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Old 06-22-2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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For the benefit of the group, here is what I sent to Nick in response to an email he sent to me offlist. I figure some of you heading to WV Rails may be interested, as well, so I am posting this for the benefit of anyone it may assist.

Here's what I can tell you. All of those operations you mention are early, and generally knocked off by mid-afternoon. I'd say the toughest of all you mention is going to be the BB out of Staunton. They are in the middle of a bunch of trackwork right now, and curfews have been frequent.

Dillwyn should be working and should be on duty around 8am. They run engine first up to Bremo, interchange with CSX, then shove back all the way to Dillwyn with a "tricked out" caboose leading the way back, complete with lights and horn.

Shenandoah Valley (DGVR) is a tough call. They have been running a fair amount (probably 3 times a week). If you don't see their GP9 in Staunton (the interchange is just east of downtown), they're out running. Tracks are pretty easy to follow at least to Weyers Cave, then gets a bit away from the road. Delorme map will help. They interchange with NS at Pleasant Valley.

WW will certainly run Thursday. Be at what they call Inwood (which is really Darkesville on your map) at the old Corning plant at 0700 to catch 86 making the run to Hagerstown. This train usually has two units and a slug. The Sandman may run out of Gore, but that is a bit unpredictable. They are typically quite friendly if you call.

I would honestly stray away from making a special trip to Staunton unless you're coming that way regardless. If you do go through there, the BB shop is in "the bottoms" which is just west of the Amtrak station. They are typically OK with visitors, but you must go in and ask first.

BB also has locals out of Charlottesville and Doswell if those fit better into your plans.

For class 1 action, NS' H-line down the Shenandoah Valley has some great scenery and still has old position light signals at the interlockings. The B-line between Manassas and Front Royal is my absolute favorite line around here.

Also, don't forget the South Branch may be running freight, as those turkeys down in Moorefield will need some feed before all the masses congregrate on the place. They start at 0700, either at Moorefield or Greenspring on an alternating basis. If Greenspring is the start, they will drive to it from Moorefield, so you can expect they'll be underway probably around 0900 up there. Trick is to check the interchange the night before. If there is power at Greenspring, they will start there in the morning. If none, be at Moorefield bright and early. From Moorefield to Romney is pretty much inaccessible by road. That's where the train rides and photo stops come in handy on those excursions.

CSX action around Cumberland is good, too. Plenty to see and do if something winds up not working out.

Hope that helps a bit with the decision making. If there is something I've touched on here you want more on, just ask and I'll do my best.
Mike Derrick

Shortline and Regional RR forum moderator
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