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Week of August 5, 1996

Rail News from Central Virginia
Week of August 5, 1996

By Vic Stone

* News for Central VA*

Proposed Amtrak service changes to be effective November 10 (official press 
release due out today.  The NRPC board is to consider the proposal at their 
September meetings.)

- Desert Wind discontinued (no service to Las Vegas)
- Texas Eagle discontinued (no service to Arkansas, Dallas & Ft Worth)
- Pioneer discontinued (no service to Wyoming and southern Idaho)
- Sunset Limited cut back from Miami to Sanford (still same frequency)
- Silver Star cut back from Miami to Jacksonville
- Boston leg of Lake Shore (448, 449) replaced by buses
- Silver Palm added New York-Miami via Tampa
- Crescent goes daily to/from New Orleans (already taken place)
- Empire Builder goes daily
- California Zephyr goes daily
- Three River extended to Chicago (reincarnated Broadway via B&O)

NS - The 13 NS office cars in Atlanta returned back to Roanoke on Wed,
Aug. 7.  The Conrail office car that also had gone south for the
Olympics has not been sighted despite multiple attempts to find it.

Maintenance is the buzz word of the week with work beginning after Amtrak
20 heads north in the AM until 12 noon.  Trains which are bunched up are
then run for an hour or so, presumably when the MofW forces are having
lunch.  Work then resumes with another curfew until work is done for the
day at about 7 PM or so.  The majority of track work this week has been in
the single track portion between Culpeper and Orange.  A notable victim
has been NS' hot train 214 which has been held at Orange for an hour and a
half for some days.

Work train 909 has been up & down the line between Manassas and Red Hill
and new tie cars have just been spotted at Charlottesville, presumably for
909 to drop.  Most of the work has been ballast tamping and tie
replacement; no rail trains have been involved yet.

211 continues its unpredictable pattern of running on the Valley vs. the
ex-Southern main.  341 has turned into mostly an AM train through

On the N&W lines east of Lynchburg, signal work continues to replace the
intermediate N&W position lights with Southern-style color lights.  The
replacement project is currently working east of Pamplin where the Old &
Belt Lines split for the run to Burkeville.  As the C&S crews replace
signals, they are also lengthening the circuit block lengths as well.
Absolute signals at interlockings have remained N&W style east of
Lynchburg, and this is expected east of Pamplin, as well.  Currently,
signals have been placed, but not yet activated.

NS has refused to handle the Piedmont Panthers football train south of the
station in Charlotte, including on the trackage leading to the side of the

CSX - An average week, by most standards.  Westbound empties are
plentiful, but no foreign or leased power has been seen.  CSX is now down
to about 15 leased units from EMD and Helm.  Local H756 has been departing
about noon from Charlottesville instead of earlier in the morning.  On
Cardinal days, it has met 51 at Lindsay or Massie sidings.

- Vic Stone