Rail News from Central Virginia, by Vic Stone
Mid-week Report: issued on Jan 16, 1997
With signal work on the Old Line between Pamplin City and Burkeville completed, eyes are now turning to the Bristol Line (Walton-Bristol) and the Shenandoah Valley Line (Hagerstown-Roanoke) for the latest round of replacing N&W position light intermediates. Already in place are the Safetrans tri-color lights, waiting for turning into place and activation which could happen any day now. The Shenandoah Valley Line still has work on it, so these N&W's will hold out longer.
Effective Jan. 14, 456 was rerouted off the ex-Southern mainline and onto the combination of the CSX James River SD and Shenandoah Valley Line from Lynchburg. The train still travels to Lynchburg from Roanoke via the ex-N&W before turning northwest onto CSX. 457 followed suit on the next day. This is apparently a test run for now, so it may not last permanently, as NS has changed operational patterns in the past.
Speaking of changes in operational patterns, NS is preparing for new stack traffic, and probably a new train altogether. The Wheeling & Lake Erie is preparing to run an intermodal train to serve the new NEOMODAL terminal at Navarre, OH over CSX trackage rights to Hagerstown, and then down NS. This train will be a re-routed Detroit-Norfolk 227/228.
Work continues on the shoofly for the Charlottesville underpass project. Work is still continuing with utility lines, but several NS trailers have been moved to Red Hill as a result of the need for space in the area where the shoofly is to be built.
The three empty TOFC flats that derailed from 342 nearly a month ago, are still in town, on the west siding.
Work continues as an H013 work train picks up ties west of town, working east. Bridgework is also occurring east of town.
Afton siding is back in service, as many siding are being prepped for increased use. CSX's plan to complete the new connection from the ex-SBD to the Piedmont SD in Richmond will result in increased traffic as all trains will now have the ease of moving up the Piedmont to travel west over the North Mtn SD via Charlottesville.
5000 ties are part of the maintenance program, but this is for all three SD's from Richmond all the way to Clifton Forge.
Last week's Amtrak P050 encountered lots of meets with empty trains, heading west. Sometimes, #50 went into a siding so that 2 trains could ease by.
A wild weather week has has crimps in Amtrak's service, especially in the Pacific NW and the northern Plains. Amtrak's Pioneer did derail on UP track near Cheyenne, but the greatest harm has been to the Empire Builder where mudslides and blizzards have caused the train to either be frozen in its tracks, run extremely late, or cancelled altogether. The Coast Starlight is supposed to resume service tomorrow, after nearly two weeks of mudslides closing the SP Shasta Route.
Genesis units are making their way into new places. The Carolinian (#79, #80) has been running with them as the sole units, replacing the F40's. The "Silver" series trains have seen the Genesis units as well, but so far, only in the trailing position. No real Genesis to speak of on the Cardinal yet.
And, Amtrak is moving the local Crescent crew base in mid-February from Lynchburg to Charlottesville. Hotels have been notified, and one-man engine crews will apparently be retained. This means Crescent crews, and Cardinal engineers will now change at Charlottesville.
- Vic Stone