Archive for October, 2012

Colorful Trees, Colorful CVSR Train

October 24, 2012

The first southbound Scenic train of the day on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad passes the Brecksville station where it will pause to board passengers and bikers on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.

A priority of  mine this year has been to get out and photograph the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad during the October fall foliage season. Thus I went trackside on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee to chase the CVSR.

The day began with cloudy skies in Akron, but mostly sunny skies on the northern end of the Valley. That worked to our advantage for the first few shots that we made, but worked against us on the southern end.

By the time we got back to the CVSR tracks in the afternoon to photograph the middle of the three roundtrips, the clouds had broken up somewhat to sun and clouds.

We also made photographing this train a priority because it may be the last fall foliage season in which it operates with three Alco locomotives. Already one EMD product from LTEX is on the property and two more are on their way.

Leading the train southbound was CVSR 4241, a C424. Trailing it was CVSR 1822, an RS18u. The northward locomotive was CVSR 800, an FPA4 wearing a Baltimore & Ohio livery.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The southbound Scenic rolls along at Jaite on a Sunday morning.

This is what we came out to get, a wall of gold along Riverview Road south of Peninsula. This shot is only available in the morning.

More autumn gold along Riverview Road.

Will this be the last foliage season in which we see three Alcos combining to pull the added consists of the fall foliage Scenic trains? Shown is another view along Riverview Road near the Akron sewage treatment plant.

The dome section of the “Emerson” was the place to be to see the leaves.

Two Alcos and a fountain at the motorcycle club north of Akron.We broke off our first chase here and went on to other things before returning to photograph the next southbound run.

Hugging the Cuyahoga River just between Boston Mill and Peninsula. If only there was less vegetation on this hillside.

After picking up and discharging a large load of passengers and bikers, the Scenic gets underway at Peninsula.

The train is making its station stop at Indigo Lake, the stop for Hale Farm. The image was taken, though, from Howe Meadow.

An Alco doing what an Alco does best, putting on a smoke show as the train accelerates out of Indigo Lake and passes Howe Meadow.

The Scenic has arrived in Akron and will shortly come to a halt at Northside Station. Shown is the train crossing over the Cascades lock of Ohio & Erie Canal.

The “B&O” No. 800 leads the Scenic out of Akron Northside Station and across the Ohio & Erie Canal as a northbound Scenic gets underway with a near capacity load.

Searching for Autumn Gold on NS

October 20, 2012

NS train 145 passes the former New York Central depot in Olmsted Falls on Thursday, Oct. 18. The fall foliage in the Falls was at peak or near peak.

Earlier in the week I posted a gallery of photographs taken on CSX near New London, Ohio, as part of my month-long quest for fall foliage. This past Thursday, I spent the afternoon in Olmsted Falls seeking more autumn gold. I took some student reports with me to review between trains.

NS traffic on this day was heavy and steady. There were no extraordinarily long lulls. I was hoping to bag a heritage unit, but that was not in the cards.

Most of my photographs involved a tree next to the depot that is quite colorful in October. I also made extensive use of a small bank of trees on the north side of the tracks just east of Brookside Drive.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Colorful Day on the CVSR

October 18, 2012

The Cuyahoga Valley Railroad Scenic train departs Brecksville during the middle of its three Rockside-(Akron) Northside roundtrips last week on a brilliant fall day.

Recently, I made an afternoon trip down to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in search of fall foliage. The color was a bit more spotty than I would have liked, but I made the best of it. Here are some select views from my chase of a northbound train and its return trip.

The motive power was the No. 4241 (facing south), a C424, and No. 1822, an RS18.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The chase begins as the northbound scenic pauses at Botzum to put aboard some bicyles and their bikes.

Just north of Bath Road along the towpath trail where it runs right next to the tracks.

North of Everett at milepost 50.

Passing the only tree at Boston Mill that had any substantial color.

Passengers in the dome section of the “Emerson” enjoy the autumn splendor.

The return trip has just departed Peninsula and is running parallel to Riverview Road.

Searching for Autumn Gold on CSX

October 18, 2012

A westbound CSX manifest freight passes an empty coal train south of New London. Alas, the coal train cast shadows on the nost of the westbound, thus robbing the shot of some vibrance

We seem to have had two types of weather of late in Northeast Ohio. Either it is a clear, sunny day or it is overcast and/or rainy. The week of Oct. 7 brought clear skies on Tuesday and I headed for New London in search of some foliage along CSX.

I have not been to New London in well over a year and it has been on my “to do” list for months. But the opportunity never seemed to present itself.

