Archive for May, 2017

Chasing N&W 611 Out of Roanoke

May 31, 2017

Last weekend I went to Roanoke, Virginia, to chase the Norfolk & Western J class 611 trips. I had hoped to get some of the last remaining N&W signals but the last one was replaced just a week before these trips. Well it’s still a steam engine and there’s many great photo opportunities in this area. I’ve shared a few of them here.

This includes showing the 611 leaving Roanoke and passing the freight car shops; climbing Christianburg grade at Shawsville, Virginia; and passing the coal dock at Vicker, Virginia.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Celebrating 100 Years of Arcade & Attica

May 31, 2017

The New York State-based shortline railroad Arcade & Attica recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding under that name by hosting a series of steam excursions.

The A&A routinely runs tourist trains on weekends, including many runs behind its 2-8-0 No. 18.

But what made these trips out of the ordinary is that the nose of No. 18 faced west rather than its customary eastward direction.

Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman got up early and drove to Arcade, New York, to chase the first trip of the day and hung around for the second one as well.

Ed sent along a few of his images to share of A&A No. 18 and its train. He noted that No. 18 will be facing westward again during trips on July 1 and 2.

 

Chicago-Columbus Study to be Completed This Year

May 31, 2017

A study of passenger rail service between Chicago and Columbus is expected to be completed by late this year.

HNTB Corporation is analyzing operating plans and preliminary costs for the proposed service, a review that is required by the National Environmental Policy Act to begin the project.

Completion of the analysis would enable the project to receive federal funds for design and construction.

HNTB will recommend a route, operating speeds, train frequency and station sites, as well as estimated ridership and revenue. The $350,000 study is being paid for by cities and businesses along the corridor, including Fort Wayne, Indiana, which lost Amtrak service in late 1990.

The route would initially have a top speed of 75 mph with an eventual goal 110 mph travel.

“We are making great progress in our efforts to return passenger rail to Fort Wayne and northern Indiana and northwest Ohio,” said Geoff Paddock, a member of  the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association. “This passenger-rail line will boost economic development efforts by connecting people and businesses throughout the region and it will enhance the quality of life for area residents.”

The group said in December 2016 that the Federal Railroad Administration would conduct the alternatives analysis and solicit public input on the project. HNTB was the contractor hired to complete that study.

LSL Unaffected by Penn Station Changes

May 31, 2017

The Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited will not be affected by schedule changes that Amtrak is imposing this summer at New York Penn Station during a track renewal project.

The passenger carrier said on Tuesday that it will change its schedules between July 10 and Sept. 1 to reflect the reduced station capacity as workers undertake track and switch work.

Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman said Amtrak would be affected the most by the schedule changes, which also will affect New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains.

One long-distance train, the New York-New Orleans Crescent, will terminate in Washington during the construction period. Passengers bound for points north of Washington will need to change trains in Washington.

Northeast Regional service will see three round trip trains New York and Washington canceled. New York-Boston service will operate at current levels.

Keystone Service will terminate in Philadelphia with one roundtrip terminating in Newark, New Jersey.  Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be at current levels.

There will be no schedule changes for Acela Express service. Amtrak said it would announce changes to Empire Service later.

Amtrak said it decided to speed up previously planned projects to improve conditions and service reliability at the station following two derailments earlier this year.

“While we regret that this work requires some reduction in train service and disruption to passengers over the summer months, we believe it will ultimately be worth the investment in terms of increased reliability of passenger rail travel,” said Moorman in a news release.

Ed Journeys to the Everett Railroad Again

May 31, 2017

Owen (left) and Karl pose with Everett No. 11 in Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

On May 20, Akron Railroad Club member Ed Ribinskas along with his brother-in-law Karl and his son Owen (Ed’s nephew) did an all-day trip to railfan in Pennsylvania. Today’s installment focuses on their visit to the Everett Railroad where they chased and photographed two trips.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

The first of three images made of the train in Hollidaysburg.

 

Switching at Brooks Mills

At West Loop Road

Nearing Monastery Road.

Crossing Pennsylvania Route 36 north of Roaring Spring.

At Roaring Spring.

 

UPS Endorses Chicago Bypass Proposal

May 31, 2017

The proposal to build a freight-only bypass rail route around Chicago has picked up a big endorsement from UPS.

The package delivery and logistics company supports the proposed 261-mile line that would begin in northwest Indiana and end in southern Wisconsin.

Comments filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board show that many shippers favor the bypass while some railroads, notably Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, have gone on record opposing it.

