Rare Passenger Train on the NS Mon Line

The "Coal Goes to War" special navigates the street running in West Brownsville, Pa. When the trip was announced it was supposed to have been pulled by E units painted in Pennsylvania Railroad markings.  But the motive power was changed to an Amtrak heritage unit.

The “Coal Goes to War” special navigates the street running in West Brownsville, Pa. When the trip was announced it was supposed to have been pulled by E units painted in Pennsylvania Railroad markings. But the motive power was changed to an Amtrak heritage unit.

I chased the Amtrak special down the Mon Valley Line in Pennsylvania on Sunday.  We started at the street running in West Brownsville and followed to Blacksburg, .W. Va. 

It seemed that every railfan in southwest Pennsylvania showed up to chase this train.  Seriously, you would have thought Nickel Plate Road No. 765 was in the lead not an Amtrak diesel even if it was a heritage.

I guess a special train is pretty rare down in these parts. NS last ran an OCS about five years ago and before that it was Conrail.  That makes this a very rare mileage trip. 

Anyhow, we followed the train to the end at Blacksburg although many locations I have no idea where we were.

We wanted a nice bridge shot something akin to what is found on the Virginian Railroad.  Unfortunately, although we found several such bridges all were treed in except one behind a high school and even that wasn’t perfect.

The chase continued on back roads. We followed some railfans who seemed to know which way to go. Otherwise we would have been completely lost. 

We then chased the special back to Waynesburg  at which point we gave up and headed home.  The light wasn’t good heading back north and we had had our fill.

 Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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