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Mon Oct 12 20:08:37 EDT 2015
Answering Mr. Sanders' question:
>>> Was (is) there separate EB & WB mains through Bluefield? If so, are they side-by-side in the photo? <<<
Well, Jeff, I can't answer about what was west of Mercer St (the O.H. Bridge at the very crest of the grade,) because I never worked on that side.
But between RD and Mercer St, yes there were both EB and WB Main Lines. And they were side-by-side, on the south side of the right-of-way.
I can remember getting 84 a couple times off the EB Main Line. The train apparently had no Clinch Valley filler to be added to the rear end those mornings, and the train was brought down the Main Line instead of through the yard (as was the usual move.) Matter of fact, the morning I brought home the seatbox off Y3 No. 2005 on the head end of No. 84, train was brought down the EB Main Line and the head end was stopped at East Bluefield Yard Office... I can remember loading it up on the engine right there.
I always wondered why they didn't bring the Hot Shot, No. 78, down the Main Line, instead of through the yard, because 78 only changed cabooses and never picked up. But every time I worked or saw 78, it was always handled "through the yard."
And at least once or twice, when coal was really running heavy and Bluefield was backed up, one track of our three-track double (for an eastbound coal train) was on the EB Main Line. In other words, they were using the main line for coal.
-- abram burnett
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