KY Derby 2012 - VIP Trains

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Kentucky Colonel
For the last couple of weeks, Kentucky has seen a flurry of VIP and Special trains in connection with the running of the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Norfolk Southern and CSX both brought their business trains to town...the NS train parks in Louisville and hosts visitors during the week of festivities leading up to the big race. The CSX train was utilized this year as the Governor's Train, running from Frankfort to Louisville (and back) with a few hundred of the Gov's closest friends and supporters.

RJ Corman used their Old Kentucky Dinner Train and recently shopped ex-Southern F-units to bring VIP guests to the Downs...but the train continued on to its 'home rails' in Bardstown on Saturday, so Derby-goers returned to Lexington via motorcoach.

Amtrak ran a special to Louisville via Indianapolis.

The first train to arrive was the NS OCS which travelled from Muncie, IN to Louisville (via Cincinnati and Danville, KY) on April 26. With CEO Wick Moorman onboard, NS dispatchers parked every train between Muncie and Louisville and the OCS ran at track speed. It was impressive to see, but challenging to chase.

1) The NS F-units swing the train onto the Louisville Division at North WYE near Danville, KY.
2) Throttling up, the train begins its sprint from Danville to Louisville.
3) The NS OCS rolls through "Hogtown"...historic Harrodsburg, KY.
4) Near Fisherville, KY...not far from the suburbs of Louisville...the train crosses Floyd's Fork under a canopy of fresh spring growth.


Kentucky Colonel
KY Derby Trains - Pt. 2

The next Derby train to arrive in the area was the l-o-o-o-n-g CSX business train with a variety of coaches and a pair of F40PH-2's on the point.

Coaches included: CSXT Kentucky, Youngstown, Baltimore, Waycross, Illinois, New York, West Virginia, Greenbriar, Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia; MCVX "Patriot Eagle"; and RCPX (Western Maryland) "Howard O. Hovatten" and "Richard E. Markle".

1) On the deadhead move to Frankfort, KY, the train is about to cross Devil's Hollow Road at MP 61.
2) On Top of Old Smokey. After running the power around the train in the siding at West Frankfort, the entire consist is backed through historic downtown Frankfort onto a former Frankfort & Cincinnati yard track. Here, CSX #9993 is rolling off the Kentucky River bridge...and over a mural that features a representation of RJ Corman's Chinese-built QJ steam locomotive. Corman's PR department named the steamer "Old Smokey"...thus the title of this image.
3) Street running in reverse, backing down Broadway in Frankfort.
4) It's KY Derby Day and the Governor's Train rolls through Simpsonville, KY...about 26 miles away from Churchill Downs.
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Kentucky Colonel
KY Derby Trains - pt. 3

The other train I photographed was the RJ Corman VIP special, powered by their sparkling F-units and featuring the "Old Kentucky Dinner Train" consist plus a CN theater car.

1) A small puff of smoke as the train accelerates out of Midway in the Bluegrass heart of Kentucky.
2) Rolling through Simpsonville, KY.
3) After delivering the Derby revelers and dropping off the CN theater car (shortline Paducah & Louisville which operates on former IC tracks will return the car) the trainset heads south on CSX...the former L&N Bardstown Junction where the train heads down the Bardstown Branch for home.
4) Rolling through the Deatsville community near Bardstown, the Dinner Train crew has had a long day...after multiple switching moves at Bardstown Jct. necessary to allow the train to pass; they encountered some downed trees on the rails due to overnight thunderstorms. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.