Two Cabooses

When I took these pictures in Appalachia VA, the cabooses were just 2,200 feet from each other, but, boy, are they different.  Cast your baby blues on these:

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The top one, nattily repainted, is on display in a small park.  It was built, according to the ID plate, in 1948.  It’s at 36.8998N, 82.78841W

The lower one, rough and ready, was still in the yard.  It’s a 1976 unit.

There’s a definitive book on N&W cabooses for sale from the NW Historical Society, but it’s $50.

French Broad River

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Well, guess what we found in Corbin KY.  The Southern CNO&TP sleeper, French Broad River.

It’s had a rough life since 1950 or so, but it’s now safely, more or less, sitting on a cut section of track to the right of the old depot on, of course, Depot Street.  Here’s a look at the end of the car as shown above.

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Conneaut O.

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Conneaut OH is up on Lake Erie and in 1914, when this card was mailed, it had at least five railroads passing through it.  One was an electric commuter line, others were freight.

I bought this card as soon as I saw it.  It’s a typical Curt Teich day-to-night scene, but it’s nicely composed.  Other than that, it just evokes a time long gone.

Plattsburgh Barracks has an interesting history, check it out here.

Locomotives and Trains

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Not a particularly rare poster (it folds out to a one-sided 22″ x 32″ size) and one that has been slightly damaged on one panel (I’m rather good at finding stuff that is “slightly damaged”) by being in contact with some sort of acidic paper.  It features 29 black-and-white photos of Southern history from 1830 (even one of a geezery-looking Nicholas W. Darrell) through the mid 50s.  Notice there’s no ZIP Code shown.

So, find yourself one of these and “paste these pictures in your railroad scrapbook”.

Old Fort Loops

This postcard, a victim of some greasy-fingered sort, was printed between 1908 and 1928, according to the Curt Teich dating number.  The “Old Fort Loops”, a site to see on Google Earth, are a series of railroad sinuosities around what is now Round Knob Lodge in western North Carolina  (35 39 10.64N 82 14 39.23W).  By the time this photo was taken, that train would have been bearing Southern livery (in the mid- to late-1800s, it was the Western North Carolina Railroad).  The “17 Points” means that the line could be viewed from 17 places at one time, or something like that.

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All I could verify from web-based research was that the Southern Post Card Company did exist, but little else.

Railway Post Office

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Even mended with tape (not my doing), this is a fine picture, taken by the American Car and Foundry Company in 1923.  Brand new car for Southern Railway.

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I would guess that this is the crew that guarded and processed the mail on the car, getting ready to load up.  That’s a lot of security!

Railway post offices were mostly gone by 1962 and completely gone by 1977.

Southern Medallion

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I found this sign at a flea market mall.  It’s 8.75″ in diameter, baked enamel finish and 10.75 ounces in weight. It has been dinged a bit and I’m not under any illusion that it’s an antique. I believe the company that produced these signs is no longer making them.  “Too expensive”, I read.

I’m not having any luck finding a similar sign yet.  I may have to (alert! 1960s TV series reference) “Wire Paladin, San Francisco”.

N&S Locomotives, Kingsport TN

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For as long as I can remember, there have been one or two N&W locomotives and a caboose on a short siding beside Lincoln Street, near the intersection with John B. Dennis in Kingsport.  These two are 2559 (EMD GP30) and 7026 (EMD GP50), with the caboose NS 555006.  One engine was idling at the time I took this picture.  Since this is basically CSX territory, I’ve wondered why these units are here.  Still wondering.

Later:  Not anymore!  Many thanks to Ralph Clark, a former engineer, who clued me in to these locomotives.  He recalled that, at some point in the past, Eastman wanted to uncouple from just having one railway servicing their vast facility, so they set up an arrangement with N&S to make a nightly run to Frisco to pick a shipment of coal and bring it back.  Pictured above, for all intents and purposes, is N&S’s foot on the ground in CSX territory.

Lynch KY

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This repainted locomotive/caboose set is parked in front of Mine #20 in Lynch KY.  It was a U.S. Steel unit in use when Lynch was a happenin’ place in the 1940s & 50s: coal, railroad, maybe 10,000 souls in town.

If you’re into taking pix of abandoned industrial towns, this place is target rich.  Take care, though, many of the buildings are crumbling.

Building Bridges from our Past to our Future

Calvin Sneed’s first book, with some of the 11,800+ bridge pictures he’s posted to bridgehunter.com, is now available (College Press ISBN: 978-1-5323-4369-8).

Tim Cable and I interviewed Calvin on Thinking Out Loud morning show on AM910 WJCW radio this morning.  Truss bridges, mostly, are a passion for Calvin.  And he knows his stuff.

The book isn’t on amazon.com yet; however, Calvin’s having a book signing at the I Love Books bookstore in the Ft. Henry Mall in Kingsport this Sunday, December 10, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

Lancefield East trestle


I find some of these utilitarian railroad trestles across rivers quite satisfying.
Lancefield East angles across a shoal in the French Broad River.  Keep going on this and you’ll leave Cocke County TN and hit Madison County NC in just a few miles. The trestle is 960′ long, with a handy walkway provided.  I’ve been on a walkway similar to this when a train came by.  I was safe enough, but that much power and sheer tonnage was certainly impressive.  And loud.

Hatfield Crossing

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The junction box identifies this crossing as Hatfield.  The town of Hatfield, though, is a little over 5 miles to the northwest.  I was looking slightly north northwest when I took this picture.  I’m just across Tug Fork from Williamson KY yard.  The truss bridge, canted to bear the weight shift on a curve, was made by Virginia Bridge and Iron, in Roanoke, in 1913.  The road is Kentucky 292.  If you look just above the bridge, you can see part of a long coal conveyor belt.

Williamson WV Rail Yard

While Norfolk Western laid down a line through Williamson in 1892 or so, they didn’t build the big consolidation and repair yard until 1901.  It has a roundhouse, but I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of it.  It shows up quite well on Google Earth, though.

You can also see from the satellite image the fairly wide suspension pedestrian walkway that spans the yard.  It is gated, but I was able to climb the rickety stairs that access the northern bridge support tower.   This is looking southeast:
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This is looking across the yard showing the pedestrian bridge (there’s a date on the building in the center, 1926):
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And this is looking northwest or so:
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This is the best view I could get of the roundhouse, taken from a 1913 truss bridge over the Tug Fork on the southern side of the yard:
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Jordan Spreader

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I’d forgotten I had this picture.  This much-used Jordan Spreader, SBD 774760, was sitting in the eastern part of Kingsport yard back in 2012.  I thought it might have been used to clear tunnels of ice.  That was fanciful.  When I looked it up, I found that the unit is used to dig and clear ditches, regulate ballast and even to plow snow.  Sturdy and reliable, and, of course, it’s been replaced by more modern things…so it goes.

Boxcar on a Siding

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It was raining slightly and I saw these boxcars sitting on a siding off Tilthammer Drive, in the industrial park behind Evergreen Garden Center in Kingsport.  A few years ago, I came this way and the rails were getting a little rusty.  I thought that this siding was unused, but, as you can see by the rails now, it is getting steady use by one of the companies down there.  Nice to see.  Go, railroads!

The Milwaukee Road

This is a postcard travel folder, printed by Kropp & Co. in Milwaukee…late 40s.  The locomotive is The Olympian.  There are 18 views, printed on standard-weight paper, in this foldout piece. Most are views (scenics, cities, bridges), but two are of other locomotives, which I have scanned in.  I found this folder in Erwin TN.  It sells on ebay for around $5.