Pittsburgh Winter Journey (Part 2)

A westbound stacker rumbles across the Ohio Connecting bridge from the Mon Line to the Fort Wayne Line. It would be the last westbound we saw on this day.

A westbound stacker rumbles across the Ohio Connecting bridge from the Mon Line to the Fort Wayne Line. It would be the last westbound we saw on this day.

In the last installment, Peter Bowler and I had decided to strike out for Pittsburgh. Our destination was West Park.

Peter had brought along a portable GPS, but it wouldn’t start up right away and we ended up stumbling around not knowing where we were going as he tried to get the GPS to work. We ended up in Homewood.

The GPS finally came to life, but not when I needed it to do so. As I approached an intersection where I had to go left, right or straight, the GPS went silent.

I saw that going to the right would take me to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I didn’t need a GPS to tell me that I could go east on the Pike and then south on I-79 toward downtown Pittsburgh.

As we approached Pittsburgh, it began snowing. This was something of a surprise because the forecast called for a 30 percent chance of snow showers. I saw the snow as a positive because it would give a fresher appearance to the existing snow on the ground.

What we didn’t expect is that it would snow off and on, but mostly on, for the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon.

I posted earlier this week some images from West Park. We also spent time at California Avenue to get trains on the Ohio Connecting bridge over the Ohio River.

Traffic there was more sparse that we would have liked. As we sat waiting for trains, a 17G passed beneath us, but we couldn’t see it.

We only heard it on the radio and the sound that I made. I found out later that the 17G has the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit in its motive power consist, but it was trailing.

I guess that means that we failed twice. After our second trip to West Park we head north on Pennsylvania Route 65 in search of food and drink.

We found both at a Subway. Our final stop of the day would be at Leetsdale. It had been cold, but not uncomfortable at West Park and along California Avenue.

But as we stood on the bridge spanning the NS tracks the wind was whipping around a bit and it had a bite.

We could clearly hear two CSX trains across the Ohio River, but NS was silent. It was getting dark and we were feeling defeated.

Peter mentioned that he’d never been shut out at Leetsdale but today appeared to be that day.

We began walking toward the car when Peter spotted an eastbound tank car train in the distance headed our way.

We scrambled to reach the place were the concrete wall is low enough to step over. Traffic across the bridge had been higher than normal during out stay at Leetsdale and many of the vehicle had been automobiles rather than trucks.

No traffic was coming we rushed to get into position as the tank train was closing on us fast. It didn’t help that the pavement was slippery.

I elected for more of a side angle shot of the head end, which I was able to get whereas Peter wanted the most coming straight on image.

The tanker train was kicking up a snowy mist as it passed by. What a beautiful sight. With that our railfanning in Pittsburgh came to a close.

We would later spot the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit near the fueling rack in Conway Yard and spot a few more trains as we made our way out of town. We had not seen a high volume of trains but made nice images of those that we had seen.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A work train makes it way into Island Avenue Yard. It was the first freight train I had seen use this leg of the wye.

A work train makes it way into Island Avenue Yard. It was the first freight train I had seen use this leg of the wye.

An eastbound stack train heads out onto the bridge. We both liked the effect the snow clinging to the bridge made. It transformed the scene into something we had never seen before.

An eastbound stack train heads out onto the bridge. We both liked the effect the snow clinging to the bridge made. It transformed the scene into something we had never seen before.

Plenty of snow coated the trailers on the rear of the intermodal train.

Plenty of snow coated the trailers on the rear of the intermodal train.

The tanker train passes the iconic position light signals at CP Leets. How much longer will these signals continue to stand guard here?

The tanker train passes the iconic position light signals at CP Leets. How much longer will these signals continue to stand guard here?

Its winter in the Pennsylvania hills as snow has settled everywhere in Leetsdale.

Its winter in the Pennsylvania hills as snow has settled everywhere in Leetsdale.

Snow is flying as the tank train crosses over at CP Leet. This is a color photograph, but the grays of winter predominate. Only the red "snake eyes" of the position light signals add much color to the image.

Snow is flying as the tank train crosses over at CP Leet. This is a color photograph, but the grays of winter predominate. Only the red “snake eyes” of the position light signals add much color to the image.

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