Archive for December, 2012

Shooting in a Winter Wonderland

December 31, 2012
The first train of the day was a westbound CSX manifest freight that we caught on the Middlebury Road bridge west of Kent.

The first train of the day was a westbound CSX manifest freight that we caught on the Middlebury Road bridge west of Kent.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, I met up with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee and we went out in his jeep to do some winter photography in Northeast Ohio.

The chase began with a drive past Brittain Yard in Akron. Nothing was stirring on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, so we decided to mosey north along the W&LE’s Cleveland Subdivision to see if there was evidence of a train having passed. The indentations in the snow at the grade crossings indicated that there something had rolled over these rails not too long ago.

We heard a westbound CSX train on the scanner and decided to hot foot it for the bridge carrying Middlebury Road over the CSX New Castle Subdivision. This is the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the former B&O.

As luck would have it, the last car on the train was a boxcar. While processing this image this morning in Photoshop, I discovered that it looked virtually the same in black and white as it did in color. So I left it in B&W.

After the passage of the l-o-n-g westbound CSX manifest freight, we resumed our hunt for the W&LE train. It seemed too early in the day for that train to have left Akron for Falls Junction in Glenwillow, but this was the day before the day before a holiday and perhaps schedules were all out of whack.

The CSX road channel came to life again and we heard a train calling a signal at Kent. RAD wasn’t sure if we had enough time to get back to the Middlebury Road bridge, but he gave it a shot. Call the “race” a tie.

I jumped out as we got to the crest of the bridge, which is located coming out of a curve if you are headed southward. I got a going away shot of the intermodal train as it approached a clear signal at CP 120, which is a set of crossovers that have been installed in the past year as part of the upgrade of the New Castle Sub to handle double stack container trains. That work hasn’t been completed yet.

As we were approaching the bridge, he had heard another train call an approach signal east of Kent. This meant there was a third westbound in the picture. We stayed put until the passage of that train.

The third of the flurry of westbounds was also an intermodal train. Both intermodal trains had long strings of empty spine or well cars.

With CSX going quiet again, we resumed the search for the elusive W&LE train. As we headed north (again) we heard the W&LE dispatcher talking to a track car. We also heard the dispatcher talk with the crew of a train, saying that the bus would be a little late in getting to them.

That suggested that the train to Falls Junction had, indeed, gone north early today and that the crew would be picked up and returned to Brewster. More than likely, it also meant that the W&LE train would be sitting at or near Falls Junction.

Roger decided to take Ohio Route 43 north and as we crossed the Norfolk Southern tracks in Twin Lakes, we spotted an eastbound manifest freight on the Cleveland Line.

After capturing the NS train, we continued the search for the Wheeling, figuring that perhaps it would be parked next to the depot at Glenwillow, which is undergoing a restoration. We zig- zagged our way along the tracks, stopping a couple of times to get some winter shots. It was snowing heavier the farther north we went as we got into the fringes of the Lake Erie snowbelt east of Cleveland.

The W&LE train wasn’t at the Glenwillow depot. But we did find it parked in an industrial park that the W&LE serves that is located on the remains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

After capturing the Wheeling train on megapixels, we returned to Falls Junction to get a few shots of the Cleveland Commercial Railroad power spending the weekend snoozing in the snow. The CCR usually does not operate on weekends.

It was nearly noontime. We headed back south, stopping at a Steak and Shake at Streetsboro to get some sandwiches to go. We ate them while sitting next to the NS tracks at Towner’s Woods Park.

The radio was quiet. After about an hour, we heard some scratchy transmissions on both the CSX and NS road channels. Much to our surprise and dismay, a westbound NS train suddenly appeared. But the element of surprise caught us off guard and we didn’t get any photos. Usually, you can hear the Rootstown detector go off from here, which provides plenty of warning to get into position. But not today for some reason.

Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. The trailing unit was one of the few original Conrail locomotives still on NS. Roger said had we missed that train with the Conrail unit in the lead he would have been upset.

We moved into Kent and took up watch on the Main Street bridge. We got two eastbound trains before calling it quits for the day. The lighting conditions were horrible with heavy overcast. It had long since stopped snowing. Still we were pleased with our results for the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Snow dusts the tops of a string of tank cars as the westbound CSX freight passes through CP 120.

Snow dusts the tops of a string of tank cars as the westbound CSX manifest freight passes through CP 120 on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

As luck would have it, the last car on the westbound CSX manifest freight was a boxcar.

As luck would have it, the last car on the westbound CSX manifest freight was a boxcar.

The second of the three CSX westbound trains that we caught at Middlebury Road was this intermodal train, which is about to take a clear signal at CP 120

The second of the three CSX westbound trains that we caught at Middlebury Road was this intermodal train, which is about to take a clear signal at CP 120

Would you like a little frosting on your container?

Would you like a little frosting on your container?

The third of the westbound flurry that we photographed at Middlebury Road on CSX. This train was running on the block of the train ahead of it.

The third of the westbound flurry that we photographed at Middlebury Road on CSX. This train was running on the block of the train ahead and getting approach signals indications.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight emerges from a cloud of snow at Twin Lakes.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight emerges from a cloud of snow at Twin Lakes.

 

The eastbound NS train is about to pass beneath Ohio Route 43. Note that the second unit is a Union Pacific locomotive.

The eastbound NS train is about to pass beneath Ohio Route 43. Note that the second unit is a Union Pacific locomotive.

 

While following the W&LE tracks northward to Falls Junction, we took the time to get some snow images. Shown is the W&LE Cleveland Sub tracks looking railroad south.

While following the W&LE tracks northward to Falls Junction, we took the time to get some snow images. Shown is the W&LE Cleveland Sub tracks looking railroad south.

The W&LE train we had been seeking was parked in the industrial park on the reamains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

The W&LE train we had been seeking was parked in the industrial park on the reamains of the Chagrin Falls branch.

The Cleveland Commercial Raiilroad usually doesn't operate on weekends. Two CCR locomotives collect snow on the siding at Falls Junction.

The Cleveland Commercial Raiilroad usually doesn’t operate on weekends. Two CCR locomotives collect snow on the siding at Falls Junction.

Back in Kent, the snow has stopped falling. An eastbound auto rack train passes the former Erie Railroad depot.

Back in Kent, the snow had stopped falling. An eastbound auto rack train passes the former Erie Railroad depot.

The last train of the day was like our first train of the day -- a long manifest freight. Here is glides along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent.

The last train of the day was like our first train of the day — a long manifest freight. An eastbound CSX train glides along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent.

Advertisements

Jake’s Photos Featured in 2013 W&LE Calendar

December 30, 2012
W&LE No. 109 plus five head an eastbound freight from Spencer for Brewster at Fulton Road on Nov. 2, 2011.

W&LE No. 109 plus five head an eastbound freight from Spencer for Brewster at Fulton Road on Nov. 2, 2011.

I have contributed many Wheeling & Lake Erie photos to the Wheeling for its calendar, newsletter and website. I have submitted photos for the last several years to Mark Demaline, who is now retired from the W&LE, and David P. Oroszi, who produces the calendar.

This year, I was especially proud and honored to have one of my photos on the 2013 calendar’s cover. The photo was taken from the Fulton Road crossing north of Smithville.

I was driving to Creston on Nov. 2, 2011, when I heard a W&LE track warrant being issued to an eastbound train at Spencer. I knew I had about 15 to 20 minutes to select a photo location between Orrville and Creston. I chose the Fulton Road crossing because of the mid-afternoon lighting and the farm in the background.

I heard the conductor call the Creston siding switches, so I knew the train was close. The train consisted of six locomotives and about a dozen cars. That a lot of horsepower.

It looked like a power move along with covered hoppers loaded with limestone from Carey on the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown. The power may have come from Carey or Hartland for servicing at Brewster.

