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ABOVE: Southern 154 leads five NS coaches over the Tennessee River in Knoxville during a Lexington Group charter. This was rare mileage for 154, maintained by the Gulf & Ohio Railways Steam Crew. PEYTON GUPTON RIGHT: Engineer Chris Starnes surveys the photo line as he backs former Washington & Lincolnton 2-8-0 203 into position for a run- by. In just a few minutes the engine will roar by in a rush of oil smoke, exhaust and steam for the adoring crowd of some 300 Lexington Group convention attendees. RON FLANARY


former NS and Southern branch line. Knoxville Locomotive Works KLW20B, a new low-emissions diesel project cur- rently being tested, was placed on the rear of the train to assist with grades toward Marbledale. Former Washing- ton & Lincolnton 2-8-0 No. 203 also op- erated for the Lexington Group on the same trackage from Coster to Mar- bledale with the Three Rivers Rambler excursion train consist about 20 min- utes ahead of the 154 consist. The G&O provided a photo runby of both trains near McWherter Park (Milepost 7). Up- on returning west from Marbledale the passengers detrained at Calhoun’s Restaurant for dinner and were later bused back to the Hilton. Norfolk Southern hosted the second “official” Lexington Group excursion on Saturday, November 12, operating from Knoxville, Tenn., to Asheville, N.C., along the former Southern main- line. The consist included the NS “exec- utive” A-B-B-A set of EMD F9’s and 14


28 FEBRUARY 2012 • RAILFAN.COM


matched business cars. The train de- parted NS’s John Sevier Yard at 7:15 a.m. on the NS Bristol Line. At “CP New Line,” the office car special divert- ed to the NS River Line for the east- bound trek to Asheville. Members of the Lexington Group en-


joyed the sights of rural eastern Ten- nessee and western North Carolina along the route from the luxury of Nor- folk Southern’s numerous refurbished passenger cars, including full-length dome Delaware and theatre car Buena Vista. Upon arrival at Asheville shortly


before noon, a lunch was held near the east end of the yard. The consist was wyed on the Biltmore Wye before re- turning to the yard for boarding. The four F’s and 14 coaches made a prompt 1:30 pm departure west from Asheville for the return trip to Knoxville, once again traversing the scenic NS River Line of the NS Central Division. Arriving in Knoxville shortly before


dusk, passengers unloaded at the site of the NS John Sevier Yard before deadheading to the NS Knoxville City Street Yard for storage. Upon arriving


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