Since getting to South Carolina last fall, one of the operations that has eluded me is the CSX coal operations between the eastern SC power plants, and the coal fields. These coal trains used to consistently run across the CSX CN&L Subdivision from Laurens, SC to Columbia, SC several times a day, offering a very scenic and fun chase. However, due to the shutting down of the Clinchfield and rerouting of traffic, a lot of the traffic has been routed around the CN&L Subdivision, making them a bit trickier to get.
Coal trains and empties still do run on the CN&L, but now it is much harder to catch trains due to a lack of heads ups, as well as sporadic running. Days can go by with no CN&L coal traffic, and days can go by with several loads and empties running. I've had some unfortunate timing, as many of these coal trains have run while I have been busy, overnight, or sleeping in (Well, I guess that last one is my fault :-) ). Today myself and a friend headed out to the CN&L in hopes of catching some coal traffic, and while we came up empty handed on the CN&L we did manage to shoot 3 different CSX empty trains today - just on the Monroe Subdivision and on the Eastover Subdivision.
Pictured here, CSX train E320 gets moving towards Greenwood SC with 2 engines, 64 cars, another engine, and another 64 cars (3 engines, 128 cars) after waiting on CSX R667.