The First Photo Contest of the West Kentucky NRHS

Saturday May 9, 2015 brought about the first photo contest of the West Kentucky NRHS. The only rules set forth by our judge, Jim Pearson, were that you have to be a member of the WKNHRS and that the photo had to be taken on May 9th, which also happened to be National Train Day, so there was a happy coincidence. At our May meeting the chapter decided that we will hold two of these contests a year and the next one will be in November 2015. Date has yet to be determined.

The winners were as follows: 1st – Jim Kemp. 2nd – there was a 2 way tie for 2nd between Rick Bivins and Matt Gentry. 3rd – Bill Grady. Honorable Mention belongs to Blair Terry. Click on each photo to see the full picture.

Other entries were:

The Spill with President Bill for June 2015

im Pearson watches a train go by the Hopkinsville Depot during the May meeting on May 18. - Jennifer Brown; Kentucky New Era

im Pearson watches a train go by the Hopkinsville Depot during the May meeting on May 18. – Jennifer Brown; Kentucky New Era

The May meeting in Hopkinsville went well and I hope all the members who attended had a good time. Our meeting was attended by Jennifer Brown one of the writers for the Kentucky New Era. Jennifer enjoyed the cookout and then covered the meeting and program by Wallace Henderson. I have some copies of the article from the newspaper for you to look at in our next meeting.

Wallace Henderson did a great job with the May program. Maybe some day in the fall we can make a road trip to the site in Nashville and have Wallace point out the highlights of the accident. Mrs. Brown seemed to be very impressed with the program. Thank you Wallace, you did an excellent job with your presentation.

Under new business in the May meeting I said I would have a rough copy of our proposed club membership card. This is something we can print out at home on any printer. I will give the membership an explanation on how it will work at this month’s meeting.

Jim Pearson did an excellent job chairing our first photo contest. We had a total of six entries and it was suggested that the club sponsor another contest this fall, when the leaves are turning colors. I think it would be a good idea if we take the pictures from the photo contest and print a, “2016 Western Kentucky Chapter” calendar. We can discuss the calendar in more detail as we get closer to October.

As a northbound train rolls north through Hopkinsville, Thomas Bryan observes outside the former L&N Depot. -Jennifer Brown; Kentucky New Era

As a northbound train rolls north through Hopkinsville, Thomas Bryan observes outside the former L&N Depot. –Jennifer Brown; Kentucky New Era

If any chapter members are in the Parkway Plaza Mall in the future, stop by the white display cases across from Godfathers Pizza and look at our display. The mall has allowed us to use another case for display. We have the artifacts from Archeology Saturday on display in the second case along with pictures taken on the day of the event. The mall arranged it so both cases are side by side so it makes it easier on the eye.

Ricky Bivins has obtained a copy of our National Bylaws for review by the membership. The officers had a meeting on June 4th to discuss upcoming events and the bylaws. Wally had a copy of our chapter bylaws at the meeting for review. We decided to do a survey of the membership after National concludes their meeting in June. We may want to set up a committee in the future, for review of both National and local bylaws. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

The June meeting will have refreshments by Steve Miller and the program will be presented by Blair Terry. We will also have a representative from an insurance company to tell us about needed liability insurance to cover the officers and chapter members. Hope to see you at the June 15th meeting and most important bring a prospect for membership.

Bill Farrell

Illinois Terminal Heritage Unit 1072 by Jim Pearson

06.02.15 Illinois Terminal Heritage Unit leaves SYTRAN Dock 4, Mt. Vernon, IN

June 2, 2015 – Thanks to a heads up post by fellow railfan and great photographer Tom Barrows of Evansville, IN, I was able to catch my second Norfolk Southern Heritage Unit today! – Jim Pearson

When I arrived at the overlook to the Sitran Coal Dock and Abengoa ethanol plant at West Franklin, IN, the weather was overcast and it looked like it was going to be fairly bad, but the sun finally came out just as the train was leaving with Illinois Terminal Heritage Unit 1072 in the lead.

The Illinois Terminal railroad along with many others was bought up by Norfork Southern years ago and NS has repainted about 20 of their engines in the paint schemes of many of those roads.


BNSF #6750 leads its stack train west towards Los Angeles through Fullerton CA as Santa Fe 3751 simmers in the background as it awaits permission to back out onto main #1 to head back towards Los Angeles after being on display at Fullerton Railroad Days. – Matt Gentry

June 2015 Rail Flicks with Tom Johnson



Title Indiana Harbor Belt and Belt Railway of Chicago and Blue Island, IL Hot Spot
Producer Machines of Iron
Format DVD
Playing Time 1 hr.
Purchased From
Date Purchased 5/14/13
Price Paid $23.95

The IHB is the largest beltline railroad in the United States.  It stretches forty miles from the NW suburbs of Chicago, IL, to Gary, IN, and has three major yards: the Michigan Avenue yard in East Chicago, IN, serving the steel industry; the Gibson Yard in Hammond, IN, switching auto racks exclusively; and the heart of the IHB, the Blue Island Hump Yard in Riverdale, IL, with 44 tracks where 1700 cars per day are humped.

