Sue and I decided to get out for a pretty day, and I had vacation time to “use or loose” before the end of the year. We got late start and headed for the main line. We stopped in Phelps to eat at the Hornets Nest Restaurant (Phelps High School are the “Hornets”). The restaurant’s “Big Red” steak sandwich is famous locally, so that’s what we ordered.
The main line is called the Pocahontas / Williamson District (at least in 2008) with the demarcation line near Panther. I presume they still use two dispatchers, although coal traffic is sure not what it was in 2008.
1. This is a good sign! An NS clear signal on Main 1 eastbound at Arrow WV. Arrow is the junction with the Delorme Br. and is across the river from Freeburn KY. Sue is using this opportunity to catch up on her reading. But never fear; she will get the engine numbers of passing trains.
2. This NS bridge abutment indicates that it was upgraded in 1965 when two big mines went in on up Peter Creek in Pike County. Arrow WV.
3. Color position lights are rapidly getting replaced now. Looking east off the Delorme Br. NS junction. Arrow WV.
4. Looking across the Tug Fork at Freeburn KY on the Delorme Br. NS bridge. Phelps KY.
5. NS 9396-9839-4004 on No. 776-30 e/b (Consol Bailey Mine, PA to Hyco NC) with 100 PGNX loads. This train runs via Shire Oaks, Pittburgh, Conway, Alliance, Crestline, Bucyrus, Columbus, Williamson, Roanoke, Vabrook to CP&L’s Hyco power plant. Arrow WV.
6. 4004 is a AC44C6M direct current to alternating current traction conversion. NS 4004-9839-9396. View 2. Arrow WV.
7. NS 9200-1099 cross Knox Creek near Stopover KY with w/b J42-28 off the Buchanan Branch. This train had 107 loads (Consol Mine at Page VA to Burns Harbor IN) of met coal for Arcelor-Mittal. The crew took it from Weller Yard to Williamson.
8. This date indicates when N&W rebuilt the newly acquired Big Sandy & Cumberland narrow gauge to handle heavy coal traffic out of Buchanan and Pike Counties. NS bridge 2-2. Stopover KY.
9. For those of you who model NS maintenance-of-way equipment... NS Cat MoW dozer. Vulcan WV.
10. J42 rolls toward Williamson at Vulcan WV. NS 9200-1099.
11. J42 rolls w/b by the replica N&W depot at Matewan WV. NS 9200-1099.
12. J42 passing the signals leaving Matewan WV. NS 9200-1099. View 2.
13. The replica N&W depot at Matewan WV is also a good museum depicting the Hatfield-McCoy feud and Matewan Massacre.
14. This CPL will fulfill its mission in a few days. The steel gang has Main 2 shut down, so trains will use Main 1 to Williamson. NS signal. Sprigg WV.
15. The signals at Alma Branch will also be replaced, although the big Massey mine on the branch has been shut down for years. NS signal. Alma WV.
16. The rail that is being replaced was rolled by British Steel in 1992. Even the railroads don’t buy American! NS rail. Sprigg WV.
17. No. 217 approaches Sprigg on Main 1 after exiting Hatfield Tunnels. NS 1151-9842-8331. Sprigg WV.
18. NS 1151-9847-8331 with w/b No. 217-02 (Linwood NC to Chicago) with 39x2 vans. View 2. Sprigg WV.
19. NS 1151-9842-8331. View 3. Sprigg WV.
20. NS 9960-9833-8937 is next with time freight No. 195-02 (Linwood NC to Bellevue OH) with 33 loads and 65 empties. Sprigg WV.
21. No. 195 passes Merrimac WV, and the steel gang. NS 9960-9833-8937.
22. No. 272-31 departs Williamson Yard e/b behind NS 9325-7029. This automobile train runs from Kansas City to Walkerton NC (near Winston Salem). Williamson WV.
It was getting late for good photos, so we headed home.