979 and the flat 09-1970. Weller.
2. From Bradshaw we turned west on the Dry Fork Branch. This is the east portal of NS Carlos Tunnel.
3. NS Carlos Tunnel east portal. View 2.
4. NS Carlos Tunnel east portal. View 3.
5. West portal of NS Carlos Tunnel.
6. NS Carlos Tunnel west portal. View 2.
7. NS 7513-8796-7639-7594-8075-8149 hustle west through Iaeger on lite engine move 961-10 (Roanoke-Chicago). Iaeger.
8. NS 8766-6950-9056-9310-6933-9667-1170-6911 roll time freight 17M-09 west at Hull with 8 loads/70 mtys. Note the old signal bridge is still standing although stripped of its signals. Those empty multi-levels are stored on the middle track. Hull.
9. NS 8766 17M-09 passes a pusher waiting on the middle track at Hull.
10. NS 8766. Hull. View 2.
11. The old bridge still stands at the eastbound signal. NS 1167-8082-8055. Hull.
12. Alpha Natural Resources Litwar tipple at Hull. This is a single car loader and has two “zombies” as seen here.
13. NS 7019-7277 roll westbound empty ethanol train 65M-10. 65M runs from Winston-Salem to Chicago. These 72 tankers and 2 buffer cars will be handed off to CN at Hawthorne Yard and will ultimately wind up at Hudson SD. Hull.
14. Pusher NS 1167-8082-8055 waits in the siding for something to push. Nothing is out of Williamson. Hull.
15. NS SD70ACe 1167. Hull.
16. We had heard 826 on the scanner, but we thought it was still around Gilbert. Then we heard 826-10 call the signal at Krollitz, just west of Hull! NS 8501-8439 have 115 loads consisting of 15 from Alpha Natural Resources’ High Power Mountain Mine and 100 from Kanawha River Terminal’s Quincy Dock beside the former CR Dickenson Yard. These origins are on the former Conrail and came through Elmore. Hull.
17. 8501 was having trouble loading, so it was decided to rob an engine off the pusher at Hull. NS 1167 will pull through the crossover to Main 2. Hull.
18. NS 8501 8082. Hull.
19. NS 8501 is now labeled a “Dash 8.5-40CW.” This 06-2015 rebuild is ex-Conrail Dash 8-40C 8309. Although still 4000 HP it has numerous upgrades. Most importantly it meets Tier 4 emission standards. Most noticeable is the Roanoke Loco. Shop designed wide nose and cab. Hull.
20. NS D8.5-40CW 8501. Hull. View 2.
21. NS 1167 8082. Hull.
22. NS D8.5-40CW 8501. Hull. View 3.
23. NS 1167. Hull.
24. Camera problems, so he’s using his phone.
25. NS Pusher 8102-8147 ensures that we will follow this train! Hull.
26. The engineer had 826 really rollin’ up the Tug, but we managed this shot at Roderfield Tunnel. NS pusher 8102-8147. Roderfield.
27. Going over Premier Mt. on US 52 wasn’t much of an advantage, but we beat 826 to Welch by a few minutes. Clear on Main 1. A new cantilever is being erected. NS 1167-8501-8439. Welch.
28. NS pusher 8102-8147. Welch.
29. Coming out of the tunnel at Kimball. Not enough time to set up. NS 1167-8501-8439. Kimball.
30. N&W once had a large storage yard here called West Vivian. NS 1167-8501-8439. Kimball.
31. NS pusher 8102-8147. Kimball.
32. 826-10 stopped at Eckman for a crew swap on the pusher. This gave us a few minutes to scout a location. 79M-09 westbound (Clover-Gilbert) passed with 9754-9349 and 99 rapid-discharge empties. This train was billed to “Guyan WV” which is the Coal Mountain mine on the Cub Creek Branch. NS 9754-9349. Keystone.
33. 826-10 leaves Keystone. NS 1167-8501-8439. Keystone.
34. NS pusher 8102-8147. Keystone.
35. Passing sister 8103 at Kyle (“Powhatan” signal). NS 8102 8103. Kyle.
36. NS ES44AC pusher 8103-8006 in the middle track at Powhatan. Kyle.
37. There was nothing close to push, so pusher J52 was instructed to return to Bluefield. 8006-8103 are eastbound at Powhatan (“Crozier” signals). NS pusher 8006-8103. Powhatan.
38. How about that standard N&W whistle marker. NS pusher 8006-8103. Powhatan.
39. True Energy Superior’s upgraded preparation plant at Superior.
40. True Energy Superior tipple. It was getting late, so Chase and I headed back through Panther to Buchanan County and eventually home.