NS and UP said in comments submitted to the board that they would not use the route, preferring instead to use their existing tracks.

Comments are being taken through June on the plan by Great Lakes Basin Transportation to build the bypass, which also has aroused some NIMBY opposition along its proposed path.

G&W Names Hellman Board Chairman

May 31, 2017

John Hellman has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Genesee &Wyoming.

Hellman is currently the company’s president and CEO and will succeed Mortimer Fuller III, who is retiring.

In a news release, G&W said that Hellmann will continue in his current positions.

He has served on the board since 2006 and succeeded Fuller as CEO in 2007. Hellman served as chief financial officer in 2000 and was named president in 2005.

Fuller had served as board chairman since 1977 and is a great-grandson of Edward Fuller, the founder of the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad in 1899.

G&W said that during its annual meeting held on May 24 that stockholders elected as directors Albert Neupaver, Joseph Pyne, Hunter Smith and Hellmann for terms that expire in 2020.

Directors whose terms on the board continued after the annual meeting are Richard Allert, Hans Michael Norkus, Ann Reese, Richard Bott, Oivind Lorentzen III and Mark Scudder.

Reminder of a Past ARRC Outing

May 30, 2017

Westbound CSX manifest freight lumbers beneath the eastbound home signals for CP 37 and the water tower in Wellington.

Wellington is one of those places that is not that far away yet far enough that I don’t get there that often.

It is closer than Bellevue, Fostoria or Marion, but not as close to my home as Berea and Olmsted Falls.

Sometimes you just don’t have a good reason for neglecting to spend more time at a place that you really like.

I recently spent a few hours in Wellington and as I sat at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on the west side of the CSX Greenwich Subdivision I was reminded of the one and only Akron Railroad Club outing to Wellington during my time in the club.

That day was not necessarily the best or most exciting ARRC outing I’ve attended over the years, but I still remember it fondly.

It occurred on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009. I no longer remember why we chose to go to Wellington. Maybe at the time we were making an effort to visit what the Bulletin termed secondary hotspots in Northeast Ohio.

The report in the Bulletin indicated that 10 members showed up during the day and 22 CSX trains passed through. The W&LE sent just one train through town.

While sitting in Wellington recently I thought about some of the things that have changed since that 2009 outing.

I was using slide film exclusively then but have since switched to digital photography. Five of the 10 who attended no longer belong to the ARRC with Richard Jacobs among them having passed away.

Marty Surdyk was driving a Dodge Nitro then, but has since downsized to a smaller Jeep Patriot, I think it is.

Despite logging 22 CSX trains, I only made and/or saved eight 10 slides of CSX trains from that day, one of which is strikingly similar to the image that accompanies this article.

I had forgotten until I looked up the report of the outing published in the October 2009 Bulletin that Marty, myself and Rick Houck piled into the Nitro and chased the W&LE hopper train, getting it three times.

We speculated that it was a coke train that the Wheeling had picked up in Toledo from Canadian National. At the time, the W&LE was hauling coke that CN forwarded to Detroit.

I also had forgotten that when the outing began that morning a heavy rain was falling and that kept us in town rather than climbing the reservoir on the east side of the CSX tracks.

That also might explain why I have so few images from that day of CSX action.

The Bulletin report said we had lunch at Subway — where else? — and that by afternoon the skies had turned mostly sunny.

The report ended with the proclamation, “Let’s do it again, soon!” But that hasn’t happened and it probably won’t occur again as an ARRC activity.

Yet that won’t stop me from paying a return visit sooner rather than later. There are more memories there waiting to be made.

Different Point of View on Arcade & Attica

May 29, 2017

Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman ventured to New York State on Saturday to chase the Arcade & Attica steam tourist train.

They’ve been there before but what was different this time was that A&A was celebrating its 100th anniversary by operating its 2-8-0 Alco No. 18 with its nose facing west rather than east as is the custom.

In the top photograph, No. 18 is read to depart from Curriers, New York. In the bottom photograph No. 18 rests at Curriers during its first run.

The A&A ran two trips last Saturday, both of them departing from Arcade, New York.

Photographs by Jeff Troutman

CSX, CP May Launch Run-Through Trains

May 29, 2017

CSX and Canadian Pacific are reportedly discussing ways to eliminate traffic congestion in Chicago, including creating run-through trains.

 “We’ve had some discussions with CSX operationally as well as commercially,” CP CEO Keith Creel said last week at an investor conference.
Noting that the talks are in the early stages, