Trains, Planes and an Automobile

NS 412 is about to rumble past the Olmsted Falls depot with its consist of high top hopper cars.

NS 412 is about to rumble past the Olmsted Falls depot with its consist of high top hopper cars.

Olmsted Falls is one of those railfanning spots that is well known by many locals, but which tends to be overshadowed by the better known and “patronized”  Berea a few minutes away.

The advantage of going to Berea is that you get CSX traffic as well as the Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line. But I like Olmsted Falls because there tends to be fewer people there and you can easily get on both sides of the tracks to take advantage of whatever lighting conditions may exist.

On a recent Sunday, I went to the Falls to catch a very late running Amtrak No. 49. While I got “bonus coverage” when NS 8100 (the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive) led the 20W past. I covered both of those trains in earlier coverage.

This post is devoted to a few other trains that I captured while waiting for Amtrak No. 49.

I begin with three images of an eastbound coal train. Although not as flashy or “glamorous” as a passenger train or a train led by an H unit, I thought this train reflects the heritage of the Norfolk & Western of hauling coal from the West Virginia mountains.

I converted these photos to black and white because the flat lighting conditions resulted in muted colors. But I also did it because, well, certain trains just seem to call for being in a black and white world. A coal train is one of them.

As I watched car after car roll past with the term “high top” on them, I kept thinking about high top sneakers, which were popular in my younger days. If I recall, those were black and white. If memory serves me correctly, this train carried symbol 412.

There always seems to be an outlier in every group and so it was with this train.There was one “low top” hopper car in the consist.

A while after the passage of the 412 came another coal train, this one carrying symbol 417. The Toledo East dispatcher told this train to pace itself going west because it would soon come to a halt behind a 15N that was stopped ahead.

NS was single tracking for 18 miles west of CP 218 and the 417 would spend several hours waiting for a route and be passed by at least one train, which was carrying a load of empty crude oil tankers.

Another feature of Olmsted Falls is that it lies beneath the final approach path of runways 6R and 6L at nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

When air traffic is landing on those runways, as it was on Sunday, you get nice close-up views of the planes. Air traffic in and out of Cleveland isn’t what it used to be following the closing this year of the United Airlines hub that had been built by Continental Airlines. United still, though, operates the most daily flights from CLE.

I was standing by my car between trains and planes when I looked over and saw two small convertibles following each other northbound on Brookside Drive.

I wasn’t in a good position to photograph both of them with the zoom lens I had on my camera at the time. The best I could do was this going away shot of the second of the two. I don’t know what make or model this is, but I’m sure this guy enjoyed toolin’ around town in his toy.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

There is always an outlier in every group. Here is the only "low top" hopper in the bunch.

There is always an outlier in every group. Here is the only “low top” hopper in the bunch.

One "low top" in the consist did not spoil the uniform appearance of this coal hoppers train.

One “low top” in the consist did not spoil the uniform appearance of this coal hoppers train.

NS 417 is taking it easy going west. Note the BNSF "Grinstein" as the trailing unit.

NS 417 is taking it easy going west. Note the BNSF “Grinstein” as the trailing unit.

The motive power lash up, er, I mean motive power CON-sist, of this eastbound stack train featured an array of colors and ownerships.

The motive power lash up, er, I mean motive power CON-sist, of this eastbound stack train featured an array of colors and ownerships.

I've always enjoyed photographing the uniform profile of unit trains. The 65R rolls westward although not for long. This train would later be routed around the 417.

I’ve always enjoyed photographing the uniform profile of unit trains. The 65R rolls westward although not for long. This train would later be routed around the 417.

Delta 1474 from Atlanta has MD88 equipment.

Delta 1474 from Atlanta has MD88 equipment.

United 1092 from Fort Myers, Fla., arrives with a 737-900.

United 1092 from Fort Myers, Fla., arrives with a 737-900.

I think you can figure out which airline this is. It is flight 520 from Denver and features an Airbus 319. Frontier has been picking up some of the markets abandoned by United earlier this year.

I think you can figure out which airline this is. It is flight 520 from Denver and features an Airbus 319. Frontier has been picking up some of the markets abandoned by United earlier this year.

Enjoying a Sunday drive.

Enjoying a Sunday drive.

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3 Responses to “Trains, Planes and an Automobile”

  1. Paul Woodring Says:

    About a ’66 Corvette.

  2. RP Says:

    I am rather familiar with railfanning the West Slope on NS between Johnstown and Altoona, PA but being a native Ohioan, I tend to forget about a lot of good railfanning spots in northeast Ohio. I enjoy reading these posts. Could you clue me in as to where the photos in Olmsted Falls were taken? Is this location accessible by roads and a short walk? Just looking for some information. This location looks really awesome.

    Thank you. Ray

    > WordPress.com > csanders429 posted: ” Olmsted Falls is one of those railfanning spots > that is well known by many locals, but which tends to be overshadowed > by the better known and “patronized” Berea a few minutes away. The > advantage of going to Berea is that you get CSX traffic as wel” >

    • csanders429 Says:

      The photos taken and shown in this post were made in a public park along North Depot Street between Mapleway and Brookside Drive. The tracks run on southern edge of that park. There is a parking lot near Brookside across the street from the post office. The depot is on the south side of the tracks opposite of the park. Some of the photos were made at or near the grade crossing with Brookside. The area is easily accessible.

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