NS Pocahontas Division
October 30 - November 1, 2009
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approx 1440X900)

Before arriving on the Pokey we made an intermediate stop along the Whitethorne District, at a signal of the same name.  This is 68W, a ballast train heading East past a set of waiting pushers.

Blacksburg, VA

I couldn't pass on this shot even though it was severely backlit. I think this train is 17M but I'm not too sure it was him we heard calling the signals.  He's come out of the Coopers tunnel and headed West toward the  Elkhorn Tunnel over the Bluestone River and the town of Coopers.

Coopers, WV

We headed to Farm (between Hemphill & Caples) to see trains going past the coaling tower there.  We arrived to find two Eastbounds sitting under the tower, another pulling in behind one of the first on Main 1, and 83Q lined around them all on Main 2 (the nearest track). 

Farm, WV


83Q's pushers 83Q's pushers

It was busy and I didn't shoot everything that moved, but did photograph the the Eastbound on Main 1 when it pulled past and into the Hemphill tunnel.

The next morning at the Elkhorn Inn I went out on the balcony just in time for 83Q headed East.  The quickly disappearing morning Sun was the last I'd see that day –  the weather forecast was for rain and it was closing in fast.

Landgraff, WV
October 31, 2009

83Q's Pushers

We headed across the tracks for a shot of Eastbound 83K.  It was a long train with three units up front and a set of pushers, plenty of power.  Right?...

...Well, apparently not.  Long after breakfast we stepped back onto the balcony to watch a Westbound.  When the rear cars showed I commented "that looks familiar."  About then, Nathan noticed that that was the same power that had been on 83K.  It was!  It had stalled on the grade and was drifting back.  Three more units were added for the second attack.


The rain came and stayed with us the remainder of the day. We took a tour of the Buchanan branch and did not catch any moving trains but did see some really nifty late-Autumn beauty!

The next morning we started early, continuing our exploration of the Buchanan, following the Big Creek and Dismal Creek Branches from Richlands.  Near Dismal we heard a train working and then caught him headed out the branch to Page Junction.

Mavisdale, VA
November 1, 2009

En route to the Dry Fork Branch at Cedar Bluff, we were overtaken by this work train with an ex-Conrail unit.  We gave chase and caught him under heavy skies on the Clinch Valley District.

North Tazewell, VA

The sky was looking much better by the time we caught our first action on the Dry Fork Branch. This was U36 backing to a coal tipple up the Jacobs Fork Branch.  Interestingly, here he has just passed a couple signals called Alpha and Omega.

near War, WV 11:59am

We continued West almost to Iaeger when we heard 80A coming East.  We gave chase, looking for a spot with good light and finally settled on this crossing in the middle of War.  One thing in the shot that's now becoming a relic and worthy of inclusion is the code-line pole.

War, WV

80A changed crews at Jacobs Fork then headed on giving us plenty of time to prepare for a shot from the high overlook above Cedar Bluff.  But first, we were obliged to wait on 821 Westbound on the Clinch Valley.

Cedar Bluff, VA

With 821 out of the way I was able to move higher up the overlook for the shots of 80M (yep, I guess he changed symbols at Jacobs Fork).  He's moving past the signals at Dry Fork Junction and headed West on the Clinch Valley.


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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir