Late Amtrak and the NS Parking Lot

The eastbound Capitol Limited is more than seven hours late as it cruises through Brady Lake on Wednesday morning at 10:13 a.m. Although No. 30 has been routinely running late this summer, it usually isn't this late.

The eastbound Capitol Limited is more than seven hours late as it cruises through Brady Lake on Wednesday morning at 10:13 a.m. Although No. 30 has been routinely running late this summer, it usually isn’t this late.

I drove down to Towner’s Woods Park on Wednesday morning to take a hike on the Portage County Hike and Bike Trail. As I passed through Twin Lakes, I noticed a westbound Norfolk Southern stack train parked on Track No. 2. This is not common at this location.

Upon turning on my scanner I heard crews talking about how the railroad was having a meltdown in Cleveland and trains were backed up.

In fact, there was an M5M parked near MP 84 behind the stack train I had seen and a 21T parked in Rootstown near MP 81. Then I heard Amtrak No. 30 call the signal at CP 94 in Hudson. I made the images shown while standing on the Ravenna Road bridge.

No. 30 had been a “mere” two hours late before becoming ensnared in the Cleveland morass. By the time that it departed Cleveland at 8:47 a.m., it was 6 hours, 53 minutes down.

It would lose nearly an hour between Cleveland and Alliance and depart Pittsburgh 9 hours and 53 minutes late.

No. 30 would finally reach Washington, D.C., Thursday morning at 1:32 a.m., 12 hours and 22 minutes late.

The headlight of Amtrak No. 30 was in sight when I heard the rumbling of what sounded like a diesel locomotive. My first thought was that NS was sending another westbound up to wait just behind the stack train that was still sitting west of Lake Rockwell Road. It turned out to be, though, the ABC job coming back from Ravenna. What to do? I wanted to photograph Amtrak, but I seldom get a chance to photograph the ABC job on the former Erie mainline east of Kent.

As a practical matter there was little I could do. There wasn’t time to run over to the crossing of Ravenna Road to get a coming shot. So I made a sideways shot and let it go.

After my hike, I hung around for another 45 minutes to see if the NS parking lot had moved any. The stack train was still sitting west of Lake Rockwell Road and the M5M and 21T were in their respective places.

At one point the Cleveland Line dispatcher asked the M5M if it could move up some. The response was that it could move up a car length but if it moved further it would be blocking a private crossing “that we’re not supposed to block.” The dispatcher also asked the 21T to move up — it was just short of the detector in Rootstown — because the rear of that train was blocking a crossing. But the crew replied that a signal maintainer had inspected the rear of the train and determined that it was not blocking anything.

As I was returning home, the M5M had been given a signal at CP 86 in Ravenna and would cross over to Track 1 and go around the stack train parked at Twin Lakes. Some guy on the radio said that M5M would be zig sagging around seven trains.

Don’t know if that was true, but the comments made by the frustrated railroaders on the radio were quite entertaining as they sarcastically talked about how today was railroading at its finest.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The dining car (left) and Sightseer lounge probably had run out of food by the time No. 30 finally reached Washington.

The dining car (left) and Sightseer lounge probably had run out of food by the time No. 30 finally reached Washington.

The ABC job is returning from Ravenna as it crosses Ravenna Road in Brady Lake. This grab shot was the best I could do under the circumstances.

The ABC job is returning from Ravenna as it crosses Ravenna Road in Brady Lake. This grab shot was the best I could do under the circumstances.

An eastbound stack train is doing track speed on Track 1, having managed to finally navigate its way through Cleveland.

An eastbound stack train is doing track speed on Track 1, having managed to finally navigate its way through Cleveland.

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