"2839 A Royal Farewell-Part 1" Features the first weekend of operations from Alexandria to Atlanta over some 600 miles of Southern Railway mainline trackage. We see everything from the engine stalling on grades, and operation of the booster to get started, plus some fast running with this 8 coach train. The engine looks superb still in Canadian Pacific Livery, as it heads toward Birmingham where it will be "Southernized" slightly for the next two years under the lease. We have great coverage of the first two days, including some nice pacing scenes on day 2 west of Salisbury. In May of 1979 we enjoy trips from Cincinnati to Danville on the Southern's northern end of the railroad. An FP7 is behind the Hudson to assist on this trip which we chase. Included is a trackside view of High Bridge, and other good scenes along this good trackage. After these trips we see a one-way deadhead move from Cincinnati that is headed to Louisville. This is Memorial Day weekend and a cold day brings clear skies and great steam effects, and no diesel helper for this trip that made several passenger stops. The great sound of 2839's exhaust, and mellow Southern PS4 whistle make this engine one of our favorite excursion engines. All footage was originally Super 8 Sound, and has been professionally transferred for the best possible quality. This engine ran in 1980 and is now stuffed and mounted at a car museum in Sylmar, California.
The Second video (Part 2) continues the 1979 season and 1980 trips for this lovely former Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 on Southern Railway excursions. First is a rare mileage " Independence Limited" operated by the Roanoke Chapter NRHS. This trip originated in Lexington, Kentucky, and traveled the Chesapeake and Ohio to Ashland, Ky, a line that is long since been torn out. There is no diesel for this as we cover 3 of the 4 days of this special. Day 2 finds the train running from Ashland down the Big Sandy Subdivision of the C&O to Elkhorn City, where the old Clinchfield Railroad begins. We then see some shots on the Clinchfield as it travels through portions of Virginia, and Tennessee. Day 3 begins south of Johnson City, and we follow it as far as Newport, Tennessee. There is a great variety of scenes here and unusual trackage for this engine to cover. Next we head back to Lexington in June of 1980 for two days of trips. The first day is unusual in that the engine makes two runs to Danville in one day. We ride the first one in the morning, and get some views off the train crossing High Bridge, and the nice stack talk as it climbs out of the Kentucky River Valley toward Burgin. In the afternoon, we make some nice trackside shots as 2839 again runs from Lexington to Danville. On the following day, 2839 makes a roundtrip from Lexington further south to Oneida, Tennessee into portions of the "Rat Hole". This trip had a Southern Diesel behind the 2839 due to the longer train and more grades necessitating more power.
We catch a few nice scenes including upgrade at Kings Mountain, and some fast running a couple of times. There was a "Farewell to 2839" two-day excursion operated from Atlanta to Alexandra retracing its original run in reverse from March of 1979. This last weekend was November 29-30 of 1980 and it was clear and cold that late in the fall season. A 12 coach train without diesel was a sight to see and hear as 2839 put on a great show with several start-ups, and scenic locations along this Southern Mainline. The engine never operated on mainline excursions after this weekend, and only operated once more on a tourist operation before being sold several years later to the museum where it resides today. This was perhaps the fastest, pure passenger engine operated by Southern during its years of steam excursions. You will love the sights and great stack talk of this engine for years to come.