Posts Tagged ‘CSX. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’

Shooting in a Winter Wonderland

December 31, 2012
The first train of the day was a westbound CSX manifest freight that we caught on the Middlebury Road bridge west of Kent.

The first train of the day was a westbound CSX manifest freight that we caught on the Middlebury Road bridge west of Kent.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, I met up with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee and we went out in his jeep to do some winter photography in Northeast Ohio.

The chase began with a drive past Brittain Yard in Akron. Nothing was stirring on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, so we decided to mosey north along the W&LE’s Cleveland Subdivision to see if there was evidence of a train having passed. The indentations in the snow at the grade crossings indicated that there something had rolled over these rails not too long ago.

We heard a westbound CSX train on the scanner and decided to hot foot it for the bridge carrying Middlebury Road over the CSX New Castle Subdivision. This is the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the former B&O.

As luck would have it, the last car on the train was a boxcar. While processing this image this morning in Photoshop, I discovered that it looked virtually the same in black and white as it did in color. So I left it in B&W.

After the passage of the l-o-n-g westbound CSX manifest freight, we resumed our hunt for the W&LE train. It seemed too early in the day for that train to have left Akron for Falls Junction in Glenwillow, but this was the day before the day before a holiday and perhaps schedules were all out of whack.

The CSX road channel came to life again and we heard a train calling a signal at Kent. RAD wasn’t sure if we had enough time to get back to the Middlebury Road bridge, but he gave it a shot. Call the “race” a tie.

I jumped out as we got to the crest of the bridge, which is located coming out of a curve if you are headed southward. I got a going away shot of the intermodal train as it approached a clear signal at CP 120, which is a set of crossovers that have been installed in the past year as part of the upgrade of the New Castle Sub to handle double stack container trains. That work hasn’t been completed yet.

As we were approaching the bridge, he had heard another train call an approach signal east of Kent. This meant there was a third westbound in the picture. We stayed put until the passage of that train.

The third of the flurry of westbounds was also an intermodal train. Both intermodal trains had long strings of empty spine or well cars.

With CSX going quiet again, we resumed the search for the elusive W&LE train. As we headed north (again) we heard the W&LE dispatcher talking to a track car. We also heard the dispatcher talk with the crew of a train, saying that the bus would be a little late in getting to them.

That suggested that the train to Falls Junction had, indeed, gone north early today and that the crew would be picked up and returned to Brewster. More than likely, it also meant that the W&LE train would be sitting at or near Falls Junction.

Roger decided to take Ohio Route 43 north and as we crossed the Norfolk Southern tracks in Twin Lakes, we spotted an eastbound manifest freight on the Cleveland Line.

After capturing the NS train, we continued the search for the Wheeling, figuring that perhaps it would be parked next to the depot at Glenwillow, which is undergoing a restoration. We zig- zagged our way along the tracks, stopping a couple of times to get some winter shots. It was snowing heavier the farther north we went as we got into the fringes of the Lake Erie snowbelt east of Cleveland.

The W&LE train wasn’t at the Glenwillow depot. But we did find it parked in an industrial park that the W&LE serves that is located on the remains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

After capturing the Wheeling train on megapixels, we returned to Falls Junction to get a few shots of the Cleveland Commercial Railroad power spending the weekend snoozing in the snow. The CCR usually does not operate on weekends.

It was nearly noontime. We headed back south, stopping at a Steak and Shake at Streetsboro to get some sandwiches to go. We ate them while sitting next to the NS tracks at Towner’s Woods Park.

The radio was quiet. After about an hour, we heard some scratchy transmissions on both the CSX and NS road channels. Much to our surprise and dismay, a westbound NS train suddenly appeared. But the element of surprise caught us off guard and we didn’t get any photos. Usually, you can hear the Rootstown detector go off from here, which provides plenty of warning to get into position. But not today for some reason.

Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. The trailing unit was one of the few original Conrail locomotives still on NS. Roger said had we missed that train with the Conrail unit in the lead he would have been upset.

We moved into Kent and took up watch on the Main Street bridge. We got two eastbound trains before calling it quits for the day. The lighting conditions were horrible with heavy overcast. It had long since stopped snowing. Still we were pleased with our results for the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Snow dusts the tops of a string of tank cars as the westbound CSX freight passes through CP 120.

Snow dusts the tops of a string of tank cars as the westbound CSX manifest freight passes through CP 120 on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

As luck would have it, the last car on the westbound CSX manifest freight was a boxcar.

As luck would have it, the last car on the westbound CSX manifest freight was a boxcar.

The second of the three CSX westbound trains that we caught at Middlebury Road was this intermodal train, which is about to take a clear signal at CP 120

The second of the three CSX westbound trains that we caught at Middlebury Road was this intermodal train, which is about to take a clear signal at CP 120

Would you like a little frosting on your container?

Would you like a little frosting on your container?

The third of the westbound flurry that we photographed at Middlebury Road on CSX. This train was running on the block of the train ahead of it.

The third of the westbound flurry that we photographed at Middlebury Road on CSX. This train was running on the block of the train ahead and getting approach signals indications.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight emerges from a cloud of snow at Twin Lakes.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight emerges from a cloud of snow at Twin Lakes.

 

The eastbound NS train is about to pass beneath Ohio Route 43. Note that the second unit is a Union Pacific locomotive.

The eastbound NS train is about to pass beneath Ohio Route 43. Note that the second unit is a Union Pacific locomotive.

 

While following the W&LE tracks northward to Falls Junction, we took the time to get some snow images. Shown is the W&LE Cleveland Sub tracks looking railroad south.

While following the W&LE tracks northward to Falls Junction, we took the time to get some snow images. Shown is the W&LE Cleveland Sub tracks looking railroad south.

The W&LE train we had been seeking was parked in the industrial park on the reamains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

The W&LE train we had been seeking was parked in the industrial park on the reamains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

The Cleveland Commercial Raiilroad usually doesn't operate on weekends. Two CCR locomotives collect snow on the siding at Falls Junction.

The Cleveland Commercial Raiilroad usually doesn’t operate on weekends. Two CCR locomotives collect snow on the siding at Falls Junction.

Back in Kent, the snow has stopped falling. An eastbound auto rack train passes the former Erie Railroad depot.

Back in Kent, the snow had stopped falling. An eastbound auto rack train passes the former Erie Railroad depot.

The last train of the day was like our first train of the day -- a long manifest freight. Here is glides along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent.

The last train of the day was like our first train of the day — a long manifest freight. An eastbound CSX train glides along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent.

A Day With CSX Track Workers

November 1, 2012

CSX westbound manifest Q359 behind No. 435 approaches the Brooklyn Street work site in Creston on October 24, 2012.

Railroads are photogenic for railfans. Colorful locomotives and trains dash along through scenic countryside, allowing us to create scintillating images.

Railfan photos are not all about locomotives and trains, however. It takes men and machines hours of labor to maintain the roadbed for those locomotives and trains to run on.

Fall is an important time to get the mainline tracks ready for winter traffic. I witnessed such activity on the CSX New Castle subdivision (former Baltimore & Ohio) at Creston and Sterling in northern Wayne County, Ohio on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

As I drove to Creston for lunch, I heard a report from the scanner of a CSX westbound train at the milepost 148.0 detector. As I approached Creston, the conductor was asking for permission to enter the work limits west of Sterling.

I scurried to the end of Factory Street in Creston. The CSX tracks there are on a modest fill above the Creston recycle center.

Monopod in hand, I climbed up to trackside. On eastbound track No. 2 was a track machine approaching me from the east. After it passed, manifest Q359 approached with locomotive 435 leading a long train. I then left and headed for lunch.

On my way, at Brooklyn Street, I noticed the track machine working in the crossing, so I photographed the action. I then continued on to Pike Station restaurant for lunch.

After lunch, I started north on Ohio Route 3 for Sterling Street. The CSX crossing flashers were on for an approaching train. I photographed it through the windshield.

After the light engine move had passed, I continued toward Sterling. At Jordan Road, a CSX crew was working on track No. 2 in the crossing.

I parked my Trail Blazer and walked up for more track work photos. A ballast regulator passed through the crossing, interrupting the work. Soon it was manicuring the ballast creating a large dust cloud.

I knew auto rack train Q299 was near, so I hoped to photograph it passing the work site. Alas, I had to move my Trail Blazer to allow a large dump truck loaded with asphalt to back up to the crossing and dump his load.

Q299 passed without my photographing it. I hung around a while, but no more westbounds approached, so I headed for the Loop gathering at Sterling.

About 4:40 p.m., a parade of track machines passed the County Line Trail site eastbound for the Sterling siding near the grain elevator complex. They would park there for the night.

I drove down to the siding for one last photo before heading to Bradley’s for beans (railspeak for supper).

The day was beautiful with 70-degree temperature and bright sunshine. The autumn foliage still had some color. It had been a great day for capturing a hot intermodal westbound with my Sony DSLR. I had a great time photographing the CSX track machines instead. Not a bad tradeoff.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

CSX track machine is headed for the Brooklyn Street crossing on track No. 2 in Creston.

Working on the Brooklyn Street crossing in Creston as the Q359 westbound manifest passes on track No. 1.

CSX westbound power move crosses Ohio Route 3 in Creston.

A CSX ballast regulator works on track No. 2 west of the Jordan Road crossing.

A CSX crew is working on track No. 2 at the Jordan Road crossing.

CSX 09-16 DYNA-CAT track machine is eastbound at Sterling at 4:46 p.m. Today’s work is done.

HARSCO 6700S track machine is eastbound at Sterling after finishing its work in Creston.

CSX track machines are eastbound on track No. 2 at Kauffman Avenue in Sterling. They will tie up down the Sterling siding overnight.

CSX track machines take a break from duty in the Sterling siding.

Putting the Track Back

July 18, 2012

A westbound grain train passes through downtown Kent on Track No. 2 on the CSX New Castle Subdivision. Track No. 1 (at left) has been reinstalled after workers finished undercutting the roadbed to allow for greater clearance beneath the Main Street bridge.

Work could be wrapping up by the end of this week in undercutting the roadbed of the CSX New Castle Subvision in Kent. Since April, workers have been creating greater clearances beneath the Main Street and Wheeling & Lake Erie overpasses.

This past Sunday, crews were working overtime to get Track No. 1 back into service. The track has been put back into place and welders were connecting the panel sections of track.

As can be seen from this series of photographs, workers will need to place ballast on the track.

The work is part of a project to increase clearances on the former Baltimore & Ohio route in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Double stack container trains will be able to begin using the route once the work is completed.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

A welding crew works to connnect the panel track sections in downtown Kent. The location is just below the former Erie Railroad passenger station along the Cuyahoga River.

An eastbound auto rack train passes the work site in Kent on Sunday evening.

A back hoe straightens the ties on Track No. 1.

Akron Railroad Club member Richard Antibus photographs westbound intermodal train Q135 as it passes through Kent.

The rear of a slab train passes the work site.

Track Lowering Continues in Kent

July 11, 2012

The lead engine of westbound Q137 passes a rolling machine as workers take a break to allow the intermodal train to pass.

Work is well underway in Kent to lower Track No. 1 of the CSX New Castle Subdivision. On Tuesday, July 10, workers were putting down the base for the roadbed after having chipped away the underlying bedrock to lower the track.

The work is part of a range of projects being done to lower the clearances on the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad route between Chicago and Washington. D.C. The greater clearances will enable CSX to run double stack container trains to and from the East Coast over the route.

Most of those trains are expected to serve a container sorting facility that CSX opened in early 2011 west of North Baltimore, Ohio. It is all part of the development of the CSX National Gateway network.

Much of the work in Kent has involved removing the tracks and undercutting the roadbed beneath the Main Street and Wheeling & Lake Erie bridges. Track 1 has been temporarily removed and all trains are using Track No. 2. Earlier, Track No. 2 was lowered.

