June 1, 2017 – CSX Rail train C024-01 by Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas spotted this rail train in early June 2017, behind Baptist Health one morning on the way to physical therapy.  It was on its way toward Providence on the Morganfield branch when he caught it at the intersection of 41A and Rose Creek Rd, Madisonville.  The locomotive is in pushing mode with a flagman riding the modified box car.  This might make an interesting model with the makeshift door cut in on the end.  I believe there were only 2 pieces of rail on the train.  Jim Pearson caught it later in Providence. 

June 2017 Ricky’s Replies!

Ricky Bivins, Chapter President

My oh my how time flies. Here it is time for the June NRHS Western Kentucky Chapter meeting and it seems only a few days ago we were in Hopkinsville KY for the May meeting! And speaking of the May meeting, it was a grand time. With the venue being the former L&N RR Passenger Station in historic downtown Hopkinsville, Bill Farrell grilling burgers and dogs, CSX (and BNSF) providing trains and Wallace Henderson giving a detailed talk with photos and newspapers clippings covering train derailments in and around Hopkinsville…. WHEW…we did all of that in one evening. THANK YOU HOPKINSVILLE MEMBERS.

A SB loaded coal train makes its way past members of the West Kentucky Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society before the May 2017 meeting at the depot in Hopkinsville, KY on CSX’s Henderson Subdivision. – Photo by Jim Pearson

If you have taken time to go track side in our area, I am sure you have noticed a lot of trains are running. CSX and P&L both provide ample opportunities for viewing. On CSX, I have seen locomotives from many class 1 railroads and short lines too. There have been several Chicago Metra F40 rebuilds making their way up and down the line. The new paint scheme is bright and colorful. I spotted one locomotive from the Kiamichi Railway on April 15 of this year! CSX is home to EMD’s only MP-15-T locomotives which make their way by on occasion. And train patterns seem to be changing with the change of power in Jacksonville as well. The modern railroad is interesting to say the least. I still enjoy seeing rail cars from “fallen flag” railroads. It is surprising how many fallen flag railroads are represented in a train! So go out and watch trains. Have a good time and stay off the right-of-way.

The NRHS National Convention is being held in Nashville TN this month. I plan to go Friday the 23rd and represent the Chapter at the business meeting pending my work schedule does not intervene. Having talked with several members I feel the Chapter as a whole has little or no interest in the event. This is fine, not everyone is “on board” with the business aspect of our organization. If I do indeed make it to the meeting, I will have a full report in July.

We need to revisit our display at Parkway Plaza Mall, we have discussed this and taken no action.

We need to (my opinion) have a few more Chapter related functions. Track side days are always well attended and enjoyed. All one needs to do is pony up and sponsor one. Pick a day and location that suits you and we will get the word out. That being said, it is not too early to talk about the Annual Chapter Pic-Nic in Crofton KY. We need to discuss a date.

The Christmas Show Committee will be start planning for this years event. Be thinking of joining in the effort. Last year was a fun time with the kids and adults alike enjoying the show. Bring new ideas to the table for 2017. This should be our signature event with the public.

The meeting will be held Monday evening, June 19th at the Hopkins County Government Centre on North Main Street, Madisonville KY. We will meet at 7:00 PM with Rich Hane providing refreshments and Bill Farrell providing the program. Join in and bring a guest.

Ricky Bivins, President    


June 2017 Update on High Iron Trips

Don Clayton

Due to some conflicting schedules with the 611 excursions, we are revising our Kanawha River trip schedule. This update is shown in the attached. The BNSF trip has been removed for rescheduling.  Information on ticketing for the Piedmont & Northern trips will be available shortly.  Sorry for any confusion!

September 14-22, 2017: AAPRCO Convention in Burlington, VT

The Special Train will start in Albany/Renssalaer, NY on a route not yet finalized but

including major portions of the Vermont Rail System. The actual convention dates are

September 19-22. We will be participating with the Caritas and Cimarron River.

Clark Johnson Today, 9:07 AM


May 2017 Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our May 2017 Chapter photo contest! Out of a field of 14 entries I have selected the top four and they are: 1st Place, Bill Ferrell, 2nd Place, Bill Grady, 3rd Place, Blair Terry and 4th Place went to Chris Dees.

