Rail News from Central Virginia, by Paul Wilson
Mid-week Report: issued on May 7, 1997
Leading off this week's news is the derailment at Gainesville, on the B-Line. 214 derailed all three units and five cars on Friday, May 2 at about 2:45pm. According to published reports, the train's engineer approached the run-around track just west of Gallerher Road and saw an open switch. He put the train into emergency, causing the power and five tri-level autoracks to derail. One person on the ground received severe injuries. He was inside a gas station office that one of the autoracks demolished. There were no serious injuries among the train crew.
Three of the autoracks jack-knifed and overturned; two are beyond repair and will be cut up for scrap at the site. The lead locomotive, Conrail SD60I #5643 and the hindmost engine, NS GP38-2 #5102, were heavily damaged. Brand new NS C40-9W #9103 sustained moderate damage. 214's undamaged consist was towed to Manassas, where it was forwarded to Lynchburg on train 203. A hospital train, symbol 991, is scheduled to ferry the damaged equipment south on May 8th. Owing to its age, it is unlikely that the GP38-2 will be repaired and returned to service.
The track remained closed until Saturday afternoon, resulting in numerous detours of trains down the Shenandoah Valley Line and over trackage rights on CSX into Lynchburg. In addition to the derailment detours, many NS trains have burnished the rails of the Hagerstown and Roanoke Districts in past weeks, owing to track work on the B-Line. These trains have included 213, 265 and 457.
Ballast work continues in preparation for connecting the Charlottesville shoo-fly to the main tracks. Crews are now putting the finishing touches on the new trackage which detours around the site of the new 9th/10th St. underpass. Elsewhere on the Washington District tie and resurfacing gangs have been busy. The population of Red Hill, Va., has mushroomed overnight with a host of MoW forces taking up residence there. A 930 work train, powered by NS 3507, has been working in the area over the past two weeks. Track work continues at a less fevered pace on CSX's North Mountain and Washington Subdivisions.
CSX has dropped the "R" prefix for manifest and intermodal trains, in favor of a uniform "Q".
Signal work continues on the Shenandoah Valley line's Roanoke District. Tri-color lights are in place with heads shrouded and turned between Elkton and Waynesboro and new bungalows are begin installed as far south as Vesuvius. Crews are also welding together the jointed rail on the Shenandoah Line between Pkin and Vesuvius on #2 track.
The run of F40PHs on the Cardinal will be drawing to a close this summer. CSX crews are to be trained soon on the operation of Amtrak's new GEs. Trains 50 and 51 has been one of the last stands for the aging EMD units.
The American Orient Express has paid another visit to Charlottesville, arriving as R20 on NS Sunday night, May 4th. The train overnighted in the east passing track and moved into the station area to unload passengers on Monday morning. Southbound R19 operated on Wed., May 7th.
#51, the westbound Cardinal, will operate a half hour later effective with the schedule change on May 11th. Only minor changes are in store for the Crescent.
NS train O52, with a nuclear reactor vessel loaded on a Schnabel car, Waynesboro, May 3.
SP 7815 and SP 7439 were the second and third units on NS 203, Charlottesville, May 7.