"The Last Shot"
This shot isn't particularly good, but it's significant to me. It was taken late in the day (light-wise) at Crosby, KY, on the Cumberland Valley Subdivision, on Wednesday, December 8, 1982. David DeVault and I had spent much of the day (we both took a vacation day from work to just "get out") in and around Corbin. We visited with division personnel there, and knocked around the yard and took photos before we headed for home via Loyall and Harlan instead of Cumberland Gap. We knew this train was en route northward to Corbin, but we weren't sure where we could get it. Just east of Blackmont, we saw him through the trees, on the other side of the river. I quickly saw the shadows had lengthened too far at my first choice for a shot---an overhead bridge at Blackmont---so we drove further and dived down a secondary road (one-lane in places) to this spot---Crosby. Just behind us is TeJay, and the current-day load out at Balkan is a little further around the next curve (again behind us). It was really getting dark by now, so I knew we wouldn't have much luck in getting a shot unless he was going slow---which he wasn't when we first saw him. I told Dave there was a chance he would be on a slow order as he passed us, because it was obvious some track work was underway. Sure enough, he came around the curve creeping along at about 10 to 15 MPH. I made some quick adjustments to the aperture and shutter speed to do the best I could.
So, why was this the "last shot." It turned out to be my very last slide (or negative) of a train operated by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company. In three weeks the L&N would die as a corporation, its assets consumed into the new Seaboard System. I thought the visible changes would be slow in coming, but the new company did everything they could to obliterate "L&N" on cars, bridges, and particularly locomotives.
L&N CV Sub Extra 3580 North--with the lead unit's rotating Gyralight caught at the moment it glared almost directly into my camera--was the last I would place on film. All these years later, I'm glad we backtracked to get this shot. It wasn't anything special, except to me.