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Into the heart of a Blizzard on the CNO&TP in KY

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  • jetboater
    Neat pics as always, she looks a little cold!

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  • EM Bell
    started a topic Into the heart of a Blizzard on the CNO&TP in KY

    Into the heart of a Blizzard on the CNO&TP in KY

    A few days ago, I shared a few pictures taken on January 21st during Central Kentucky's first good snow of the year. That first round was just a teaser of what was to come just Three days later, and by the looks of it, set the pace for the rest of the winter. Last night, we got another 7 inches or so, and there is more ice and snow on the way later this week.

    The weather folks had been saying that Saturday Jan 25th was going to be a bad one, and they got it right. Carmon and I were already making plans to get out in it. We woke up early and the storm was in full force, with several inches of snow already on the ground and some bad wind. Shortly after sunup, we packed up, put the Explorer in 4x4 and headed out.

    By the time we got out to the main road it was snowing so hard it that it was all I could do to see. The trip South to Danville (KY) and the wye took well over an hour (normally a 25 min trip at most) and I dont think we ever saw the pavement the whole way. We spent the rest of the day fighting the bad roads, busting through the drifting snow and trying to stay alive while getting a few shots...and accomplished all of those goals thankfully! NS was running a bit slower than normal due to the weather, but we shot a bunch of stuff including the CNJ 1071 with a little sunlight late in the day. Folks around here dont seem to care much for all of the winter stuff, but for a snow lover like me, its nirvana!

    You can everything I shot that day by going to this link, then choosing the 1st and 2nd District galleries 2014 Rail Photography Photo Gallery by E.M. & Carmon Bell at

    This is pretty much what we had in the way of road condition's. A nice layer of ice covered by snow, and in places drifts of 2 or 3 feet as the wind did its thing. This is Faulkner Road near Danville, on the way back to North Wye and SJ. Tower.

    The First train of the day was Northbound 282 with a UP GEVO on the point, seen here blasting through the snow at CP North Wye, near Danville KY

    Northbound 29W rattles across the ghost of the L&N and under the signals at Junction City, KY I have often said that I would like to have seen all of the things that have passed under (and between) the iconic model SC searchlight signals here. They have remained steadfast for close to 6 decades protecting the CNO&TP (and the L&N which once crossed at grade here) through summer heat, winter storms and countless changes in motive power and ownership. Now, the time has come for those icons to be the next thing to change, and this could well be the last snow they will see. The scene has already been ruined by all that shiny aluminum towering above...

    By late morning, the storm had started to die down, and the sun popped out for awhile. We would fight the clouds the rest of the day (and the wind) as we bounced around the area. Sun does not mean the roads got better, and it was still nasty in a lot of places.

    "Against the Grain" The rule book of perfect railroad photography strongly advises not to aim your camera towards the sun...back-lighting is bad they say. Northbound NS 276 has the rubber band wound up tight as they accelerate away from the yard at Danville KY, seen here passing under the searchlight signals at SJ Tower kicking up the snow as the train comes straight out of the sun..

    Train 289 (on the left) sits at North Wye waiting to go West with a rebuilt SD40-2 leading as Southbound 229 rushes by on #1 track. A SD40-2 with the "Admiral Cab" and a catfish...who knew railroading could be so nautical??

    My wife Carmon with one of the huge drifts we encountered. It was hard to tell just how much snow that storm dropped, as the wind tended to strip it off the flat land, and pile it up in cuts and shallow areas. Kentucky is no stranger to snow, but drifts like this are almost unheard of around here!

    Late in the afternoon, another round of snow showed up, and created some awesome lighting condition's. In this view, Northbound TripleCrown 264 sprints through downtown Burgin KY under a blanket of dark clouds that was dumping even more snow just to our South.

    One of the last shots of the day would be something we had waited on and watched out for all afternoon. Thanks to our network of friends up North, we knew that the CNJ 1071 was out of Cincinnati leading a grain train South. After making a good trip across the 1st District, he would get held up around High Bridge for a couple of Northbounds. The sun was just minutes from being gone by the time the train came dragging up the hill out of the KY river valley at Burgin, KY