Yesterday, we started our day with a hearty breakfast at Sam and Mickey’s across the tracks from Dickinson yard. The day dawned with a bit of fog, especially in the valleys, but would later burn off into a bright sunny day. After finishing that last cup of coffee, we headed over to the yard office on the far side to check in and get permission for some photos.
On the service track sat an N&W GP-30, which had come in earlier on a pool train off the ex-Virginian from Elmore yard. Nothing sounds quite like, or looks quite like a GP-30. Even though the engine was tucked away and partially hidden by loaded coal hoppers ready to head out on the next train, we managed a few photos of the engine before watching the day pickup make up its train to Morris Fork.
Motive power today for the day pickup was the old standby we’ve seen many times, a regular here on the Secondary and branch, PC GP-7 #5628, a well-worn veteran. We watched as the crew cranked up the old girl, the sound music to a railfan’s ear. There’s nothing quite like the sound either of a 567 being cranked up. The crew ran over to number 2 track where an ex-NYC transfer caboose sat, left from late the night before by the “nightcrawler” crew, and pulled it out the yard lead. Running around the caboose, the 5628 then proceeded to pull it’s short train out against the caboose.
With everything in order, and clearance from Charleston, the train pulled out headed towards the branch, while we took off in pursuit. Thank goodness the branch speed limit is only 20, as it was easy, even with some of the winding roads, to get ahead of the train at several spots, those we could reach that is! One such spot is the town of Hitop, where we caught the train swinging around the Kanawha Cty Feed and Seed, and digging in for the climb up to Morris Fork. Another spot we caught the train emerging from one of the two tunnels on the branch. We finally caught the train after it’s climb, where the line straightens out for just a bit, not too far from Morris Fork, where the train would deliver an AC&Y boxcar full of hardware to the farm and hardware supply, plus spot two hoppers for loading at the Morris Fork mine truck dumps.
Below are some of the photos we caught on another great day of railfanning!