One goal was to see how the trees were on the north side of the New Castle Subdivision (former Baltimore & Ohio) by an isolated county road crossing (Township Road 1461) south of the New London reservoir. There is located here some of the finest trackside color I’ve seen in Northeast Ohio. We have a  lot of trees here and much fall color, but most the trees next to the railroad lines that we have show little color.

To my delight, the trees at the aforementioned grade crossing were in near peak condition. Traffic on the New Castle Sub is not overly heavy so you need to maximize your opportunities.

My first two attempts to catch trains there missed. The head end of a westbound manifest and an eastbound intermodal got there just ahead of me. But I managed to get some train passing shots, two of which are shown below.

I was driving eastward in search of more color when I heard the crew of the westbound talking to the crew of the intermodal train, alerting them that they had one train stopped ahead of them at Nova. It turned out CSX was single tracking east of Sullivan. A switch tender was stationed at Sullivan to line the crossovers.

The westbound crew told the intermodal crew that there was one more westbound to come through the single track, but it was a short train.

I drove back to the crossing and waited. To the west, I could see a headlight. It was an eastbound empty coal train. I didn’t think much about it at first, but then it dawned on me that the coal train was getting approach signals as it trailed the intermodal train. This might not work out so well.

Shortly after the head end of the coal train passed, the westbound manifest came around a curve about a half-mile east of the crossing. I had anticipated that the two trains might meet here and thus had set up on the north side of the tracks. That turned out to be a good move.

But it also meant that the passing coal train was casting a shadow on the nose of the westbound freight. I recorded the image anyway, but it wasn’t as vibrant as it could have been had the coal train not been there.

I also spent some time by the New London reservoir recording some action on the Greenwich Subdivision, the former Big Four route to Cleveland. There wasn’t as much color here, but the images still say it’s October.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

An eastbound empty coal train meets a westbound manifest freight just beyond the 187 milepost near New London, Ohio.

The last container on an eastbound intermodal train passes a stand of maple trees that are showing off their best autumn dress.

A westbound CSX manifest freight passes the brilliant maple trees.

The fall colors were more muted by the New London reservoir but mother nature still was putting on a nice show. Shown is an eastbound CSX manifest freight.

Containers head west past the New London reservoir.

The nose of an eastbound manifest freight pokes over Greenwich Townline Road East.

The Hunt for Red in October

October 16, 2012

RJC No. 7116 departs town just north of the Park yard in Cresson.

This past Saturday I was over in Cresson, Pa., chasing the R.J. Corman on a fall foliage hunt.

RJC-1 brought a coal train in off the Cherry Tree and delivered it to Norfolk Southern on 5 west in Cresson. While I didn’t catch the inbound move, I did manage to bag the light power heading back to Clearfield.

The train came in with three RJC units and two NS ACes up front and three RJC units pushing. That pusher set had a former Southern Pacific tunnel motor nose into the EOT and it made for a nice photo after cutting away.

Both the head end and pusher power were MUed along with the local Cresson unit and all seven then departed north. I snapped a few photos of the set leaving town then it was back to the NS. An obligatory stop at South Fork yielded a set of five SD80macs. I’ve always liked how JBS added the “Radial AC” logo on some of these.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Reliving Erie Lackawanna Memories

October 16, 2012

ABC Railway SW1500 No. 1501 is westbound passing the former Erie depot at Fourth Street in Barberton on Oct. 12, 2012.

The Erie Lackawanna Railroad’s former Erie mainline traversed north central Ohio across portions of Wayne, Medina and Summit counties.

The double tracked mainline was home to several manifests and trailer trains daily. During the 1970’s, I avidly photographed the EL as its trains passed from Burbank and Creston through Sterling and Rittman, over the large hill at Wadsworth, and on to Barberton and Akron.

The maroon and gray diesels with their yellow nose were an attractive subject for my camera. From October 1970 to 1976, I pursued the EL with a passion.

The Erie Railroad had been merged with the Delaware Lackawanna and Western in October 1960 to form the EL.

The DL&W paint scheme replaced the Erie black and gold on the freight locomotives. Passenger service on the line ended in early January 1970.

Today much of the railroad west of Meadville, Pa., is gone. It was abandoned as a through route by Conrail. A few short portions remain, operated by various short lines railroads.

The tracks from Creston to Rittman, Ohio, are now the County Line Trail for bikers and hikers. From Rittman to Barberton and toward Akron, the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway still plies the former EL mainline.

The ABC is a switching railroad, part of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The former Erie 1890 depot still sits alongside the track in Barberton, but was moved from the southwest corner of the Fourth Street crossing to the northeast corner in 2007.

Currently, the Barberton Historical Society is trying to get the depot ready for restoration as a visitor center.

Craig Sanders and I photographed the ABC on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. We missed a photo opportunity of a train passing the former Erie depot in Barberton, however.

I chased and photographed an ABC train to Rittman on Wednesday, Aug. 29, but also missed the train at the former Erie depot in Barberton.

On Friday, October 12, I was more successful. ABC’s SW1500 No. 1501 came by the depot westbound at about 11 a.m.

The short train was headed for PPG trackage north of Hudson Run Road. The former Akron & Barberton Belt used to cross Hudson Run Road, but the bridge has since been removed.

The ABC switches off the former EL mainline west of Fifth Street and runs south, crossing Wooster Road to PPG.

After the PPG switching was done, the train backed onto the former EL mainline and continued west to Rittman.

About 2 p.m., the train returned from Rittman, picked up cars from PPG and headed eastbound for the home terminal on Second Avenue in Barberton.

The route took it by the former Erie depot once again. I reflected for a moment what EL’s NY100 trailer train would have been like at that location. I wish I had seen that.

After photographing the ABC a second time at Fourth Street, I headed for Huston Street where ABC has a small yard.

No. 1501 was just leaving for the home terminal so I followed it. I pulled into the parking lot to see a crewman connecting an electrical cable to No. 1500 for battery charging overnight.

The other SW1500, No. 1501, was parked nearby. I took a few photos of the two switchers.

A bit later, I photographed a CSX westbound empty hopper train at Huston Street, and then headed for home. It was a nostalgic day being along the Erie once more.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

ABC Railway 1501 is eastbound at Fourth Street in Barberton.

Returning from PPG and Rittman, ABC Railway 1501 is passing the former Erie depot at Fourth Street in Barberton.

Heading for home on the former Erie/EL mainline in Barberton.

An ABC Railway crewman plugs in the battery charging cable for No. 1500 at the home terminal on Second Avenue in Barberton.

A CSX empty hopper train is westbound at the end of Huston Street. in Barberton at 3:18 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2012. ABC Railway tracks are in the foreground.

The Leaves Were Not all that Was Orange

October 13, 2012

Bessemer & Lake Erie No. 907 leads a southbound stone train into Springboro, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 13. The train is passing Springboro Park and approaching Beaver Street.

We were in Ashtabula on Saturday morning looking for Norfolk Southern’s Illinois Terminal heritage unit. We found it, but the lighting wasn’t good. So we decided to move on and look for something else and come back later.

We drove to Conneaut with the idea that we might catch the outbound Bessemer & Lake Erie train. But a check of the yard showed a fairly empty facility and no sign of a train. Then the radio came to life and we heard a CN dispatcher talking to a train about taking the high line, checking the switches and other dispatcher speak that we didn’t understand.

I suggested that we go down to Albion to look at the signals in the event that it was a nortbound headed for Conneaut. If nothing else we might hear a detector go off. Or we could check some other signals someplace to see if a train was lined up.

As we came to downtown Albion, Adam said he saw a Bessemer train up ahead. I thought he was joking, but sure enough there was one. It was a southbound passing through town. We got some grab shots out the window then got ahead and set up in Springboro for a shot coming past some nice fall foliage at a city park.

Heavy traffic prevented us from getting to Conneautville in time so it was on to Hartstown for the classic bridge shot coming past the lakes and wetlands. Traffic hung us up again due to a festival of some sort at Lake Conneaut. It was a good thing that we weren’t chasing a northbound as cars were backed up a good half mile to a mile waiting to enter the parking lot.

We got to Hartstown with about 10 minutes to spare. A red vehicle with two railfans pulled up behind us just ahead of the train. Then it was on to KO Junction where a third vehicle with a railfan showed up.

The train had SD40-3 in the lead with trailing units 867, 905 and 866. The 867 and 866 are SD38AC units while the 905 is also an SD40-3. Neither of us could recall seeing a B&LE train before with four locomotives.

By the time we got to the Osgood viaduct near Greenville, Pa., there seemed to be a posse of railfans giving chase, one of whom was former ARRC member Cody Zamostny and two friends.

We snapped the train crossing over Werner Road and the former Erie Railroad mainline,  now operated by Norfolk Souther as far east as Meadville.

