Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Berea Ohio’

What’s That? Could it be a Caboose?

September 22, 2014


I was at Berea for a while on Saturday afternoon. An eastbound CSX rail train was coming through and I thought I’d better have my camera ready in case there was a caboose on the rear. The good news is that the train did, indeed, have a caboose. The bad news is that it was not on the rear of the train. Maybe next time.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

NS and CSX for Threeeeeeee

May 31, 2014


With Norfolk Southern and CSX each having double track mainline, there is the potential for four trains to be moving simultaneously through the Berea interlocking.

I’ve never seen four trains at the same time in Berea, but on occasion I’ve seen three. One of those occasions occurred on a recent Sunday when a pair of CSX intermodal trains plus an eastbound NS  auto rack train were passing through at the same time.

Seeing that the westbound CSX train had a number of “bare tables,” I spotted an opportunity to capture all three trains in the same image. As luck would have it, a “bare table” came along just when I needed it. I even managed to get BE tower in the frame as well.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

I Almost Had It

May 31, 2014



I was sitting at Berea on a Sunday afternoon just chilling out and watching some trains. An eastbound Norfolk Southern coal train came rumbling into the plant. The second of the three units looked different.

As it neared BE tower I could see that it was a Santa Fe Warbonnet. The red has badly faded and the silver doesn’t gleam like it once did. But a Warbonnet is a Warbonnet. I don’t see them very often.

I scrambled to get out of my car and into position to get a side shot. The open area immediately east of BE tower would work best because it was right in front of me.

As I got into position I noticed a fast-approach eastbound CSX stack train. It was going to be close.

I snapped the first shot and moved the camera slightly to the right to frame the full side view of the Warbonnet.

Even before looking at the second image  you probably already figured out what happened next. The CSX train “won” the race. We’ve all had those days at Berea.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders


It Trailed and We Failed

April 7, 2014




The good news was that we finally saw a Norfolk Southern heritage unit pass by during  the annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day outing in Berea last Saturday. The bad news was that it was trailing. And as the not so old adage goes: “trail = fail.”

Nonetheless, those club members who brought their cameras made sure to capture the Wabash heritage unit helping to pull the NS 15N when it came through shortly before 1 p.m.

More photographs from the outing will be posted to this site later in the week. During the 12 hours that at least one club member was present, NS and CSX put 62 trains through Berea. The list of those trains is shown below. NA denotes that the information was “not available.”

During the outing a total of 14 members and guests turned out. At the end of the day, six members went to the Berea Union Depot Taverne for dinner where we saw eight trains pass by.

2014 Dave McKay Day At Berea Train Log

NA      8:15 a.m.          EB       NS       manifest            NA

Q004   8:20                 EB       CSX    containers         CSX 73

M88     8:48                 EB       NS       manifest            NS 9316

Z48      8:57                 EB       NS       tankers             NS 8126 (UP 6668 trailing)

Q020   8:58                 EB       CSX    containers         CSX 929

20T      9:08                 EB       NS       containers         NS 9362

Q292   9:14                 EB       CSX    auto racks        BNSF 7192

Q022   9:30                 EB       CSX    containers         CSX 5234

Q158   9:45                 EB       CSX    containers         CSX 5222

I08       9:45                 EB       NS       intermodal        NS 7576

Q357   10:42               WB      CSX    manifest            BNSF 4737

NA      10:45               EB       NS       containers         NS 7617

Q364   11:18               EB       CSX    manifest            CSX 7711

NA      11:29               WB      NS       containers         UP 4316

20W    11:44               EB       NS       containers         NS 6941

22K     11:55               EB       NS       containers         UP 9382 (BNSF 4082 trailing)

NS       12:07 p.m.        EB       NS       manifest            NS 9076 (BNSF 6018 trailing)

261      12:12               WB      NS       RoadRailers      NS 9495

65V     12:25               WB      NS       tankers             NS 8093

NA      12:34               WB      CSX    manifest            CSX 5456

15N     12:53               WB      NS       manifest            NS 8108 (Wabash H unit trailing)

205      1 p.m.              WB      NS       intermodal        NS 1007

Q113   1:09                 WB      CSX    containers         CSX 4808

NA      1:36                 WB      CSX    containers         CSX 5489

216      1:58                 WB      NS       containers         NS 9819 (BNSF 9529 trailing)

Q356   2 p.m.              EB       CSX    manifest            CSX 8579

W081  2:09                 EB       CSX    ballast               CSX 60

28Z      2:15                 WB      NS       auto racks        NS 2514

24M     2:24                 EB       NS       intermodal        NS 1115 NS 1116

24Z      2:35                 EB       NS       containers         NS 8303

Z708    2:42                 EB       CSX/NS gondolas        W&LE 6356

Q386   2:51                 EB       CSX    manifest            CSX 7338

20E      2:51                 EB       NS       intermodal        NS 9308

20R      3:07                 EB       NS       intermodal        NS 9784 (UP 5146 trailing)

