At Milepost 208 the horse shoe curve at Mance has the tracks running due east, allowing morning, nose-lit shots of westbounds. MP 208 also is home to a compound S-curve and the start of the steep 1.94% final miles of Sand Patch's east slope.
ABOVE: C-30-7 7029 leads Q-137 into the nonstop twisting curves that cling to the side of Wills Creek valley for the next mile up to Manila.
ABOVE: The eastbound Capitol Limited, leans into the downgrade as it approaches the Mance grade crossing. Amtrak's P-030 is the full service run from Chicago to Washington that can be seen eastbound in the morning on the grade.
RIGHT: A brief glint of sun broke through the January gloom just as Q-217 autoracks train roared into view....
RIGHT: After the head end cranked past I ran 100 yards around the curve to catch the tail helper as it shoves into the multiple curves west of Mance.
LEFT: On a much warmer day, an eastbound autoparts drag eases down the twisting 1.94% grade, as it approaches Mance. Note the heat waves jetting out from the dynamic brake grid radiators just behind the cab. This train is running on a 3 mile stretch of track with concrete ties. The concrete ties were laid on the eastbound main as a test. The test must be working as these ties have been in service here for over a decade, yet no other installations have been made by CSX on these mountains.
Copyright 2001
Iron Horse America