Need Photo location info for 611's Pelican afternoon run May 8th?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon May 2 15:53:44 EDT 2016

On Mon, May 2, 2016 at 2:18 PM, Ray R. wrote:

I need some info! I am riding the morning 611 train on the 8th. I would
> like to find a couple of great photo locations for the afternoon run! I
> would like to catch it a couple of time going and coming!  This is the trip
> plan for the train. Unfortunately I do not know the area very well at all
> so I do not know where any of this is I tried looking at mapquest and
> Google Earth  but without knowing what I am looking for it was a bust!

Start here:

Your best best in the afternoon is to get out of town fast -- get west of
Salem to get out of traffic, red lights, and slow going. Depending on
traffic, you might be able to chase the train along the river from Wabun,
but there are some narrow roads that could be clogged with other chasers.
Singer may be a popular spot, easy to get to (but could be crowded). Scout
a little further east for some possible locations before you get to the VGN
bridge at Wabun (access to that is questionable, believe landowner has easy
access posted for "No Trespassing"). There is a good chance to pace the
train as it runs along U.S. 11/460 west of Singer to where it crosses the
Roanoke River at the old Green Hill sausage plant. From there, it is easy
access into Elliston (again, crowds). Between there and Shawsville, slim
pickings. The grade crossing behind Shawsville Middle School (see John Farm
Rd. in the tour) and the grade crossing at the former Shawsville station
site just to the west are good places to catch the train working the grade.
Arthur crossovers (via Sparrow Rd. just beyond Shawsville) is a
possibility, although getting in and out quickly could be a problem.
Friendship Rd. (Arthur road crossing) used to be a good place to duck in,
but there isn't much room there to maneuver in and out right at the grade
crossing. Montgomery Tunnel is a toss-up, if you haven't driven into that
location to scout it, discovering the unseen sharp left turn just over the
crest of a hill isn't fun. There will probably be a crowd; don't get close
to the houses there (posted "No Trespassing"), since it has been reported
by some who got too close that the residents WILL call the sheriff's
office. Christiansburg station is the next available spot if chasing, a
dash from Montgomery to there might beat the train, depending on traffic
and how well the train is running. On the other side of the grade down to
Walton, there are a few possible locations, but it takes some work to get
back to them from U.S. 11 or VA 114 (Chrisman Mill Rd., Crab Creek Rd.).
Vicker is a nice location with the former coaling tower, but there could be
a crowd. Walton proper is a bit removed from railroad Walton and the wye,
and shots will be from ground level or below trackside.

Good luck with the chase. It is a scenic trip and those running the engine
seem to give passengers (and chasers) a treat by working the engine up the
grade (as opposed to letting the diesels to a lot of the work).

Bruce in Blacksburg
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