NA is simply a pair of signals along the east slope where trains appear onto the control board of Sand Patch Tower, at the summit. It is also the approach to the most popular area on the mountain, Mance PA. Nonstop curves and scenery are hallmarks of the grade from here west.
"Stealth" painted GE 7559 leads the eastbound autoparts / mixed freight Q396 past the "hammerhead" signals at 'NA' in September of 1992. It is at this point on the grade that westbounds start facing the toughest four miles of the entire Sand Patch grade. From here west, the grade varies from 1.5 percent to 1.98, compensated for the curves until reaching the summit tunnel. These interesting signals have since been replaced by the now ubiquitous "traffic light" style that has been adopted by so many railroads.
In its last years wearing the Chessie colors, SD40-2 number 8243 leads westbound R-135 into the final four miles of the grade in October of '91. At the time when this shot was taken, 135 usually had a cut of autoracks at the front end of the consist and the train was your best chance to get solid sets of Chessie geeps this late into the CSX years. To see an SD up front was unusual.
GO: < MAPWEST > Copyright 2001
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