Posted by Doug Midkiff on April 3, 2003 
What see are two remarkable pictures, unstaged photos of a CSX southbound coal train on the upper level former Clinchfield RR Copper Creek Trestle, near Clinchport VA, and another CSX southbound coal train crossing the lower level NS (former Southern Ry Appalachia Div) trestle across Copper Creek. Railfans always hope to frame trains on each bridge at the same time. Because of the trackage rights described below, the photographer, a young student, happened to catch two CSX southbound trains. It would have been an even greater picture if he had gotten a photo of an NS train on the CSX bridge and a CSX train on the NS bridge on the lower level, which frequently happens when no photographers are present The photos also illustrate the "sea change" in railroad attitudes, with two competing Class 1s (CSX and NS) finally agreeing that it was in the best interest of each to grant each other trackage rights where it would best serve their respective purposes. The NS now has trackage rights to haul coal trains over CSX's former Clinchfield tracks between St Paul VA and Frisco Junction, TN, just north of Kingsport, where trains return to the NS (Southern tracks); and the CSX has trackage rights over the NS' former Southern tracks from the CSX (former L&N) connection at Big Stone Gap, VA to Frisco Junction, where the trains return to the CSX-Clinchfield tracks. Contrary to old days, when competing railroads seldom if ever gave a competitor an advantage, CSX and NS got together several years ago and gave each other trackage rights that were so obviously an advantage to both lines. Doug Midkiff
Posted by Bob Smith on March 31, 2004 
Chris, It made an awesome photo on front cover of May 2004 Railfan & Railroad. Congrats!!!
Posted by trainteen on February 28, 2005 
Superb Shot, I have to go there someday.
Posted by Kyle Pohll on May 5, 2005 
Great catch and Timeing.
Posted by mc5725 on June 7, 2005 
Love those AC4400CWs!
Posted by Patrick B Collins on August 21, 2006 
This photo should be #1
Posted by Lance Parker on April 4, 2007 
Sure hope the tracks on that upper level are well maintained! Sure get ugly if a train derails from that height!
Posted by Joel Maye on May 27, 2007 
Even if it was staged it was a good photo. Why would staging be a bad thing? How spooky is it running on that top viaduct looking down...?
Posted by D.C. Lewis Locomotive Engineer on May 30, 2007 
This is a really a great photo, I have run this run a lot of times and only a coulple of times was there enough light and i have tried to make a photo from the cab of the locomotive but it wasn't any where as good as this one. Good Job! I run trains from Loyall, Ky to Erwin ,Tenn. Usually around 13400 tons and as one of your other comments said, I love those big AC locomotives. I have run the track from Erwin to Shelby and the bridge always seemed a lot higher from on top than looking up from the bottom. By the way the v322 was loaded at a unit load out called Sarah, on Pucketts Branch up off the main line at Blackmont,KY.
Posted by Trainlover1 on June 1, 2007 
nice shot chris
Posted by Ky.CatFan on May 27, 2009 
Back in the days of the Clinchfield railfan trips, the Bluegrass Railroad Club out of Lexington, Kentucky would run one round trip Elkhorn City, Ky to Spartonsburg Sc. and return per year. I remember that southbound the Clinchfield exits a long tunnel and goes right out onto Copper Creek Bridge. The on train announcer stated that the Clinchfield had a south bound coal train derail on the bridge, with one coal hopper going over the side. He referred to this as Bombing the Interstate Railroad (Southern Railway owned), and that was precisely what it looked like from the bridge. The coal hopper had hit the ground near enough to the Interstate's tracks north of their bridge, that the coal from that hopper car had covered both rails of the lower rail line. The black coal smudge remained there for several years. But all of this fun ground to a halt a few years later when the folks from Jacksonville, Florida took control of the wonderful Clinchfield. As one might guess one of their first acts was to cancel our Clubs Annual Clinchfield Trip, which was of course already sold out. This caused our club a lot of work as we often had riders from many states and several other countries that had to get their money back, etc.
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