Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today's Train of Thought- Hop, Chip and a Jump; June 26th 2013

Today's Train of Thought takes us to the Tarheel State and gives us a glimpse of the appropriately-named Coastal Carolina railroad. The 142 mile line started out modestly in 1989, operating some 17 miles of a former Norfolk Southern branch between Pinetown and Bellhaven, NC.

The Coastal Carolina expanded considerably in 2007 by leasing the original Norfolk Southern line between Plymouth and Raleigh, NC with the yard at Chocowinty, NC serving as a hub. Traffic includes grain, plastics, woodchips, ethanol, stone, fertilizer, paper products, LPG and feed. To accommodate this massive expansion, the Coastal Carolina purchased an array of secondhand power, including former Grand Trunk Western GP9s, a Duluth Missabe & Iron Range SD9M, a former Illinois Central GP11 and ex-Santa Fe GP30s.

Here, contributor Nick McLean caught Coastal Carolina GP40 #95 with a cut of wood chip hopper cars that dwarf the locomotive as it heads out across the Pamlico River in Washington, NC in April 2010 with Coastal Carolina train 119 [and the trestle in turn seems to dwarf the train- NANESB!].

Train 119 no doubt has some work to do between on its run between Chocowinty to Plymouth. The lead unit started out life in 1966 and strutted its stuff for several years not too far from where McLean snapped these photos of the impressive span- the #95 was actually built for CSX predecessor Seaboard Coast Line. However, Coastal Carolina purchased the venerable EMD from the Mississippi Export rail and hastily relettered it before putting it into service.

The Coastal Carolina line through Washington hugs the banks of the Pamlico (at this point its almost considered Pamlico sound) before crossing over. The bridge was part of the original Norfolk Southern and still had a bridgetender to manually open and close the bridge and inspect the train as it rolls past at a leisurely 10 MPH.

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