We want to thank everyone for their participation and look forward to seeing your entries for our next chapter contest which will run the Week of July 31 – Aug 6, 2017.


The other entries were:

May 2017 Ricky’s Replies!

Ricky Bivins, Chapter President


Just a heads up, our meeting this month as usual is in Hopkinsville Kentucky. Our friends and members from Hop-town always put on a fine show and the venue is excellent. And I believe we will have some tasty vittles as well.

By the time you read this, our second photo contest for the year will have come and gone. I certainly hope you were able to get out and take a few shots and turn them into Jim Pearson. Remember, these photos will be in our next Chapter calendar. The winners and possibly some honorable mentions, depending on how many total entry’s we received over the year. So, get out there and take some shots when the time comes for number three.

In old business from April, we will decide on our level of involvement with the convention in Nashville. We will be checking with Bowling Green and New Haven to see if we can assist in anyway. The consensus from the members I have talk to is a low-key approach. We have trouble committing to in-house events, committing to something outside of our area might be a bit of a stretch. I would not want to commit to something and then not follow through with it and give us a bad reputation!

We also decided in April, to update and purged the Chapter email list. Steve should have a report on this in May.
During the May meeting I will confirm the mailing address for the Chapter, for some reason I have two mailing addresses on file. Once this is done I will give Matt the go-ahead on printing new biz cards for the Chapter.

Jim Pearson, by the way, lost a brother since our April meeting. David worked for the city in Madisonville and was a very interesting individual. Our condolences to Jim and family. That having been said, Jim may have a report on the Chapter Facebook page, YouTube page and a possible Vimeo page. But if not we certainly understand.


Tips on shooting a time-lapse railroad video by Jim Pearson

Jim Pearson

In this post, I’ll be talking about some of the many options available for shooting Time-lapse videos of railroads, or any subject matter.

        Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When played at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, an image of a scene may be captured once every second, then played back at 30 frames per second; the result is an apparent 30 times speed increase. Time-lapse photography can be considered the opposite of high speed photography or slow motion.

Processes that would normally appear subtle to the human eye, e.g. the motion of the sun and stars in the sky, become very pronounced. Time-lapse is the extreme version of the cinematography technique of undercranking, and can be confused with stop motion animation.

Here is my most recent time-lapse video of CSX crews changing out a bridge in Ft. Branch, Indiana.

I use a Nikon D800 full frame camera when shooting my time-lapses. While many cameras, including an iPhone, are capable of doing this, my post will center around how I do mine using my equipment. At the end of the post I’ll list some other options available and by no means will this post or list be all inclusive. The above video was shot using a Nikkor 18mm a f/8 at an interval of 1 second.

I like using the D800 for doing time-lapse because when it’s finished shooting the camera combines all the individual frames together in the camera and saves them as a video instead of individual JPG or RAW files. So far, I’ve only shot using JPG Fine because of file sizes and storage on my Compact Flash Card.

Plan Ahead – Think and plan ahead on how you’re going to do your time-lapse and pick a good subject that will have plenty of action! It’s not a good idea to arrive 5 minutes before the action starts! Also, if you’re going to have to shoot on private property then you’ll need to obtain permission first. If it’s from public access then it’s not as big a problem. Above all else when photographing around trains or other heavy equipment you need to always be aware of your surroundings, stay safe and never trespass!

Don’t Forget Anything – When shooting time-lapse you can spend several hours standing by the side of the road out in the boonies so it’s good to be prepared! Not to sound like your mom, but you should take enough water and food. If it’s winter or foul weather then spare socks, shoes, warm coat and gloves. In summer, more water, a hat and sunscreen are must haves! A fully charged cell phone and something to read will help pass the time as well. Of course, it goes without saying your camera and tripod and all the batteries you can carry for your camera.

