Rail News from Central Virginia, by Vic Stone
Mid-week Report: issued on May 26, 1997
Locally, the 10th St. underpass project is progressing well. Number 1 track is to be cut over to the new shoofly alignment on Monday, June 2. Number 2 track now has a 25 MPH slow order to replace the 10 MPH in effect over the first few days of operation.
The new crossover east of Manassas was to be placed in service at 11:01 AM today (Saturday, May 31). It is known as "Moore". The single crossover (from #1 track to #2 track) will allow for VRE/Amtrak movements over to #2 track to allow for less delay caused by conflicting moves, needing to use the platform on #1 track. The signals are cantilever style signals with bases on the south side of the tracks.
Also, as a result of this project, the signal bridges at Bull Run and Newbill are to be taken out-of-service, replaced by a new signal bridge at MP 30.44. This location is now the new "Bull Run" signal.
A few foreign power units have been sighted: 341 had 2 CP units as sole power on Monday, May 19, returning north behind some NS units on 342 the same day. Also, an unusual lashup of KCS, DRGW, and CN was sighted over on the Pokey side, returning to Memphis via Bristol.
NS also handled the James E. Strates Train as train O48 with 3 NS units on Monday, May 19, headed north to interchange with CSX at Alexandria.
Maintenance is the buzz word this week as a weed-sprayer arrived from the east, and new ties have been dropped to the west. Up to 2 work train have been on the North Mountain between Charlottesville and Afton, mostly dropping & picking up ties. Afton siding has been a concentration point of maintenance efforts.
The new alignment for the CSX tracks is seeing the bridge piers nearing completion and the beginnings of gradings of the new right-of-way for the underpass project, here in Charlottesville.
Chessie CSX GP40 6615 was one of the units on the H756/H757 Doswell turns last week. Both the Mountain & Doswell locals usually employ a slug-GP40 set.
Empties from the Seaboard side continue to run via the Piedmont/North Mountain while the Newport News trains are sticking to the Rivanna/James River SD's. CSX 601 was trailing an CW40-8 last week on a westbound.
The Crescent has seen a bad-needly addition. A VRE coach was added to it, for short-haul passengers. The coach runs between Washington & Atlanta, and is shuffled on/off the train with the mail cars. Also, the Crescent power of P42's is regularly getting put on at Philadelphia instead of Washington.
The Cardinal also has a new item, a diner which hasn't been seen on this train since it went Superliner in 1995. This is now also the last long-distance train to dependably host F40's since the Lake Shore had recently gone to Genesis (see below).
A change for the better? - Amtrak ran excursion from Atlanta to Greenville via the NS ex-Southern mainline and return on Friday, May 30, consisting of 2 F40's and Superliners.
Tidbits from Elsewhere -
Amtrak 48 & 49 now have Genesis units leading the trains, so the reign of F40's is getting much thinner. On the other hand, Newport-News bound trains from Washington, which went to Genesis awhile ago, have seen F40's more frequently again. P42's have now been delivered up to #89.
The restored Reading F's ran on a successful trip on Memorial Day, sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter, NRHS, combined with the work of the Brandywine Scenic Railway. The trip, out of Northbrook, PA, covered the lines to the north, south, and west of Chadd Fords Jct where the former Octararo Alcos continue to be stored.
Ringling Bros Circus train travelled over Conrail early on Tuesday, May 27, arriving in South Philadelphia at 6:04 AM (which put your news reporter out of luck while trying to catch this train).
FL9's, now mostly replaced by the P32DM's in Empire Service, are still ocassionally used in extra train service, as was evidenced by a shop move with an 485 towing an SSB1500 down the Hudson on Wednesday, March 28.
The James E. Strates Carnival Train should depart Gaithersburg, MD early on Monday, June 2, bound for the E. Rutherford, NJ via CSX and Conrail.
- Vic Stone