Aboard the NS Executive Train

The Norfolk Southern executive train awaits its depature from Cleveland on October 16, 2010. The train carried "Miracle Kids" on a roundtrip to Toledo.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it sure gets attention. We’re speaking about an appearance by the Norfolk Southern executive train in Northeast Ohio. NS may be known for black locomotives, but the black, white and gold livery of the F units that lead the executive train are head turners. The passenger cars that accompany the train are painted Tuscan red, a livery similiar to that used by NS predecessor Norfolk & Western for its passenger trains.

Few ever get a chance to ride on the NS executive train. It is, after all, a business tool used to ferry high-ranking executives and to entertain shippers, key government officials and other VIPs.

Sometimes, though, the exec train is used for public relations and charity purposes. Such was the case on October 16, 2010, when the train journeyed to Cleveland from its home base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to carry several “Miracle Kids” on a roundtrip journey between Cleveland and Toledo on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network.

Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee, who is an NS conductor, was among several NS employees who volunteered to work aboard the Miracle Express. Serving as the “official” photographer, Durfee provides us an onboard-view of what it is like to ride the NS executive train.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

The full-width dome car provides a spectacular panaromic view.

The view from the theater car of Lakefront line between downtown and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The Greater Clevelant RTA Red Line is visible to the left.

The lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland recedes in the distance as does Cleveland Browns Stadium.

An NS local (right) sports the caboose assigned to Motor Yard in Macedonia. At left is the theater car of the NS executive train.

The full-width dome car used on the Norfolk Southern executive train. This car was formerly part of the Conrail executive train fleet. It was originally built for the Santa Fe as a dormitory-dome-lounge.

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