Engineer Michael Pyle (aka The Pyle Driver) is at the controls of NS 708 as seen here crossing the diamond with the Birmingham East District & US-78 in Bremen, GA. While this may be another coal drag to the average viewer, for us foamers in North Georgia, this was possibly the last chance to catch one of these runs up Dugdown Mountain.
The former Central of Georgia line between Griffin, GA & Chattanooga, TN via a short stint on the Southern between Brice Station & Rome, was always a glorified branch line, even back in the CofG days. After being absorbed by the Southern & eventually NS, the line only saw its status diminish even more, especially with the line now only going as far "east" per the old CofG timetables as Senoia since the 90s after having the portion between there & Griffin disconnected. With that, the only road trains that would venture on here were the coal drags that would serve Plant Wansley & Plant Yates. After the two remaining units at Yates were converted to Natural Gas in 2015 & Units 1 & 2 at Wansley being idled a couple of years ago, Many thought that would be it & that the line would only see the local traffic for its fairly small customer base from here on out. Out of nowhere last summer though, some limestone trains ran to Wansley in preparation for the units to be brought back online. After a few coal drags had already ran, I finally got my first chance to get one of these runs on December 23rd, 2021. With clear skies & lots of friends trackside to also catch this run, it was without a doubt a great day to get my first run up the dreaded Dugdown grade.
While this was a joyous moment for the railfan me, the realist was also having to deal with the reality of the situation as well. Georgia Power has shared its ambitious goals to shut down all but 4 of its coal fired units by 2028 (all 4 are at Plant Bowen). The first ones on the chopping block you may ask are units 1 & 2 at Wansley. With their hopes of shutting down units 1 & 2 by the end of this year (2022) being known, I do hope that I get at least one more chance to catch this run before it happens, but at least I'll be able to say I did get one. Now we just gotta hope the customer base will help keep the C-Line alive & thriving, especially on the "west" end between Bremen & Cedartown.