It Was Dark But I Got the OCS

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I didn’t take long for word to get out at the Great Berea Train show on Saturday that the Norfolk Southern executive train was coming. Reportedly, it was headed for St. Louis.

It departed its base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in late morning, which meant it was likely to pass through Cleveland in late afternoon.

My fellow Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon decided to intercept it at Hudson, which it passed through just before 5 p.m.

I left the train show just after 4:30 p.m. and headed for Olmsted Falls. Eastbound manifest freight 34N or 34M (I don’t remember which letter it was) was passing through as I arrived. It would be the only eastbound I would see over the next two hours.

Operating under symbol 955, the OCS was following manifest freight 11V. L13, the Bellevue-Rockport Yard turn, and a coal train, the 552, would also depart westbound ahead of it.

About 5:30 p.m., ARRC Bulletin Editor Marty Surdyk arrived. He had planned to run home to grab his camera, but traffic leaving the train show was heavy.

He reckoned that it would be cloudy when the OCS came through and his chances of getting a good image on slide film were slim. So he just came out to watch and didn’t bother to get his camera.

Marty’s hunch proved to be correct. There was some nice sunlight just before the L13 led the late afternoon westbound parade, but by the time 955 showed up at 6:53 p.m., it was cloudy and dark.

Even with a digital camera, it was a tough image to make. But I got it and saw something I don’t see often.

It also means that the last two times that I’ve seen the NS OCS I’ve been trackside with Marty.  We had caught the OCS last month at Salem on the Fort Wayne Line.

The consist of the train was NS F9A 4270, F9B 4275, F9B 4276, F9A 4271, and passengers cars 23, Buena Vista; 24, Delaware; 19, Kentucky; 18, New Orleans; 2, Carolina; 4, Michigan; 14, Missouri; 13, Georgia; 11, Illinois; 9, Alabama; 20, Ohio; 3, Claytor Lake; 7, Pennsylvania; and 39 (a power car).

Even in the near dark it was an impressive looking consist. It was not a bad way to begin October.

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