Thursday, December 30, 2010

Planning the Last Outing of the Season

It is time to do my last outing of the season. I found a video on YouTube:  Carolina Shortline Railroads 2007,  showing three shortlines within a day trip of here. There was a fourth not that I had forgotten about. These three were in SC and close to the border of NC. My memory and early exploration reminded me of the Alexander RR. I have now seen this fall, two of the four. What one will I chose? I may go to see the Carolina Southern Railroad, beginning at Chadburn and return via Florence SC to see a glimpse of the South Carolina Central Railroad. This does not mean that this i the end for the winter, the rest will be short with trips to be indoors: shopping, museum hopping, or something else.

I had planned to focus on the planning process before heading out. So far.  Video from YouTube and RailVideo become resource of what might be found or good location to catch action. Remember, these might be several years ago. The following is a tour of Carolina Southern, an interesting thing to see.

Carolina Southern Tour Part 1[YouTube video]

SCL1306 | August 22, 2010
Part 1 of our tour highlights points of interest from Mullins, SC to Whiteville, NC

Other videos for the Carolina Southern
Carolina Southern Railroad (CALA) GP-18 No.958 in Homewood SC
Pursuit of the Carolina Southern 10/27/08

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Norfolk Southern, Charlotte, NC, November, 2010

In my last post, I thought to go where I had taken some Norfolk Southern Raillroad video, one time before when I was in Charlotte. This location was good as I was on the platform of the CAT station. While at the I 485 CAT Light Rail station, I notice that the NS paralleled at that point.. It would be nice to see at least one consist pass by. And by chance, here it is:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Charlotte's Light Rail

Many of my watching and chasing are unplanned and a sidebar to other activities. After chasing the Lancaster and Chester to Richburg, I had two choices, to try to catch it once more in Chester or go on from there to Charlotte, NC to shop or whatever. I was about 15 minutes from Chester, at the interstate that would take me into Charlotte in 40 minutes.

I decided to go into Charlotte. I came into the suburbs and decided to stop at the I 485 Light Rail Station, if for no other reason, to get my barrings. A couple of years earlier, I watched for the day the Light Rail. One location paralleled the NS. Actually most of the line out this far parallels the NS. I grabbed my camcorder, just in Case (right!) and went to the station. The next hour was spent filming. I stopped only when I out of power and memory for the camcorder.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Surprise

Into many exursions there it the unexpted. These are things that research did not bring to light. There are also the surprises, that you may or may not have thought about. At Richburg there is this display in a playground/park. The saddle tender belong to the Edgemoor and Manetta Railroad. I had seen this as I was laying out the Lancaster and Chester RR, while looking at Google's street view, but in time, I forgot about it.

". . . .the Edgemoor and Manetta Railroad, left the Seaboard Air Line mainline at Edgemoor and ambled a few miles to a mill in Lando. Its 2.5-mile length was owned by Manetta Mills, the line's only customer. Operations were discontinued July 9, 1975, when the road's steam locomotive was condemned, which is shown on display in Richburg, SC in the picture below. (While Richburg was not on the E and M, it is on the still-active Lancaster and Chester.)" [Abandoned Rails: Edgemoor to Lando]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lancaster and Chester Railroad, part 2

I arrived in Lancaster and soon found the station and office of the Lancaster and Chester Railroad. The sign said no trespassing, visitor needed to sign in at the office. I immediately drove off. I did some exploring on public streets and found the backdoor of the shops. I was on public property, or at least what I thought was public property. Either way, I got pictures of the two switchers.

I drove back around to the office. I parked in a neighbor parking space and ask the owner for permission, which he agreed. I than walked to the office area, on the public sidewalk. When I stepped on the property there was the security and we talked. He told me that the train had just left Kershaw and was coming that way.

I chose a site along side the track and set up for video and stills. It may not been a truly public property but the Fire Department was having a BBQ fundraiser so I assumed it was public, at least for the day. 

40 minutes I saw a headlight in the distance. It approached and was surprised it was the Lancaster and Chester Railroad highrailer.

My thought turned to that security guard, did he send me all this way just to get me off of Railroad Property. Twenty minutes would answer that question in the negative. The train came by, I went to the bathroom in the Fire Department. I thought that the train might be too far ahead to catch, but to my surprise I saw pass over the highway on its way into Lancaster. I rushed ahead to film the train, by chance. But, not to be. I did catch up to it but did not have camera ready. However, it turned into a real train chase, reminder of the steam train chases of a couple of decades ago. So here is that case.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lancaster and Chester Railroad, part 1

As you may have discern, there is a lag in the travel and the postings. It is now early November but this will not be posted until mid December. It takes me that long to process the pictures and video, to select and than write, edit, etc. Than I need to keep the postings in a readable length,

The days have turned cold. It remained warm later but now becomes seasonable. The time has changed so
I have far less evening light. I Have today and one more day off before Thanksgiving. From there until after Christmas, there will be little in train watching. However, there have been several years when I chase and watched and videoed and photographed trains on News Years Day. Of Course, I have other interest, many can be done indoors.

