Weekend Railfanning Episode 3: 3 Trains in 30 minutes!!.. NS, CSX (Again!), CP & UP!…

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3 Trains in 30 minutes!!..

I was gonna’ start today’s post out with some more jibber jabber nonsense about patience and/or the lousy weather we’ve been having but I think that those topic’s have run their course…. Instead I want to talk about the barrage of 3 freights in 1/2 hour this morning and with that I have a little story to tell….

Years ago I was traveling west on the Massachusetts Turnpike. During this time I was pulling a flatbed trailer. I was empty and heading into the Albany area to pick up my next load…. When I got to the cash box the toll collector made a joke that I didn’t understand until he explained it to me…. He said, “I see that you’re overloaded with dispatcher brains.” I didn’t know what he was talking about but after he schooled me on the colloquialism we both had a laugh and I was on my way.

I tell this story because it seems that the scenario the toll collector joked about took place this morning…. Now the first thing I want to make clear here and now is that I’m just having a little fun with this post and don’t mean to insult or offend anyone but in the event that I do…. So what.

Now the we got that out of the way, on with today’s headline…. I got to the tracks at 04:50 and inspected the rail tops as usual…. The indication I got was that something had passed at least within the last few hours so in my infinite wisdom I deduced that it must have been the 12T…. Fine by me…. I wanted an easy morning anyway so that’s one train that I can scratch off my morning list.


Norfolk Southern Train 458….

The light of day comes out and I wait…. By now I’ve learned that often between 07:00 and 07:30 the foreman at Taylor will get on the radio and ask for the days rundown from the dispatch office…. At 07:15 on the dot I get a crackle over the radio…. It’s the dispatcher, “D&H dispatch-Taylor radio-Over.” And then it’s quiet again…. So I wait and wait and wait some more.. Nothing..

I was thinking to myself that if I didn’t hear anything worthwhile by 08:00 I’d call it a day but I was having serious reservations about not being able to report anything for the day so just maybe I’ll hang out til 09:00…. Maybe….

By 07:45 I’m feeling both worried and relieved…. Relieved because the fewer trains I have to document the easier my Sunday will be but on the other hand I’d like to give my readers something to chew on for the day. So I sit and at 07:50, without any warning the big train bang begins…. Through the silence I hear diesel power coming downgrade and that most likely means one thing, and it was…. Norfolk Southern Train 458 drifting downgrade.

He’s got 4 locos…. 2 NS blacks and 2 CP geeps including an old friend I hadn’t seen since December…. Here’s that story….

The Friday after Christmas 2014 I began stalking the rails of the D&H Sunbury Sub. I had avoided doing so until now because of the cold weather but it was now industry news that NS was buying the line…. With that in perspective I knew that I had to get out and get what CP red I could until they were out of the area for good.

So that Friday I made my first conscientious effort to seek out trains on the west side and I got lucky right from the start…. On the way down I caught what I learned to be the 930 behind a whopping 6 unit lash up including an ex-Conrail C40-8W, an SD40-2 and a CSX Dash 8W last unit!… How lucky I was to stumble into that one on my first effort! You can see that train in Video #32.

Making my way to the north end of Taylor I see GP38-2 #7310 working the salt siding…. The crew was very friendly and told me that I had about 6 months to get all of the Canadian Pacific that I could…. At the time, I was happy just to see the little geep because it still had it’s “2 flags” livery. Thats what I was seeking out, CP SD40-2s in the 2 flags paint…. I called it, “The Hunt For The Red SD40.”

Well, that day I got a D-11 local (you can check that video out in #33) which was cool in itself but that would be the last time that I would see the #7310…. From there she went north (I figured for repainting) and never came back…. Until today.

And there she was in all of her faded glory, chugging along with sister #7309 heading to Taylor (I figure) to round out CP’s final days in the area. The train itself had 133 cars (have you noticed that NS has been really beefing up the 458s lately) and was due in for work at Taylor…. But there was also an NS friend in the consist…. SD70 #2505, the diesel that made the turnaround move at Steamtown back on May 26th was 2nd unit out trailing an SD60E on a NS Train 458 just like the first time I’d seen this unit.

And this is where the fun starts….

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Norfolk Southern Train 931….

The dispatcher had 458 on the main north of Taylor and 931 and another train south of Taylor…. Neither of the south end trains could fit the siding at Taylor with the already massive 458 so that created a real problem…. Now, I was told that one dispatcher messed things up and the relief dispatcher cleaned it up…. That’s as much as I know about the corporate end. What I know from the field is that within 10 minutes of 458’s last car passing me by, the 931 blasted out of Taylor (literally) with yet another Crescent Cab SD60E leading and was hauling ass full steam northward…. I heard the crew (from what I learned was from the next train) say over the radio that they knew that they could make it to Dalton so I figured that maybe there was something waiting in the wings there.

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Norfolk Southern Train 12T….

But not more than 10 minutes after 931 blew past, get this…. 12T, the very train I thought went through way early in the dark hours of this morning goes bolting past with every bit of determination and speed as the 931 had!… And unlike the 931 which had less than 40 cars, the 12T had 70 today…. By the time 12T came through it was about 08:30 which is the latest that I’ve seen this train show itself since 10 years ago.

It was the most filled-up, fast-paced hour that I’ve seen on the former Sunbury yet…. And technically it was 3 trains in about 45 minutes but that’s still darn good and “30 minutes” makes a better title anyway!…

Trains 21 Star Cars for June 21, 2015….

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The St. Mary’s West

Not to be confused with the St. Mary’s Railroad (reporting mark SM) however both are related. Both are class III shortlines operating in Georgia. The SMW is an extension of the SM….

The St. Marys and Kingsland Railroad was founded in 1865 by Captain Lemuel Johnson. The SM&K eventually became the Atlantic, Waycross and Northern Railroad and after the death of Johnson in 1918, the railroad was sold to the Southern Fertilizer and Chemical Company in Savannah, Georgia. The AW&N was sold in 1939 to Gilman Paper Company-St. Mary’s Kraft Corporation and became the St. Mary’s Railroad. The SM was merged into the Gilman Paper Company on January 11, 1999, and operated initially under the Gilman name. The Gilman Paper Company separated the railroad by establishing a limited liability corporation operating under the name of Saint Marys Railroad, LLC. On December 17, 1999, the paper plant and railroad were purchased by the Durango Paper Company (changing its name in 2000 to the Durango-Georgia Company) and the railroad was renamed the Durango Railroad. All federal reporting requirements for the railroad were filed under that name. The company declined to change its reporting marks however, thus the locomotives and rolling stock continued to use the St. Marys Railroad name.

The Durango Paper Company shut down in 2002 after two industrial accidents at the plant resulted in nearly $200,000 in fines from OSHA. All of the employees of the paper plant lost their jobs and the railroads future was in doubt. The railroad continues to operate and the St. Marys Railroad right-of-way and assets remain intact. In January 2007, the St. Marys Railroad, LLC was purchased by the Birmingham, Alabama-based Boatright Companies. The railroad continues to be fully operational with no change in its reporting marks.

St. Marys Railway West LLC (SMW) is an extension whose primary business is providing safe harbor/storage of idle, underutilized or congestion-causing empty and loaded rail equipment (cars &  locomotives). SMW’s location is adjacent to CSX‘s Rice Yard in Waycross, GA, the largest classification yard on the CSX system.

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Understanding the train symbols of the D&H Sunbury Subdivision….

Canadian Pacific train 458 is a Binghamton, NY to Linwood, NC manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern train 11R.

Canadian Pacific train 459 is a Harrisburg (Enola), Pa. to Binghamton, NY manifest which formerly ran as Norfolk Southern train 12R but now runs as train 14R.

Canadian Pacific train 930 is a Rouses Point, NY to Harrisburg (Enola) Pa. manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern 30T.

Canadian Pacific train 931 is a Harrisburg (Enola) Pa. to Rouses Point, NY manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern 31T.

Canadian Pacific train 258 is a Binghamton, NY to Allentown, Pa. manifest.

Canadian Pacific train 259 is an Allentown, Pa. to Binghamton, NY manifest.

Canadian Pacific D-11 is a local that runs from Taylor Yard in Taylor, Pa. south down the Sunbury Sub (now the NS Crescent Corridor) to Sunbury (CP Kase).

Canadian Pacific D-12 is a local that runs from Taylor Yard in Taylor, Pa. north up the Sunbury Sub (now the NS Crescent Corridor) to Binghamton, NY.

Norfolk Southern 12T is an Allentown, Pa. to Buffalo, NY manifest which runs as Canadian Pacific 932.

Norfolk Southern 13T is a Buffalo, NY to Allentown, Pa. manifest which runs as Canadian Pacific 933.

Naturally many (if not all) of these symbols will change when Norfolk Southern takes over proper…. I’ll keep you posted on those changes as I find them out.


Find out where the freight cars in this post call home….

Check Out Our Reporting Marks Page


Keep up with all of the train action taking place on the former CP Rail Sunbury Subdivision (now the Norfolk Southern Crescent Corridor) at BROADCASTIFY.COM.

Naturally when Norfolk Southern takes over these mileage markers will probably change.. When they do I’ll make sure to make the necessary updates…. For now here are the….

Pennsylvania Mile Markers from Binghamton, NY to Sunbury, Pa.

627-Hallstead (Dragging Equipment Detector)
643-Kingsley (Dragging Equipment Detector)
650-Hop Bottom (10,000 ft. siding)
653-Nicholson & the Tunkhannock Viaduct
659-661 (10,000 ft. siding)
662-Glenburn (Dragging Equipment Detector)
664-Clark’s Summit
671-Steamtown Wye (Bridge Sixty)
672-Taylor Yard (North end)
673-Taylor Yard (South end)
679-Dupont Jct.
696-Nanticoke (Broadway Street)
701-Retreat State Hospital
714-Beach Haven
752-CP Kase (this is where the Sunbury Subdivision joins the Norfolk Southern Buffalo line to Harrisburg and Enola.)

The last days of the Canadian Pacific/Delaware & Hudson and the Sunbury Subdivision

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

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