Batteries – Shooting a time-lapse will drain your batteries quickly so always take spares! If you shoot in 1 second intervals then that’s 60 photos a minute. Multiply that by an hour (gives you 30 seconds of video at a frame rate of 30 FPS) and you’re shooting 3,600 photos an hour! If you only have two batteries then consider taking your battery charger along and charging your spare battery in the car. The key is to keep the camera shooting pictures and if you run out of juice then your time-lapse will suffer for it.

Tripod – You need a good sturdy tripod! If you only have a lightweight one then consider attaching a weight to the center pole in order to give it more stability. If the camera moves or shakes between exposure it can result in a shaky video. This is extremely important if your shutter speed is on the slow side because of the lower light levels, which can make for some interesting blur effects.

Exposure Mode – Whatever camera you use, set it to manual mode. Any other mode where the camera controls and changes the aperture or shutter speed, the camera will try to correct every change of light and color temperature, which can result in a flicker in your video. “Flicker” is known as the unwanted effect that occurs in the “time-lapse” due to slight differences in exposure between shots.

Focusing – I suggest turning off the autofocus and doing so manually instead. While the time-lapse is exposing it shouldn’t cause a problem as long as you don’t touch the shutter button on your camera, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can use autofocus to focus once you have your framing setup and then turn it off during your time-lapse sequence. Don’t forget to refocus when you change your camera position.

Shutter Speed – I tend to keep my shutter speed a bit high, but here again it all depends on the light and time of day. If you’re shooting late in the evening or at night then you may have to use a slower shutter speed. When doing so keep in mind that if you’re shooting at 1 second intervals that with a 10 second exposure (low light photography) it’s going to take more than 1 second interval to record your file to your card. You may have to adjust accordingly.

Aperture and Exposure –  All lenses have a sweet spot (it’s sharpest point). I find that 2-3 stops from your widest aperture is the best. If shooting with a f/2.8 lens then that would be at f/8. Be sure to watch your exposure throughout the day and make sure it’s consistent. The sun move and exposure changes so to make sure it’s even throughout check it every time you change the camera’s position or at least once an hour, is my rule of thumb.

Lens – This all depends on your preference. Sometimes I’ll use a 24-70 so I have the option to zoom in on different aspects of the scene without changing lenses. On the time-lapse above I used a 18mm at f/8.

Time Lapse Duration – I personally prefer having the camera shoot a photo in the 1-2 frames a second range. The CSX bridge change video was shot at 1 second intervals.

To make your time-lapse a bit more interesting visually it’s best to stop the time-lapse and re-position the camera every so often to help give more visual impact.

A good app and the one I use to figure out my interval is called PhotoPhills. It runs $9.99 in the app store, but is well worth it and does a lot more than the time-lapse calculations. Their website is: http://www.photopills.com/

The app will help you figure out how often you need to expose, how long and how much room you’ll need on your card to store all the information that you capture. If your camera doesn’t combine everything together in the end to make your video your card may require a lot of space to store the thousands of JPGs or RAW files. Here’s a link to an online version of their Timelapse Calculator you can use for free.( http://www.photopills.com/calculators/timelapse)

If your camera doesn’t combine your JPGs or RAW files then you’ll need to look for a program to combine all the resulting files into a video clip that you can edit. There are several programs available to do this, some of which are listed below.

One of the most popular is LRTimelapse (https://lrtimelapse.com/). A few others are: GBTimelapseTime-Lapse Tool and Panolapse. There is many more and to find them just do a Google search.

Here’s a good article on how to shoot time-lapse using your iPhone or iPad. There’s many other apps for doing this with your smart device. Just search your phone’s app store. How to Take Amazing iPhone Time Lapse Videos (https://iphonephotographyschool.com/iphone-time-lapse/) To give my time-lapse the polished look complete with titles and transitions I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, the online version. It’s available for a subscription fee of $19.99 a month. There’s many other programs available to edit video however and most all do a good job

There is so much more to shooting time-lapse, but I hope this post will at least give you a good starting point and food for thought!

Here’s another time-lapse I did on replacing a switch at Mortons Gap, Ky.