Q290   3:10                 EB       CSX    auto racks        CSX 986

11K     3:17                 WB      NS       manifest            NS 2769

11V     3:33                 WB      NS       manifest            NS 9973

34N     4:02                 EB       NS       manifest            NS 9662

Q008   4:20                 EB       CSX    containers         CSX 7309

10R      4:20                 EB       NS       manifest            NS 9979

14N     4:37                 EB       NS       manifest            NS 9429

25V     5:03                 WB      NS       containers         NS 1082

64Z      5:11                 EB       NS       tankers             NS 1032

145      5:23                 WB      NS       manifest            NS 9492

20R      5:43                 EB       NS       containers         NS 9402

21Q     5:48                 WB      NS       containers         NS 1098 (BNSF 7238, BNSF 6690 trailing)

64T      6:12                 WB      NS       tankers             NS 9728 (CN 2531 tailing)

Q017   6:25                 WB      CSX    containers         CSX 3069

Q366   NA                  EB       CSX    manifest            NA

NA      NA                  WB      NS       containers         NS 9334

NA      NA                  EB       CSX    containers         CSX 125

NA      NA                  EB       CSX    tankers             CSX 7794

NA      NA                  EB       CSX    intermodal        NA

NA      NA                  WB      CSX    hoppers            CSX 674

Q390   NA                  EB       CSX    manifest            3 UP units

Q384   NA                  EB       CSX    manifest            CSX 4

15K     NA                  WB      NS       manifest            NS 9977

68W    NA                  EB       NS       stone                NS 9561

14N     NA                  EB       NS       manifest            NS 6331

552      NA                  WB      NS       coal                  NA

16E      NA                  EB       NS       manifest            NA

NA      NA                  WB      CSX    intermodal        CSX 7335

 Photographs by Craig Sanders

What Was Beneath that Blue Tarp?

March 22, 2014
I can only speculate as to what type of locomotive was beneath that blue covering on this eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight. It is shown in Berea on Friday afternoon.

I can only speculate as to what type of locomotive was beneath that blue covering on this eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight. It is shown in Berea on Friday afternoon.

It has been a while since I have been able to get trackside. I was able to sneak away for a couple of hours on Friday afternoon and get out to Berea.

I was hoping to catch that westbound intermodal train on CSX that is a Canadian Pacific train and runs with CP power. No such luck. I spotted it on my way home while zooming along on Interstate 480. During my stay at BE, though, I was able to catch a flat car on a Norfolk Southern train carrying what appeared to be a locomotive covered with a blue tarp that was stretched tight.

I don’t recall the train symbol, but it left much of its train opposite of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport adjacent to the Berea Freeway as it worked in nearby Rockport Yard. On my way home I spotted sitting in Rockport Yard a pair of doubled-ended locomotives painted yellow and orange sitting on flatcars.

Presumably these were built by GE Erie for export although I was unable to get a good look at them to read the identifying marks. Another out of the ordinary visitor to Berea was the NS 053, a high and wide train. The Cleveland Terminal dispatcher had been giving this train a lineup of every train it would meet as it passed through Cleveland.

I figured that it would be a short consist with one piece of heavy equipment that I wouldn’t recognize. Instead, it was a load of earth moving equipment built by Caterpillar Inc.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

"Thou shall not shoot into the sunlight." You learn that in Photography 101. But rules are made to be broken, especially when it is the only way to get a photo.

“Thou shall not shoot into the sunlight.” You learn that in Photography 101. But rules are made to be broken, especially when it is the only way to get a photo.

A closer view of the cargo being carried by NS train 053.

A closer view of the cargo being carried by NS train 053.

Saturday Surprise at Berea

February 18, 2014


I’ve been out at a very cloudy Berea the past several weeks with not too much in the way of interesting rail activity and few attempts at photography on my part. In a word it has been “yuk.”

Last Saturday was a bit different, however.  There was sun. Rail traffic wasn’t much to speak of except a noontime  a westbound CSX local stopped in front of the depot.

The crew had to inspect the manifest for an unknown problem giving the few of us an opportunity to get lots of nice crisp photos of five BNSF deliveries from the GE assembly plant in Erie, Pa.

While the train was detained, a freight led by Union Pacific power made a brisk run-around, giving us a chance for a good action shot.

Article and Photographs by Alex Bruchac





Spending Sunday Afternoon With Old Friends

January 23, 2014


I didn’t feel like going on a long-distance railfan outing on a recent Sunday. Besides, the skies were overcast in Northeast Ohio Sunday morning, but the forecast called for sunshine in the afternoon.

