1. Denham & Lewis Processing Inc. East Bernstadt tipple. They have an 18 car siding and load with an end-loader. This is the only coal loader I can think of on the CC Subdivision north of Corbin. Specifically this is located beside the north end of Bourne passing siding. That's KY 490 in the foreground. The din of traffic on busy I-75 can be heard.
2. CSX Crooked Hill pusher 552-555 parked at East Bernstadt. The blue metal building houses the pusher crew and the local MofW gang.
3. A county road took me down to a crossing called Altamont which is about a half mile below the helper pocket. I figured the access road running beside the track would be gated, but it wasn't. About a mile down the hill from the crossing I came upon these block signals. The northbound is 150.2. Since the code line and 440V was removed, these signals are now powered by a solar panel. Note the concrete ties.
4. It was early afternoon, and soon I heard a northbound calling signals coming from Corbin. From a ledge at the mouth of Tunnel 9 (Davis Tunnel) I shot northbound K538-03 behind AC44CWs 837-400. This was an ore train running from Etowah, Tenn., to Butler, Ind.
5. Etowah is near the junction with the old Hiawassee Loop line that runs southeast to Farner and Ducktown. Cities Service (Tennessee Copper prior to that) had a smelter at Ducktown. Later the chemical plant required a shifter each day to haul out sulfuric acid. I wonder if this ore wasn't mined around Ducktown.
6. K538-03 has passed through Tunnel 9. This tunnel was built in the 1920s, I think, when the line was double tracked. It was single tracked in the '60s, I think, and now the original roadbed is used as the access road. The train is passing the 150 milepost. The dispatcher later asked K538 if he needed help up Winchester hill, but I didn't hear the reply. CSX bases a helper at Richmond for help up that southbound hill, so one was available nearby.
7. I drove down the hill through old Tunnel 9 and Tunnel 8 to the end of the road at the north end of Tunnel 7. This would be about 147.3. "New" Tunnel 7 has a steel lining and concrete portal. This area is popular with 4-wheelers especially on a nice Sunday afternoon in the Fall.
8. The shadows were creeping into the deep recesses of Crooked Hill, so I started driving back up the grade. I heard another northbound, so I set up at signal 150.1/150.2. Soon I heard the squeal of flanges of K820-02, a 95-car phosphate train running from Mulberry, Fla, to Chicago. AC44CW 201 led 4521.
9. The block signal came on red for a few minutes after the K-train passed.
10. I had heard a southbound earlier, and I figured he was waiting for the phosphate train at Perth passing siding which is milepost 144. There are audible defect detectors about every mile on Crooked Hill, so you shouldn't be surprised by a train. The block signal indicates that the southbound will be meeting another northbound at Bourne passing siding near East Bernstadt.
11. CSX 389-812 head Q698-06 (Cincinnati-Hamlet) which has 79 cars but doesn't require a helper. I shoot it in the last rays of sunlight!
I waited around to see the northbound. CSX 5473-7871 had intermodal train Q142-05 of mostly empty cars.
I headed out to US 25 and the Budget Host Inn in nearby London, Ky.
The L&NHS published an excellent 100-page guide to the most scenic portion of the old L&N between Berea and Corbin. This softcover, black & white spiral bound book is indispensable. It is not listed in their website, so I don't know if it is still available.