Finding a Consolation Prize in Kent

As the Q353 made its way through downtown Kent, a couple in kayaks working their way down the Cuyahoga River. One of them is in the middle of the river while the other is against the bank just below the lead locomotive's nose.

As the Q353 made its way through downtown Kent, a couple in kayaks working their way down the Cuyahoga River. One of them is in the middle of the river while the other is against the bank just below the lead locomotive’s nose.

It had been one of those frustrating days that we all have while out trackside hoping to land an unusual catch in front of our camera.

Fan reports online indicated that two Norfolk Southern heritage units were on the point of trains that would pass through Northeast Ohio.

The Lehigh Valley H unit was leading a westbound train of empty tank cars while the Interstate unit was leading a coal train bound for North Carolina.

I’ve photographed the Lehigh Valley unit once, but it was trailing. I’ve never seen the Interstate unit.

I headed to Alliance with visions of a double heritage unit sighting dancing in my head. What a great day this might be.

Catching the Interstate unit would be a long shot, but maybe I would get lucky. I didn’t.

The empty tanker train got to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh by noon, but it sat there for several hours before a crew came out to move it further west.

At about 3:30 p.m., I got a call from Roger Durfee informing me that the crew for the tanker train would not go on duty until just after 4:30. By the time the Lehigh Valley unit got to Alliance it would be dark or nearly dark.

But Roger said he had seen a Q379 on CSX that had an interesting motive power consist that included an NS leader. Behind it was a K train that also had an NS leader.

So I headed for Kent. I heard the IO dispatcher and a passing train crew talking about the Q379 picking up 10 cars at Lordstown. Nothing was said about the K train.

I never did see the Q379 or that K train. Not only had I struck out on the NS heritage units, I had struck out on the CSX consolation prizes.

But all was not lost. As a Q353 manifest freight made its way through downtown Kent, I spotted a couple in kayaks in the Cuyahoga River.

After the train had passed, they would make their way down the river toward the Main Street bridge.

Apparently the object of what they were doing was to work the rapids for a while and then move down the river to work some more rapids.

I enjoyed photographing them and having something different to capture. So many of the trains that we photograph are routine and we come away with some rather ordinary shots. It was nice to have something a little different to work with.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The kayaks are still working this spot of the river as the rear of the train approaches.

The kayaks are still working this spot of the river as the rear of the train approaches.

Bringing up the EOT on the Q353 was this empty vessel that conveys heavy high and wide loads.

Bringing up the EOT on the Q353 was this empty vessel that conveys heavy high and wide loads.

The couple in the kayaks have moved down to the vicinity of the Main Street bridge. After pausing along the bank, they are read to work some more rapids.

The couple in the kayaks have moved down to the vicinity of the Main Street bridge. After pausing along the bank, they are read to work some more rapids.

Kayak05

Kayak06

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