So, I decided to go visit an old friend, Berea Tower. I don’t get out to BE as often as I used to. There are too many places to railfan in this region. But rumors continue to swirl that the tower will be razed sometime in the near future so I figure I better get some photographs while I can.

While in Berea I also caught up with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Alex Burchac and Dennis Taksar. Alex reported that the NS Lackawanna heritage unit had gone by earlier, but it was trailing and it caught him by surprise.

Shown here is a selection of some of the color that I saw pass by BE during my Sunday afternoon stay.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders



The Hunt for Red in January

January 14, 2014


I went to Berea on Sunday hoping to fulfill two objectives. I wanted to photograph the CP intermodal trains that began operating late last year on CSX between Buffalo, N.Y., and Chicago, and I wanted to get a sunset shot.

It was mission accomplished for the first objective at 4:44 p.m. as the CP train passes the former Big Four depot.

I achieved my second objective not long after the passage of the CP train. On the way home, I pulled off I-480 onto Tiedeman Road en route to Steak ‘n Shake to get something to take home. I noticed the sky had gotten nice and red so I parked behind the Cracker Barrel restaurant and got the grab shot you see below. Amid the urban clutter are some freight cars parked on a siding on the CSX mainline.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders




Heritage Unit Saturday in Cleveland

March 31, 2013

I met up fellow Akron Railroad Club member Dennis Taksar in Berea on Saturday in time to catch an eastbound Norfolk Southern train with the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit in the lead.

Later we drove up to Avon Lake to shoot the Illinois Terminal engine, which was waiting in the power station wye.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late to catch the not too common visit of the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s eastbound visit to Berea.

Photographs by Alex Bruchac

The Chaos Theory of Railfanning Worked

February 26, 2013

Other than endless hours of trains on YouTube and a blizzard-filled trip on Amtrak to Wisconsin and back right after Christmas, our railroad activities have been few and far between lately and we have been unable to attend any Akron Railroad Club meetings for awhile because of schedule conflicts.

On a recent Saturday Max’s mom had a lot going on, so after a morning round of playing old time fiddle tunes with friends at a local restaurant, we decided to go watch trains.

After a late start, we stopped for gas and then decided to go to Berea because we haven’t been there in awhile.

As we arrived, two Norfolk Southern locomotives sat idling in front of us and headlights shown around the curve off to the west. There sure were a lot of railfans with cameras here for such a cold, blah day. We had left the camera at home.

Those headlights pulled up and stopped in front of us. Of course it was Max who pointed out his first long-awaited heritage unit. It was the Wabash locomotive but I think he was hoping for a Pennsy unit.

We were beginning to catch on as the Wabash unit and its mate backed up toward the 24M. I was amazed at how many people clearly knew what was going on well in advance, and no doubt some ARRC members were hovering around somewhere, but the car was just too warm to venture out more than the few minutes it takes to enjoy the up-close throb of passing CSX trains, one of which seemed to be belching out a little extra smoke that smelled more like kerosene than diesel fuel.

Much of the rest you already know that we watched a few trains and then finally saw the Wabash pull out and head eastward. On a whim we decide to follow. That’s not something we normally get around to doing.

Heading out of Berea I thought we’d take I-71 north and see if we could catch up with the 24M toward Cleveland.

I was stuck behind someone in a little red car poking along in the passing lane and couldn’t do much about it when I became aware of someone in a gold SUV behind me who seemed to be on a mission that required slightly more expedient travel conditions. Could it b e someone else with the Wabash on his mind?

As we began to head north toward I-71, Marty Surdyk pulled around us and headed off toward the I-480 east ramp.

I was committed to going north on I-71 while someone who clearly knew what was going on and had a plan was headed elsewhere.

So we just kept traveling alongside the 24M as long as we could, before looping around and heading south on I-77, passing under the same smoke-puffing eastbound CSX freight that we had just watched in Berea.

We kept a steady move on as I tried to figure out where would be the easiest place to get to from I-271.

I got off at Broadway and headed straight down to the south end of the yards in Macedonia, turned around and parked under the I-271 bridge next to the tracks.

In a few moments, a long westbound train came through with a number of BNSF units, but we were looking north, hoping we had gotten here in time.

As soon as the westbound freight cleared the area, I saw the reflection of headlights on the rails and the Wabash unit came into view and rolled past.

From there we headed to Willoughby where we again ran into the same smoke-coughing CSX eastbound freight.

Checking the Internet the next day, I could only chuckle as I saw where others had set up camp and caught the Wabash unit.

Sometimes I think we catch more exciting or unusual train action by random acts then we do by trying to have a clue as to what’s going on. So perhaps there is more to chaos theory than meets the eye.

Article by Ken Roby


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