My First Railfan Outing of 2017

My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

It had been more than a month since I had been trackside. Holiday activities, bad weather and other factors had kept me at home.

The stars finally lined up on Sunday, Jan. 15. I drove to Painesville to meet with Ed Ribinskas to take care of business related to the transfer of the Akron Railroad Club’s treasurer duties.

It was a sunny day and we moseyed over to Perry where the Erie West Subdivision of CSX and the Great Lakes District of Norfolk Southern run a block apart.

Let the record show that the first train of 2017 that I photographed had a few things in common with the first train that I photographed in 2016.

Both were short, headed eastbound, captured in January and there was no snow on the ground.

But the first train of 2017 was a CSX intermodal whereas the first train of 2016 had been an NS local.

Does this mean anything? Not really, but it is of passing interest.

We arrived in Perry around 11:30 a.m. and by the time we left at 4:30 p.m. we had logged 12 trains.

Three of them were on NS, all eastbounds. Interestingly, the NS traffic came within a 45-minute window.

Otherwise, NS was quiet the rest of the day and there was not so much as a peep of a westbound.

CSX offered some moderate variation. Six of its nine trains were intermodals with a seventh being the Canadian Pacific run-through train that is mostly stacked containers with some manifest freight tacked on.

The CP train had CP motive power and an eastbound crude oil train had a pair of BNSF pumpkins. NS train 206 had a Union Pacific unit trailing. That was the day’s foreign power.

CSX also ran a westbound auto rack train, but we never saw one of those 500 plus axles of a monster manifest freight that CSX has become known for within the past year. In fact, we never saw a manifest freight of any length on CSX.

We also seldom heard the dispatcher of either railroad on the radio. Most dispatcher transmissions had to do with speaking to maintenance of way personnel. Only once did the dispatcher give operating information to a train.

As the afternoon wore on the clouds began thickening although it never reached overcast conditions. The sun continued to pop through even if it was filtered light.

All in all it was a nice way to kick off the 2017 railfanning season.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

That's the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

That’s the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. Twice CSX sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. CSX twice sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

The lead of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

The lead unit of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by the train way down?

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by this train way down?

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

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