Similiar work is also being done in Akron and Ravennna. Two old one-lane bridges in Medina County are being removed and replaced with one bridge.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

A new concrete retaining wall has been poured between the CSX tracks and the Cuyahoga River. Shown is westbound Q015.

Track No. 1 has been cut and removed while work is done to lower the roadbed beneath the Main Street bridge. The track was stacked atop track that has remained in place. Westbound manifest freight Q389 passes the work site.

ICE was Nice on a Hot Day

July 1, 2012

I spent a couple hours on Saturday afternoon walking on the trail between Brady Lake and Kent that uses part of the right of way of the former Erie Railroad. Near Kent the trail is immediately next to the CSX New Castle Subdivision, a former Baltimore & Ohio mainline between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

A clear signal for Track No. 2 at “Davey Tree” indicated that the route was linedup for an eastbound. Due to track work in the area on Track No. 1, this is a single track railroad between FS and CP 120.

I continued walking and shortly upon reaching the section of the trail that is next to the CSX tracks I heard a horn in Kent. That must be the eastbound.

I quickly scouted for photo locations. The sun angles were not ideal, but not awful either. The horn had sounded strange but I figured it would not be the ubiquitous Gevo or other widecab CSX locomotives.

It turned out to be an ethanol train with an Iowa, Chicago & Eastern with an SD40-2 in the lead lettered “City of Buffalo.” Trailing was a Canadian Pacific SD40-2 in well-worn paint. What a pleasant surprise.

Such sites on CSX are not uncommon although not an every day occurrence either. It was the first time I’d seen an ethanol train on the New Castle Subvision. The ICE sure was nice sight on a hot afternoon.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Window of Opportunity in Kent

May 16, 2012

This is the classic westbound CSX shot in Kent. But notice how this is different from a hundred other images you’ve seen made at this location? Track 2 is gone, for now, as CSX undercuts the roadbed to increase clearances.

If you haven’t been to Kent lately to photograph the CSX New Castle Subdivision operations there, you need to get there on the double. And make plans to go back more than once this summer.

Railfan photographers have a window of opportunity to record some images in Kent that are not going to be available again.

As CSX increases clearances on the New Castle Sub and elsewhere on the former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Washington, D.C., mainline, the track configuration is changing. It is particularly noticeable in Kent where sections of Track 2 have been removed for undercutting work.

Workers can undercut a track without removing it, but in Kent the undercutting also involves removing part of the bedrock shelf on which the CSX tracks rest.

On a recent Saturday, Roger Durfee and I paid a visit to Kent to check out the single tracking going on there.

Chipping away at the bedrock is painstaking work and doesn’t look to be finished immediately. Once Track 2 is lowered, the same routine will play out on Track 1.

For now photographers have the chance to make images of trains passing through Kent on Track 1 with Track 2 missing.

But that is not the only change. Work was done previously to reconfigure the former Erie Railroad tracks, now owned by the Portage Country Port Authority and used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

Yet another change is not good news for photographers. We noticed on Saturday that the trees and vegetation on the east side of the Cuyahoga River seem to have accelerated their growth. It won’t be long before views of westbound CSX trains taken from the north sidewalk of the Main Street bridge with the river in the background will be largely a thing of the past.

The clearance work is a boost to railfans. Trains approaching Kent must call the CSX foreman to get permission to pass the work site.

With the line single tracked between CP 120 west of Kent and FS near Ravenna, that means rail traffic in the area will become congested at times.

Last Saturday, an eastbound manifest freight waited at CP 120 for three westbounds before being allowed over the single track.

With a good telephoto lens, you can capture meets at the new CP 120 crossovers from the Middlebury Road bridge.

Once the work is done, CSX will be able to route doublestack container trains over the New Castle Sub. Whether this means an increase in rail traffic remains to be seen.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

An eastbound auto rack train begins to pass the section of Track 2 that has been removed. Note that the removed track has been stacked on top of the original track by the former Kent passenger station.

