Archive for January, 2013

Getting in Some Winter Shots Before a Thaw

January 31, 2013
The eastbound NS train near Brady Lake in a view taken from the Lake Rockwell Road bridge.

An eastbound Norfolk Southern ethanol train nears Brady Lake in a view taken from the Lake Rockwell Road bridge. Note the Union Pacific power trailing.

On Tuesday, I reported on a chase of a Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway train that Roger Durfee and I made last Sunday between Mogadore and Kent, Ohio. After getting our last photos of the W&LE train we ambled over to the Norfolk Southern Cleveland Line to catch an eastbound ethanol train.

We were hoping to get swirling snow from the train, but by late Sunday morning nearly all of the snow from the day before had been blown off the rails.

We drove into Kent to check out the CSX tracks. There was plenty of snow between the rails, but with curves in town the trains weren’t moving fast enough to kick up any snow.

By noontime, the clouds had begun gathering and conditions would range from mostly cloudy to some filtered sunlight. A wave of warm air and rain showers were approaching that by Monday would wash away most of the snow.

We had a rapidly closing window to capture some winter weather images because the weather forecast for the week called for warmer than normal temperatures.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A westbound intermodal train passes the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station in Kent. I liked the pattern in the snow made by the tire tracks by the station.

A westbound intermodal train passes the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station in Kent. I liked the pattern in the snow made by the tire tracks by the station.

A westbound manifest freight is about to pass the passenger station. Note the icicles hanging from the edge of the depot’s roof.

A westbound manifest freight is about to pass the B&O passenger station. Note the icicles hanging from the edge of the depot’s roof.

An eastbound intermodal train splits the signals in Kent near milepost 117.

An eastbound intermodal train splits the signals in Kent near milepost 117.

An eastbound empty coke train rumbles through downtown Kent. I liked how the patterns that the snowcover created on the retaining wall next to the Cuyahoga River and on the remains of the dam and onetime locks. The locomotives and the ex-Erie depot are the dominant color. Everything else is pretty much black, white, gray and brown.

An eastbound empty coke train rumbles through downtown Kent. I liked how the patterns that the snowcover created on the retaining wall next to the Cuyahoga River and on the remains of the dam and onetime locks. The locomotives and the ex-Erie depot are the dominant color. Everything else is pretty much black, white, gray and brown.

A westbound intermodal train cruises along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent. Like the photo above, the locomotive lends about the only real splash of color. Again, I liked how the snowfall created predominantly black, white, gray and brown tones.

A westbound intermodal train cruises along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent. Like the photo above, the locomotive lends about the only real splash of color. Again, I liked how the snowfall created predominantly black, white, gray and brown tones.

Advertisements

CVSR Sets Ridership Record in 2012

January 31, 2013
A southbound Scenic train en route to Akron glides along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in October 2012. CVSR ridership in 2012 topped 200,000. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

A southbound Scenic train en route to Akron glides along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in October 2012. CVSR ridership in 2012 topped 200,000. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad broke the 200,000 ridership mark last year. The railroad reported that it carried a record 210,347 passengers in 2012,  breaking the previous record of 195,662 set in 2010.

The CVSR carried 160,009 in 2011, a season in which track repairs curtailed some service.

CVSR said that special events trains, including Polar Express, Thomas the Tank Engine, and wine and beer tasting specials, accounted for 38,305 passengers in 2012.

CVSR operates nearly year-round service between Independence and Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It operates summer service between Akron and Canton.

The national park scenic service resumed on Jan. 19 after being on hiatus since mid-December due to the holidays.

Because of bridge repairs, the Scenic is not serving stations south of Peninsula until late spring.

The current schedule has trains leaving Independence at 11 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. and departing Peninsula at 12:25 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Trains operate on Saturday and Sunday only.

Sun, Snow and the WE

January 30, 2013
A northbound Wheeling & Lake Erie train rumbles northward near Mogadore on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. It was the first opportunity that we had to catch this train.

A northbound Wheeling & Lake Erie train rumbles northward near Mogadore on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. It was the first opportunity that we had to catch this train.

Roger Durfee and I got out about mid morning this past Sunday morning to take advantage of some sunshine and last week’s snowfall. Roger has been schooling me about the finer points of winter weather shooting and today would be no exception.

I never thought I’d hear him say it, but he was complaining about there being sunshine. That was because shortly after picking up breakfast a Mickey  Ds we heard a Wheeling & Lake Erie train get a track warrant to head north on the Cleveland Subdivision. The sun angles would work against us most for most of the chase.

What Roger really wanted was to have seen the same train the day before. It had been cloudy and snowing on Saturday morning and the fresh snowfall covered the rails and trees. Alas, there had been no train to photograph. The Cleveland Sub has two trains a day and they sometimes run at night or not run at all.

By Sunday morning the snow had sunk, thus exposing the rails, and had fallen off the trees. But you take what you can and hope for better luck on your next outing. Of course, we didn’t do all that bad on this outing. In a few places the tracks curve eastward into the light, but otherwise we had to content ourselves with side shots and shadows.

When we heard the WE train get the track warrant, we were in Cuyahoga Falls and the train was in Mogadore. We caught up with the train north of Mogodore but couldn’t get to our first photo spot in time.

It was amazing how “fast” a train traveling 10 mph can go. You might think we would get well ahead of the train, but we didn’t, thus missing out on a few photo locations.

We worked our way north through Kent. Our last photo location would be the Judson Road bridge north of Kent. We had heard some Norfolk Southern radio traffic and hoped to get some NS action kicking up the snow near Brady Lake. It didn’t work out that way because the NS trains overnight had blown the right of way clean of snow.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming out of a tunnel of trees at Sunnybrook Road in Brimfield Station.

Coming out of a tunnel of trees at Sunny Brook Road in Brimfield Station.

The same location but closer to the grade crossing.

The same location but closer to the grade crossing.

Leaning into the curve at Sunny Brook Road in Brimfield Station. This had been the first train to travel these tracks in at least 24 hours.

Leaning into the curve at Sunny Brook Road in Brimfield Station. This had been the first train to travel these tracks in at least 24 hours.

Cruising toward Howe Road just south of Kent. This was one of the few times when we go well ahead of the train and had to wait a few minutes for it to arrive.

Cruising toward Howe Road just south of Kent. This was one of the few times when we go well ahead of the train and had to wait a few minutes for it to arrive.

Crossing over the top of the former Erie Lackawanna Railroad tracks in Kent. It’s not a great shot, but I was intrigued by the snow on the former Erie property.

Crossing over the top of the former Erie Lackawanna Railroad tracks in Kent. It’s not a great shot, but I was intrigued by the snow on the former Erie property.

Approaching the Judson Road overpass through a slight cut coming out of a curve.

Approaching the Judson Road overpass through a slight cut coming out of a curve.

A straight shot north. In less than a mile, the W&LE tracks will pass beneath the NS Cleveland Line.

A straight shot north. In less than a mile, the W&LE tracks will pass beneath the NS Cleveland Line.

Mother Nature applied a layer of frosting to the boxcars.

Mother Nature applied a layer of frosting to the boxcars.

The Vet Locomotive Makes a Surprise Move

January 29, 2013

Norfolk Southern locomotive No. 6920, the “Honoring our Veterans” unit, paid a surprise visit to the Cleveland area on Monday morning.

The last word was it was that it was the trailing unit on train 34N, but sometime Sunday night it was set out and added to a 64N crude train in Cleveland.

I was just heading out the door at the yard office in Motor Yard to go to the east end and assist this train in adding a rear buffer car when I saw this colorful consist pass by.

Between having to assist this particular train, the horrid weather and the early hour I was only able to grab a quick photo of it as it dropped the conductor off to help make the move.

Although it is not the best photo I’ve ever taken, it does show this neat unit at the east end of Motor Yard.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Pretty Orange Locomotives Ready to Roll

January 29, 2013

A trip to southern Ohio on Sunday yielded several freshly painted diesel locomotives at The Ohio Central facility at Morgan Run. These were tunnel motors, one of which was lettered for Indiana & Ohio and another for the Chicago, Ft Wayne & Eastern. A third SD40 was lettered Ohio Central I believe, but I didn’t get a close look.

The first two railroads are new to the Genesee & Wyoming family, which bought Ohio Central a few years back. These were part of the RailAmerica short line system that has now been merged into the G&W system.

Union Pacific has been called the “borg” of railroading, assimilating smaller railroads along the way. Genesee & Wyoming is earning a reputation as the “borg” of short line railroading and seems to be living up to that here.

The last picture below is of some Ohio Central power awaiting its turn to be painted.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

A Taste of Winter Railroading

January 28, 2013

Roger Durfee was sitting in his “office” when a Norfolk Southern RoadRailer came along. Being an avid photographer, he picked up his camera and made a photograph of it.

Of course, his office is the cab of a locomotive of an NS local freight that was sitting near CP 107 on the Cleveland Line.

RoadRailer train – symbol 261 – kicks up some snow as it plunges through the bitterly cold weather that gripped Northeast Ohio last week. But it’s all in a day’s work on the railroad, where wintery conditions are just one more variable to deal with in a day’s work.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

In Memory of Richard Culin

January 27, 2013

Longtime Akron Railroad Club member Richard W. Culin, 80, died on Jan. 21, 2013, at the Rockynol Retirement Center in Akron.