I also have two sidebar photos in this year’s calendar.

Article and Photograph by Richard Jacobs

December Saturday in Ashtabula

December 28, 2012

We went to Ashtabula last Saturday (Dec. 22) in search of the Penn Central heritage locomotive.. Upon arriving at the Norfolk Southern yard we found it parked where it was not very accessible. I got some long range shots but no close ups.

Disappointed, we headed to the CSX diamonds. On the way we heard a CSX train calling for yarding instructions.

Arriving at the CSX yard, we saw the empty coal train taking the connection for the docks. We quickly did a u-turn and went back to the NS yard.

The CSX train went thru the yard and looped the entire train. It then headed south past the drawbridge to yard the train.

The yard is not very big and will not hold a standard unit train on a single track. Trains must cut in half on two tracks in order to fit.

This made for some interesting photos of the backup move. Next we finished out the day with some mainline action where the OD tower once stood.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Shortest Day of the Year Outing–Part 2

December 27, 2012
Who says that all raiilroad photos must have a train in them? The sun sets on Sunday, Dec. 23 on the CSX tracks in Berea.

Who says that all raiilroad photos must have a train in them? The sun sets on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, on the CSX tracks in Berea, turning them into ribbons of steel.

Second of Two Parts

Less than a couple of minutes after I had departed the depot at Olmsted Falls, I spotted a familiar figure at Grand Pacific Junction. I knew it was fellow ARRC officer Marty Surdyk because of the Santa Fe jacket he was wearing. If the weather is cool or even cold, chances are Marty will be wearing his Santa Fe jacket.

I wheeled into the parking lot and Marty said he was there to seek out some Christmas photos with or without trains. He said he’d join me at Berea in a little while.

I saw two CSX trains before getting to the Berea railfan parking lot. An eastbound intermodal train was crossing Bagley Road above me and a manifest freight was cruising west as I drove on Depot Street. In the meantime, I had stopped at Mickey Ds to grab a chicken sandwich from the dollar menu.

Marty arrived at Berea about 10 minutes after I did. This sort of made it an ARRC outing because two club members were present even if we had not planned it that way.

A third club member soon joined us in spirit. We heard on the scanner the familiar voice of David Mangold who had taken over as the engineer of the 14N in Rockport Yard. Dave would be at the controls to Conway Yard in Pittsburgh.

Well, maybe he would be. After giving three-step protection and doing various maneuvers, Dave noticed that the lead locomotive on the 14N wasn’t set up right to be a lead unit. I can’t say I understood what he meant, but he had some discussions with the operations people at NS about it. This went on for what seemed a long time.

In the meantime, Marty and I spent time visiting, talking about club business and lamenting the lack of CSX westbound trains. The sun angle would have made for a nice photo with the former Big Four station, which reopened more than a month ago as a restaurant, as a prop.

Marty got a call from home. His Coshocton brother – the one who works for the Ohio Central – and his family had arrived for Christmas. Hoping to buy time, Marty said there was a westbound on CSX that he wanted to photograph and then he’d come home.

That wasn’t quite true. There may have been a westbound train somewhere on CSX headed toward Berea, but not nearby. Just before 4:30, Marty gave up the wait and headed home without getting a photograph of that elusive westbound.

By now, Dave had gotten his lead locomotive set up or decided it could make it to Pittsburgh anyway or whatever. The conductor called the dispatcher and said the 14N was ready to go.

NS traffic had been fairly steady all afternoon. Not so CSX. During the time that Marty and I spent at Berea – about two and a half hours – the only CSX trains had been two eastbound manifest freights.

The sun kept sinking and with it went my hopes of getting late day light on the former Big Four depot and the nose of a westbound CSX train.

The consolation prize was good sunset images looking down the CSX tracks. I even got an eastbound NS RoadRailer coming out of the setting sun in one of those images.

You can probably guess happened once the sun dipped below the tree line at 4:59 p.m. The CSX road channel came to life with a westbound intermodal train calling signals. It arrived less than five minutes later.

I was content to get a going away shot of the intermodal train headed into the last light of day bending over the horizon. As a bonus, an NS train was passing through at the same time.

It had been a good day. I had captured some nice static sunset images and a few interesting after the sunset shots. I turned off my camera and put it in the camera bag. I packed away my scanner and took the antenna off the roof of my car. Time to head home and enjoy a bottle of Christmas ale while watching the rest of the Browns-Broncos game.

But wait! Off to the west I saw a headlight on CSX through the trees. An eastbound was coming.

“OK, I have time for one more shot.” It turned out to be a second section of the Salad Bowl Express, that Union Pacific-CSX run through train that originates on the West Coast and carries perishables on an expedited schedule to a terminal near Albany, N.Y.

It has all UP reefers and motive power, but those are not easily identified in the darkness. I did get a nice shot of the lead locomotive silhouetted again the last rays of red sunlight.

CSX wasn’t done yet. There was a headlight to the east of another westbound intermodal train. As it was passing by, an eastbound manifest freight came through. That made for a good shot of the eastbound’s headlight illuminating the sides of the westbound containers as the trains rounded the slight curve in Berea to the west of the parking lot.

If you’re counting, that was four CSX trains in less than 20 minutes. That flurry also brought the Berea count to nine NS trains and six CSX trains. Not bad for about three and half hours on a winter day. I was happy to take it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A Norfolk Southern RoadRailer comes out of the setting set at Berea, Moments later the sun would dip below the horizon.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern RoadRailer comes out of the setting set at Berea. Moments later the sun would dip below the horizon.

The sun has set but the afterglow of the last light of day remains as another NS trains trundles through Berea.

The sun has set but the afterglow of the last light of day remains as another NS trains trundles through Berea.

Yeah, I should have known that about five minutes after the sun set that CSX would send a westbound train through Berea.

Yeah, I should have known that about five minutes after the sun had set that CSX would send a westbound train through Berea. There was just enough light to illuminate things.

The westbound CSX intermodal train chases the setting sun as an NS train also rumbles along on the nearby tracks.

The westbound CSX intermodal train chases the setting sun as a westbound NS manifest freight also rumbles along on the nearby tracks.

My trip home was delayed by the approach of a second section of the "Salad Bow Express" headed eastward. You can't tell, but that's a Union Pacific locomotive on the lead.

My trip home was delayed by the approach of a second section of the “Salad Bowl Express” headed eastward. You can’t tell, but that’s a Union Pacific locomotive on the lead.

Moments after the perishables train had cleared along came another westbound stack train on CSX. Where were these guys a half hour ago?

Moments after the perishables train had cleared, along came another westbound intermodal  train on CSX. Where were these guys a half hour ago?

Two CSX trains meet at Berea. That made four trains in less than 20 minutes. Not a bad way to end the day.

Two CSX trains meet at Berea. That made four trains in less than 20 minutes. Not a bad way to end the day. The approaching eastbound train is a manifest freight.

Shortest Day of the Year Outing — Part 1

December 26, 2012
A boy waves as an eastbound Norfolk Southern stack train passes the depot in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Dec. 23, 2012.

A boy waves as an eastbound Norfolk Southern stack train passes the depot in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Dec. 23, 2012.

A long-standing tradition of the Akron Railroad Club is the longest day outing. On the fourth Sunday of June we spend the day at an Ohio hot spot, typically staying until about 8 p.m. Then we move on to the closest Bob Evans restaurant for dinner.

I’ve sometimes wondered why we couldn’t do a shortest day of the year outing in December. Of course I know why we don’t do that. It’s too cold. It’s too close to Christmas. Yada, yada, yada.

That didn’t stop me from having my own shortest day of the year outing this past December. I wanted to do it on the actual shortest day, but that was on a Friday (Dec. 21). Not only was the weather horrible that day, I also had work to do.

Instead, I made it Sunday, Dec. 23. A high pressure system had moved over Northeast Ohio, creating mostly sunny skies. There was enough snow on the ground to make things interesting.

Rather than drive to Fostoria, Deshler or Marion – the usual suspects for the ARRC longest day outing – I stayed closer to home. That meant Olmsted Falls and Berea. I chose the former because I’ve never photographed a train there when there was snow on the ground. I chose the latter because it’s the premier railfanning spot in Northeast Ohio.

I got a later start than I had expected. I thought a friend of mine would be going with me, but it took until midmorning to find out that he couldn’t make it due to family obligations. Besides, when I got up that morning it was 22 degrees. Burrrr.

So off to the Falls I went, arriving there about 11 a.m. The first train was an eastbound stacker about a half hour after I arrived. I worked into my first shot a small boy waving to the engineer and trying to get him to sound the horn. I don’t remember if he did or not.

Then came another container train and in its heels was the 14N, a manifest freight that I knew had as its fourth unit the Norfolk Southern veterans tribute locomotive.

Not long after that, I heard the new crew on the 15N get permission from the dispatcher to leave nearby Rockport yard and head west.

It was getting to be mid afternoon and time to relocate to Berea where I could also get some CSX trains. I had bagged six NS trains at Olmsted Falls and was out of photo ideas for the moment. It was time to move on.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

There was enough snow on the ground to make things interesting. It was my first snow shot at Olmsted Falls.

There was enough snow on the ground to make things interesting. It was my first snow shot at Olmsted Falls.

The 15N is fresh off a recrew and headed west through the Falls.

The 15N is fresh off a recrew and headed west through the Falls.

The NS veterans tribute locomotive was the fourth unit back in the motive power lashup of the 14N.

The NS veterans tribute locomotive was the fourth unit back in the motive power lashup of the 14N.

Merry Christmas from the Akron Railroad Club

December 24, 2012

Taking Advantage of the Sunlight

December 22, 2012
The westbound morning local passes through Kent along the Cuyahoga River. The view is from the Main Street bridge.

The westbound morning local passes through Kent along the Cuyahoga River. The view is from the Main Street bridge.

The day after Richard Jacobs took advantage of some mid-December sunshine to railfan in Cleveland, I was able to get out the next day (Friday, Dec. 14, 2012) to make some photographs myself. I had a meeting that night of another railroad club to which I belong and what better way to pass the time on meeting day than going railfanning?

I started in Kent where I caught all of one CSX train. If you read an earlier post on this site, you will know that much of my time in the Kent area was spent chasing and photographing an Akron Barberton Cluster Railway train on the former Erie Railroad.

After catching the ABC train for the final time, I drove down to Alliance. Whenever I’m next to a busy NS mainline there is always the hope of seeing a heritage locomotive. But none were nearby on this day.

I had a final exam to grade so I spent some time doing that between trains. Traffic was moderately busy with nothing out of the ordinary. But it had been more than a month since I had been able to get out so I enjoyed it for what it was worth.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A westbound Norfolk Souhern manifest freight passes the Amtrak shelter in Alliance. If the weather was better and I didn't have work to do I might have hung around the shelter more.

A westbound Norfolk Souhern manifest freight passes the Amtrak shelter in Alliance. If the weather was better and I didn’t have work to do I might have hung around the shelter more.

No one was using the picnic table today and given that winter has just arrived it may not see much use in the coming month or two. but come next spring railfans will be gathered here to swap tall tales about the heritage units that got away as they wait between trains.

No one was using the picnic table today and given that winter has just arrived it may not see much use in the coming month or two. but come next spring railfans will be gathered here to swap tall tales about the heritage units that got away as they wait between trains.

I am not sure if this set of diamonds is old or new. I am guessing they are new and awaiting installation, perhaps in better weather.

I am not sure if this set of diamonds is old or new. I am guessing they are new and awaiting installation, perhaps in better weather.

The low sun angles caused the American Flag at the station to cast a shadow in the late day light. I decided to experiment in photographing the shadows on a passing RoadRailer. This image of the shadow split between two trailers was my favorite.

The low sun angles caused the American Flag at the station to cast a shadow in the late day light. I decided to experiment in photographing the shadows on a passing RoadRailer. This image of the shadow split between two trailers was my favorite.

MGA 8025 on the NS Manor Branch

December 18, 2012
Much to our delight, the 8025 was facing away from the train. I didn’t written down the location of all of our photo spots, but I believe this is along Martin Road or Crouse Road.

Much to our delight, the 8025 was facing away from the train. I didn’t written down the location of all of our photo spots, but I believe this is along Martin Road or Crouse Road.

My opportunities to photograph Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives are fewer and farther between than I’d like. Even rarer are my opportunities to catch one of the units on a line formerly owned by the heritage railroad to which the locomotive pays homage.

So when my friend Adam and I learned that NS 8025 – the Monongahela unit – had been assigned to helper service on ex-Monongahela rails, we made tracks for southwestern Pennsylvania on Sunday morning.

We had photographed Mon line operations in West Brownsville, even catching the New York Central and Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotives leading a train down the street last June. But we had never seen, let alone photographed, the Manor Branch or any other ex-Mon line south of West Brownsville.

Adam did some crash research and plotted a route that would follow the tracks from the Bailey Mine to Waynesburg. We got to the area about 10:30 a.m. and drove along the tracks toward the mine.

We could have wished for better weather. The skies were overcast and unlikely to change. The gray and browns of winter added little color. But we didn’t have the luxury of waiting for better weather. Either we got the MGA 8025 on this Sunday or we didn’t get it at all. This might be our only opportunity to catch this locomotive on former Monongahela rails.

We caught our first break when Adam spotted the helper units idling behind a low concrete wall near the mine. The 8025 was paired with the NS 8016.

A CSX coal train was a few hundred feet closer to the mine and inching it way toward the helpers. Had we arrived 10 or so minutes later we would have missed the helper units because the CSX train would have blocked them from our view.

We drove around a bit to explore the area. I dug out my radio and around 11 a.m. the Mon Line dispatcher gave the CSX train a track warrant. Subsequent conversations between the head end and the helpers indicated that the helpers were tied on and ready to roll.  And so were we.

We chased the CSX train to Sycamore, where the helpers were cut off.

Both the CSX train and the helpers had to wait for an NS train of empty hoppers en route to Bailey Mine to pass. We caught the NS train at Ingram Hill Road.

The helpers then moved on to the Waynesburg yard where the crew tied them down and turned them off. A local railfan was there photographing the units and said a trainmaster had told him that the NS train we had seen going to Bailey Mine would not load until about midnight.

With no more trains to help for several hours, the helpers would be off duty for awhile.

After getting some last photos of the 8025, we made a foray to the Cumberland Mine, where all was quiet and a gang was out doing track work. We then headed for Sheetz in Waynesburg for a late lunch.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Further down the line, we are along Crouse Road and the train is passing through a cut.

Further down the line, we are along Crouse Road and the train is passing through a cut.

The same location as above, but looking in the opposite direction.

The same location as above, but looking in the opposite direction.

A grab shot on a road whose name I neglected to record.

A grab shot on a road whose name I neglected to record.

The head end of the CSX coal train with CSX No. 59 rounds a curve as it approaches Hopewell Ridge Road

The head end of the CSX coal train with CSX No. 59 rounds a curve as it approaches Hopewell Ridge Road

A going away shot from the crossing of Hopewell Ridge Road.

A going away shot from the crossing of Hopewell Ridge Road.

An NS train with empty hopper cars is en route to Bailey Mine. It is nearing the crossing with Ingram Hill Road.

An NS train with empty hopper cars is en route to Bailey Mine. It is nearing the crossing with Ingram Hill Road.

