Hitop Mine turn….

Since it’s been awhile since we’ve chased the turn to Hitop, I thought we’d do that here recently. We started out early over in Dickinson yard where we caught GP9 7394 warming up while the conductor was over in the yard office getting his paperwork:

We were lucky to catch today’s yard job behind 7394 with leased PNC GP10 3403. Next we snapped 7394 as he was doubling up his train of hoppers headed for the mine at Hitop:

We stayed in the yard until the turn left headed westbound for the Hitop Secondary which starts at Spring Street, also snapping a photo of today’s caboose:

We then hightailed it up the Spring Street to catch his arrival there:

As the secondary above the mine trackage is on a grade, inbound mine turns cannot bring their empties in and park them on the steep grade while pulling out their loads from the mine, so the inbound turn drops their cars in Spring Street yard, then backs up the secondary caboose first to pull loads out of the mine. This practice is carried out on many, many other lines in the Appalachians. Photos below of 7394 spotting its inbound train in the yard, then backing up to the mine at Hitop:

At the mine, we caught 7394 coupling onto its loads, then pulling each track. Today, all three tracks had loads ready to go:

We then followed the turn back down the secondary to Spring Street yard:

In the top right photo, I climbed up the hill overlooking one of the tunnels on the secondary to get this shot! Coming into Spring Street, the out bound loads are parked on the main, while the power pulls out the inbound cars, then shoves these back up the secondary into the mine tracks. Photos below include two outbound cars, one, a brand new PC car, and the other a P&LE car:

As we were already down out of the hills, we didn’t run back up to Hitop to catch the inbound loads being spotted. We finally waited until the turn was done running around the outbound loads in Spring Street for its trip back to Dickinson yard, then hightailed it back to Dickinson to catch the turn coming back into the yard. As a side note, the outbound loads are all weighed at the bottom of the secondary at Spring Street yard. Photo below of the turn back at Dickinson:

Another great day of following trains on the Hitop Secondary!……

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