I departed home on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. The weather was grubby most of the day, so there was no temptation to pause at London, Somerset or Bowling Green. In early afternoon I arrived at Beaver Dam, Ky., on the main line of the Paducah & Louisville Railway (PAL). The sky began to clear from the west.
I looked east down the track and saw a red locomotive. PAL engines are generally green or gray. I found PAL GP38-2 3801 coupled to a short westbound freight. The unit was idling but with no crew. Beaver Dam used to be the meeting point for LP3 and PL4, the nightly freights between the roads end points of Paducah and Louisville. The crews swapped here and headed back to their home terminals. I don’t know the story on this train. Perhaps it was LP3 (Louisville Paducah Express). Later I discovered that R. J. Corman’s crew was surfacing the P&L main between Central City and Madisonville during the day, so that is probably why the train was tied down.
1. View 1.
2. View 2.
3. View 3.
4. View 4.
5. Late in the day I was checking out the small community of Mortons Gap which is on the former L&N Henderson Subdivision south of Madisonville. CSX 385-7521 comes south off the Earlington Cutoff with 87-car Q645 (Chicago-Nashville). The 9-mile cutoff swings east of the main line through Atkinson Yard and re-joins at Arklow on the north side of Madisonville. The main line (Henderson SD) goes through Earlington (a L&N terminal long ago) and downtown Madisonville. So the Earlington Cutoff, besides penetrating the coal producing area on the east side of town, also serves as a passing siding.
6. At P&L’s West Yard I found two sets of engines idling: GMTX 2637-PAL 4522-2116-2113 and 2127-2114-2113. An off-duty crew revealed that a train would be loading at Armstrong Coal’s Midway Mine near Beaver Dam that night.
7. Across the reclaimed West Volunteer Mine site was parked Hopkins County Coal’s Bucyrus-Erie 2550-W walking dragline. The huge machine has been idle since the mine worked out.
8. Heading to the motel over by the Pennyrile Parkway, I stopped at the south end of Atkinson Yard. The scanner and this clear signal indicated that a southbound was approaching.
9. CSX 7318-7802-UP 6330 led southbound loaded coal train T149 which consisted of CMO (UP) aluminum hoppers. Notice the “blue flag” protecting the siding with the two strings of hoppers.
I headed for supper and the motel for some much needed rest after the long drive.