The crew's day is done and it's time to tie down the power at the Waynesburg yard.

The crew’s day is done and it’s time to tie down the power at the Waynesburg yard.

It's early afternoon but the helper units won't be needed again until around midnight when the next coal trail will be loading at Bailey mine.So the units will enjoy some time off in the Waynesburg yard.

It’s early afternoon but the helper units won’t be needed again until around midnight when the next coal trail will be loading at Bailey mine.So the units will enjoy some time off in the Waynesburg yard.

Santa Trains I — Cruisin’ the Ohio Central

December 18, 2012
Ohio Central No. 3340 leads the Dennison Polar Express train through Uhrichsville. Note the former Pennsylvania Railroad freight station, which is now a pizza shop.

Ohio Central No. 3340 leads the Dennison Polar Express train through Uhrichsville. Note the former Pennsylvania Railroad freight station, which is now a pizza shop.

I took some time over the past two weekends to track down some seasonal trains in the area. The Dennison Depot Museum ran several Polar Express trains on the Ohio Central.

I paid a visit to Dennison to see this operation on Saturday, Dec. 15. The 10-car train departed Dennison for the North Pole (actually Newcomerstown) where Santa boarded the train and visited with the kids while the train returned to Dennison.

Fresh and clean OC SD40-2s were on each end of the train. The pace was leisurely and several photo locations were not a problem.

The weather was certainly not what we here in Northeast Ohio would consider Christmas weather with temps in the 50s and, for the most part, cloudy conditions.

I’ll just hope for some snow next year I guess. This operation is similar to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s popular Polar Express trains.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

A view looking west from the same bridge. Note the diamond of the former Baltimore & Ohio Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling line to Holloway just west of the train.

A view looking west from the same bridge. Note the diamond of the former Baltimore & Ohio Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling line to Holloway just west of the train.

Passing MP 102 in Port Washington on the former PRR Panhandle Line that ran between Pittsburgh and Columbus.

Passing MP 102 in Port Washington on the former PRR Panhandle Line that ran between Pittsburgh and Columbus.

Arriving at the “North Pole,” aka Newcomerstown.

Arriving at the “North Pole,” aka Newcomerstown.

Passing through a made-to-last truss bridge.

Passing through a made-to-last truss bridge.

A forlorn and rusting Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2700 rests next to the OC train in Dennison. A plastic poinsettia added a splash of red to this neglected steamer.

A forlorn and rusting Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2700 rests next to the OC train in Dennison. A plastic poinsettia added a splash of red to this neglected steamer.

Santa Trains II — Daylight Polar Express

December 18, 2012
LTEX 2436 at Peninsula . . . I mean the North Pole.

LTEX 2436 at Peninsula . . . I mean the North Pole.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, I checked out the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s daylight Polar Express runs. The Polars are generally run in the evenings, but on the weekend before Christmas they operate a pair in daylight.

With the Alco/MLW units just not being as dependable as they once were, the CVSR leased a couple of units from LTEX.

Former Santa Fe GP30u No. 2436 was on the south end of the Akron section with FPA4 No. 6771 on the north end.

Former Norfolk Southern GP15 No. 1420 was on the south end of the Cleveland section with one of the RDCs on the north end resulting in a “push mode” operation on the trip from Peninsula to Rockside.

The Akron train stopped at the North Pole (a.k.a. Peninsula) first with the section out of Rockside doing its stop after the Akron train cleared. For about a half-hour Peninsula was a busy place! It was mostly overcast, but I did get a peek of the sun in Peninsula.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

A multitude of elves entertain the children on the train during the station stop.

A multitude of elves entertain the children on the train during the station stop.

Santa’s sleigh has steam power to take him to the train.

Santa’s sleigh has steam power to take him to the train.

The Cleveland section arriving at the North Pole.

The Cleveland section arriving at the North Pole.

I followed the train back to Akron for a bit, shown here passing MP 43.

I followed the train back to Akron for a bit, shown here passing MP 43.