Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Big Blue

I finally got to see the Conrail #8098 leading a train through Johnson City and Jonesborough. It has been through Jonesborough on the 22A / 23G route for a week or so, but it's been trailing through during the day and leading through during the night ... until today!

8098 Conrail leading 22A in Johnson City TN (2/9/16)
8098 Conrail leading 22A through Sand Valley (2/9/16)
I saw it earlier in the week training on 22A, which was the first time I'd seen it on local rails.
8098 Conrail trailing on 22A through Jonesborough (2/3/16)
8098 Conrail trailing on 22A through Jonesborough (2/3/16)
__________________________________
I've seen all 20 of the Heritage motors.

#13  1065   Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066   New York Central
#19  1067   Reading
#12  1068   Erie
  #1  1069   Virginian
  #8  1070   Wabash
 #16 1071   Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072   Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073   Penn Central
 #18 1074   Delaware Lackawanna
 #17 8025   Monongahela
  #2  8098   Conrail
#10  8099k  Southern
  #5  8100   Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101   Central of Georgia
  #9  8102   Pennsylvania
 #14 8103   Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104   Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105   Interstate
 #20 8114   Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new special interest engine for me.

6920    Honoring Our Veterans
6963    GoRail
  630    Southern Railway Steam
  911    Honoring First Responders
1030    The Forgotten Heritage Engine
3170w Southern

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Santa Train 2015

The 2015 version of the Santa Train rolled from Kentucky to Kingsport again. We shot it at Kermit again this year.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Original

One of the more elusive members of the  Norfolk Southern heritage fleet has been the NS #8114 - the Original Norfolk Southern. I'd only seen it one other time, in the dark, in the rain, dead in tow trailing 5th of 6. So while it technically counted as a catch it was a lousy picture-taking opportunity which ended with the expected bad picture.

But, I finally got a good chance with great weather, it wasn't close to home but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. As has become the norm, the chase started with a post on the Facing Book. The 8114 was leading train #745 which pulls about 100 empty coal cars from Asheville NC northeast through Bulls Gap. The only remaining issues is timing - about 4 hours  - the train's travel to the selected intercept point in Bulls Gap. Any time a train travels that far the chance of delays is huge, the saving grace is there's a crew swap in Bulls Gap so it will hang around there a little while for that.

I scoped out a nice expansive curve just west of Bulls Gap and planned my 1 hour travel time to give me a chance to move if the light was bad or the shot just wasn't that good. I turned on the road that goes into beautiful downtown Bulls Gaps on time, BUT, the train was already there, blocking the road into downtown. Krep. 

Plan B: go east of town to the road that crosses the track at the far end of the yard and see if I could see the motor from there. When I got to the crossing there were already several folk from the Facing Book group still waiting, excellent, I hadn't missed it.

I hung out with those guys, took a long distance shot of the #1068 Erie that was parked just north of Moore, and waited until 745 was ready to leave Bulls Gap then executed Plan C which was going to the crossing at Whitehorn Rd where there was an old building that would provide some interesting backdrop.

The light was still pretty good when the train got to me, the clouds were epic, and the old building was looking older. A new set of signals and cross-bucks had been added to the crossing since I was last there, so I had to move farther east than I intended, but it worked out fine.



The following is the shot of the Erie and a shot of the 8114 working the yard I took while at the crossing at Moore.


__________________________________
I've seen all 20 of the Heritage motors.

#13  1065   Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066   New York Central
#19  1067   Reading
#12  1068   Erie
  #1  1069   Virginian
  #8  1070   Wabash
 #16 1071   Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072   Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073   Penn Central
 #18 1074   Delaware Lackawanna
 #17 8025   Monongahela
  #2  8098   Conrail
#10  8099k  Southern
  #5  8100   Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101   Central of Georgia
  #9  8102   Pennsylvania
 #14 8103   Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104   Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105   Interstate
 #20 8114   Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is not a new special interest engine for me.

6920    Honoring Our Veterans
6963    GoRail
  630    Southern Railway Steam
  911    Honoring First Responders
1030    The Forgotten Heritage Engine
3170w Southern

Thursday, September 10, 2015

NS 9-1-1

It seemed quite appropriate that Norfolk Southern latest engine with a specialty paint scheme made it's maiden trek through Jonesborough on the eve of 9/11. The NS-911 Honoring First Responders and the NS-6920 Honoring Our Veterans led train number 068 down the Bristol line on its way to the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum in Chattanooga for the weekend's festivities.


I started tracking it on the Facing book and I knew it was going to be by here after dark but, as happens a lot of the time, it kept getting a little more behind all afternoon and evening. I took up my usual location for west-bound trains - behind the courthouse in downtown Jonesborough - and took a bunch of test shots with the flash setup, then waited in the sprinkling rain, oh bother. It finally got to me just after midnight. Both engines and the 17 passenger and exhibit cars they were dragging were nice and clean, like they'd all had a recent bath.

__________________________________
I've seen all 20 of the Heritage motors.

#13  1065   Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066   New York Central
#19  1067   Reading
#12  1068   Erie
  #1  1069   Virginian
  #8  1070   Wabash
 #16 1071   Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072   Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073   Penn Central
 #18 1074   Delaware Lackawanna
 #17 8025   Monongahela
  #2  8098   Conrail
#10  8099k  Southern
  #5  8100   Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101   Central of Georgia
  #9  8102   Pennsylvania
 #14 8103   Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104   Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105   Interstate
 #20 8114   Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is a new special interest engine for me!

6920    Honoring Our Veterans
6963    GoRail
  630    Southern Railway Steam
  911    Honoring First Responders
1030    The Forgotten Heritage Engine
3170w Southern

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tea Kettle

Norfolk Southern's 21st Century steam excursion went off the weekend of June 26-28 with the TVRM-4501 (a Baldwin 2-8-2 Mikado) doing the honors this years. And as a bonus, Southern Railway's first SD40, the newly painted NS-3170w, was providing the additional power for the hill climbs.

The train rolled eastbound through Jonesborough on Thursday pulling a few cars into Bristol where it would meet up with the rest of the consist. Here's a couple of pictures from Thursday as they pass the site where the old Southern Railway depot from down in Telford is being reconstructed to serve as the home of the Watauga Valley Historical Railway museum (2nd St. crossing in Jonesborough).



On Saturday the excursion left Bristol and made it's way west to Bulls Gap. It was overcast with frequent rain showers so I made the decision to shoot at the depot in Limestone. It's got some classic old-school railway architecture and it could provide some shelter from the rain if needed.

As happens a lot when you deal with the public, my plan was working great for a while. I arrived about 45 minutes ahead of the train and there were just a few folk sitting in cars near the depot. I parked and climbed the hill at the depot. First I set up my video camera on a tripod down low near the track and put a bright orange towel over it to protect it from the rain, then scoped out the angle I intended to shoot still photos from, which was right under the west edge of the depot eave. About 10 minutes before the train arrived an older lady walked up beside me - never said a word - and proceeded to place her tripod directly in front of my video camera. I politely told her that she's blocking my video camera and asked if she would mind moving a bit to the left or to the right. She never looked at me or said anything ... she just framed her shot, and twiddled with her camera. I repeated y request but still no response, so I moved my video camera tripod a bit to the right to get as clear a shot as I could. Still no response from the lady. As luck would have it, another rain shower started just as I heard the whistle blowing a few miles away, so I moved up under the eave and framed up another test shot to see how much of my view was going to be obstructed by the lady and that's when she picked up her tripod and walked to the other end of the depot and got right in the middle of the shot I was framing up ... she kept moving into and out of my shot trying to stay out of the rain ... at least I hope that was what she was doing. By then it was too late to move, so I ventured as far out from under the eave as possible and shot away. 

Kids, when you walk up on someone taking pictures, please be nice and ask if it's okay for you to join them at that location. They were there first, they have dibs. They will most likely accommodate you and make shooting room for you.

Anyway, here's the shots of the train going west by the Limestone Depot, in the rain, and a short video. In the 3rd picture you can barely see a DJI phantom quad-copter flying above the rail.




video

The train and all of it's chasers were dodging rain showers as it made the return trip back through Jonesborough later that afternoon. These were taken as it passed eastbound by the Parson's Table and the Salt House (Tn Hills Distillery).




Fun Fact: did you notice the 3170 has a small “w,” appended to its cab number? It follows the fashion of all Southern locomotives from 1972 onward until the last pre-merger units were delivered in the Spring of 1982. The check letters were Southern’s solution to prevent transposition of digits when keying movement information into the company’s computer system.

The check code system featured 10 letters; the right code is found using this formula: Take the first number, double the second and fourth numbers; if the second and fourth numbers doubled are two digits, add those numbers together (ie, 9+9 = 18, make it 1+8=9). Then add the sums from 1 + 4 (with the doubled second and fourth digits). Finally, pick the next break point number by tens (10, 20, 30, 40) and take the difference. 

For 3170 that’s 3 + 2 + 7 + 0 = 12. The next break point is 20, so the difference is 8. The corresponding numbers and letters were as follows: 0 = A; 1 = F; 2 = H; 3 = J; 4 = K; 5 = L; 6 = R; 7 = T; 8 = W; and 9 = X. So for 3170, the proper letter is “w”, pretty cool huh ?

__________________________________
I've seen all 20 of the Heritage motors.

#13  1065   Savannah and Atlanta
#15  1066   New York Central
#19  1067   Reading
#12  1068   Erie
  #1  1069   Virginian
  #8  1070   Wabash
 #16 1071   Central RR of New Jersey
#11  1072   Illinois Terminal
  #4  1073   Penn Central
 #18 1074   Delaware Lackawanna
 #17 8025   Monongahela
  #2  8098   Conrail
#10  8099k  Southern
  #5  8100   Nickel Plate Road
  #7  8101   Central of Georgia
  #9  8102   Pennsylvania
 #14 8103   Norfolk and Western
  #3  8104   Lehigh Valley
  #6  8105   Interstate
 #20 8114   Norfolk Southern
_______________________________________________________________
This is a new special interest engine for me!

6920    Honoring Our Veterans
6963    GoRail
  630    Southern Railway Steam
1030    The Forgotten Heritage Engine
3170w Southern

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Central of Georgia

It's been quite a while since Norfolk Southern's  Central of Georgia heritage motor came through our area. Thanks to the folk on the Facing Book for yet another heads up. The last time it came thru here was also at night, in early December, trailing 3rd on a westbound intermodal train. This time is was leading a Herzog train.

Since then I've acquired a nice external flash and a pair of remote triggers, so the picture taking experience is much gooder. Below is the one shot I took as it appeared rolling by the Parson's Table. Not a bad shot.



The Central of Georgia made the return trip on the Herzog train the following afternoon. I caught up to it at Sand Valley and took a few more pictures, even though it was trailing third this trip. The train was moving very fast when it came by so they weren't as sharp as I wanted but here they are:




Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mating Worms

Norfolk Southern's Penn Central made a daylight run through Jonesborough leading 23G back from Louisville, Ky to Norfolk, Va. I've seen it a few times before, but not leading, and that's cool. It was a late afternoon shoot so I went to one of my favorite places to shoot that time of day, the 2nd street crossing. This location puts the sun on the side of the train, helping to eliminate weird shadows.

Here's the pics: