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Old 06-22-2010, 02:44 PM   #2
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If you're around Philly, the best shot you have at seeing them is on the old Octoraro and Wilmington & Northern lines. Kennett Square is the base of operations, and they typically ran the Octo on Tue-Thu out of Kennett Square, and the W&N on M-W-F out of the siding at Embreeville. However, since I was last there, an ethanol transload should have opened up near Kennett Square, and that was going to take the Octo to a M-F operation last I heard.

All that said, I was up there on a Tuesday last time (wanting to shoot the Octo) and all they did is run to the junction with the W&N line at Chadds Ford and take a cut for a train bound for the CSX at Wilsmere. Definitely a lesson of "getting what you get" on a shortline because of customer needs/crew availability. Your best bet is to be to Kennett Square early, no later than 8am and look for a crew start or someone to show up at the office. Should be a couple of GEs around there to shoot.

Of note, the recently acquired ex NYSW GP18s were picked up at Wilsmere and will be on the line somewhere, probably KS if they're not yet in service. Paint wise, for the GEs on this side there are two B30-7s in the blue, one in full SP paint, and one U23B in the plain blue with PRL lettering on the cab.

Another GE powered ESPN branch runs out of Quakertown, though I am unsure of what days they are running now. Used to be M-F when it was busy, but believe one of the larger customers had shut down as of about a year ago.

If you get further over toward Reading, there is the LANO branch, which has a pair of the plain blue U23Bs. The local is based out of Denver, PA, and has historically worked M-W-F from there to NS' Reading Yard. I have heard little of whether this line has slowed in the bad economy, as have many lines around the country.

That pretty much covers the busiest of the ESPN operations, and where the GEs are. Anyone else closer to these operations or that has visited in the last year or so is certainly welcome to update this information.
Mike Derrick

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