Memorial Day Weekend on the Pokey
May 23-26, 2013
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approximately 1440X900)

We got a head-start on the weekend, driving out to Williamson, WV Thursday. After checking in the motel we explored a bit farther West where we caught this Eastbound coal train near Borderland, WV.

May 23, 2013

The next morning overcast skies and light drizzle didn't delay our plan to explore East where we shot this Westbound hopper train near Rawl, WV, just after 8am on May 24, 2013.
At Delorme, WV we found the CPL signals may outlive the locals like this log truck driver testing his luck in front of an Eastbound train. 9:06am

I can't complain too much about the overcast skies and occasional drizzle – it brings out the lush greenery that frames this Eastbound autorack train.

Ought One

The clouds parted quickly giving me better light for this coal train coming off the Buchanan Branch and headed West on the mainline.

Ought One

This Eastbound manifest freight is just around the corner from the previous spot.
Ought One, 12:23pm
I'm standing on the original, narrow-gauge alignment of the Buchanan Branch where we see this train that has just come down from the mainline at Ought One.

Woodman, Kentucky
As rare as it is to catch a train on the Buchanan Branch, it's even more rare to see one reversing across the Tug River onto the Arrow Branch. Freeburn, Kentucky, 3:56pm
The afternoon sky has cleared up nicely for us as we shoot this Eastbound through Delorme.

Have to shoot these CPLs before they go! We found this one on the Big Creek Branch at Nolan where this hopper train is crossing into Kentucky to serve the mines there.  6:22pm
Foreign power on the Kenova District – this BNSF powered Westbound manifest is coming alongside the new intermodal facility and under the huge coaling tower at Prichard, WV.  7:39pm
The days are getting long so with light left we decided to cross into Kentucky at Louisa and try our luck catching CSX on the Big Sandy. Our luck held – we caught this hopper train just North of the power plant at Catalpa, KY.  8:36pm

The next morning greeted us with fog which we tried (without much luck) to use. I guess it does add a little to the scene as this Eastbound coal train comes through the crossover at Borderland.  8:02am

This eastbound is coming out of Big Four Tunnel #1 and shortly will enter Tunnel #2.

Welch, WV

We linked up with an accomplished night photographer and scouted locations for his later shoot. The N&W Heritage unit was in helper service heading back to Bluefield for another assignment.

Coopers, WV

The night photography lasted literally all night with the "money shot" presenting itself near 4am. As a result we slept late then just headed for home, stopping to check the action at the Henry Street walkway in Roanoke where we found the Lackawanna Heritage unit leading 38Q out of town.  5:56pm
We had the idea to get ahead for another shot of the Lackawanna, at Natural Bridge Station, Virginia. We arrived there in plenty or time and available light left, and were given a test shot as the train's counterpart (Southbound 37Q) came across the bridge.


The end of May is just about the "greenest" time of year and the days are fast approaching their longest. A good thing as he tried our luck arriving as the shadows were getting pretty long!


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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir