My early morning on November 12th, 2017 was spent documenting Southern Railway #4501 as it departed Grand Junction, Tennessee, bound for Georgia. After the steam excursion left, I found myself in a quiet yard full of historic railroad equipment. I immediately set my sights on Tennessee Valley Railway Museum's fine collection of ex-Southern diesels, which includes SD40-2 #3170. This engine was restored to its Southern paint scheme by successor Norfolk Southern, and shortly was donated to TVRM after about a year of it running around the modern NS rail system. Rumor has it the engine needs a bit of mechanical work, but externally it is in gorgeous shape.
My stroll through the display yard was then interrupted by the arrival of TVRMs Missionary Ridge Local, the passenger service that hauls tourists 3 miles up the line to the East Chattanooga depot and Soule shop complex. I sprung the extra $20 for a cab ride, and was welcomed into another beautifully restored locomotive on the TVRM roster. Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railway GP38 #80 was recently purchased at auction from Norfolk Southern, and repainted into its original colors.
The engineer was a delight, and so were the sights and sounds from the cab as we rolled over multiple bridges and through the Missionary Ridge tunnel. I declined the option to leave the cab to join the tour group inside the Soule shops, which I slightly regret as I could have seen Southern E8 #6914 under restoration. However, I did get a shot of a couple more ex-NS engines, including Southern #5000, the first GP38-2 bought by the railroad.
After my cab ride, I spent a chunk of dollars in the gift shop, and aimed my camera at a few more interesting pieces of rolling stock in the yard. The crown jewel shot from the day was the upward-nose shot of Southern GP30 #2594. I had many books on railroads as a young child, and a similar picture of another Southern GP30 really captured my imagination back then, and perhaps helped spark the Southern as my favorite railroad. Admittedly, I had to climb a bit on the adjacent GP38-2 #5044 to get the right angle, but the results were worth it!
Once I had my shots, I reluctantly returned to my truck and set out for the 10 hour drive home. My Southern trip had been a considerable success, and as I drove out of the parking lot, I was already plotting my eventual return to this part of the country. There's plenty more railroading to see down here, and I brim with anticipation as I think about my next journey to Southern territory. Look ahead, look South!
Thanks for reading, please enjoy the pictures!