Culin Mr. Culin was perhaps best known for the lighthearted manner in which he would nominate the ARRC officers for re-election at the November meeting. By the time he got done making the case for why the officers should serve another year no one wanted to vote against them.

In addition to membership in the ARRC, Mr. Culin was a member of the Midwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

He and ARRC Vice President J. Gary Dillon had been friends for 50 years.

Born on March 28, 1932, in Philadelphia, he was the son of Clarence Culin and Edythe G. (Wissinger) Culin Thomas.

He served from May 26, 1950, to Sept. 30, 1952, with the U.S. Marine Corps and was assigned to duty in the Korean War.

Mr. Culin is survived by his brother-in-law, Dusan “Duke”; a niece, Shelley, and a nephew, Mike Joksimovic.  He was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Louise Joksimovic.

A graveside service was conducted at Violett Cemetery in Goshen, Ind. A memorial service will be held at the end of May in Akron at the chapel at Rockynol Retirement Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to Elizabeth L. Joksimovic Memorial Foundation, 655 Deerfield Rd. No. 100, P.O. Box 270, Deerfield, IL 60015.

Online condolences may be shared at www.yoderculpfuneralhome.com.

NS ‘Creamsicle’ in Cleveland Deep Freeze

January 26, 2013
Norfolk Southern's Interstate Heritage Locomotive passes beneath the signal bridge at milepost 192 near Eastland Road in Cleveland on Friday, Jan. 25.

Norfolk Southern’s Interstate Heritage Locomotive passes beneath the signal bridge at milepost 192 near Eastland Road in Cleveland on Friday, Jan. 25.

Norfolk Southern’s Interstate heritage locomotive finally escaped Mingo Junction on Friday on a 414 coke train. Despite the weather I did a few photos of it, although as many of you know I do enjoy getting out with the camera on days like this. The timing was perfect as five minutes after marking off at Motor Yard No. 414 showed up. It had been snowing all morning, and the roads were not in the best of shape, so I put my Jeep in 4 wheel drive and headed for the west side of Cleveland.

I knew I had a little cushion because there was going to be a crew change at Rockport Yard. I made good time across town and elected to dive into CP Ram for the next photo.

After waiting at Eastland Road (near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport) for about an hour, the 414 headed west under the ex-New York Central milepost 192 signal bridge.

After missing the Interstate unit last week due to being in Pittsburgh to nail the Lackawanna heritage locomotive, I was happy to catch the Interstate at last.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Blowing snow while blowing past Motor Yard.

Blowing snow while blowing past Motor Yard.

Another view at Motor Yard. That is the power for the BF12 on Track 43.

Another view at Motor Yard. That is the power for the BF12 on Track 43.

The view at CP Ram, a location not often photographed.

The view at CP Ram, a location not often photographed.

Another view at CP RAM in Cleveland on the Lakefront Line.

Another view at CP RAM in Cleveland on the Lakefront Line.

A RoadRailer kicks up the snow near Eastland Road.

A RoadRailer kicks up the snow near Eastland Road.

New Rail Line to Begin in SE Ohio

January 25, 2013

A new short line railroad is set to begin operations on April 1 in southeastern Ohio. Trains magazine reported on Thursday that the 12.2-mile Ohio Terminal Railway will connect with Norfolk Southern and provide rail access to the Hannibal Industrial Park in Monroe County.

Ohio Terminal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carload Express, Inc., will also serve an Ormet aluminum plant. The rail line, which has been dormant for a decade, extends between Powhattan and Omal along the Ohio River and connects with NS at Powhattan.

Plans for reviving the railroad were announced in late 2012. The railroad expects to carry sand, concrete, and other materials used in Monroe County’s Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.   Carload Express operates three other short line railroads in Ohio, northern West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania: the Allegheny Valley Railroad, Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, and Camp Chase Railroad.

Ohio Terminal will be the only rail service in the county, which is located in a highly productive “wet” gas and oil producing portion of the Utica and Marcellus shale fields.

The railroad line was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to serve an aluminum plant at Hannibal, Ohio, and later became part of Conrail, which sold it to the Ormet Corp. In 2007, Hannibal Real Estate acquired the former Ormet rolling mills at Hannibal. The transaction included the operating rights of the rail line.

Stopping by a Pond on a Cloudy Morning

January 24, 2013

While on a recent railfanning outing in western Pennsylvania, my friend Adam and I stopped by the large pond next to Norfolk Southern’s Fort Wayne Line located just north of New Galilee, Pa. I had noticed fog coming off other ponds on the drive over here and thought that, perhaps, that might be the case with the New Galilee pond.

But we had no such luck. Still, the pond was frozen and less than a minute after we pulled up next to it we heard a locomotive horn sounding in town.

We bolted out of Adam’s car and captured a westbound stack train reflecting on the ice of the pond.

Photographs by Craig Sanders