Here comes the Cleveland Commercial job bound for Cleveland making its way through Bedford.
If I want to see a train but don’t want to drive a long distance, I go to Bedford. The city created a small children’s park on Palmetto Street, which runs parallel with the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.
Railfans have been known to park in the small parking lot of the park to watch trains go past.
The “tot lot” as it’s often called, is about a half-hour from my home and if there is something out of the ordinary coming on NS I might buzz down to Bedford to catch it.
Such was the case earlier this week when NS No. 4000, the DC to AC conversion locomotive with the blue nose came through town leading train 11K.
But before the feature train of the day arrived, the Cleveland Commercial Railroad put in an appearance.
The CCR uses the former Conotton Valley, which for much of its life was the Cleveland line of the Wheeling & Lake Erie. Later, it was the Nickel Plate Road and then Norfolk & Western.
It eventually reverted back to the modern W&LE, which has been leasing it north of Glenwillow to various short line operators, the CCR being the latest.
At times before an Akron Railroad Club meeting, Ed Ribinskas and I have hung out at the tot lot, primarily to see NS in action, but we never minded when the CCR came along.
During one of those sightings the CCR train was rocking back and forth so much that I thought it might derail.
That prompted us to dub the CCR “the rock and rollers.” I wish I had a video of it.
It has been quite a while since I last saw the CCR and as I was waiting for the NS 11K to get the OK to head west through a single-track work zone, we heard horns in the distance.
Your best opportunity to catch the CCR is during late afternoon when the train to Cleveland rumbles through.
Apparently, the CCR has done some track work because the train was hardly rocking and rolling at all.
Of course with short lines such as the CCR, track conditions are relative. The track is still slow speed, but better than it was.
All but one of the cars being toted by the two locomotives of the CCR were gondolas. My guess is that most of them will be filled with scrap metal.
You won’t see ethanol, crude oil, grain, automobiles, containers or coal traveling the rails of the CCR. Perhaps it handles some boxcar traffic, but I don’t see its operations enough to know that.
Those gondolas are batter and bruised, having been around a long time in industrial service. Yet those that fill then have a need for rail service and the CCR provides it, presumably well.
Railroads such as the CCR serve a niche in the American railroad scene. They may not get the attention that the Class 1 and large regional roads get, but their work is no less indispensable to shippers and interesting to observe.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
The motive power for the CCR is former Union Pacific and former Santa Fe, both in their original colors with the ex-ATSF unit still wearing Santa Fe markings. The unit, though, is owned by LTEX.
I thought this image of the CCR train and its gondolas summed up what this railroad is all about.
As the CCR train was in Bedford, NS train 68D, which had a load of limestone bound for Shelly Materials in Twinsburg, also passed by. The head end of the CCR job can be seen just beyond the signals on the NS Cleveland Line.
Looking southward toward the head end of the NS stone train and the rear end of the CCR train. It is not common to get a CCR and NS train at the same time.