CSX, NS Battle Snowstorm in Perry (Part 1)

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.

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