2 Trains, 1 Meet, 1 Minute and 2 Firsts

CSXmeet01

The first of the two CSX container trains passes beneath the Fairchild Avenue bridge in Kent at 1:16 p.m.

It was one of those railfan photograph moments in which everything seemed to be moving rapidly.  We were driving toward Kent because he had heard a CSX train call a signal on the radio. But we couldn’t pick out which signal it was.

We were a few miles north of town so we didn’t even know if we would have enough time to catch this train. We had already struck out twice earlier in the day on catching CSX trains.

In the meantime, another CSX train called a signal, but this one was much fainter. There must be two trains out there.

As we came into Kent on Ohio Route 43 (North Mantua Street), I looked toward the  CSX tracks. No train. That was good news, I thought. Or was it? Was the train by already.

We heard a train calling the signal “Kent,” which is located just south of Summit Street. We pulled into the Sheetz parking lot and hoofed it across Mantua to the bridge carrying the Portage County Hike and Bike travel over the CSX track. A moderate level of snow was falling.

This bridge was opened last year and I had yet to photograph from it. Earlier we had discussed how it might be a nice view from there.

The snow on the ground on the east side of Mantua Street was deep and I was racing as hard as I could while hoping I didn’t slip and fall. I could see a headlight of the approaching Q016 reflecting off the rails on Track No. 2. Did I have enough time?

I barely had gotten into position when the eastbound train was upon us. This would be a first: my first photo taken from this bridge.

Q016 rumbled past. Roger then said he had heard the crew of this train talking on the radio to another train crew . That was even better news. A westbound was coming.

Seconds later westbound Q015 came around the curve and another first occurred. It would be the first time that I’d spotted and photographed double-stacked containers passing each other on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Container trains are old hat on this line, but it has only been a few months since double- stacked container trains began operating here. The clearance enlargement project on the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline has advanced far enough to allow some double-stack operations.

We got our photographs and headed back toward the Sheetz lot, this time at a much slower pace. The elapsed time between my first and last photographs was one minute.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

CSXmeet02

The head end of the eastbound has passed beneath the trail bridge and leans into the curve.

CSXmeet03

Then westbound Q015 pops out from behind the curve. Note the double-stacked containers passing on each train.

CSXmeet04

Q016 had just a few double-stacked containers.

CSXmeet05

Passing the snow-covered milepost 117. The Cuyahoga River is out of view to the left.

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