May 2017 Update on High Iron Trips

Don Clayton

From Don Clayton…

Due to some conflicting schedules with the 611 excursions, we are revising our Kanawha River trip schedule. This update is shown in the attached. The BNSF trip has been removed for rescheduling.  Information on ticketing for the Piedmont & Northern trips will be available shortly.  Sorry for any confusion!


June 3-12, 2017:. KANAWHA RIVER RAILROAD BEHIND ex-NKP 765.  (Note: Kanawha River Railroad is a former NYC line, now operated by WATCO).

June 3: Deadhead to Pickerington, Ohio (near Columbus), load passengers, run to the village of Eclipse (near Athens) or as far as practical. Use Kanawha River Railroad unit to pull train back to Pickerington/Watkins Yard. Total is about 150 miles.

June 4: Deadhead to Pickerington, Ohio to load passengers, then run two short trips, Pickerington to Glouster and return, about 114 miles per trip. Use Kanawha River Railroad unit to pull train on all westbound moves.

June 5: Deadhead train to either Nitro or Dickinson Yard for storage during week.

June 9: Diesel trip, Charleston as far as we can go toward Enon, MP WV253 and return.  Total of about 140 miles.

June 10: Load passengers at the University of Charleston stadium in downtown Charleston and run to Maben. Bus passengers to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, deadhead train to Mullens/Elmore to wye. Deadhead move may be occupied. Total is about 170 miles.

June 11: Repeat of Saturday’s trip.

June 12: One way move from Charleston to Pickerington, Ohio, Then deadhead into

Watkins yard. Equipment will be 611 Steam Train consist plus Caritas and Cimarron

River. Pricing to be determined.

September 14-22, 2017: AAPRCO Convention in Burlington, VT

The Special Train will start in Albany/Renssalaer, NY on a route not yet finalized but

including major portions of the Vermont Rail System. The actual convention dates are

September 19-22. We will be participating with the Caritas and Cimarron River.

Clark Johnson Today, 9:07 AM

Positive Train Control Update

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a status update on railroads’ progress implementing positive train control (PTC) systems in the fourth quarter of 2016. The status update, based on railroad-submitted quarterly data, shows freight railroads continue to make consistent progress while passenger industry progress in installing and activating the life-saving technology only slightly increased.

The latest data, current as of Dec. 31, 2016, confirms freight railroads now have PTC active on just 16% of tracks required to be equipped with PTC systems — up from 12% last quarter. Passenger railroads made less progress — with a slight increase to 24% from 23%.

RELATED: Commuter rail continues to make progress on PTC

Due in large part to Amtrak’s significant progress on PTC, 41% of passenger railroads’ locomotives are now fully equipped with PTC technology, compared to 29% the previous quarter. Freight railroads’ percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology rose to 42%, up from 38%.

“We continue to closely monitor railroads’ progress implementing Positive Train Control,” said Patrick Warren, FRA Executive Director. “With less than two years remaining to complete the implementation process, it is imperative that railroads continue to meet implementation milestones.”

RELATED: NCTD files app to begin revenue service demo of PTC

Congress requires Class I railroads and entities providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to implement PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2018. Only if some key implementation and installation milestones are met may railroads be eligible to obtain a limited extension to complete certain non-hardware, operational aspects of PTC system implementation no later than Dec. 31, 2020, subject to the Secretary of Transportation’s approval.


April 2017 The Spill with President Ricky Bivins


This will be short. As I forgot to send Bill my article! In the midst of spring we are all busy. Please forgive me.    

The April business meeting should be short, all we should be doing is recapping current business as it stands. Keep in mind the National convention is just a few months away and in Nashville Tennessee. That’s very close and we should be able to have a few members present. I received an update from National membership status I’m pleased to say server members have rejoined on the national level.

Our next photo session is coming up the first full week of May. May 6 will be an outing in my hometown of Mortons Gap Kentucky. We will be trackside at the city park with the convenience stores and restrooms within 2 to 3 miles. Our Hopkinsville members will host a meeting next month in Hopkinsville at the former L&N depot which is trackside in downtown Hopkinsville. I am sure there is a lot I have it covered, if you have a business side of this mountain be sure and bring it up under new business Monday night. We will see you there!

Ricky Bivins, President