Sunday, October 11, 1987: "The Last of the Mohicans"---
The merger between Southern Railway and Norfolk & Western to create today's Norfolk Southern was consummated in 1982. Late that year, the first "Thoroughbred" unit (GP38-2 5228) started leading trains on the Appalachia Division. For me, it was a wake-up call to get more photos of "pure" Southern units before they were all repainted into the dreaded "horse" scheme. Given the sheer size of the locomotive roster, it actually took less time than I realized. By the summer of 1987, it was highly unlikely you would see a matched set of Southern power. But then, on the afternoon of Sunday, October 11, 1987, I heard the whine of dynamic brakes and looked out the window of our old home on Shawnee Avenue---and here came four matched Southern GP38-2s on the "C Train." I grabbed two cameras (one color slide film, one black and white), and headed out in pursuit. In the quickly dimming light of the afternoon, I got a fairly decent shot at Harvey (a.k.a. "Dip Crossing," or more appropriately, "Harvey Road Crossing"). I jumped in the car and made tracks for Glenita, where I could park and walk into Natural Tunnel. This would probably be the last time I could photograph a Southern unit coming out the tunnel. Sure, I wish I had been able to shoot it in color, but there just wasn't enough light. The 28mm lens of my Nikon FE2 was perfect to capture Extra 5230 East as it rolled out of the tunnel and across Stock Creek.
The four mid-train "slaves" were all in NS paint, so I didn't even bother taking a shot. I got what I came for----and after all these years, I'm glad I made the effort to beat Extra 5230 East to Natural Tunnel.