Searching for Autumn Gold on CSX

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.

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4 Responses to “Searching for Autumn Gold on CSX”

  1. jake Says:

    The passing shot at MP 187 is quite nice, well composed. There is enough sunshine on the nose of the westbound for nice color. The shadows from the coal train add to the photo.

  2. Kim Jezewicz Says:

    I absolutely love the first picture, the westbound CSX manifest freight passes an empty coal train south of New London, OH. My husband works for CSX as a freight conductor and goes west from Buffalo, NY. Would you be interested in sharing the original picture if you still had it. I would absolutely LOVE to make a customized puzzle of this picture for him for Christmas!

  3. Kim Jezewicz Says:

    Ok I did send email a bit ago. If you have not received, don’t forget to check your junk mail. Thanks!

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