Austell 2004

Below are a few scenes from the gathering of railfans at Austell, GA on August 13 & 14, 2004.

An eastbound NS intermodal from Birmingham, with run-thru BNSF power, heads for Inman Yard in downtown Atlanta.
Mr. Wood shows us how to do the "Turntable Groove" during an escorted tour of the Tilford engine shops.
A CSX AC4400 goes for a spin, prior to having a traction motor swapped out for an idler axle.

Some lighter motive power on the ready tracks at Tilford, including an MP15T and an SW1500, respectively.
A cab detail shot of "Boomin Baby".
After thanking Mr. Wood for the engine shop tour, we head out trackside along the NS at Dallas GA, and set up for an approaching southbound.
NS9790 looks good, but doesn't run good, as the SD60 is doing all the work getting the train the rest of the way to Inman yard.
Our next task was to hunt down CSX's Cartersville/Cedartown local. We are successful at getting him crossing over NS's C-line at Cedartown, GA. I had a little too much faith in my camera's light meter, as I end up with some motion blur.
An artistic angle of the Cedartown diamond.
We then wait for the arrival of NS 792, a loaded coal train for one of the Georgia Power steam plants along the old Central of Georgia line. Robert and Martin seek shade behind a signal box.
792 finally arrives, and the road and helper crews begin swapping out locomotives before continuing down the C-line.
Motive power and crews ready, 792 begins its assault on Dugtown Mountain. We capture its passing at the world-famous Phil's Hill.
Mr. O'Toole quietly readies himself to photograph wild western horses in the outback of Rockmart, GA. The wild horses, in this case, are that of a BNSF DPU.

The next morning Jonathan and I depart my brother's house and begin working CSX's WA line south into downtown Atlanta. We capture a wild consist on Q583 in Acworth, with a C39-8 / SD40T-2 / SD40-2 (SD45 carbody) and two ex-CP SW1200RS's dead-in-tow.
Access to Tilford Yard is apparently at a premium, as Q583 is told to hold in Kennesaw. Visitors to the adjacent museum observe the modern locomotive that sits at the same approximate location where the famous chase of the "General" was initiated over 138 years ago.
The remainder of the day was spent at FC Tower, otherwise known as Fat Cats bar and restaurant. Conveniently located across the street from the NS main, railfans can sit back, drink a beer, look at digitals from the day, and watch the passing of trains between Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Birmingham.
The tools of railfanning in the 21st century have radically changed. Three laptop computers share bartop space with scanners, D-SLR's, beer, and barfood. Tommy pretends to be invisible.

An empty Scherer train is told to stop short of the interlocking at Austell, and the gang at FC tower takes advantage of this to photograph the GEVO unit, second in line. CDDX - "Coal Drag Daddy" - takes a good look at the lead locomotive.

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