Nice Weather, 32 Trains at Marion Outing

Akron Railroad Club members had the opportunity to tour AC tower during the club's longest day outing on Sunday, June 28 at Marion, Ohio. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

Akron Railroad Club members had the opportunity to tour AC tower during the club's longest day outing on Sunday, June 28 at Marion, Ohio. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

It was a slow start, both in train count and weather conditions, but the 20 Akron Railroad Club members and their guests who meandered to Marion on Sunday for the longest day outing came away pleased with the results.

Members saw 32 trains of CSX and Norfolk Southern in this central Ohio community that lies at the junction of three rail lines. This was far from the record of more than 40 trains set on an earlier longest day outing at Marion, but also exceeded the low count of 28.

Traffic on Sunday was a mix of manifest freight, intermodals and coal trains. Nothing out of the ordinary passed by. A CSX westbound auto rack train had a former Conrail unit still in blue in the lead, but foreign power was scarce.

Only one train, a westbound CSX manifest freight, had any foreign power in the motive lashup. That train had a pair of Union Pacific units. The lack of foreign power was, perhaps, not surprising given that the class I railroads have sidelined thousands of locomotives due to traffic being down during the recession. They hardly need to borrow power from another road to help get their trains over the road.

Marion area residents who visited the station during the day said that traffic counts were down due to the economy, particularly on NS.

Volunteers from the Marion Union Station Association opened the depot and AC tower in the afternoon. A former operator was on hand to explain the workings of the tower and simulate tower operations by lining signals as trains approached. Of course he had to use radio transmissions intercepted by the tower’s scanners to know of approaching trains.

Many ARRC members witnessed a near miss between a southbound NS train and two bicyclists who crossed in front of it at the first grade crossing just north of the diamonds with the former Big Four/Erie, now owned by CSX. The engineer had already begun sounding the horn and the gates were down when the cyclists ran around the gates and crossed about 20 or so feet in front of the train. Had one of them gotten a wheel caught in the rails we no doubt would have witnessed a catastrophe.

Another notable occurrence played out just after 2 p.m. A CSX crew had readied the locomotives parked in Marion yard that are used by a local that originates there. A CSX dispatcher told them he had two CSX trains and an NS train lined up to cross the former Big Four/Erie diamonds before the local could come out and head east on the ex-Big Four to do its work.

At one point the crew told the dispatcher that they had been told to work as far as Crestline, but were not qualified all the way there. After the passage of the opposing traffic, the dispatcher came back on the radio to tell the crew to take its power back into the yard and tie it down.

Some 10-15 minutes later, another dispatcher came on the radio to ask the crew about their original work orders, saying there was some confusion in the office about what was happening or not happening.

The crew explained it was to go Galion, do some switching there, do more switching at Shelby and do more work at Crestline before returning to Marion. They expressed concern that due to traffic and the amount of time needed to get done what they had been assigned that they would not make it back to Marion before outlawing and their power was needed the next day for another job out of Marion.

The dispatcher consulted with a supervisor who apparently decided that the local was to go ahead and do the work it had been assigned, getting as much done as possible. By now, though, the crew had backed the engines back into the yard and placed the derail back into place. They finally got out on the main just after 3:30 and even then had to wait east of Marion for a pair of auto rack trains to clear before they could get on the single mainline track and head for Galion.

The day got off to a slow start. Members Rick Houck and Jerry Dietry were the first to arrive at 7:30 a.m. They saw two trains pass before Marty Surdyk, Tim Krogg and Richard Thompson pulled in at 8 a.m. But it would be nearly 9 a.m. before another train arrived and it did not go past the station, instead taking the connection from the former Chesapeake & Ohio to the ex-Big Four line to Indianapolis.

It would be more than a hour before another train appeared and it, too, took the connection, going from the ex-Big Four to the ex-C&O. The next train to pass the station, where most ARRC members spent the day, was a northbound NS intermodal just after 11 a.m.

During the lull, ARRC members hand spent time listening to the constant radio chatter of an NS work crew, which was tending to a project to install new rail through Marion. The members also spent considerable time grousing about the weather, which was overcast with occasional sprinkles, and wondering if the sun would come out.

