Sun, Snow and the WE

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.

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One Response to “Sun, Snow and the WE”

  1. Todd Dillon Says:

    Roger is right this is a tough train to shoot due to sun angles almost better on overcast day but these came out nice.

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