JANUARY 2018: Thanks to the cooperation of Southern Appalachian Railroad Museum and CSX Transportation, classic Clinchfield Railroad diesels made a triumphant return to lead the 75th annual Santa Train this past November. James Schlinger captures the world after dark on California’s snowy mountain passes, while John Leopard takes us on a tour of RJ Corman’s Cleveland Line, and Nikos Kavoori discovers a fleet of vintage GEs at work in West Tennessee. All this and more in the December issue of Railfan & Railroad!
For 75 years the Santa Train has been bringing cheer to the mountains of southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and northeast Tennessee. Started by the Clinchfield Railroad in 1943, the 75th annual run featured authentically restored Clinchfield Railroad diesels on the point.
It’s been a rough few years for fans of vintage General Electric locomotives. The southeastern U.S. was once home to several operators of GE Dash 7s and U-series diesels, but one by one they have fallen.
Operating as a daytime accommodation on a schedule opposite the Southern Crescent, the Piedmont became famous in its later days for carrying intermodal piggyback cars behind the coaches making it a paradox of sleek streamliner and peddler mixed freight.
During Conrail’s first year, anything that was capable of moving was pressed into duty, including the sole survivor of the Ironton fleet. Emerging from the Eddystone plant in July 1949, No. 751 served faithfully for 27 years before it joined the Conrail roster.