Old 04-24-2010, 05:08 PM   #1
Bob Pickering
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Default Heading for The Clinchfield next month

Good Afternoon!

I will be in the area of Bristol Tn next month for a day or so. What can anyone tell me about the Clinchfiled (CSX) operations. Busy? Not? Hit or miss? Suggested places to go & see?

The good, bad and the ugly.

Any advice helpful

Thank You!

BP
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:56 PM   #2
troy12n
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Bristol is about a half hour at it's closest to any part of the Clinchfield. The "best" parts are going to be 1 hour plus, with the best being about 2 hours away. Pretty much the entire "good" part of the railroad is within a 2 hour drive north or south. But you have to make your decision which way to go. There are some stretches that are completely inaccessible as well, and to hit the high spots in a decent amount of time, you will have to hit the Interstate (I26) and in the process will miss out on what I think are some of the more interresting areas inbetween "major" spots. You could do 1 day North between Kingsport and Haysi and 1 day South between Erwin and Altapass and still not have enough time to really take everything in.

At 30 minutes away:
Kingsport, TN and surroundings. A high bridge "railroad North" of town. Interesting operations at NS "Frisco Yard" where the two cross at grade and interchange.

At 1 hour away:
South) The area in and around Erwin, TN: Especially South of town near the Nolichucky River. Excellent Scenery, a bridge you can work into a shot too.
North) The area in and around Clinchport, VA: The famous Copper Creek viaduct nearby, NS has a line that parallels CSX for a ways, and North of the viaduct the Clinchfield follows the Clinch river and there are some nice areas there.

At 2 hours away:
South) The loops near Altapass, NC: Neat but the really cool parts are somewhat inaccessible these days. Famous locations.
North) The area between Haysi, VA and St. Paul, VA: The RR parallels a very scenic road on the other side of a river (mostly). Very scenic areas, but deep in the mountains and light is scarce in some areas. The area near Dante, VA is neat. At St Paul the NS Clinch Valley District (N&W) crosses the CSX.

Traffic on the line is pretty much 100% coal loads Southbound, coal empties Northbound. Every once in a while a grain train will come through. There is 1 mixed freight each way daily, I dont remember the symbol, but I think it was Q3xx. Power will be almost 100% AC4400's and ES44AC's with a SD70MAC or SD70ACE thrown in for good measure once in a while. The Grain and mixed freights could have anything for power, but like I said, there are fewer of them. The times I have railfanned the line, it seems they try to fleet trains Southbound out of Elkhorn in the morning and Erwin in the afternoon, the whole railroad is single track with sidings every once in a while. Meets happen in and around Kingsport and Norton. NS and CSX share trackage between Frisco and Clinchport, so either RR can use either line. A lot runs at night too, so dont be surprised if you go hours on end without seeing ANYTHING. Especially in and around Erwin, however you will hear them coming as they are making up trains in the yard, or changing crews. Pretty much every train gets recrewed at Erwin.

I would also recommend hitting some NS near Bluefield which is about an hour and a half away.

These may be useful too.
http://www.frograil.com/tours/csx/clinchfieldSouth.htm
http://www.frograil.com/tours/csx/clinchfieldNorth.htm

Last edited by troy12n; 04-26-2010 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:37 AM   #3
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Thanks for the information, Troy! I'll also be on this line next week.

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Old 04-26-2010, 05:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
B

At 2 hours away:
North) The area between Haysi, VA and Norton, VA: The RR parallels a very scenic road on the other side of a river (mostly). Very scenic areas, but deep in the mountains and light is scarce in some areas. The area near Dante, VA is neat. At Norton the NS Clinch Valley District crosses the CSX.
Good points, but I think you are getting St Paul and Norton mixed up. St Paul is where the crossing between CSX and NS is. Norton is on the NS (ex-N&W line) further west towards Appalachia.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGilliam View Post
Good points, but I think you are getting St Paul and Norton mixed up. St Paul is where the crossing between CSX and NS is. Norton is on the NS (ex-N&W line) further west towards Appalachia.
Yea, you are right, St. Paul.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:58 PM   #6
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Hey everyone. I wanted to thank you all. I will be heading there tomorrow. Any last minute tips appreciated.

Thank You again, I apologize for not getting back with everyone it has been busy for me lately.

Thanks!

BP
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
Bristol is about a half hour at it's closest to any part of the Clinchfield. The "best" parts are going to be 1 hour plus, with the best being about 2 hours away. Pretty much the entire "good" part of the railroad is within a 2 hour drive north or south. But you have to make your decision which way to go. There are some stretches that are completely inaccessible as well, and to hit the high spots in a decent amount of time, you will have to hit the Interstate (I26) and in the process will miss out on what I think are some of the more interresting areas inbetween "major" spots. You could do 1 day North between Kingsport and Haysi and 1 day South between Erwin and Altapass and still not have enough time to really take everything in.

At 30 minutes away:
Kingsport, TN and surroundings. A high bridge "railroad North" of town. Interesting operations at NS "Frisco Yard" where the two cross at grade and interchange.

At 1 hour away:
South) The area in and around Erwin, TN: Especially South of town near the Nolichucky River. Excellent Scenery, a bridge you can work into a shot too.
North) The area in and around Clinchport, VA: The famous Copper Creek viaduct nearby, NS has a line that parallels CSX for a ways, and North of the viaduct the Clinchfield follows the Clinch river and there are some nice areas there.

At 2 hours away:
South) The loops near Altapass, NC: Neat but the really cool parts are somewhat inaccessible these days. Famous locations.
North) The area between Haysi, VA and St. Paul, VA: The RR parallels a very scenic road on the other side of a river (mostly). Very scenic areas, but deep in the mountains and light is scarce in some areas. The area near Dante, VA is neat. At St Paul the NS Clinch Valley District (N&W) crosses the CSX.

Traffic on the line is pretty much 100% coal loads Southbound, coal empties Northbound. Every once in a while a grain train will come through. There is 1 mixed freight each way daily, I dont remember the symbol, but I think it was Q3xx. Power will be almost 100% AC4400's and ES44AC's with a SD70MAC or SD70ACE thrown in for good measure once in a while. The Grain and mixed freights could have anything for power, but like I said, there are fewer of them. The times I have railfanned the line, it seems they try to fleet trains Southbound out of Elkhorn in the morning and Erwin in the afternoon, the whole railroad is single track with sidings every once in a while. Meets happen in and around Kingsport and Norton. NS and CSX share trackage between Frisco and Clinchport, so either RR can use either line. A lot runs at night too, so dont be surprised if you go hours on end without seeing ANYTHING. Especially in and around Erwin, however you will hear them coming as they are making up trains in the yard, or changing crews. Pretty much every train gets recrewed at Erwin.

I would also recommend hitting some NS near Bluefield which is about an hour and a half away.

These may be useful too.
http://www.frograil.com/tours/csx/clinchfieldSouth.htm
http://www.frograil.com/tours/csx/clinchfieldNorth.htm

I will actually be basing myself out of Kingsport or so.

Also I may try the overlook at Starnes, Va, I am not afraid to hike up a hill.

Thanks again for all this work I appreciate it.
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