Abandoned Rails

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Ballast Extra on the Bluestone Branch - 1985


             Photos by Doug Wonders


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. 


                    Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image with caption. 






Copyright 2002- | Jeff Hawkins

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