By noon, though, the clouds had begun breaking up and mostly sunny skies prevailed for the remainder of the day. The temperature was nearly perfect, warn, but not hot and the humidity was low.

Traffic picked up about the time the weather began improving, with seven trains appearing between noon and 1 p.m. A lull of an hour and 20 minutes enabled members to go get lunch or have lunch on the station grounds. Rail traffic picked up just before 2:30 and was fairly steady the remainder of the day.

Other ARRC members attending the outing included Craig Sanders, Bob Redmond, J. Gary Dillon, Paul Woodring, Rich Antibus, Jim Mastromatteo, Blaine Hayes, Tom Ward and Matt Ward.

Some members had left by late afternoon but many remained at the station until 8 p.m., the unofficial quitting time. Three members decided to stick it out until 9 p.m.

Following the passage of two NS trains just after 8 p.m., which included a meet near Center Street, seven members ventured to Bucyrus for dinner at the Bob Evans restaurant near the intersection of Ohio Route 4 and U.S. 30.

The following is the list of trains in Marion on Sunday with the time, train symbol (if known), lead engine number, type of train and rail line it traveled. EB and WB CSX trains used the former Big Four/Erie whereas NB and SB trains used the former C&O.

Morning Trains

7:44     NA       CSX 841        auto racks      WB CSX

7:53     NA       NS 2586       light power    NB NS

8:53     Q359    CSX 7512    manifest         SB to WB CSX

10:04   Q358    CSX 8729   manifest         EB to NB CSX

11:04   217      NS 9484      intermodal    NB NS

11:19   Q216    CSX 5321    auto racks    EB CSX

Afternoon Trains

12:19   179       NS 7635      manifest           WB NS

12:26   Q123    CSX 9036    intermodal    WB CSX

12:35   Q108    CSX 7711   intermodal     EB CSX

12:40   218      NS 9832     intermodal     SB NS

12:58   18M     NS 9027    manifest          SB NS

2:22     854    NS 9957     coal                   NB NS

2:29     NA      CSX 7388     stone cars     NB CSX

2:38     Q637  CSX 5205    manifest       SB CSX

3:35     C935   CSX 2752     local            EB CSX

3:47     Q377   UP 5951      manifest    WB CSX

3:50     Q348     CSX 684    manifest     EB CSX

4:00     180       NS 8782    manifest     NB NS

4:10     375       NS 9621    manifest     SB NS

4:30     Q227    CSX 8759  auto racks    WB CSX

4:56     Q279   CR 7358     auto racks    WB CSX

5:07     305      NS 2687    manifest        NB NS

5:47     V358   CSX 263    coal                NB  CSX

5:59     857     NS 9017    coal hoppers  SB NS

Evening Trains

6:10     Q636    CSX 832    manifest     NS CSX

6:28     889      NS 8455    coal hoppers    SB NS

6:58     E809    CSX 338    coal hoppers   SB CSX

7:16     Q268     CSX 4743  auto racks      EB CSX

7:37     116         NS 9275    manifest         NB NS

8:04     851        NS 2698     coal hoppers    SB NS

8:05     854        NS 9722     coal               NB NS

8:30     G204     CSX 567     light power   EB CSX

NOTES: The NB NS  power move had 16 units . . . CSX Q377 had Union Pacific No. 7065 as the trailing unit. . . CSX Q348 terminated at Marion. . . NA denotes that we were unable to determine the train symbol.

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2 Responses to “Nice Weather, 32 Trains at Marion Outing”

  1. Rick Says:

    Great day, great people, lots of trains. Nothing better than that. Thanks to the club and crew there at Marion.

  2. Rich Thompson Says:

    Hey Craig,

    Nice report! A couple additions and corrections though. What you have labeled as Q388, was actually Q358. The leader of the light power was NS 2586. The NS train lead by 9967 was 864. And also, after you left, at about 8:30pm, CSXT G204 showed up as light power, with CSXT 567 and 572.


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