Archive for March, 2013

The Third Train was a Real Charm

March 31, 2013
Norfolk Southern train No. 310 with the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive in the lead saunters through Kimball late Saturday morning. At least four other Akron Railroad Club members would catch this train father down the line.

Norfolk Southern train No. 310 with the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive in the lead saunters through Kimball late Saturday morning. At least six other Akron Railroad Club members would catch this train father down the line.

The forecast for Saturday called for mostly sunny skies so I just had to get out somewhere to photograph some trains. I thought about going to Berea, but I’ll be there next Saturday for the Akron Railroad Club’s Dave McKay Day.

I thought about going to Marion to try to get some Kansas City Southern power on the Q109 shuttle train. But I was told that that train doesn’t operate on Saturdays.

So I decided to do Bellevue on the chance that a heritage locomotive or two might show up.

The NS 8100, the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit, was reported to be in Bellevue. As I arrived in town, I spotted a grain train heading south (railroad east) on the Sandusky District.

I had a vague recollection that I had read online that a heritage unit – maybe the NKP one – had been in the power consist of a grain train delivered to Clyde on the Toledo District.

Could this be that train going somewhere else? I hot footed it southbound toward Frank, but got there too late to get a photograph. And there were no heritage units on this train.

I arrived back in Bellevue to see a slow train passing the Mad River & Nickel Plate Road Museum. There were a high number of Canadian National cars in the consist and I guessed that this was the 184, which always has CN power on the lead.

My guess was correct, but I had missed out on photographing this train. Strike 2!

I got situated in the parking lot across from the old interlocking tower that once guarded the crossing of the four railroads that served Bellevue.

I heard the yardmaster talking on the radio to train 310 with the NS 8100. That number sounded familiar. Was this the NKP heritage unit?

I called Roger Durfee to see if he knew about any heritage units being near or likely to reach Bellevue today.

He replied that the NKP unit was buried in the yard. I told him about hearing on the radio the 310 with the NS 8100.

Bingo. That’s the NKP locomotive. Roger was out photographing the Illinois Terminal heritage unit at Avon Lake but got excited about the prospect of catching the NKP heritage unit on the former NKP mainline.

I looked over my DeLorme Atlas and decided to try photographing the 310 at Kimball, a small town just east of Bellevue Yard. I’d never been there before but had a hazy recollection of having seen photos taken with NKP-style block signals in the image.

On the drive there, I confirmed that the 184 had CN power as I could see it working in the yard.

I found Kimball but the NKP-style block signals at the east end of the siding had been replaced by newer models.

I decided to use the signals as a prop along with an unused spur that leads to an old grain elevator.

The wait for the 310 seemed to be agonizingly slow. I had seen two trains thus far and had not been able to photograph either of them, only watch them roll by.

Every so often I’d hear the 310 talking on the radio. About 11, the 310 said it was ready to head east, but nothing happened.

The wait ended shortly before 11:30. I could see a headlight to the west and I confirmed through my telephoto lens that this was the 8100.

Man, those gold stripes on the nose never looked so good as they did coming down the track on this day.

Later, I found two more Nickel Plate “heritage locomotives” in Bellevue. But these are in a museum. I’m sure they’ve been past that grain elevator in Kimball many times.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS 8100 crosses over the switch of the spur track to a grain elevator. The elevator is still in use, it appears, but the track is seldom used, if it is used at all these days.

NS 8100 crosses over the switch of the spur track to a grain elevator. The elevator is still in use, it appears, but the track is seldom used, if it is used at all these days.

Splitting the signals at the east end of the Kimball siding.

Splitting the signals at the east end of the Kimball siding.

NS 8100 was not the only Nickel Plate heritage unit that I saw on Saturday.

NS 8100 was not the only Nickel Plate heritage unit that I saw on Saturday.

A pair of Nickel Plate diesels in the Mad River & Nickel Plate Road Musuem in Bellevue.

A pair of Nickel Plate diesels in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Musuem in Bellevue.

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Timely Heads Up Yields Good Result

March 31, 2013

ARRC treasuer Ed Ribinskas can hear inside his house in Painesville the horns of the Norfolk Southern trains traveling over the former Nickel Plate Road mainline. The crossing at Riverview Drive and the trestle over the Grand River are but minutes from his home.

