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Week of July 8, 1996

Rail News from Central Virginia
Week of July 8, 1996

By Vic Stone

* News for Central VA*

Another lackluster week for news, here in central VA, except for the
appearance of the IC3 ...

There is no planned AOE train to Atlanta; instead some of the cars are
deadheading to Florida for maintenance (?)  Amtrak's Crescent has gone
daily to New Orleans for the Olympics.  Trains 97/98 have been detouring
via Waycross to avoid a CSX tie renewal project - the detour are a result
of a M-F 7 am-7 pm work window.

Amtrak deadheaded the IC3 (Denmark-made, but imported from Israel) on
train #51 on Sunday, July 7.  With seven Superliners, two baggage cars,
and the IC3 trailing, a P40 was added behind the normal F40.  However, the
P40 failed as the train left Staunton, making the chase much easier as the
train crawled over North Mountain and into the siding at Craigsville to
meet P050.

The IC3 has single axle trucks, similar to the Talgo, but its shape is
similar to the ICE train.  The train is lettered for Amtrak and has a
"baby blue" stripe with white and red diagonals around the ends of the
cars.  The windows are mirrored, and it is difficult to see inside the

Short trip report - I went out last week to look at the Southwest Chief
over the soon to-rerouted-off portion of trackage between Galesburg (actually,
Cameron) east to Streator and Joliet.  The July 4th holiday slowed traffic down a
bit, but one eb on the 4th had 12 Warbonnets for power on an eb stack
train.  Amtrak #3, 4 had the typical P40/P32/F40 or P40 and two P32's
combination.  On August 1, the train will shift the BN route via Princeton
and Aurora.

NS - VDOT and NS conducted an inspection this week, and were debating on
the future of several grade crossings in the area, after already having
decided on the construction of an underpass at 10th St., replacing the
crossing at 9th St.  Beginning this fall, probably within 3 months, a
shoofly will be constructed on both CSX and NS to bypass work which will
eliminate the 9th St. crossing just south of the diamond.  Less than a
month ago, NS put the finishing touches on lights and gates on two
crossings north of the station.

(City of Charlottesville and VDOT are building a new ring road around the U.Va. 
Medical Center complex.  Included in this project is a new underpass under both 
the NS and CSX along the line of 10th St.  Railroad sources report that NS is 
requiring that all four tracks in the area will be retained for the duration of 
the project, so this will be one big shoo-fly.  Ed.)

Trains have been running later than their "normal" times, typically 2-3
hours later than what has been par for the last year.  211 returned to the
Valley briefly last week, on July 3, but this has been it for increased
traffic down the Shenandoah, so far.

Stacks are on the increase on 213/214, as well as the train
length of the Roadrailers.

No sighting of the SL&H unit, yet, on 341/342.  But, we can always hope.

CSX - Vacation for coal miners have resulted in a slowdown both on the
North Mountain and James River subdivisions.  There are still trains, but
at a much reduced frequency.

Chessie unit #6635 has been holding down the assignment for H756/757.
It's a welcome change to the normal slug-mother sets we see for local
power here.

- Vic Stone