Sixty percent of the IHB’s business consists of service to local customers in NW Indiana and Chicago, with half of that being steel-related.  The other 40% is serving to connect other railroads.

The first 50 minutes of this video is dedicated to the IHB, leaving very little time for the Belt Railway of Chicago.  Since the IHB is the largest beltline railway in the U.S., it is appropriate that so much of this video involved the telling of their story.

This is a very good video for anyone interested in the operation of a beltline railway.  Yours truly will never understand why so many RR videos are produced without maps, and this one falls into that category.  It would have been nice to see where we were at any given time in relation to Downtown Chicago and in relation to other locations covered in this video.

In summary, this is a very good in-depth look at the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad that could have been even better with the use of maps.

A Brief Chase with 3751 by Matt Gentry


Every May for the last number of years has brought on Fullerton Railroad Days. This free event takes place in the parking lot at the former Santa Fe Railroad Depot in Fullerton California one weekend out of the month.

This year was particularly special again at Santa Fe Northern #3751 was on hot display. Hot display meant that the locomotive was brought in under steam on Thursday and left the depot under its own power Sunday evening.IMG_4837

While anticipating when the locomotive would make the move from downtown Los Angeles to Fullerton, my co-worker, Craig, again used his connections to find out that the locomotive would leave Los Angeles sometime after 7:00pm Thursday evening, April 30th. So another co-worker, Dave, talked me into going downtown to watch it leave through BNSF’s Hobart Yard and then try and catch it through Norwalk, CA. The key was hoping that BNSF could fit the move into traffic right around 7:00pm. All we knew was it would move sometime after 7:00pm.

IMG_4853Luckily Dave has a good scanner and after we watched the BNSF GEVO couple to the locomotive we moved out and waiting at the diamonds at Hobart Tower, on the west end of Hobart Yard. Not long after, BNSF #8357 keyed the radio to leave Amtrak’s coach yard with ATSF #3751 in tow. The reason the locomotive was pulled to Fullerton was so that BNSF did not have to spend more time tying up the main taking the train down towards Anaheim to turn the locomotive on the wye. This way, the locomotive was facing the direction they wanted to display the locomotive and would allow it to power itself back to LA on Sunday.

Interesting note is BNSF #8357 was going backwards as well since it would be on display at Railroad Days also. So since the GEVO was running in reverse, and there are no ditch lights on the rear pilot of the locomotive, the move was limited to 30 mph.

The fun part of the night (for me) was when we were able to pace the locomotive along 26th Street, which parallels Hobart Yard. There were 3 vehicles pacing this magnificent engine, and Dave and I were one of them. So I like to say I was one of the first to see 3751 for the weekend. Below’s a video of the pace and of the locomotive leaving Fullerton.

After we ran out of road to pace 3751 along Hobart Yard, Dave and I decided to forgo Norwalk and just wait at Fullerton Depot for the locomotive. As most know, I have helped Wally at the Adam’s steam show a couple years, so I know what coal smoke smells like while in a steam application. When 3751 rolled into Fullerton, the feel and smell and character of this locomotive is totally different, since it burns oil, to what I have ever witnessed before. It is quite an experience to say the least.

Hopefully, since the locomotive has been fired and fueled once already this year, I will be able to chase this great locomotive at least one more time this year.

Former C&O main line at Alleghany, VA by Frederick J. Ripley


This view, taken on May 2, 2015, looks east on the former C&O main line at Alleghany, VA. At 2072 ft. above sea level, Alleghany is the summit of the C&O’s crossing of the mountains (note the spelling, “Alleghany”, vs “Allegheny” of PA and the PRR and B&O’s crossings). Coal here has always moved eastbound exclusively, towards tidewater at Newport News. In the final days of steam, loaded coal trains had two of the world’s most powerful steam locomotives, the C&O’s class H-8 2-6-6-6. The rear helper, put on at Hinton, WV, would cut off here, and return light to Hinton. With dieselization in 1956, the C&O settled on a standard lash-up of five GP9’s, which negated the need for a helper. Although long closed, the tower, “A Cabin” (cabin being the standard C&O term for interlocking towers) is in the classic C&O brick style, a plan used with variations system-wide. (photo copyright 2015 by Frederick J. Ripley).

CSX Q026-24 at Romney by Jim Pearson

04.30.15 CSX Q026-24 NB at Romney, Nortonville, Ky

April 30, 2015 – Thanks to the Ky Highway department I was able to get this clear view of CSX Q026-24 as it headed north on the Henderson Subdivision through Romney at Nortonville, Ky. They’re clearing brush and trees along highway 41 in Nortonville which is making for some new nice views! To the left used to be nothing but brush and scraggly trees along the railroad which made it impossible to get clear views. -Jim Pearson

GP30 by Chris Dees


Long known for hauling intermodal stack trains between Macon, GA and Savannah, GA, with high-nose GE units, one can now see GP30s hauling double stacks in 2015 on the Georgia Central Railroad. CGR operates 170 miles of railroad in the central portion of The Peach State, interchanging with CSX Transportation, Heart of Georgia Railroad and Norfolk Southern. – Chris Dees