Some timely heads up notices on the Internet enabled him to be in the right place at the right time early Saturday afternoon. The NS 8100, the NKP heritage locomotive, was leading train 310 eastbound to Buffalo.

Ed caught the train crossing the trestle along with a handful of other railfans. This is Ed’s first contribution to the ARRC blog since he bought a digital camera late last summer. Look for more of Ed’s work to appear on the site in the coming days and weeks.

Photographs by Ed Ribinskas

Easter Came Early in Conneaut

March 31, 2013
Norfolk Southern No. 8100 pauses in Conneaut for a crew change on Saturday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern No. 8100 pauses in Conneaut for a crew change on Saturday afternoon.

Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon was out hunting “Easter eggs” in the Pittsburgh area on Saturday when he got wind that Norfolk Southern 8100, the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive, was leading train 310 on the former NKP mainline to Buffalo, N.Y.

So he charged up to Conneaut where he capture the 8100 at the crew change point and later on the trestle over Conneaut Creek. Look for the rest of his “Easter eggs” in a post later this week.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

It was Well Worth the Drive

March 30, 2013
An NS coal train runs down the street in West Brownsville, Pa.

An NS coal train runs down the street in West Brownsville, Pa.

Here are some more photographs from my trip to the Mon Valley in Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 23.

While the target for Saturday’s trip was the Union Pacific No. 1996 – the Southern Pacific heritage unit – it was trailing and dead in tow.

A thread on Trainorders.com suggested that it wasn’t worth the drive to get it. I disagree. It was totally worth it.

e get so focused on the heritage power of railroads that we forget about the rest of the train.

The N22 was led by a clean SD40-2 which made for a nice subject. Also, the afternoon light could not have been more perfect.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Passing the station at Morgan, Pa.

Passing the station at Morgan, Pa.

Taking the signal at CP Mather.

Taking the signal at CP Mather.

Rolling along at Clarksville, Pa.

Rolling along at Clarksville, Pa.

A strange MOW train owned by Herzog. Although I don't know what it is exactly, it was accross the river so I didn't have time to investigate further. The train itself is old doublestack well cars.

A strange MOW train owned by Herzog. Although I don’t know what it is exactly, it was accross the river so I didn’t have time to investigate further. The train itself is old doublestack well cars.

The motive power somewhat resembles an Amtrak Genesis unit.

The motive power somewhat resembles an Amtrak Genesis unit.

Winter Days Working on the Railroad

March 29, 2013
Norfolk Southern's BF-12 heads out into a cold, lonely, snow-covered yard.

Norfolk Southern’s BF-12 heads out into a cold, lonely, snow-covered yard.

In this never ending winter, you make do as best you can. It’s well known that I enjoy photography in winter conditions. Attached are a few from around my work during the past couple of snows we have had.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

The 15N passing the west end of Motor with . . .

The 15N passing the west end of Motor Yard with . . .

 . . . a little surprise in the consist. The Union Pacific 1996, the Southern Pacific heritage unit.

. . . a little surprise in the consist. The Union Pacific 1996, the Southern Pacific heritage unit.

The marker of 15N and the head end of 20R pass right at the Wheelock switches as some local power waits in the pocket.

The marker of 15N and the head end of 20R pass right at the Wheelock switches as some local power waits in the pocket.

BF-14 heading into a snowy abyss as it follows a 64R out of the yard that added a rear buffer car. The destination of the BF-14 is Crown Industrial in Twinsburg.

BF-14 heading into a snowy abyss as it follows a 64R out of the yard that added a rear buffer car. The destination of the BF-14 is Crown Industrial in Twinsburg.

Somehow the top half was clean, but the bottom half was snow covered.

Somehow the top half was clean, but the bottom half was snow covered.

Close up of the pilot area of the 5821. It's always fun to MU units in these conditions!

Close up of the pilot area of the 5821. It’s always fun to MU units in these conditions!

GM and Ford compare profiles.

GM and Ford compare profiles.

S&A Unit Leads Oil Can Train in NE Ohio

March 29, 2013

Norfolk Southern No. 1965 — the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive, made a run through Ohio on Thursday at the head of the 64R, a crude oil train bound for Delaware. The train originated on BNSF and when Thursday began it was maneuvering its way through Chicago.

The train reached Greater Cleveland about 4 p.m. and moved through without delay. It is shown above at Bedford at 5:19 p.m. at milepost 110.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

CSX, NS Battle Snowstorm in Perry (Part 2)

March 28, 2013
CSX Q020 meets the Q371 just east of the Main Street crossing in Perry on Saturday, March 16.

