Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More ACWRR action from Aberdeen to Candor (less the Candor Shuffle)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro

My turnaround in Greensboro was uneventful, maybe dissappointing from a railfan perspective. For more than a 5 hour layover, I neted nothing in railroad video. My I was not in position for two trains to video. The return train came into the station too late to be videod. Hoevever, the experience was not without merit. On my last visit to Greensboro I became familar with the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, in the old Woolworth's site of the 1960 sitins that integrated lunch counters. It is complete with the original lunch counter.

All images are from the Museum Web site International Civil Rights Center & Museum

I highly recommend this museum. The exhibits are ceative and inspiring. For myself, a white male in the south, this hits home particularly. I was 10 years old when this chapter of the Civil Rights Movement occured. We must remember that this movement in history was necessitated by racism. Racism is not just prejudice, but a position, power, preferencal treatment due to the perception of race. Through Civil Rights Movements, we hopefully will learn how to level the playing field for all.

When in Greensboro, NC, for whatever reason that might be, don't miss this landmark!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Excursion Reality.

As I planned it, this trip begins in Hamlet, NC. Schedule departure of Amtrak Silver Star is 6:29 AM. I arrived at the station in real railfan style, more than an hour early. It was still dark and in that time, three trains pass through. The Star is running late and will not arrive until 7:15. This gives the advantage to board in day light.

The delay in the Star lessened the time before the Carolinian would come through. I did have time to reconnoiter the area for the best location to video. I began with the east crossing and to my surprise was a east bound NS freight.

After the beginning of the train passed, I continued my reconnoitering. There were two other railfans in the parking lot in the next block. I was told that that train was being pushed up the hill. The trained stalled out and they brought in an engine from Durham. Unfortunately, they disconnected the pusher below the station so I did not get video.

After the freight went through, I set myself up for the arrival of the northbound Carolinian, running late, by the way. I went south of the station, as it allowed for arrival. After it stopped, I went to north of the station and actually made it before the train left, so here is the Carolinian coming and going.

Not all railfan trips are exclusive railroad oriented. After the Carolinian I went for lunch. I was told that the drug store still had a lunch counter. I came across this example of public art at the entrance to Fidelity Bank.
After an early lunch I went back toward the train station. There was a couple of other examples of public art that I wanted to photograph. However, I was surprised by another eastbound NS freight.

I did cross the tracks to the City Hall and got the following two pieces of public art.

Before boarding the southbound Piedmont, I would like to say a word about Cary, NC as a connecting point. The station is very comfortable, being recently remodeled and upgraded. Two carriers merging make the amount of activity more encouraging. Two grade crossing, one on each side of the station give is great for video. Another one or two blocks yields good locations.

Boarding the Piedmont was approximately noon and on time. According to schedule I would arrive in Greensboro and 20 minutes later the northbound Piedmont would come. Our train was a few minutes late, making the meeting of the trains, in the Greensboro station. You can see the leaving of my train as I film the arrival of the other, with the overlap seen in both videos.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Excursion Plans

I have watch a lot of trains but it has been years since I have taken one, except for light rail in Charlotte, NC and in Boston, MA. It is time to do an out and back. I will begin in Hamlet, NC and travel to Cary. Cary is an exchange point between the CSX and NS. I will take Amtrak's Silver Star and will transfer to the Piedmont, coming from Raleigh. I will turn around in Greensboro. My first thought was to take the Star to Raleigh and the Piedmont to Charlotte. Several factors caused me to settle on this itinerary. The Charlotte station in on the edge of the Norfolk Southern yard, therefore not a very easy location to watch trains from, particularly since the station and parking lot is down hill from the yard. The location is not very good as far as touring. There is a beautiful view of the skyline from the platform, however.
Charlotte Skyline from Amtrak Station platform
Raleigh is a nice view and a easy place to watch trains, being close to a crossing and not associated with a yard. The only interesting thing is the "Y" for turning trains. The draw back is that it is a terminal for the Piedmont. The same can be said about Charlotte.
Cary Amtrak Station
Cary gives more time between transfers, which means a more relaxed stop. I do see the Carolinian pass through as I wait for my connection. The Carolinian is Amtrak service not NCDOT so it is best to wait for the Piedmont, the primary goal of this out and back.

