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ABOVE: NS C40-9W No. 9242 rolls above Shawsville as it crosses Basham Hollow Road with westbound coal empties on November 21, 2010. LEFT: This part of the former Norfolk & West- ern is still loaded with position lights such as this one at the crossovers at Arthur east of Ellis- ton. OPPOSITE: NS C40-9W No. 8929 rolls by the rock facing at Friendship Road between Shawsville and Montgomery Tunnel. The train is rolling west on the south track.


Arthur. Drive carefully up this road (it’s a glorified driveway and there are children around). There is a good shot where the road meets the tracks of a train rounding the curve, or continue on Sparrow Road along the tracks to the grade crossing. Numerous position light signals make this a place worth exploring for angles. The next good location is Friendship


Road, a quick right turn up to the tracks from U.S. 460. A nice rock face is present here. If the train is on the south track, you’ll find a telephoto of the train rounding the curve works quite well. A normal lens is good if the train is on the north track. The signature shot of the east slope is Montgomery Tunnel. A right turn on Den Hill Road (S.R. 641) will wind you through the hills for a mile or so before you pop out right at the west portals of the two-bore tunnel. There is plenty of


room to park and shoot from the street. Position lights add to the scene here. (Note that if you want the Friendship Road shot and Montgomery Tunnel, you’ll need to hustle from the former to the latter). Chase over? Not if you want to get greedy. You can still get one more shot of a westbound if you don’t dally and you have a bit of luck. From Mont- gomery Tunnel retrace your steps on Den Hill Road back to U.S. 460 and head west. Follow the highway past the entrances to I-81 and stay on the busi- ness route at the next major set of ramps. This is Roanoke Street in Chris- tiansburg and you’ll want to make a right on S.R. 111. This is Depot Street NE and leads right to the railroad. A nice wood frame depot sits at the next grade crossing, but angles are tight with traffic. A better shot is a telephoto from the parking lot at the east end of


the depot, where you can capture a sec- ond depot and position signals. Note that the eastern depot and signals sit in an NS maintenance base. A word about safety — while you are


busy shooting noisy westbounds fight- ing uphill, remember that very quiet eastbounds can sneak up on you on the double track line. Also, most grade crossings have only crossbucks, so make sure there are no trains coming from both directions before crossing. With a little bit of planning, you can


easily get three locations on one chase. A first-time chase might include the broadside at Elliston, Arthur and Montgomery Tunnel. Once you get one chase out of the way, head back to Singer and wait for the next train. And be adventurous. Explore the other side roads that lead to the tracks. You’ll find some great, accessible mountain rail- roading on Christiansburg Hill.


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