Above: A CSX freight eases into Cumberland, MD. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Southern Summer Fun 2007
MPRR Club Trip Archive

Southern Summer Fun 2007 Photo Gallery

Above: Outside the O. Winston Link Museum. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: Western Maryland Scenic's No. 734 gets ready to take a spin on the turntable in Frostburg, MD. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Above: A Norfolk Souther trailer train slows for a signal at Cresson, PA. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: A time lapse photo of a Norfolk Southern freight heading through the signals in Cove, PA. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Article By: Jim Spavins

Roanoke, VA – A change of flavor was in order for this year’s club trip. This year’s trip sent us south to Roanoke, VA, and Cumberland, MD, to see the various museums and railfan opportunities. Our trip began on Wednesday July 11, 2007 early in the morning with the group meeting in Connecticut and caravanning down to Roanoke, VA. On the way down, the group made a lunch stop in Enola, PA, and went over to Rockville Bridge for about an hour or so. We were able to see two trains before continuing our trek south. After 12 hours and 600 miles, the weary group arrived in Roanoke. Since it was almost dark out, the group only had a little time to scout various railfan locations before calling it an evening.

The second day started with a trip to the O. Winston Link museum located in the former Roanoke train station. This impressive museum houses the work of the greatest railroad photographer of the 20th century in O. Winston Link. Link captured the final days of steam on the Norfolk and Western and the photographs are nothing short of spectacular. The clubs members were amazed at what they saw. After a brief stop for lunch, the next stop was the Virginia Museum of Transportation located just down the street from the O. Winston Link museum.

The museum houses many pieces of railroad equipment including some of the Norfolk and Western steam engines that link had taken photographs of in the late 1950s. These included a fully restored No. 611 Class J 4-8-4 and Class A No. 1218. These steam engines were very impressive but just sitting static didn’t quite capture the whole flavor of steam. We would get to see that at our next stop in Cumberland, MD. Once we were finished in the museum, it was time to try and find some places to railfan in Roanoke. It turned out that there was a lot of railroad activity there but no way to easily railfan it. We decided to pack up and head north to Cumberland.

We arrived in the early evening in Cumberland and since most of us wanted to go railfanning and having been inspired by O. Winston Link’s night photographs, we decided to head out along the line and try our hand at some time-elapsed night photographs. A small group headed out trackside to a couple of different grade crossings to capture the activity on our digital cameras. We were able to catch a couple of trains before calling it an evening.

Friday morning began trackside along the CSX line west of the yard in Cumberland. Traffic was fairly light as we only caught two trains before the main activity for the day began. Cumberland is home to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, one of the few tourist railroads in the country that still operates steam locomotives. About half of the group decided to ride the train the other half of the group decided to chase the train. Both groups were in for a treat. The round trip was about 3 and a half hour from Cumberland to Frostburg and back.

The group chasing the train was able to get photographs at many locations along the line including the famous Helmstetter’s Curve while the group on board the train was able to see some of the spectacular mountain scenery in western Maryland. After the excursion was over, the group packed up and headed to Altoona, PA. Arriving in Altoona we went to our usual stomping grounds at the Altoona train station. The light was great and the traffic was rolling. We were able to see a number of trains at this location before it started to get dark. Once the light was gone, we headed to Ruby Tuesday’s for our annual club trip dinner and then called it a night.

Day four started at the same place day three ended the Altoona train station. The day started at a more leisurely pace as the group was looking forward to heading up to Horseshoe Curve. The park at Horseshoe Curve opened at 10 am so we headed up but we discovered when we arrived there was no power on the rail line at this interlocking so no traffic was moving through. We decided to head to Cresson, PA, and see if any trains were sitting there waiting to leave. Once we arrived, we were greeted by a parade of trains that kept rolling through as apparently the power issue had been resolved at Horseshow Curve.

We decided to stay at Cresson for a few hours before packing up and heading to Enola, PA. When we arrived we headed straight for Rockville Bridge. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing at the bridge until the sun went down. A small group decided to head out for some more night time railfanning at Cove, PA. The flood gates opened up when we arrived and in a two hour period, 10 trains rolled by. The group was able to get plenty of practice with their night photography skills.

The final day of the trip, the group went to the former Reading Bridge in downtown Harrisburg, PA. Here we took our group photo but didn’t see any trains. The group went back to Rockville Bridge and the bridge over the end of Enola yard for the rest of the morning. Traffic was busy and we caught four more trains before finally deciding to call it a day. After the final meal together at the local Dairy Queen, the group packed up the cars and headed back to Connecticut. This was another successful trip and plans are in the works for Club Trip 2008. If you want to come, make your reservations now!

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