Again, Greensboro gives a longer turnaround time for more watching of trains. There is a better location to watch from, not just from the platform. There is a crossing within 5 minute walk. Besides that, the part of town that the station is in is better for wondering around. There is the Civil Rights Museum in the Greensboro Woolworth, where the sit in took place, and contains the original lunch counter. OK. I am a liberal white American with guilt. I did not live during the sit in and no where near Greensboro, but just walking by that shrine of the Civil Right movement just gave me goose bumps to be on such sacred ground.

The Historic Greensboro Woolworth

As I said in the last post, Tickets bought, now time to get the devises (cameras etc) ready, batteries charged, memory ready, and waiting for the "all aboard." It has been a while and I am not sure what to expect. The last time I was on a train it was nice and relaxed. A lot can changed. Here is the proposed itinerary with a note on the passenger trains I should see.
Hamlet, NC to Cary, NC 6:29-8:15, Amtrak 92 Silver Star 1 hr. 46 min.
      Cary NC
8:15n(92) 10:02n(80) 11:57s(75)
Amtrak NCDOT
3 hr. 42 min.
Cary, NC to Greensboro, NC 11:57-1:18, NCDOT 73 1 hr. 19 min.

Greensboro, NC
1:18s(75) 1:34n(74) 6:32s(79) 6:49n(76)
NCDOT Amtrak
5 hr. 31 min.
Greensboro, NC to Cary, NC 6:49-8:08, NCDOT 76 1 hr. 19 min.
Cary, NC to Hamlet, NC 9:27-11:21, Amtrak 91 Silver Star 1 hr. 54 min.

The above was written before my previous post. It so happened that I may it by the Amtrak station in Florence. While there, I bought my tickets for this excursion. My next posts will encompass the trip itself. It has been too long since I have been on a train (except for the museum train). It should be fun or at least a good day apart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

South Carolina Central Railroad and More

Some day trips are well planned and executed exactly. Others are by the ear and even that is not adhered to. On this day I decided to go to the South Carolina Central Railroad. I began where 52/401 crosses the tracks. I than traced it back to Hartville. I did not see any action so I returned to 52. Just as I arrived there was engine 75 pulling out of the old interchange. I ran down the road to the yard, the next grade crossing, but the train stopped to drop off some cars.
Interwoven with 75 was the former GT engine SCC 6412.

I decide to move on down the road to Florence, SC. After some exploring, I ended up at the train stations.

Current Florence Amtrak Station (smaller) next to the Old Seaboard Coastline Station.
After a little exploring (OK! getting lost) downtown, A came to the station. My first video is of the remote control switcher. You can't tell by the blinking light on the cab.
I did see this inbound train as it finished its shift.

Homeward bound, I took run to Hamlet to see this coal drag, Next week, I am planning a train trip, out and back. While in Florence, I got my tickets. The next entry outlines the planning process.

And another Norfolk Southern, heading for the Winston-Salem Southbound

Friday, November 18, 2011

Salisbury, 10/7/11, after Statesville.

After my encounter with the Alexander, I made my way back to Salisbury and perhaps some watching near the station or even north toward Spenser. There would be a chance encounter on the NS connecting these two cities. Nothing was seen on the road so I headed down to the station. My first priority was to use the men's room, after a long drive and a soda on the way. As chance would have it, the southbound Piedmont was 30 minutes late arriving and was being called for while I was running to the bathroom. Experience taught me to always carry the camera or camcorder just in case. I was not in my desired relationship with the tracks, but it was still good.

While standing there, there was another fan to talk to while watching and waiting for these two NS freights, one was a double stack pig train.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alexander RR, Then and Now

Once upon a time, when, I cannot remember, I was in transit from a point east to a point west, the exact locations I cannot remember. I was on I 40 and it was at least 25 years ago. I passed under the bridge with the name, Alexander RR. Curiosity got to me and I pulled off the highway and looked at my map. Sure enough, there was an Alexander RR. I traced the railroad from Statesville to Alexander, NC. I finally ended up at the engine shops in Alexander. It was a different time and I entered the engine house and asked for permition to take pictures and they agreed. I photographed engine # 6 and engine # 3. On my first chase this year, I saw # 6.


I saw number 3 a month or two ago but my picture suffered from a glitch in settings. Today I saw it and got my picture. Notice the difference


I did see number 9 but since I had chased it before I moved on.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Chases on the CSX

First, between Hamlet and Aberdeen.

Finally, in East Rockingham, NC

All for now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full Day Watching in Hamlet, NC, part 2 of 3

The Winston-Salem Southbound connects at its souther point at Wadesboro, NC. The trains come on into Hamlet for switching and return. (notice the first train from Lilesville, still in awaiting orders.
and even more

to be continued

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Full Day Watching in Hamlet, NC, part 1 of 3

After the chase of the previous post, I settled in for a day of watching. This is not normal, but there was another railfan there to talk with.
Again this one.

to be continued

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chasing Two Trains At Once

I decide that it was a day for chasing trains. I went to Lilesville, NC and explored the railroad crossing. I got word on the scanner of a train eastbound. I heard the horn and got into position. I than ran to the next crossing and found the train stopped there. However, there was another train passing it. I chased it to Hamlet (the next video). In Hamlet a little later there was the first train. I finally made its way east, 6 hours later.
I did chase this train into Hamlet, with three strops between Lilesville and Hamlet.

Not often do you chase two trains at once.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Great American Train Chase and Scavenger Hunt, perspectus

I call this The Great American Train Chase, when it was first conceived. It soon expanded to the Great American Train Chase and Scavenger Hunt. There was a element of real scavenger hunt attached, perhaps get a post card or souvenir. In this new format the Scavenger Hunt would be the collecting of pictures and video. I have laid out the itinerary in 4 columns. Column 1 would be passenger and commuter rail that touches on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor:
Col. 1
a. Virginia Railway Express.
b. M.A.R.C. Commuter Rail
c. M.T.A. Light Rail
d. S.E.P.T.A. Commuter Rail
e. Philadelphia Trolley
f. River Line
g. N.J.T. Commuter Rail
h. Newark Airport Air Train
i. Newark Light Rail
j. P.A.T.H
k. Long Island Railroad
l. Metro North Commuter Rail
m. Shoreline East Commuter Rail
n. M.B.T.A. Commuter Rail
Column 2 are those not touching the corridor, directly, but within a stop or two from the NEC.
Col. 2
a. P.A.T.C.O
b. Norristown High Speed Line
c. Trolley Route 101, 102 and 15
d. J.F.K. Air Train
e. Staten Island Railroad
f. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
g. M.B.T.A. North Station Commuter Rail
h. Boston, North Station, Amtrak
i. Boston M.B.T.A. Green line
j. Mattapan High Speed Line
Col. 3 are other railfan locations.
a. Hudson Line, Metro North Commuter Rail
b. Union Station, Washington DC
c. Broad Street Station, Newark
d. Hobokon Terminal
e. Atlantic Terminal, Jamaica
f. DC Metro
g. B&O Museum
There could be a Col. 4, just vacation stops while railfanning. Finally it might make a great game show with each team given what they were to see and ride within a given space of time. It could not be any worse than the Greatest Race. On the other hand, this could be the elements of 1 to 3 day out and back trips.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great American Train Chase, second edition

A while back I did the post of The Great American Train Chase. It is an old idea from the 1970's. It was based on the dream of going coast to coast and all over, by train, particular Amtrak. I would see how many trains I could take in a given space of time. I expanded it into a reality game, possibility. It could focus attention on how good Amtrak was and could be. With the advent of current reality game shows, it might work for TV.

Since I got home from California, I began planning another trip. I mentioned earlier an out and back which never was taken. Here I expanded it to a train watching excursion of the Northeast Corridor. Counting up the possibilities, there is, of course, Amtrak. Various services and trains. Then there is the 8 commuter rails and more than a dozen light rail and subways. There would be two sky trains added into this mix. All this would make a hectic and fascinating train watching experience.

So the Great American Train Chase might evolves into a form closer to what the original name implied. Instead of riding it would be a trip of watching and photographing. It might be a railfanning of a particular region with the winner coming back with the most film taken or the most variety of train watched. Let's pretend it becomes the next great reality show.....The Great American Train Chase with me, your host as we railfan.

All this after planning my railfaning of the NEC. BTW, my plan would take around 9 days. Of course I might only spend watching for an hour in a location before moving on. Most of the focus would be on the commuter rail and light rail. Of course, like any good railfan, I would never turn down an Amtrak. How would this game work? Over the next post, I will examine the possibilities.