Saturday, April 26, 2014

The KRM trip to the coal fields of Kentucky

4-6-2 L&N Pacific 152 near Hagan's Switchback

In October 1986, the Kentucky Railway Museum ran a multi-day excursion using their 4-6-2 Pacific ex-L&N 152 to the coal fields of Kentucky. To assist they brought along their ex-Monon BL2  32.

BL2 Monon 32 provided assistance

I met Rick and Phil Moser in Louisville on October 8, 1986 and the next morning we boarded the train for the first day of the trip. Rick and I were riding in the first class observation car. Phil was riding with some other friends in the coach portion of the train. On the first day the train traveled from Louisville (actually the KRMs old facility in the area) to Winchester and then down to Corbin (home of Col. Sanders of KFC fame.) We spent the night in an old, old motel near downtown Corbin.

The observation car we spent five days in

The second day was a relatively short day as we only traveled from Corbin to Harlan, KY (site of today's FX series Justified.) At Harlan we checked into a motel on the south side of town distinguished by the bulletproof glass that separated the motel check-in counter from the driveway. Rick had arranged with a local auto dealer to rent a car for part of the two-day stay in Harlan and we drove down to the famous Hagans switchback where we spent time taking pictures of some trains in the area.

At Hagans Switchback

The third day of the trip was a roundtrip from Harlan to Appalachia, VA with a lunch in Appalachia.

The fourth day found us heading back to Corbin where we spent another night in the same motel as last time. It was Phil's birthday and we eschewed the KFC shrine and instead took a cab to a nearby Cracker Barrel and treated him to dinner.

The fifth and final day the train went from Corbin down to Jellico, TN where it was wyed and then back to Louisville via the now gone Lebanon branch.

It was a terrific five days behind steam.

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