My mid-summer vacation was originally planned around the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, held in State College early each July. Due to scheduling conflicts with other people down here in Chattanooga, I ended up having to take the trip with just me and my trusty ol' roadtrip companion - my truck. Truck is getting up there in years - 11 1/2 - and is up to 183,000 miles. Nonetheless, it handled the trip flawlessly.
While the Arts Festival was nixed from the itinerary, I did manage to hold onto one of the original priorities - visiting the O. Winston Link museum, which is housed in the old N&W passenger station in Roanoke, VA. Despite the fact that the majority of photos displayed can be seen in his two previously published books, "Steam, Steel, and Stars", and "The Last Steam Railroad in America", the museum goes into greater detail as to the ways and means of accomplishing his masterpieces. What's more, much of his original photographic equipment is also on display. Being located adjacent to the still active ex-NW trunk routes, this is definitely a must-see for the artistically-oriented railroad photographer.
The remainder of the trip was allotted for visiting my parents, a couple of long-time railfan friends, and some old haunts that I used to frequent during my youth. Unfortunately, my immune system crapped out towards the end of the trip, and a daytime hunt for regional action in the western part of the state took on the role of a burdensome task than of a leisurely enjoyment.
Listed below are some of the better images from the trip. Everything was shot with a Nikon D100 digital SLR.
|Outside the front of the former Norfolk & Western station in Roanoke, which houses a city information center, and the O. Winston Link museum. July 5th, 2004.|
|Looking at the Roanoke shops from the Williamson Road bridge - a rare hi-hood GP40 hides under the I-581 bridge.|
|The next day was dedicated to my parents, but from Wednesday on was spent searching for trains. I start out Wednesday morning photographing a Nittany & Bald Eagle stone train in Bellefonte, as it gets ready to head for Lock Haven with one of three GP8's on their roster. My friends Matt and Dave join me in the chase.|
|From Sunnyside Yard, the stone train backs down the Bellefonte secondary to the junction with the Bald Eagle main in Milesburg.|
|1603 finishes its back-up move, as viewed through the windows of the soon-to-be demolished Miles Tower. The tower was constructed by PRR sometime in the middle of the 20th century (Sorry, I don't know the exact construction date), and at one time housed the CTC machine to operate the entire Bald Eagle Branch. The machine was later moved by Penn Central down to Gray tower in Tyrone, but the signalling relays still remained intact here in Miles Tower the day this photo was taken.|
|1603 now heads northeast (timetable "east") to Lock Haven, passing the outside of Miles Tower. Not a spectacular structure, but one that I'm sure will still be missed.|
|Our next goal was to capture Nittany & Bald Eagle GP10 #1804 on the Tyrone turn, but in my madness of making wrong turns in downtown Tyrone, I managed to only catch the tail end of its train departing behind the Amtrak station. Rather than pursuing the NBER, we decide to stay put and observe the arrival of the eastbound "Pennsylvanian".|
|The conductor takes a moment to have his picture taken with some grandkids.|
|The next train to roll by was eastbound intermodal 24R, with a lone whiteface catfish...|
|After getting lunch at McDonalds by the Station Mall in Altoona (those idiots wanted to charge me for a little thingy of barbeque sauce!!!), we headed up to the crossing by the brickyard, in time to catch another eastbound intermodal - this time 22W with a pair of catfish. You'll note that in a lot of these pictures during this road trip, I tried to capture anything that may be endangered of being removed or replaced - in this case, I use the famous Pennsy position signals to partially frame this image.|
|Matt and Dave show how railfanning is correctly done...|
|Westbound intermodal 21E is at the mercy of a catfish and an SD60, as it passes by the brickyard.|
|A light helper set follows on the heels of the last westbound...|