Saturday, January 29, 2011

Main Street Station, Richmond, VA

Main Street Station was on my way into town, however, I waited until New Years day to take these pictures, before the arrival of Amtrak's Northeast Regional (both north and south bound). The station was restored and reopened back in 2003 I grew up in Richmond and Williamsburg, VA. I only remember Main Street Station after moving to Williamsburg for I went through it, taking the train to DC. In 1983 it burned. Until then, the clock in the tower worked and gave the time to passing motorist on I 95 (also know as the Richmond Petersburg Turnpike).

The station is in Italianate style although according to Wikipedia, it is in  Second Renaissance Revival style. Looking further you realize that Italianate is a style under that one. Across from the station, the city had fashioned a park called Main Street Station Park. Here, it is decorated for Christmas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Downtown Main Street

Arriving in town, I took some time to check things out, at my leasure. I missed a CSX freight on the viaduct and my chasing it into Fulton, did not succeed. I came back to Main Street Station via Main street and got the following pictures.

Chruch Hill
A pub with an interesting sign.

West on Main Street brings me to the vacinity of Main Street Station. Amtrak still uses the station. The facades of stores are seen here as is the Farmers Market. Finally, Main Street Station, itself. Across the street  is Main Street Park.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Nice and Unexpected Discovery

Habit has it that I visit certain spots as often as I can. The engine house of the Aberdeen and Rockfish RR is one of these. A while back I took a picture of the Pee Dee River RR engine. When I went by there the other day it had been repainted to the Aberdeen and Rockfish, the PDR is a subsiderary of A and R.

June 2010
Dec. 2010
Pee Dee 2486, now Aberdeen and Rockfish 2486

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Railfan Shopping Trip

Of course, I still take the chance to watch trains when I can, even though the "season" had ended. It is not an official season. The only thing that prevents watching is the length of sunlight. With shorter days, day trips have to be shorter. With Christmas coming I to do some shopping. I was going to Fayetteville, NC. I drove by Aberdeen and the A&R shops were empty. I drove along side of the railroad to see what I can see. In all the times that I have been by the A and R, I haven't seen it operate. I did miss a turn off and was delayed a bit. After leaving Rockfish, I headed north where I would continue to follow the RR into Fayetteville and Skibo Road. Here is the first that I saw, a very A and R boxcar:

I got into Fayetteville and Skibo Road and nothing. I took the chance and drove downtown  and there was number 300 dong some switching in and out of some local industries.

Before I knew it, it was close to time for the Amtrak arrival in Fayetteville. I headed to the station. I found out that the southbound Palmetto was 15 minutes late so I waited. It was about 15 minutes before arrival so I went out to get into position. It took a bit as I first needed to size up each location. However as I crossed the tracks at the crossing. I saw the headlights of a northbound, way down the line. It was a CSX freight with a string of hoppers.

As I turned to set myself for the Amtrak, I notices a road construction sign that might ruin my view, in the video. I crossed the street and stood under the sign. I was about half a block from the crossing. The train came and stretched to a stop. I moved quickly and moved back to the crossing. I had two possible locations that would be good. One was with my back to the crossing and the other across the street. Luck would have it that I was across the street. Just as the train was moving forward, a dump truck came to up to the light. Had I been on the other corner, it would have blocked my video.

BTW: I did get to the mall to do some shopping, after 8 hours of train watching.

Friday, January 21, 2011

South Carolina Central Railroad

I began my tracing of the South Carolina Central, in Cheraw. Part one was virtually abandoned. Now to the second part, so I headed south the Hartville. This was at one third of the line from Bishopville to Florence. As I got off track (no pun intended) on my way into Hartville, I was using my smartphone's maps to just explore and find my way to the railroad. I found the railroad and turned right after crossing the railroad and to my surprised eyes was:

I headed east rather than heading south to Bishopsville. I came upon the yard and took these quick pictures:

For a future note: take the full day for both the Pee Dee River and a full day for the South Carolina Central.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pallmeto Brick Yard short line

I left the Pee Dee River and headed for Cheraw. I wanted to see the South Carolina  Central Railroad that runs out of Cheraw and goes south toward Society Hill. An unconnected part runs north out of Florence and around to Bishopville, via Hartsville. Before the tracing of the SCCR, I headed down to Palmetto Brick plant south of town. There is a three foot gage between the plant and the mud yard.

