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Edition #72, February 15, 2008

Firsts

Photographer: Eric Miller

                                                              Photo by Eric Miller

Firsts

Elkhorn City, Kentucky was the point where the Clinchfield Railroad made its critical connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio’s Big Sandy Subdivision, and in so doing created a link in a Midwest-Southeast rail corridor that is as busy today as ever. Elkhorn City was the first station on the Clinchfield on its march south, the rather non-descript northern-most locale on the famed Appalachian bridge route.

It’s December 31, 2007, the last day of the year, and an early morning frost has given way to what seems to be a million miles of blue sky. I’ve arrived at Elkhorn City to almost immediately find the first train of the day, a two-unit pusher set heading back “light” to the old C&O yard at Shelby, Kentucky. Standing at the very spot where the C&O gave way to the Clinchfield, the battered C&O station sign becomes a useful prop as I fire off a couple of shots.

This first train of the day at this first stop on the Clinchfield is most notable to me, though, for something unseen. At my side is my five-year old son, his new Fisher-Price “Kid Tough” digital camera firmly in hand, also cranking off shots of the pushers. A gift from Santa Claus on Christmas less than a week prior, this is my little boy’s first camera, and this his first railfan photography trip with daddy. No longer will he be just an excited observer at trackside. Now he is a railroad photographer.

It will be a full day, with trains aplenty. The last day of the year, a day filled with many firsts.

Eric Miller

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