June 13, 1985: I knew this wasn't the safest spot to take a train photo, but I wanted to nail a Southern unit on the point of train 256, the Belmont, before the NS horse wiped it all out. Jones' Cut, near Irondale, VA, is a sharp vertical curve on the climb from Furnace Dip, at Big Stone Gap, VA to the top at Oreton. The grade goes from 1.7 percent to the cut, and then actually goes DOWN before it returns to 1.7 in less than a half mile. For an engineer, it's a recipe for pulling a tonnage train apart with a broken knuckle or pulled drawhead. The solution is to throttle back to Run 4 or 5 after you pass through the cut to reduce the strain on the couplers until the middle of the train is through the cut and the dip. There's a lot of physics in play here, but the last thing I wanted to do was to be standing where the train might part. You could hear the popping and cracking of steel standing here, so you knew the design and construction of the loaded Silverside gons was being tested yet again. On this day train 256 made it just fine...and I got my shot.