Aerial Photo Tour: RJ Corman Sand Train

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I haven't chased this train yet, but I do have a few photos of the Lexington end.

RJ Corman pulls a Sand Train from Louisville to Lexington, Kentucky, three to six days a week. Each train is 15 to 30 gondolas.

The train is loaded at Nugent Sand, on the Ohio River:
Nugent Sand, Google Earth. An interesting note, is the difference in tracks between Google and Bing. The Google Maps has a big curve into the facility, while the Bing Map shows a three track yard with moving conveyor. I presume the big curve is the old loading track, while the yard is much newer.

The sand is brought to Nugent Sand on barges, then stored on the ground. Later loaded into the Corman Gondolas. Most of them are a special rebuilt type of gon, with a higher capacity than they originally had. I don't remember the specs on them, but I believe Trains Magazine has had some articles about them. Regular second hand gondolas are also used, depending on the train requirements.

The train usually rates a couple Special Duty Units. But due to the high durability of the sand, sand loads are used for more than just delivering to Lexington. There's a hill near Frankfort, KY, which is used for testing locomotives, as evidenced by this and this photo. Also evaluated were an SD70ACe and a Chinese Steam Engine.

As the train approaches Rupp Yard in Lexington, it runs over a scale. I've seen it, but can't remember exactly where, and can't find it on either Bing or Google.

Upon arrival in Lexington, the train is spotted to one of several unloading tracks. Google doesn't show these improvements, but Bing Maps does. If you scroll around that area, you'll see the sand pile, a truck and front end loader, as well as a couple gondolas, one of which with the back hoe inside it. If you look directly south of those cars, you can make out a long flatcar with a ramp on it, used for getting the back hoe to and from the ground. A truck scale is to the northwest of the gondolas, between the ballast cars on the right hand track, and the wheelsets on the left.

Here is a group of RJCC Gondola photos. The clean shiny ones are the special rebuilds. There are a couple photos of the back hoe in there, also.

I feel like I'm forgetting something, but it's late, and I can't imagine what it is.

The train itself is the best part of this. RJ Corman has bright red shiny paint on much of it's equipment, and should be an allowable exception to weathering, both for the cars and the locomotives. You could have just the train run through your layout, or build in a simple loading or unloading facility. A long siding and some basic construction equipment is all you'll need.

James
 
There's been a lot of work down at the Water St yard, where the sand trains are unloaded. A new overpass has been built, and it has a nice wide sidewalk for looking at trains.


The sand yard. The dump truck is there for the construction going on, I don't think it's used for transporting sand between the train and the pile.

Sand loads.

A new sand unloading track?

This photo has the most action in it. To the far left are plastic pellets being unloaded. Two diggers are poised to unload more sand, but I'm certain that all the cars on the same track are empty. The caboose there is ex L&N, fitting, since this is a former L&N line. In front of the caboose, coupled to the 3804 (GP38-2) is a flatcar with the ramps for getting the diggers off the gondolas.

To be continued...
 
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There's some interesting things in this photo, too.
The truck scale, presumably for the departing sand trucks. The dump truck near it is RJ Corman, so it's probably there for the construction.
Look at how the engine house is built. Those are containers stacked up for the sides. I haven't thought to figure out how long it is, but I figure it's between 150 and 200 feet long. I didn't look inside it while I was there, but if you peer into the open door, you might can make out some shiny vertical things- the platform to the RJ Corman Observation Car. The steam engine and tender is also in there, I presume.

James
 
I'm not 100% sure that they're rebuilt. I think I read it in the article in Trains a few years ago. I'd have to figure which issue, then dig through my shelves.

Rebuilt could easily mean the original sill and framework, and a completely new body.

James
 
Ive seen the RJC sand train quite a bit, would love to be able to follow it and get Photos too - Just never seem to have the time.
I have a few friends that used to truck the sand in before RJC started hauling it, when diesel got to be so expensive, it was just more cost effective to pull it in by rail instead of 25 or 30 trucks.

Ever Followed the RJC Aluminum Ingot train? Loads out of Berea - runs up thru Lex and down towards the Bowling Green Area (where it actually ends up, i'm not 100% sure) but have taken enough Aluminum cans and other things into the plant in berea, I've gotten to see em up close -
You can see the Plant in berea here - even a RJC working the facility in the Bing Map - Map
 
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Hillwilliam

Layout Poor
Hi!
The RJCorman RR to the aluminum plant run is on the old Central City to Russellville line that passed over Wolf Creek, through Lewisburg and Epley's Station. When L&N passed to CSX, I think the line was abandoned or sold to RJCorman. The section between the plant and Central City was pulled up and the station at Lewisburg was torn down. Before the highway was straightened and widened, the two lane 431 ran over a bridge across the tracks at Epley's Station. Might be where the Logan Aluminum Co. road goes east off old 431.

HTH

edj
 




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