A Day in North Georgia

To coincide with CTC Board Railroads Illustrated Magazine's A Day in North America on October 16th, 2004, I decided to cover some photo locations between Atlanta and Chattanooga that I had previously scouted out on earlier train chasing trips, but never had the opportunity to take advantage of. My plan was to start at CSX's Tilford Yard in Atlanta, where I would meet up with locomotive electrician Kevin Wood for an early morning photo session, and then work northward along CSX's WA line. This route provides a wide array of scenery, from urban grit to quaint little suburban towns to rural abandon. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate too well during the morning hours, as several bands of clouds followed prime southbound trains through the locations that I was set up at. By the time I arrived at Dalton, the sky had cleared up for the remainder of the afternoon.

Train symbols will be added to the captions once I finish compiling and sorting out that info.

A couple of angles on CSX B30-7a #5533 on the pit track at Tilford yard, at 5:30am.
SD70MAC #702 rests just beyond the pit area...
and SD50 #8547 rests near the turntable.
After chatting with Kevin and several other guys at the shop area, I depart just prior to the sun coming up over the horizon. I take one last shot of the Tilford shop area before pressing on. This is a composite image of two separate exposures of the same scene, to better capture the color of the sunrise without losing foreground detail - kind of an electronic split neutral-density filter effect.
The sun continues to shine in the town of Acworth. That is, until the arrival of a southbound military train.
The northbound empty hopper train continues to hold, which indicates that he's still waiting for the single track across Lake Alatoona to clear up. I position myself for the second southbound, and so do the clouds.
At the northern end of the single track across Lake Alatoona is the town of Emerson. A southbound GE leads its train out of this town and towards Atlanta. And the sun briefly cooperates...
A former Conrail six-axle Dash-7 sits quietly with a rail train on the passing track at Hall's Station. Apparently not very well liked by crews and shop personnel, this locomotive finishes out its working life with dead end assignments. Image photographed in RAW (NEF) format.
While sleeping the weekend off, 7137 is passed by a southbound CSX train with a slight identity problem: NS/CN/GCFX power. Still no sun.
Now in Dalton, I take advantage of the returned sun and some stacked southbound NS trains that wait their turn to pass over the CSX diamond downtown. I head north to Norton and catch a grain train with an early Dash-8 on the lead.
I move a couple miles further north to Waring. Another southbound, in the form of auto-racks, funnels itself onto the single track.
Here's a shot that goes against the narrow-minded, "think inside the box" thought process of most average railfan photographers!!! A Catfish sticks its burly nose into the super-elevated curve at Norton, as it works south into downtown Dalton.
A homely lashup of two "Rent-A-Wrecks" and an older UP SD60M lead a northbound NS train across the diamond. Of audible note was the rare Leslie S3K airhorn that the lead unit was carrying.
I had been waiting for the arrival of this train all day. I had witnessed CSX train Q580's power getting serviced and positioned at Tilford Yard early that morning, but the train apparently got a much later start than I had expected. Now passing over the diamond in downtown Dalton later that afternoon, the cloud-lit western power leads its train to Wauhatchie.
What's one of my photo essays without goofy people shots?!? Bart and Jonathan do "The Digital Bow" while Patrick chokes on a lens cap.

The evening was capped off with a nice sit-down dinner at the Dalton Depot, followed by the observation of several passing trains in the dark while conversing over Railpictures.net rejection stories. It was then time to drive home and nurse a persistant sinus headache.