CSX Q020 meets the Q371 just east of the Main Street crossing in Perry on March 16.

In this second installment of the story of how Ed Ribinskas and I railfanned in sometimes heavy snow on Saturday, March 16. We pick up the narrative with an eastbound stack train on CSX meeting a stopped westbound manifest freight at Perry.

Perhaps the westbound, the Q371, had triggered a detector alarm back in Madison. Whatever the case, the conductor had to walk the entire train. There turned out to be nothing amiss.

In case you missed the first part of this story, it is posted below. But to bring you up to speed, Ed and I were spending some time trackside before moving on to work at the Akron Railroad Club table at the train show at Lakeland College in Kirtland.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

I’ve always loved the uniformity of unit trains, particularly that of double-stacked containers. I really love to see this in winter weather conditions.

I’ve always loved the uniformity of unit trains, particularly that of double-stacked containers. I really love to see this in winter weather conditions.

Containers meet general freight cars.

Containers meet general freight cars.

Ed had the idea that we move down the road toward Painesville. We needed to move on anyway because we had a train show to get to and it was to our west. Ed said that the Q371 would be moving slowly for a while so we could catch him somewhere else.

That was a good idea except we were moving slowly, too, because the roads were snow covered and slick.

Ed had suggested going to the depot in Painesville, but the Q371 was on the move and I wasn’t sure we could get there before the head end of the train did given the driving conditions. The Q371 could pick up speed, but we couldn’t.

We stopped at Lane Road west of Perry and decided to do an across the field shot. Here the Q371 passes some recently cut logs.

We stopped at Lane Road west of Perry and decided to do an across the field shot. Here the Q371 passes some recently cut logs.

The across the field shot that I wanted to get.

The across the field shot that I wanted to get.

Not the greatest image I’ve ever made, but I like how the snow-covered road leads into the train at the crossing and the snow covered pine trees to the right make a nick touch.

Not the greatest image I’ve ever made, but I like how the snow-covered road leads into the train at the crossing and the snow covered pine trees to the right make a nick touch.

We figured that the Q167 would be running at restricted speed behind the Q371. We made a break for Painesville, found a place to park where I hoped we wouldn’t get stuck – we didn’t – and set up at the Elm Street crossing to get the Q167 coming around a curve at milepost 153

Here is a three-shot sequence of that scene. These just may be my favorite images that I shot on this day because of the presence of snow-covered trees on both sides of the tracks and the swirling snow being kicked up by the train.

New York Court Overturns Photo Ban Law

March 28, 2013

In the for what it’s worth department, a federal court has invalidated a New York City law banning  photography of transit operations and requiring riders to present identification when asked by police.

The case was filed in November 2011 by the New York Civil Liberties Union in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The case followed the arrests of photographers Steve Barry and Michael Burkhart. Barry is editor of Railfan & Railroad Magazine.

“This decision is a victory for the freedom of people to walk around free from showing their papers, a core American right,” NYCLU staff attorney Mariko Hirose says. “It’s past time for the NYPD to learn about the Constitution and stop harassing and even arresting people for exercising their basic rights.”

Barry and Burkhart were photographing subway trains on Aug. 21, 2010, while awaiting the arrival of a vintage train sponsored by the New York Transit Museum.

Both men were issued summonses for “unauthorized photos.” Barry also was charged with failing to provide an identification card to the officers. The New York City Transit Adjudication Bureau later dismissed all the charges.

Expect to See Fewer GE Deliveries in NE Ohio

March 27, 2013

Northeast Ohio railfans have long enjoyed watching new locomotive deliveries pass through the area after being released by the General Electric manufacturing plant in Erie, Pa.

But now sightings of those deliveries to Union Pacific and BNSF will become less frequent following the opening of a new locomotive factory in Fort Worth, Texas.

The first new locomotives built at the Texas plant were recently released and sent on their way.

The Fort Worth facility is building some of the 175 ES44C4s ordered by BNSF.
The locomotives were assembled in Texas using components sent from various sources. GE plans to eventually build its own components in-house.

Of the 175 units that BNSF ordered, 100 will be built in Ft. Worth with 75 being assembled in Erie. These numbers could change, depending on the new factories performance. Road numbers for the order will be BNSF Nos. 6508-6599 and No. 7100-7182.

