This series of photos
illustrates the passage of a westbound
ballast extra that operated over the
Bluestone Branch on Sunday, October 13,
1985. The move was powered by a
trio of ex-N&W SD45's including the
1780, 1803, and an unidentified, third
unit. As Doug was photographing
the train, an eastbound coal drag passed
overhead on the mainline powered by a
C39-8 and C36-7. The first only 3
months old while the latter had only
been on the road just over a year.
According to photographer
Doug Wonders, the train ran all the way
through to Matoaka where it then
utilized the connection track and
continued west on the
Princeton-Deepwater District (ex-VGN).
Unfortunately not long
after Doug shot these photos at Coopers,
the train was involved in a horrific
accident near Bramwell when a church bus
collided with the train. An NTSB
report indicates the bus driver failed
to heed warning signs and stop in time
for the grade crossing which was located
at the bottom of a steep grade.
Appreciation is extended to Mr.
Wonders for allowing
me to share his unique images and a
piece of Bluestone Branch history.