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The American




As many of you probably saw, I took a 8:00 am steam excursion train from Manassas to Front Royal, Virginia and back. Although scheduled to be a 4 hour trip, it turned in a 5 hour one :P

I did take dashcamera footage on the way down and up, but after reviewing it, I found that camera focused on my actual dash and safety inspection sticker rather than the road. The camera was also pointed mostly down at the hood due to the way my dash is shaped and my practicality of mounting it based on about 10 minutes of prep. I didn't talk much, so you're not really missing much, aside from the first half of my return trip where I saw amusing bumper stickers, assholes, typical Northern Virginian behavior, and having to get out of the way of a firetruck at a crowded intersection.

I wasn't able to get a picture of my first glisp of 611 as she strolled past the depot and parking garage where me and the rest of her passengers were waiting. However I did get a couple shots of the car I booked.

NS26, New York:

What makes this car special is that it was the only car in the consist owned by Norfolk Southern of a corrugated style (basically the sides weren't smooth). In today's train it was the 7th car in the consist, and from front to back, the first car of "standard class". To me is was serving as a Deluxe Coach, which I thought it did beautifully as. It was originally a sleeper car for the New York Central. It was rebuilt when the Penn Central was formed between the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad. They basically gutted the car and installed normal seats. The car ended up in Conrail hands when the government stepped into to salvage the Penn Central (which was bankrupt just a few years after it's birth). Conrail converted it to a Business Car, basically a car to entertain the owners of companies the railroads served.

They were comfortable seats and the whole car felt vintage, despite the LCD screens hung in the car. The car did have a gentle side to side sway to it that would've probably put me to sleep if I had laid down on it. Or kept leaning against the window. I wasn't able to get a seat in the facing direction, but I did the pleasure of sitting with whom I believe to be an actual railroader based on a couple of context clues in our conversations. And you can see part of his reflection in many of the videos and pictures I took. We were situated at the middle of the car, if you happen to try looking for me.

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The scenery through out the trip was mostly woodlands and farmlands.

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As 611 approached a crossing with Virginia Route 17, we passed what is known as a detector. What it does it that it looks for defects in the train, mainly in an overheating bearing, or something dragging along the tracks. My friend had a scanner and it was turned up enough that the whole car heard it crackle to life with a report from a dragging equipment detector of a Critical Defect on Axle 20. This is the tool car for the locomotive. The whole car went quiet very fast.

611 came a fairly quick stop, with my car coming to rest on top of the crossing. While the crew inspected the train, I took pictures of the all the lucky railfans that had chosen that spot to film. And the disgruntled traffic. :P  

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The defect was found to be an air hose and was quickly corrected and 611 set off on her way again. But she was about to start climbing a grade and while she hit the grade going at least 30 mph, she nearly stalled out on the climb due to the wet rails. I was unaware of this at the time as I was purchasing some memorabilia (including a bumper sticker I plan on putting in a window). I had noticed the train was slowing and bucking considerably to the point where it was difficult to remain standing in the crowded concessions car without bumping into someone. The bucking being from the locomotive slipping, then jerking the whole train when her drivers regain traction.

611 did make it up the grade and to the wye in Front Royal where the train would be turned to return to Manassas. The next shots are of the wye itself, and a couple of shots of the beautiful locomotive herself, and of the Shenandoah River. The locomotive is reversing in most of these shots.

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The return back was uneventful, though the train appeared to being a bit more than the line speed of 40 mph.

However upon arriving in Manassas, the 611 and her train had to wait for Amtrak Train #16 to perform it's scheduled stop at 12:00 pm. We waited, and waited for Amtrak, who showed up I think like 15 minutes late. And then someone promptly had a medical emergency on the Amtrak train, causing further delays while EMS dealt with the causalty.

Once Amtrak got out of the way, 611 reversed into the station and I disembarked, but instead of hopping in Ayumi and going home, I decided to wait for the afternoon departure, which was scheduled to pretty much begin at the time I got off. I initally hung out around the station, taking pictures from a distance. Then I decided to go closer because the railroad police were permitting people to take pictures of the locomotive a good bit from the station on the side of the tracks. I followed and watched the crew prepare the locomotive for her second run.

Then:
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The American :: Comments

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Post on 10th June 2016, 6:09 pm by Cap'n Jack

I'm jealous of people who have hills where they live.

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Post on 10th June 2016, 11:22 pm by Truthseeker4449

*feels somewhat bad now, living near the foot of the Appalachian Mountains*

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