August 24, 2006
Friday night football starts, well, Friday, which means coal train chasin' season starts too. I don't have to be at work until 1 on football Fridays, so I can head south and chase the Ohio Central's Glouster Turn north, usually arriving in Zanesville right about time for me to go to work.
But I figured I would get an early start to the season Thursday, when I had a morning assignment in New Lexington. I could get a shot or three of the coal train as it rolled north through the hinterlands of Perry County, leave it at New Lex and head to my assignment. So I left the house early and headed south.
When I got to Moxahela, I turned my head to a familiar sound through the trees to see a former Conrail C30-7 and the familiar red-ended Ortners thundering through the trees.
Damn. And there was a van behind me so I couldn't just whip the car around on Congo Road. By the time I was heading the right direction, the train was through the big curve at Moxy and gone. So I headed north the 'back way' to New Lex, to a spot in the woods with an old coal mine haulage road bridge I could shoot from. It is an afternoon spot for northbounds, but beggars can't be choosers. And good luck finding a northbound in the afternoon on the West Virginia Secondary. Good luck finding anything, actually.
The train was gone by the time I got to the bridge; I could hear it disappearing to the north.
I had heard the dispatcher talking to a train behind the GLT, so I headed back to Moxy, with hopes to catching him. But the GLT had stopped, having lost it's air just north of the New Lexington tunnel. So I headed north. Again.
I could see the leader from the first crossing in town, so I looked around for a spot. My mind was made up for me when the train started rolling toward the y from the NS to the OC. So I headed to a spot I have shot before, where the tracks come close to the road and you can see part of the town in the background. The sun came out just as the engineer gave the two big old GEs leading the train a bit of throttle, and let loose that wonderful gurgling chug and a beltch of smoke at the same time.
Worth waiting for, as usual.