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ABOVE: Emerging from Sand Patch tunnel with the summit in sight, a GE AC4400AC starts to ease back on the throttle. The train will pause here to drop its helpers before proceeding west to Connellsville. STAN TRZONIEC RIGHT: The East Slope of Sand Patch may have the tougher grades, but the scenery on the West Slope is just as impressive. The massive cut at Pinkerton, just west of Markleton, Pa., is the product of the National Gateway double-stack clearance project which eliminated the tunnels at Pinker- ton, Shoo Fly, and Benford. Eastbound train Q130 has a freshly repainted SD50 in the lead on July 1, 2014. SCOOTER HOVANEC


crossing famous Bridge No. 1 spanning Jennings Run as the line serpentines left and right to Ellerslie. Crossing the state line past Milepost 184, the tracks head to Cooks Mills and Pleasant Valley while all the time running along Wills Creek. From here most knowledgeable engineers will take advantage of the mild grade and make a run for Hyndman where, if you stand at the edge of town, you’ll start to notice copious amounts of exhaust being generated as the eleva- tion begins to change to an uphill angle of 1.25 percent; Sand Patch is still some 19 miles away. Next stop is Hyndman, which has an interesting railroad history. The settle- ment was called Bridgeport, and lat- er renamed in tribute to a gentleman


34 JULY 2015 • RAILFAN.COM


named E.K. Hyndman, who was honored for his efforts as a superintendent of the B&O. Looking at old maps one can see that Hyndman partnered with the Penn- sylvania Railroad here in the form of an interchange yard that sported several water tanks and a helper pocket for the grind west. Not too long ago “Q” Tow- er took control of the area, but as CSX moved in, the transfer of power went to the main dispatching center in Jack-


sonville, Fla., and the tower was razed shortly thereafter. With its share of problems from Wills Creek that ran only yards from its east wall, this was like- ly the best thing to do, since the helper pocket and the related shop trackwork were destroyed by a derailment over a misaligned switch in the 1980s. All that is left now is an aluminum relay box set up to control the signals and the cross- over at this location.


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