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  • Topic: A Morning on the WV&K........

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    • February 25, 2008 7:49 PM EST
      • Who Ya Gonna Call?, Ft Gay, WV
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      The sun is just a dim glow above the ridgeline when the the first crew comes on duty, the hostler has a pot of coffee waiting as they sign the register and take over their charge from the round house. Today they have drawn No 102, an outside frame 2-8-0 purchased second hand from a dying road out West, a real oddity in eastern Narrow gauge, but she can sure walk away with anything in the yard. Ol No3 their usual 0-6-0 teakettle (currently getting a boiler washout and inspection) gets the job done, but she's nowhere as slick or good looking. The Engineer oils round as the fireman tends the fire, getting the team up to working pressures, the conductor and brakeman will be here soon with the marching orders for the day.

      The sun is just breaking into the mist filled mountain valley that holds the mining hamlet of Anniebird, home to the Western Consolidted Mine No8, and the West Virginia & Kentucky Tug Fork Division Engine Terminal. 102's throttle is cracked and she glides like a ghost through the misty morning, down the engine house leads to the yard throat. Pulling the loads from the tipple is the first order of the day, easy does it with this big engine, she's a lot wider and a lot heavier than the usual switcher, she can easily put herself on the ground if the hogger ain't careful. 102 ties onto the string of black diamonds and slowly eases them out of the mine tracks the next hour or so is spent changing loads fer empties. The string of hoppers that have been waiting since the last train yesterday brought 'em up the valley disappears under the tipple, as loads of WV's best take their place on the outbound tracks.

      Over at the Roundhouse, the road crew is pulling their steed across the turntable. Shes not big as Mallets go but as a 2-6-6-2 she one of the largest locomotives on the narra' gauge. They pause to top off the tender, then ease down the cabin track and pick up the almost freshly painted red caboose. Theres an empty boxcar spotted ahead, the brakeman throws the switch and lets the mallet tap into its coupler, then backs itself on over to the mainline, pushing the boxcar and trailing the cabin from its pilot. A whistle signal and a wave from 102 tells 'em everything is clear, the Mallet eases out on to the main, and tacks the Cabin onto the end of the string of loaded hoppers. then in a carefully orchestrated ballet, runs around the train to the head in and back down onto it. The Conductor walks the train as the air pressure builds, and after a brake test, its time to get out of town. The Mallet gets her feet with a liberal application from the front sanders and puts her shoulder into the load. The string of hoppers clank, rattle, roll, and squeal as the Mallet chuffs out in an even rhythm, soft music to railroad men everywhere. The red caboose rolls around the curve and out of sight as the train picks up speed. She'll soon dive into a tunnel through the ridgline and then coast down to the standard gauge interchange in the valley far below. Just another day on the West Virginia & Kentucky Narrow Gauge......
    • February 27, 2008 7:00 PM EST

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      Very nice Bart! Exceptionally descriptive. Now all it needs is to be illustrated with photos. :)
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