I than followed the South Carolina Central to Society Hill. The line looked as if it had not been used in a long time. At Society Hill, I came accross the old Cheraw and Darlington Station, no tracks leading to the station. According to the marker, it was moved to this location.
As in all railfan trips, there are expected and surprises. A surprise is this tank car, abandoned for 15 years (according to a man I talked to), This is the end of the line in more ways than one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pee Dee River RR

From Hamlet my route took me to McColl where I began to follow the Pee Dee River Railroad. No action from there until I got to the Domtar Paper Mill at the end of the line. I watched as they switched cars around the plant. I take up the procedure of staying on public property as much as I can. When the paper mill security as me what I was doing, I simply said that I was taking picture of the train. Since I was not on their property and not blocking any operations they had, she simple drove on. I do think that she kept an eye on me from a distance. I continued to video and watched, without any further questions. I have edited my video and here is the Pee Dee River crossing the road from the plant to their holding Yard.

The two road switchers continued to work at the plant across the road and I watched and listened to the scanner. As I listened, I hear one of the trainmen mention a railfain, but did not catch what was said. I assumed they were talking about me but more conversation continued'

Trainman one: If you want to be a railfan, you need a good camera. One that in comfortable.

Trainman two: Why would I need that.

Trainman one: well what are you going to do when you retire.

Trainman two: when I retire I am not going to look at another train.

At this point, around 2, a person from the railroad stopped at this location. Remember, at this point I was neither on the Paper Mill Property nor the railroad. However, he was just checking me out. I asked if he wanted me to leave and he said no. I could stay. We talked a bit and he was telling that the train was heading home. I did snapped a couple more pictures and moved on to Cheraw NC where I was to begin another run and a short line.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trip via Hamlet

I. Hamlet: I know that I said that the last trip was the last of the season. The main reason is that, since the change from Daylight Savings time back to standard time, the daylight ends rather early. Besides, the cold is a problem. I had Thanksgiving and came back to work. It was a trying time so I needed a trip away. I had looked at a visit to the Pee Dee River Railroad and the North Carolina Central. I worked out my itenary for both. To make things more interesting, I would take a drive though Hamlet.

A railfan drive through Hamlet begins turning down, toward the station. A swing by the station was thwarted by a blocked RR crossing. NO it was not blocked by a train but by construction. I swung back uptown just above the Station. At that crossing I can see if anything was coming. As I approach the crossing the gates came down. I got video of the train crossing. I wanted to get ahead of it as it took the right swithch to go west. However, as would be our luck, two non railfains were turning ath the stop sign so I was slowed and did not get to the next crossing in time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New England 1978

So! this past week was my last day trip of the season. That was somewhat dramatic. It may best be seen as the last of the regular day trips. The winter will be stunted by cold weather so the day trips will be thus oriented. In these pages I just might dig up past trips. Not all railfan chances oriented around just railfan trips. Remember Boston? It combined the usual tourist sites such as the USS Constitution with a bit of nostalgia of my life at Lynn, MA and a bit of shopping. Than there was what was expected railfanning along with many other chances missed.

This first combining of railfanning with other interest goes back to a vacation more than thirty years ago. I took a two week tour of New England. I began the trip with an excursion on the Chessie Steam Special, leaving Richmond and heading for Balcony Falls (Glasgow) and than return.

I went from there through DC and I 95 past NYC. My first stop in New England was Mystic to see the seaport. But I had to go by to see the station at Mystic and take a picture of at least one train, an Amtrak.

From Mystic I found my way into Providence, where my uncle and aunt lived. From there I took the train into NYC, to visit a sister. No trains except for the ride and one picture while on a boat Ride around the Island, showing some early Amtrak.
Onward to Plymouth, MA. One problem, I missed my exit and ended up in Boston. Later, I learned that I was at the backside of Boston's South Station. I got these pictures of Amtrak (in Delaware and Hudson Paint, common in early Amtrak) and Commuter Rail ready for their runs

Onward to Plymouth for the night an touring non railroad. I than across southern Mass. to Carver, the home of Edaville Scenic Railroad. (for more pictures of Edaville Scenic Railroad click here Edaville Scenic Railroad click here). Thirty years has seen great change but at the time it was a railroad and museum. It was fun to ride as see this two foot gauge line.
More scenic and historic touring including Sturbridge Village and Hancock Shaker Village. My sight turn for home via Strasburg PA.