Lines and lines of empty hoppers parked in Southwest Virginia. This is looking more or less southward into Dante Yard. We were moving from Scott County into Dickenson County and back and saw a lot of these idle units. Anecdotal reports indicate that they’ve been there for a considerable time (several weeks or so). We were seeing both CSX and N&S (and some old Southern and Norfolk & Western units, too).
This much-used Plasser American unit was parked a little south of Dante (winter, 2015). I think it’s used to replace ties. There was a lot of that going on at the time.
Note that the just-completed Gotthard Base tunnel in Switzerland uses concrete ties, very closely grouped.
I finally got back to Dante Yard to take a few pictures of the long-disused turntable. I had to clamber (and believe me, I clambered) up a hillside on the far side of the turntable to try to get the whole thing in frame. I didn’t quite, but I got most of it.
Using a turntable like this saved a lot of time when you needed to get a locomotive (all 100 tons or so of it) turned around.
And the motor that did all the work wasn’t that big:
I wonder if it was good to have the title of “the guy who runs the turntable”?
Just for fun, we stopped at the old Dante Yard to check out the locomotive turntable that used to operate there.
This is it. It’s a large circle and the interior part turns on a track. The track in the area (which is no longer used) is dated 1927. This whole complex must have been a happening place back in the day. We’re going to do some investigating of other rail operations in this area, including numerous narrow-gauge lines that serviced both the coal mines and the timber industry. Sounds like fun to me.