Resent research reveals a number of shortlines within day trip distance. I laid most out and think about watching. The Alexander was one of them. This week I took on the Lancaster and Chester in central South Carolina.

View Larger Map

more about the L & C RR to come

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Final Fallen Flags: Norfolk Western, Southern, Norfolk Franklin and Danville, Auto Train

Norfolk and Western (seen here in two paints) and Southern merged to become Norfolk Southern.

The Norfolk, Franklin, and Danville just died. The tracks were removed, except where they were serving active sidings but they were given over to other railroads.

Finally, there was Auto Train. A wonderful experiment to take Americans from their cars without taking cars from Americans. It came a service of Amtrak.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Even more Fallen Flags

From Clinchfield, LN, and SCL, along with others, comes the Family Lines System, which was short lived. Than the Seabord Systems. Finally Seaboard Systems and Chessie Systems merged and became CSX

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More Fallen Flags that I Have Seen

After a merger, it would not be uncommon to see three four different paint on a four unit train. One might be the new paint and the others being of the merged road.

The B&O Merged with the C&O and eventually became the Chessie System. Note that, even in the new paint, the old road name was added. All three are now fallen flags.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some Fallen Flags, I Have Seen

Almost thirty-five years of train photography, well, train picture taking, have given me the unexpected collection of fallen flags pictures. Within this collection is two in particular:

These, for some reason have fired a bit of imagination. First of all on a road trip between my home in Williamsburg, Va and  northern Virginia, I took a stop at Doswell. Doswell was the crossing of two railroads, C&O and RF&P. It was 1981 and C&O was wearing the Chessie System colors. I just happened to catch this scene of both awaiting the crossing. They were both waiting for the northbound Amtrak. What makes this picture special is that C&O became Chessie System than Family Lines and finally CSX. RFP was merged with CSX. Both are fallen flags but not one Line.

The early days of Amtrak was fun for a number of reasons. The Amtrak car color had just been developed but the old line cars were still on the road in original colors. It would be some years before Amtrak began to operate their own trains. In this picture, A train making the station stop in Williamsburg, VA, was being pulled by a B&O F unit. However, this was a fallen flag, as the B&O had been absorbed by the C&O. During mergers, as here, you could see off road motive power.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Alexander RR

Over the years, a shortline that I came accross, was the Alexander RR. I was driving accross NC and there was the bridge with the RR name on it. I followed it to the end of the line and took several pictures in their engine house.
Alexander RR, no. 3. 

Alexander RR, no. 6.
I decided a new visit to the Alexander RR was in order. However, things do not alway go the way you want, or even expect. I drove from Statesville to Taylorsville not finding anything. I did get a picture of their business office/station.
The only thing on the scanner was Sherriff office chatter. Until I returned and got almost back to Statesville. There was no. 10, swithching out of an industry. I stopped to get my camcorder ready, just ahead of the crossing arms. Than the arms came down and before I could get into position, it had passed. In railfan fashion, I sped to catch the train and all I got this 5 second shot.
Guess what? It dissapeared.. Not exactly, but it was switching some cars behind a building and I could not get around to video. From there, I did not see it again. I did get a coulple of pictures of Engine no. 6, parked on the side of the road.

I will go back, maybe the next time I need to cross NC.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amtrak Silver Star and Silver Meteor

Although I did not see either the Star or the Meteor while in Selma, They are old trains that predate Amtrak.  I had the occasion to ride one between Baltimore MD and Richmond, VA as a group of my railfan buddies returned from a day trip to the B&O Museum in the early 1980's We got no pictures of the interior, however. The route, at that time was different, than today.

At that time the route for the Star and the Meteor diverged south of the SCL yard in Petersburg. Since than the CSX have removed the tracks from Peterburg to Norlina, along the old Silver Star route. It keep the trains running between Petersburg and Raleigh, route was extended south to Selma before going west. Here is a picture of the Star and Meteor going south out of the Petersburg Yard, in the early 80's
Silver Star, northbound
Silver Meteor, northbound
Note the use of F40's This was just after Amtrak bought out the Southern Crescent so a few cars were old Southern cars, not yet repainted to Amtrak colors.

Monday, November 29, 2010

On Pictures and Video of trains

The Internet has given a different understanding of the term, to take pictures. In the old days it was the physical act of taking up camera, looking through the viewfinder, and snapping the picture. This was often followed up by waiting for the processed film to be returned and sorting the pictures. Occasionally, at least in the railroad photography, you might be given or purchase a group of pictures. However, today, we can search the Internet and download pictures and video directly and without further cost. The same holds true for video. On the net, this will include old footage of film transferred to video.