CSX, NS Battle Snowstorm in Perry (Part 1)

March 26, 2013
CSX Q371, a westbound manifest freight, has stopped in Perry by the signal bridge that is no longer used. At the time we didn’t know why but would later learn that the conductor was out inspecting the train.

CSX Q371, a westbound manifest freight, has stopped in Perry by the signal bridge that is no longer that no longer has signal heads attached to it.

On a recent Saturday, I picked up Ed Ribinskas at his home in Painesville. We were going to work the Akron Railroad Club table at a train show in Kirtland, but first we wanted to get in a couple hours of railfanning at Perry.

The weather forecast had called for rain and snow mixed. That’s not necessarily good weather in which to photograph and maybe we’d wind up watching more than photographing.

Around 7 a.m. that morning it began snowing. In Lake County the snow was often heavy at times and persistent.

The trees were covered, the snow plows had to come out and it made for a beautiful winter wonderland scene. In the first of two posts, I present a gallery of images that I recorded during the two plus hours that we spent trackside in the sometimes heavy snow.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Q371 is stopped and at the time we didn’t know why. We had heard a horn sounding to the west indicating that an eastbound was in the area. We had heard the IH dispatcher talking to a Q167 I think it was who was behind the Q371. Perhaps the dispatcher was going to run the stack train around the Q371 and the eastbound was holding  a mile west where the crossovers are located at CP 148.

The Q371 is stopped and at the time we didn’t know why. We had heard a horn sounding to the west indicating that an eastbound was in the area. Earlier, we had heard the IH dispatcher talking to a Q167, I think it was, who was behind the Q371. Perhaps the dispatcher was going to run the stack train around the Q371 and the eastbound was holding a mile west where the crossovers are located at CP 148.

The Q371 continues to remain stopped on Track No. 1. This view was taken from the Main Street crossing. Note that snow covers the tops of the rails on both tracks. At this point, the snow was coming down at a good clip and accumulating fast.

The Q371 is still stopped on Track No. 1. This view was taken from the Main Street crossing. Note that snow covers the tops of the rails on both tracks. At this point, the snow was coming down at a good clip and accumulating fast.

We were hearing another horn to the east and we figured that to be the Q167. Then I saw a headlight entering a curve and realized that the horn we had been hearing was an NS train, not a CSX train. I scrambled to get down to the NS tracks. This was the best I could do. The NS 205 was really motoring.

We were hearing another horn to the east and figured that to be the Q167. Then I saw a headlight entering a curve and realized that the horn we had been hearing was an NS train, not a CSX train. I scrambled to get down to the NS tracks. This was the best I could do. The NS 205 was really motoring.

The stack train takes the signal at Perry. These are the signals for the end of the Perry siding and the beginning of the Fairport Harbor branch. I was intrigued with all of the snow cakes to the cab windows and doors of the trailing unit.

The stack train takes the signal at Perry. These are the signals for the end of the Perry siding and the beginning of the Fairport Harbor branch. I was intrigued with all of the snow caked to the cab windows of the trailing unit.

Although it was a wet snow, the 205 was really kicking it up because the snow had not become packed down yet. I had to wipe off my camera lens after getting this shot.

Although it was a wet snow, the 205 was really kicking it up because the snow had not become packed down yet. I had to wipe off my camera lens after getting this shot.

We returned to my car and turned on the scanner. We soon learned why the Q371 was stopped. The engineer reported to the IH dispatcher that the conductor had finished inspecting the train and “we’re all on the rails.”

We also learned that Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited was just to our west, running three hours late. I posted the photos of No. 48 late last week.

Following Amtrak was the Q020, an eastbound CSX stack train. It was moving rather slowly, but soon picked up speed. One of the attractions of photographing trains in snow is getting images in which snow is plastered all over the lead unit’s nose.

Following Amtrak was the Q020, an eastbound CSX stack train. It was moving rather slowly, but soon picked up speed. One of the attractions of photographing trains in snow is getting images in which snow is plastered all over the lead unit’s nose.

Another attracting is seeing the snow covering the trailing units, too. This really says winter.

Another attracting is seeing the snow covering the trailing units, too. This really says winter.

There’s an artistry to the patterns that snow makes when it clings to locomotives and the cars of a train.

There’s an artistry to the patterns that snow makes when it clings to locomotives and the cars of a train.