We followed Cody to KY Junction, a spot neither Adam or I had visited before. That turned out to be the last place that we caught the train. We tried to catch up with it again, but we didn’t know the roads and got turned around. Instead, we headed into Greenville for lunch from Sheetz. We’ll explore south of KY on another day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming past the lakes and wetlands into Hartstown where there was a touch of color next to the tracks.

For reasons known only to the dispatcher, our train was lined into and out of the siding at KO Junction.

Crossing over Norfolk Southern, nee Conrail, nee Erie Lackawanna, nee Erie, on the Osgood viaduct near Greenville, Pa. A pair of railfans had set up shop next to the tracks.

Locomotive No. 907 takes a signal indication of red over flashing yellow at KY Junction near Kremis.

IT Heritage Unit Relaxes in Ashtabula

October 13, 2012

Norfolk Southern No. 1072, the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive, has made its way back to Northeast Ohio. It was a trailing unit on a train that passed through Cleveland around 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening on the former Nickel Plate Road en route to Ashtabula.

Saturday found the 1072 still sitting in Ashtabula. It wasn’t in a great location for photography, but it was visible. Here are a pair of photos of it on Saturday afternoon.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

My Top 10 Photographs of NKP 765

October 7, 2012

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 has gone home to Indiana for the winter, its tour of Norfolk Southern for the year completed. The 2-8-4 Berkshire caught the fancy of thousands in July, August and September as it pulled a series of employee appreciation specials on NS tracks ranging between St. Louis and Harrisburg, Pa., and down into West Virginia.

Although the 765 never reached Cleveland during its travels, it did pass through Northeast Ohio twice during ferry moves to and from eastern points.

The steamer even kicked off the specials by pulling five roundtrips between Bellevue and Bucyrus in late July.

I got out to photograph the 765 on four occasions. I chased all five roundtrips out of Bellevue, traveled to Pittsburgh for a day of chasing the train there and caught up with the 765 on its ferry move back to Indiana in late August.

In the spirit of late night comedian David Letterman and his top 10 list, I present below my 10 favorite 765 images of the past summer.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

No. 10

No. 10 was taken at North Robinson, Ohio, during the ferry move from Conway Yard near Pittsburgh to Bellevue. It reminds me of various images I’ve seen over the years taken in the wide open spaces, usually featuring a short train on a branch line heading toward the horizon behind a cloud of smoke. In this photo, the 765 and its train are coming out of a 10 mph slow order into an  upward grade and toward a rain shower. The gondolas on the rear carrying coal give this a mixed train feel. But what makes the shot for me is the smoke wafting skyward as the locomotive tackles the grade.

No. 9

When chasing a steam locomotive, few things are more frustrating than the guy at the head of the pack pacing the locomotive and preventing everyone from getting ahead and setting up for another shot. During the first southbound trip on Sunday, July 22 from Bellevue to Bucyrus, we stumbled onto a country road on the east side of the tracks that enabled me to get this pacing shot without blocking or being blocked by traffic. I look this photo because it has a plume of smoke trailing the locomotive and conveys a sense of open land.

No. 8

On the Saturday of the trips between Bellevue and Bucyrus there were numerous motorists out and about in their antique cars. One of them happened upon the crowd in Bucyrus and stopped to find out what was going on. A photographer talked the car’s owner into staging it so that it would provide a nice photo prop as the 765 and its train backed from the Sandusky District onto the former Pennsylvania Railroad Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline. It’s probably not an accurate period piece setup, but it looks nice just the same.

No. 7

No. 7 was shot from an overpass at Leetsdale, Pa., on the last trip of the day. The weather was lousy, but I made the best of it. The scene contains two institutions of railroading that have all but seen their day come and go. There are few steam locomotives still operating on mainline rail lines and the Pennsy position light signals are fading away fast as they are replaced by more modern signals. OK, so it’s a Nickel Plate Berk rather than a Pennsy K4. But it still gives a sense of what it must have been like in an other era on the PRR’s “broad way” between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

No. 6

No. 6 was also taken at Leetsdale, but this image is of the train going toward downtown Pittsburgh on its last trip of the day. Most of us like curve shots and that is why I like this image. It gives a view of the train from the rear looking forward. Fortunately, a nearby NS freight headed in the opposition direction had stopped, thus enabling photographs on both sides of the tracks here to get their photographs.

