Rail yards have been catching my eye lately, not sure why.
Train travel, in some ways is a bit of an anachronism being mostly superceded by highway and airline travel. Nevertheless, there is a group of people, known as railfans or similar names, "who enjoy recreational capacity in rail transport." Perhaps my goal in hiding these virtuals is to add geocaching to the list of interests often combined by railfans, because "railfans often combine their interest with other hobbies, especially photography and videography, radio scanning, model railroading, studying railroad history and participating in railway station and rolling stock preservation efforts."
After all, geocachers with their self-imposed separation from "muggles," are not unlike railfans, who fit the term "Anorak, a British slang which refers to a person who has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. This interest may be unacknowledged or not understood by the general public."
Another definition, trainspotter, is "a person who collects train or locomotive numbers as a hobby." Or, "A person who obsessively studies the minutiae of any minority interest or specialized hobby."
Recently, I have also become more of a fan of openstreetmap.org. A big difference I observed versus the more popular Google maps is railroad routes appear more prominantly, for example near Spencer Yard in Linwood:
Also, to be fair, railroads remain the dominant method of transporting heavy goods or minerals over land, and have played important roles in history, both in peacetime and wartime.
So, as I look at maps and geocache locations, interesting (to me) features of railroads catch my eye, and rail yards are one of these, because they are big and stand out. But, you may ask, "why Rail yards, what's the interest there?" Or, "what's so special about Spencer Yards, other than the odd sounding name?"
"A rail yard, railway yard or railroad yard is a complex series of railroad tracks for storing, sorting, or loading and unloading, railroad cars and locomotives. Railroad yards have many tracks in parallel for keeping rolling stock stored off the mainline, so that they do not obstruct the flow of traffic."
Spencer Yard in Linwood is interesting for several reasons. Not least, for me, is Amtrak trains pass by, on the route to/from Washington, DC, and thus I've ridden past the rail yard, previously unaware of its existence or significance.
More interesting, historically, is the connection with the the older Spencer Yard and Shops in Spencer. The "historic Spencer Shops, once Southern Railroad's largest steam locomotive repair facility on the east coast," is now the site of the North Carolina Transportation Museum (highly recommended). The current Spencer yard in Linwood, which was completed in 1979, is only about 6 miles north of the museum. It also includes a "hump yard," and "is one of the largest classification railroad yards in North Carolina."
I was over here to attend an event on another listing service about a month ago, and decided to check out this area. From the end of the dirt road near the posted coordinates, you'll need to walk into the wood as far as you're comfortable to get a view of the yard.
There may be better places to view the rail yard, but this is the one I found. If you find a better one, please let me know.
To log this virtual, upload a picture of yourself with the train yard in the background. This may be difficult in Spring-Summer, unless you dare get closer to the edge of the trees.
If you're lucky, a train or two will pass while you visit, and you will hear lots of cars being moved around and coupled.
Please upload pictures.