Chipping away at the bedrock is a slow process. Crews are working at removing rock beneath the Main Street bridge.

Workers are also working to shore up the retaining walls on the east side of the CSX tracks.

CSX still has a railroad to run and when a train approaches, the workers must stop what they are doing, move equipment out of the way and stand aside as the train passes. Note that the machinery seen in the photograph above has been folded up.

Charting CSX Locals on ex-B&O in NE Ohio

February 20, 2012

CSX local D740 is at Jordan Road with 33 cars from Lester at 4:03 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2012. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

Until recently, CSX maintained two pairs of locals that worked sidings, yards and interchange points between New Castle, Pa., and Willard, Ohio. Now that are three pairings working between those terminal points on the New Castle Subdivision of this former Baltimore & Ohio mainline route between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Richard Jacobs charts how the locals used to operate and shows what the operating patterns are now. He got out on Feb. 8 and 9 to observe the locals in action at Sterling. To read Jake’s report and view a gallery of photographs, click on the link below.

 http://akronrrclub.wordpress.com/trackside-tales/charting-csx-locals-on-the-ex-bo-in-ne-ohio/

Steam Still Ruled at West Virginia Train Festival

June 28, 2010

Classic diesel locomotives and camelback steam locomotives shared the spotlight at West Virginia Rails 2010 in Petersburg, W.Va. (Photograph by Dan Davidson)

They had a train festival in Petersburg, West Virginia, over the weekend of June 25-27 and hundreds of people rode trains and enjoyed the West Virginia countryside. Dan Davidson of LaGrange, Ohio, was among those who attended and said the display of first generation diesels was quite interesting.

Two steam locomotives provided onlookers with something to admire and talk about. These included Flagg Coal Company No. 75 and New Hope Valley No. 17. Both are camelback 0-4-0s. Although No. 75 has been a mainstay at railroad events around the county No. 17 was making its first trip away from its home rails in North Carolina.

No. 17 pulled the hourly train rides at the festival. No. 75 chugged around the festival grounds and for special fee you could blow the whistle, clang the bell and have some throttle time with it.

“I got to operate this one and chug it on down the tracks,” Davidson said. ” It was great, about 125 degree’s inside. I sweated so bad that I made most sweating pigs in West Virginia jealous.  I was on it for about a half-hour and loved every minute of it.”

F7A No. 722 pulled a dinner train and the day trips at the festival. Built in 1952 for the Bessemer & Lake Erie, No. 722 now wears a classic Baltimore & Ohio livery and pulls excursion trains of the Potomac Eagle Excursion Railroad.

Aside from train trips and displays, the festival also featured model railroad displays and vendors. However, Davidson said there weren’t as many vendors as expected, with many booths sitting empty. He speculated that lack of steam power on display, an isolated location and  a sluggish economy held down attendance.

In the two weeks before the festival began, much of the news about the festival centered on the inability of the event’s star attraction to make it. Western Maryland steam locomotive No. 734 had been slated to appear and pull some of the day trips as well as a photo charter. But those plans fells through when CSX refused to allowed the 2-8-0 consolidation type locomotive to be towed over 10 miles of its tracks.

CSX contends that it did not ban the 734 at the last minute as some claimed. The railroad issued a statement saying that festival organizations had known since March that company policy prohibits movement of antique railroad equipment over CSX lines.

For its part, the organizers of West Virginia Rails 2010 issued a news release on June 15 saying that it had received tentative  approval in early April for the 734 to use CSX rails to move between Cumberland, Maryland, and the connection with the South Branch Railroad. The latter is a 51-mile ex-Baltimore & Ohio line how owned by the state of West Virginia and host of the Potomac Eagle.

West Virginia Rails 2010 was planned the 100th anniversary of the building of the rail line, which today hosts the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad as well as handles freight.

To view a gallery of Dan’s photographs of the festival, click on the link below.

http://akronrrclub.wordpress.com/trip-reports/west-virginia-rails-photo-gallery/


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