No. 5

No. 5 was not planned and almost didn’t happen. We had set up on Albaugh Road north of Chatfield for an across the field shot of the ferry move to Bellevue on the Sandusky District. Then it started raining. I had turned the car around to head north for a, we hoped, drier location. Just as I began heading back toward Route 4, I saw the train coming. I pulled over, jumped out and shot this image down the rain slicked one-lane road. The image turned out well for a grab shot. I liked the extensive trailing smoke and the contrast between past and present. Yeah, I could do without the poles and wires, but they are part of the environment.

No. 4

My top priority for photographing the ferry move to Bellevue was to get the train coming out of the famous curved bridge on the former Pennsy mainline at Massillon. The lighting conditions here were brutal. The train arrived at noon with the sun behind it. Some photographers went elsewhere to get an image with better lighting. But I stayed for a reason that illustrates what differentiates me from many photographers. In my mind, the most important factor was capturing a moment in time that may not happen again or which I may not be able to photograph again if it does occur. I knew the color would not turn out well, which is why I converted the image to black and white. From a technical standpoint, it’s still probably not a great shot and maybe not even a good one. But I captured the moment in a reasonably nice looking image and that is all that counts for me.

No. 3

No. 3 is my favorite image of all of the dozens of images that I made while chasing the three roundtrips between Bellevue and Bucyrus on July 21. It reminds me of some an image that the late Dr. Phil Hastings might have made during his travels with the late editor of Trains magazine David Morgan during the 1950s as they sought to witness the last days of steam operations. The image pretty much summarizes Midwest railroading with an arrow-straight track adjacent to a freshly cut field and an open sky where only a few trees dot the horizon. There is also a sense of a train carrying people who are going someplace because they have things they need to do there. That wasn’t the case with this train, but I could pretend that it was a train and not an excursion. There is a difference.

No. 2

I like overhead shots and this one was taken from an ancient bridge carrying Chew Road over the former Pennsy tracks east of Mansfield. Several locals had gathered here to watch the ferry move to Bellevue pass by including a guy wearing a PRR trainman’s hat. I like how the slight curve in the tracks enables viewers to see the entire train. I also like the parallel structure of this image, with the tracks, fields and the roads on both sides all parallel. But I also like the photo because it typifies the geography around Mansfield of slightly hilly, lots of trees and many farm fields.

No. 1

Photographers crave scenes of steam locomotives billowing huge clouds of smoke. Nothing characterizes a coal-fired steam engine more than smoke. Much of the time the 765 ran with a fairly clean stack. At times, it would put out enough smoke to show that it was a steam locomotive. We chose this site at New Brighton, Pa., because of the curve there. But as the train came out of the curve, the smoke began pouring out of the stack. This was no brief spurt, either. The steamer was enveloped in smoke and so was everyone trackside. I like how the smoke fills both side of the train all the way to the ground. Seldom does that happen to this extent during a photo runby when the engineer is trying to belch smoke for the crowd. I don’t know if the 765 was charging hard up a grade or the engineer decided to show off. Maybe he was having fun at our expense. Whatever the reason, it was a smoke show the likes of which were uncommon during my chases of the 765.

Indiana Weekends Two Decades Apart

October 4, 2012

An eastbound empty hopper train passes the North Findlay mast. The signals were installed many years ago by the Nickel Plate Road.

When I opened my email box early Thursday morning I was greeted with back-to-back messages from Akron Railroad Club members Roger Durfee and Todd Dillon with photographs from their respective trips to Indiana.

Roger had spent last weekend at an open house of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. The group is better known as the owners of Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765.

He had planned his trip to make it a NKP sojourn by following the former NKP mainline from Bellevue to New Haven, Ind., where the 765 is based.

Todd, on the other hand, dipped into his archives to recall a 1999 fall weekend that he spent in Indiana — a state in which he once lived — and came upon an obscure shortline then known as the Fulton County Railroad. It operated between Rochester and Argos, where it connected with the former NKP mainline now owned by Norfolk Southern.

This is a former Lake Erie & Western line that extended between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Ind. The LE&W later was absorbed by the Nickel Plate. Portions of this Michigan City-Indianapolis route have been abandoned, but much of it still exists. Indeed, the southern end of the route is used by another Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive, the 587, which is based at the Indiana Transportation Museuum in Noblesville.

To view a gallery of photographs from Roger’s trip, click on the link below.

To read Todd’s article and view a galley of photographs of his chase of the Fulton County Railroad’s Alco locomotive, click on the link below.

In the meantime, here is a sample of the photographs taken by Roger and Todd.

Article by Craig Sanders

Three volunteers hold their coal shovels high after a hard day of work.

The view out of the 765 fireman’s window looking down the boiler as a full moon rises in the east.