Thursday, June 12, 2014

Streamliners at Spencer

There was an extraordinary gathering of 26 operable, classic diesel streamliners at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer at the end of May.  The Rivanna Chapter did not attempt to organize a group trip to this four-day event, but four members made the trek on their own.

Although the N&W J 611 is coal fired, it also made a grand appearance at Spencer on the morning of May 30.  Wick Moorman, the chairman and CEO of Norfolk Southern, loosened a nut on the 611's power train as the ceremonial beginning of its two-year rebuild process.  The Chapter recently contributed 2 x $611 for that effort.

Below are a few amateur photos taken by Ross Thomas of some of the locomotives at Spencer.  The internet is loaded with thousands of better ones!  The Museum's website has a sampling of the activity at Spencer:

Visit to the High Bridge

On May 24, members and friends of the NRHS Rivanna Chapter visited the High Bridge Trail State Park near Farmville.  The Park encompasses the remnants of the historic High Bridge, built in 1854 to cross the Appomattox River and connect Petersburg and Lynchburg. The bridge is 2,400 feet long and ranges from 60 to 125 feet high. It was originally made of wood, standing on 21 brick piers and included a pedestrian walkway next to the tracks and a nearby wagon bridge. During the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces attempted to destroy the bridge to their advantage. Today a newer bridge, adjacent to the remains of the original, is a rail trail converted from a line last belonging to Norfolk Southern and having originated as a portion of the South Side Railroad.

Bob Flippen, an educational specialist with the Park, provided an excellent narrative and tour for our group.  Bob explained the construction of the bridges, the strategic role they played in the War, and the fortifications at both ends of the Bridge. 

After the walking and biking tour many of the participants enjoyed lunch together at Charley’s Water Front CafĂ© in Farmville.  The photos below capture the highlights of the day.

Denis Mason checks out the former N&W depot
in Farmville on the way to the High Bridge
Ann Harrod photo
Approach to the bridge with crushed
 stone on top of the old railroad bed
Doug Bush photo
Bob Flippen describes the construction
of the bridge at a shady overlook 
Ben Farmer photo
Above: the new bridge is on the right and the
 remains of the old bridge are on the left. 
Below: one of the old brick piers is shown with
 angle iron and bands, added later for stabilization.
Carl Bauske photos

The Rivanna Chapter group pauses at the
mid-point on the bridge on a glorious sunny day
Doug Bush photo
The Chapter and Ross Thomas thank Bob Flippen
 for an excellent tour and present a print of PRR 477768
(neither the Seaboard nor the PRR ran over the High Bridge!)
Ann Harrod photo
Members and friends cool off at Charley's in Farmville
Ed de Bary photo
For more information on the High Bridge and the Park, visit the sites below: