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To this day, no one is quite sure why CSX assigned the “fab four” to the RoadRailer service. Rumor has it that the F-units ran because they were se- lected by railfans from within CSX. Af- ter all, the units sat around in storage while not hauling business trains. For publicity it was a novel idea, but for op- erations a very bad idea.

They say timing is everything and you couldn’t ask for a better schedule on R-210 and R-211. On Sundays, R- 211’s southbound departure time was around 08:00 out of Cincinnati. The northbound R-210 also departed from Atlanta very early in the morning. This schedule put the RoadRailer onto for- mer L&N territory across Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia during daylight hours, which has some of the best scenery east of the Mississippi River. But scenery comes with a price. Those vintage EMDs took on dreadful grades like Crooked Hill, Duff Mountain, Patio Hill and Richmond Hill.

During my several trips to catch the F-units, I ran across rail photographers from all over North America. They were there for the same reasons I was: to get the F’s in the mountains. I met several fans trackside and would see them again in their cars and trucks fly- ing down I-75 to get ahead of the F- units just one more time. The normal schedule called for the RoadRailer trains to operate across the flat table- top of northern Ohio after dark. As I said before, it was an odd year. During one trip chasing the RoadRailer on a very warm day in July, two of my friends and I were waiting on a hill trackside in Burbon County just north of Paris, Ky. The shot would have been a northbound on an S-curve in low af- ternoon light. Suddenly a 1970s Monte Carlo comes bumping along the rail- road right-of-way in this former double- track territory. The Monte Carlo came to a gravel-flying stop just in front of us. Inside the car was about six to eight guys. One of them stuck his head out the window and said “Y’all mind if we spot our pistols over there?” and ges- tured to an area which was just over to my right. My friends and I said all to- gether, “Sure, go right ahead.” Three skinny Buckeyes weren’t going to say anything but yes! The Chevy sped off and we thought it was best to find an- other location.

“F” is for Finis

All good things must come to an end. In late November 1988 the F-units were removed from the RoadRailer and were sent to Waycross, Ga., for safe- keeping. They saw sporadic service over the next few years, and were re- painted into CSX’s YN-2 paint scheme with the familiar yellow nose. In 1994, 117 and 118 were leased by Eagle Cañon Passenger Car Company to run


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