There are three means of saving online pictures and videos. First, is the direct copy of the media directly to your hard drive. This is easier for pictures but harder for videos. I use to do these but have since removed them from my computer. This can be good so that the video conforms to personal standards. I rarely video and entire freight consist, but will a passenger consist. If I were to copy, I would edit it to conform to standard.

The next is the embedding into a web page. This works for blogging and doing personal pages. The video is never on your computer and it location is easy to determine. The only problem is that you have the entire video to watch, not edited to standard. This is a good method if storage is a problem. I do this for personal use, I copy the author and description into a web page and save it as I would save a video or picture.

The last option is to link to the video. The viewer has to go to the site to view.

A real problem with these last two, is that they are download each time you view. This can be slow. A video you save will be faster to access.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Selma, NC, part 4

The Southbound Carolinian was a tad late and did not arrive until 4:20. After its passing, I drove by the NS yard to see if any activity. I drove to the other end and crossed the tracks and the best possible location to turn around (location B). When I did, I saw the headlights of an engine, way in the distance. For all I knew it was a local switching out cars and would take hours to get to me, if at all. I continue to the next crossing and still the lights were there. I continued to what I though might be the next crossing making guesswork truns. When I approached the next crossing (location C), The engines were crossing. You guessed it, the chase is on. Fortunately the highway parralled the tracks and the train was slowing down as it approached the yard. I got ahead by enough and took the video at location D. In all the perfect ending to a railfan's day off.
View Larger Map

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Selma, NC, part 3

My train chase was not  very hard. I returned to the station to get myself into position for the train 89, the Palmetto southbound.
While waiting on the southbound Carolinian, I had some time and explored to see this Trackmobile.
I had time to bring myself into position for train 79, the Carolinian southbound. In the distance I heard the horn of the approaching train. To my surprise, it was not the Carolinian but a CSX southbound freight.
Finally, the Carolinian southbound.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Selma, NC, part 2

Shortly after the arrival of the Palmetto, I was surprised by a Norfolk Southern Freight, eastbound. I caught it here on the diamond as it passes.
We railfans tend to gather as here. We were talking about the good spots to sspot trains when a southbound CSX freight was heard in the distance.
Having some time before the southbound Palmetto so I went to see what activity is in the Yard to the east. As I was photographing the engines, the head light began to blink, indicating that it was ready to head out. Unfortunately, I did not have either my camera or camcorder ready. I simply put the car in gear, letting the camera and camcorder come on as I drove. 10 blocks down the road I was ahead and ready to video the passing train.
Now to get into position for the Southbound Palmetto, due soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Selma, NC, part 1

After all considerations, I decided to take in, Selma NC. Twice as many Amtrak trains was one draw. Besides, there is the CSX and NS interchange and crossing. I took my tripod so I could have both stills and video.

 I lost the video of the first trains. The problem came when I finalized the DVD. I did get picture, however. First was the northbound 80, The Carolinian, led by 52 and 95, running an hour late.

After a bite of lunch I arrive to a southbound, CSX freight, but being out of position, I got no pictures. However, I was in position for the northbound no. 90, the Palmetto. The northbound, pulls out of Selma, NC, led by 180

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day Trip to Fayetteville or Selma?

I am now planning my daytrip to Fayetteville, NC or Selma, NC. Most of this visit willl be railfaning. I have been to both place more than once in the past. Some situational pictures of Fayettville are below.

The trip to Fayetteville begins at Aberdeen and roughly follows the Aberdeen and Rockfish. I all the trips to Fayetteville I have never seen The A&R in operation, but have seen them in the shops.

The alternative to this trip is Selma, NC. It is in Selma that Amtrak's Florida trains take different routes. On route goes through Raleigh. The other goes South through Fayettevills. In Selma I can than see twice as many trains. It would be a nice out and back train trip if it were not for the fact that the train I would take, does not stop there. However, these are some pictures taken on my last trip to Selma, NC

As I plan my activity On this trip, What do I take. I would love to do more video. Hand held video would be nice, however, even while shooting video I still want to take stills. Therefore, I need a tripod to hold the camcorder so I am hand free for the stills. This was one of the considerations when I went to Boston. At last minute I did not take my tripod. Carrying it would be hard if I were not in my car. There were a place or two where it might have been nice but carrying every place else would be a problem.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winston as in Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem is a merger of Salem, a Moravian town, and Winston. Winston has been know as the home of Reynolds Tobacco. In fact their two famous brands are named for the city: Winston and Salem. First we can see the skyline, Winston from Salem.

Despite the movement of the skyline upward, the real creativity comes in the street level structures.

Than, again, there is the fact that the city rises from the pavement and rises, it does. It might be notes, that like Charlotte, the rise begins from a higher point in the city.

Like all cities, there are public spaces which might be private owned.

Other space are very public both in use and ownership.