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Published on Mar 20, 2012
When chatting with passers-by in Ashland who take a casual interest in train-watching, the conversation often turns to the same question - 'When does the Auto Train come through?' I had just finished explaining the northbound's occasional late-running morning appearances to someone on the platform, when my scanner crackled to life right on cue - 'P052, clear Langford, engine 830.' I could make out the unmistakable profile of Superliners and auto carriers marching up the street behind a boxy GE snout, but the morning mist around Ashcake Road sure looked dark - wait...that's not mist...
P40s 830 and 814 were laying down a smokescreen of Alco proportions as they worked their way towards the center of town, and the cloud only got thicker as the engineer kicked it up another notch across England Street. I wouldn't say that I was expecting the pair to break into a display of GE pyrotechnics as they rolled by, but I would not have been surprised if they did.