NS Locals and Branches in Northern Ohio

NS locomotives sit idle at the Little Tikes plant in Hudson.

NS locomotives sit idle at the Little Tikes plant in Hudson.

I caught two different Norfolk Southern locals on Wednesday on two different branches.

This is a tale of those routes. Both were built in the 1950s so each is relatively new railroad construction.

The first is the Shinrock connection, which was constructed by the Nickel Plate Road to connect the mainline with the former Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Huron branch.

The second is the former Euclid branch at Hudson. The Euclid branch was built by the PRR to serve a large factory that built (you guessed it) Euclid brand dump trucks and earth movers.

Later, Terex took this plant over and it’s now owned by JoAnn Fabrics. In the 1980s, a second customer, Little Tikes, opened a plant on this branch. This plant is still rail served today.

My job took me out to Sandusky on Wednesday and on the way back I spotted an NS local heading south on the Shinrock branch.

It was moving slowly so I caught up with it. It was not much to look at: a high hood GP38-2 and an SD40-2 just out of the capital rebuild program. Both are ex-Southern units. No. 5074 was built in August 1973 and No. 3321 was assembled in May 1979.

This got me thinking. The 5074 turns 40 this year and so far still retains its high short hood. This is becoming an endanger species on Norfolk Southern, a railroad that was once known for having fleets of locomotives so equipped.

By 1962, all railroads save the N&W and Southern had switched to short low hood construction for diesel locomotives.

These two continued building with high short hoods and when they merged they had a tremendous fleet them. A hi-hood engine symbolized NS as much as an F40 did with Amtrak.

No. 3321 lost its high hood last year with a rebuilt cab and electronics. That will be the fate of all remaining high hood units on the NS roster. Either through retirement or rebuilding the era of the high hood will soon end.

As I drove home I passed the Little Tikes plant in Hudson. I have never caught a train switching here although from time to time NS has parked engines as was the case today. No. 3060 is an ex-Conrail GP40.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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One Response to “NS Locals and Branches in Northern Ohio”

  1. erie833 Says:

    At last count there were 370 high short hood units on the roster, so we still have some time to catch them. The 4 GP38AC units left are the ones to get soon for sure. The B13 that switches Tykes in the wee hours of the morning often outlaws there. I’ve taxied out to bring it back in many times. You forgot one of the most interesting “branch lines” in our area, the Twinsburg Industrial track. Check it out some time.

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