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The Southern ran an interesting operation for regular manifest freight trains over the Blue Ridge Mountains between Asheville and Marion. Westbound trains would reduce tonnage (set out almost half the train) at Marion. A short train would come east with 50 to 70 cars from Asheville and set all the cars out at Marion. It would then pick up the westbound cars and return to Asheville. Late another eastbound train would stop and pick up the eastbound cars and then continue to Linwood Yard near Spencer. This operation doubled the number of trains over the mountain, but reduced the need for helpers on all westbound trains and the likelihood of broken knuckles or drawbars. Coal trains however remained together and always had radio controlled helpers to assist with dynamic braking on the downhill grade from Ridgecrest to Old Fort. This operation assumes an equal amount of eastbound and westbound traffic, however on this day there had been more westbound trains than eastbound. Engines 2811, 2530, 5215, and 5112 have run as a cab hop over from Asheville to pick up a block of westbound cars at Marion on February 21, 1981.
After picking up the cars from the Clinchcross siding east of the interchange with the Clinchfield RR, the engines are on the return trip to Asheville. Disk 125