Mission Accomplished in Frozen Vermilion

An eastbound train of coal hoppers rattles the bridge over the Vermilion River in the river's namesake city. Or is the city named for the river?

An eastbound train of coal hoppers rattles the bridge over the Vermilion River in the river’s namesake city. Or is the city named for the river?

Zooming in on a westbound intermodal train. The river was frozen enough to walk on and snowmobilers and ATVs were racing along as can be seen by their tracks.

Zooming in on a westbound intermodal train. The river was frozen enough to walk on and snowmobilers and ATVs were racing along as can be seen by their tracks.

An R.J. Corman boxcar adds some bright red to the scene of white.

An R.J. Corman boxcar adds some bright red to the scene of white.

Several years ago Marty Surdyk showed a slide of a Norfolk Southern train crossing the frozen and snow-covered Vermilion River at the boat launch site in that community on the shore of Lake Erie. The image was made on a sunny day.

I was impressed with the scene and made a mental note to put creating my own winter scene at Vermilion on my “to do list.”

As I said, that was several years ago. My objective of photographing in Vermilion in the winter on a sunny day got put on a shelf and several winters passed by.

There were several reasons for that. More than likely, I would only be able to get to Vermilion on a weekend day and how many  of those would have the combination of sun, snow and ice that I needed?

Last Saturday all of the necessary components fell into place and I made my way to Vermilion. I parked in the upper parking lot, turned on my scanner and waited.

I missed the first train that got to the bridge much faster than I expected after calling the signal west of town where the connection to the former Nickel Plate Road mainline is located on the Chicago Line.

I  missed the second train because it took  longer than I expected to walk down the steps and trudge through deep snow to the river’s edge.

Finally I got smart and decided to park below next to the water even though the parking lot down there still had quite a bit of snow in it.

When the third train came along I was ready. Check another one off the list.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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One Response to “Mission Accomplished in Frozen Vermilion”

  1. Richard Says:

    Love the site, and all the pics. I model CSX and live on the coal river sub. Wish we had some more rail fans around my area.

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