Pine Branch lost the Kentucky Utilities contract recently, and I hear business has been very slow. More recently I read where they were acquired by Blackhawk Coal (Mitch and Tom Potter) from over here at Robinson Creek. Blackhawk runs the Spurlock prep. plant near Martin. The Duff family previously owned Pine Branch.
Lets hope that business picks up on the EK Sub. Pickens have been slim the last couple of years, and I've been discouraged from wasting a vacation day and gas to go over there. Its been a bust the last two times! But there a lot of photo potential between Hazard and Jackson...but it takes a train!
I left "Rose" and headed over KY 451 to Krypton. Here I turned on Krypton-Napfor Rd. and headed over the hill to Dunraven, a one-time flag stop on L&N Eastern Kentucky Division. Not much at Dunraven now, just a few houses located beside the track.
1. Pine Branch Coal's Dunraven Prep. Plant is located on top of the hill. Their siding, called Hoyt, is located a mile or so south of Dunraven. Other than through the coal company's guard gate, there's no access to the tipple except to walk the track. I parked the truck beside the twin Campbell Tunnels, grabbed a brush axe and the cameras and took off walking up the track. A short distance south is "Grimes", a single crossover that can detour a train around one loading on Track 1 at the mine.
2. I continued walking around a long curve, and I met N262-11 (4510-313) slowly creeping north on Track 1.
3. N262 is really loading fast...about a car every 45 seconds. That would rival Black Thunder and Jacobs Ranch! I blast off several shots figuring that my opportunities would be ending as soon as he rounded the curve away from the tipple.
4. I decide to walk on up the track for a look at the tipple. At one time there was a center siding at Hoyt. I figured that L&N had converted the siding to a main track and configured the main as the mine siding. Not so. There is a siding above the load-out, but once out from under there, the train creeps down Track 1.
5. There is a siding above the load-out, but once out from under there, the train creeps down Track 1.
6. This train is being loaded for Georgia Power hence the reporting marks of GALX. Rapid-discharge hopper 96172 was built by Thrall in 11-96. It has a capacity of 237,300 and a volume of 4,065 cu. ft.
7. Car 7002 was built by Trinity Industries at their Mt. Oreb, Oh., plant in 7-97. It has a capacity of 236,800 and a volume of 4,300 cu. ft. It had a previous owner, but I was unable to determine who it was.
8. The train had stopped and was now slowly backing up. When the engine came by, I asked the engineer if they were going to load the rest of the car, and he said they were. I was also very appreciative of the bottles of water he tossed off. I've seen "layer loading" on the old Monongahelia Ry. at different mines, but I'm puzzled at this method.
9. There were still a few ties between the tracks to indicate that a center siding did indeed once exist at Hoyt.
10.There were still a few ties between the tracks to indicate that a center siding did indeed once exist at Hoyt. View 2.
11. I started the long walk back to the truck. At Grimes I found the signal lined up for N262's departure back to Ravenna.
I had no sooner unlocked the truck than N262 came accelerating by and into the tunnel. It was deeply shadowed, so I filmed it with 200 ASA film which I don't have yet. I headed east to KY 15 and then east on KY 80 to Pikeville. I was home in about an hour and a half. Whew! Was I tired!