Rail News from Central Virginia, by Vic Stone
Mid-week Report: issued on April 18, 1997
Lots of special moves/detour trains over the last 2 weeks.
Tie work has begun this week on the B-Line between Riverton Jct. and Manassas. The tie project is expected to take at least two weeks, possibly three. Crews are working 7 AM-1 PM Mon-Thurs, eastward from Riverton Jct. Work on the Valley north of Riverton was completed last week.
As a result, southbound trains that would ply the rails of the B-Line during the work window have a good chance of being rerouted down the ex-N&W Valley. Trains 265, 213, and 457 are among the prime candidates. First confirmed detour was NS 213 on Tues, Apr 15. On Wed, all three trains detoured. On Thursday, 213 came down the ex-Southern main, so it traversed its normal route. Northbound trains will stick to the ex-Southern routing, and be turned loose at 1 PM from Manassas. 211 should not be affected and will most likely proceed via the normal ex-Southern main.
On Wed, the normal Southern crews ran the trains (with pilots) down the N&W to Glasgow, with 213 passing through Waynesboro at about 10:15 AM, and 213 about a half-hour behind. Upon reaching Glasgow, the Shenandoah dispatcher informed them that CSX wouldn't be able to take them until 1-1:30 PM, even though the CSX pilot crews had already arrived there (this was account Q303 switching for nearly 3 hours at Balcony Falls, blocking the connection). Finally, 265 was turned loose at 1:30 PM, and 213 about half an hour later. The trains made it Lynchburg about 3-4 PM, with 457 coming to Glasgow about 5 PM.
The actual detours vary day-to-day, but more detours are expected next week and possibly the week after that.
The new siding east of Happy Creek is still under construction and at present, will not be in service for at least 2-3 months. But, this activity is independent of the current detours.
Tie cars have been moving north on both 342 and 154 to get to the B-Line.
Also, as a consequence, 227 & 228 have been shifted back to the N&W/Bristol routing. Although it is likely that these trains will stick to this route for the duration of the detour, it is uncertain if the trains will return back to the W&LE/Hagerstown route on the maintenance off-days. (227 was heard coming to Rural Retreat, Va. on the Bristol line on Sat. April 19. Ed.)
Radio train 456 continues to be seen, even though the radio units had been giving some problems over the last 2 weeks. Equipment is returned south behind the lead engines on 457.
Construction is continuing on the shoo-fly south of the diamond. The ballast is flowing like a river as they prepare the roadbed for all the tracks (including the C&O-Southern interchange). The main tracks of the shoo-fly appear to be in place, although the ballast will need to be put underneath before the cut-in takes place.
NS hosted the American Orient Express train on Thursday as train R20. Led by P42 45 and two F40's, the train was parked in the east pass tracks across from hospital overnight on Wed-Thurs, and moved out of the siding following Amtrak 20 on Thursday morning. The AOE will return southbound on Sat, Apr 19 as well make another coast-to-coast roundtrip in May.
Office car train O44 headed north on Sunday night-Monday from Augusta back to Roanoke via the Hurt connection. It consisted of GP59 #7108 and 10 office cars coming back from the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta. It came through Greensboro about 9:30 AM on Monday morning, and through Hurt at 12 noon. Arrival in Roanoke was about 1:30 PM.
New UPS trains 217 & 218 were supposed to start up this week between Greensboro and Chicago, but no sightings as of yet.
Train 236 hit a low-boy truck last Friday (Apr 11) in Appomattox, Va. The train was travelling on the siding (ex-Main 2), and hit the truck on Church St. The siding was damaged, and the lead 2 units were set off in the house track at Appomattox. The main was reopened and 236 received additional units as they backed the train up onto the main at Lee and proceeded east. Trash train V62 was right behind.
At least one detour took place as a result. Auto rack train 184 used the ex-Virginian to bypass the derailment.
CSX had its own share of excitement last week by hosting the RB&B&B circus blue unit last week. P992-08 had 2 GP40-2's on the RF&P and arrived in Doswell about 11 AM where a CSX C30-7 (#7088) and CR SD40-2 #6469 was added for the run west. The train was 53 cars long.
As anticipating was building to see if the train could make it through this year without derailing. Track crews had greased the rails of the north leg of the wye. Slowly, but surely, the train made it through the north leg and journeyed west.
Arrival in Charlottesville was about 3:30 PM where the animals were watered and fed. At 5 PM, the train headed west for the run over to Clifton Forge and onto Charleston. The lead 2 units were cut off in Clifton Forge.
CSX also sent its own executive train to the Master's Tournament to Augusta, returning on Monday, April 14. The train operated as a P998.
Some maintenance has been taking place west of Charlottesville, mostly tie replacement. Work train H012 with a pumpkin has been picking up the ties.
Westbound empties from the Seaboard side continue to ply the rails of the North Mountain SD. CSX CW60AC #602 and a CW40-8 headed up a westbound empty VAPX train on Monday, April 14. Two 6-axles CW40-8's continue to be the normal power for these trains.
A Sperry Rail Services truck had also been testing parts of the line earlier in the month.
Roadrailers have returned to Three Rivers and the Silver Palm. New possibilities for Roadrailers down to Charlotte have surfaced. P42 #1 continues to run between DC & Florida, mostly on the Silver Star.
As mentioned previously, the American Orient Express will return south on Saturday, April 19 to begin its cross-country journey back to Los Angeles. Arrival is expected about 8:30 AM with a departure four hours later. Another round trip run in mid-May is scheduled.
Genesis units may be coming to the Cardinal soon. This train, along with the Lake Shore and Three Rivers has been one of the last holdout for long-distance runs with F40's. Even this may be coming to an end.
The Regio Sprinter will be making round trips over the Cary-Apex segments of the CSX's S-Line on Sunday, April 20 as part of the TTA demonstration period.