Sunday, August 12, 2012

Today's Train of Thought- Chicken Scratch, August 12, 2012

Today's train of thought takes us down to south-central part of the Tarheel State. With mega-transactions like the Genesee & Wyoming's purchase of Rail America, the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western railroad is something of a vanishing breed in this country- an independent and locally operated shortline railroad. Started in 1987, the company operates on a former Norfolk Southern branch from Aberdeen to Star, NC. The AC&W also excercises trackage rights into downtown Charolotte, NC. Traffic for the Aberdeen, Carolina and Western includes bricks, chicken feed, lumber, ethanol, natural gas and woodchips

In recent years, traffic has grown significantly on the AC&W. The line started out operating with secondhand GP9s and ex CSX GP16s- many of them getting a new coat of paint in the Aberdeen Carolina & Western's spiffy green and cream colors. With the advent of unit ethanol trains in the last decade as well as trainloads of corn destined for the Purdue and Mountaire chicken farms along the system, the AC&W needed bigger and more reliable power. About 10 years ago, a half dozen former Canadian National widecab GP40-2LW's arrived on the property and were painted into AC&W colors. More recently, the AC&W opted for 6-axle power with the purchase of nine rebuilt former Canadian National SD40-3s in the last two years.

Here, contributor Patrick Treadaway caught AC&W SD40-3 #6910 and #6918 working the Purdue chicken farm at Candor, NC in August 2011. The lengthy cut of cars accentuates some of the roller-coaster hills in this part of the Tarheel state and a close look at the door leading to the cab of #6910 indicates the crew is attempting to cool down the old-school way.

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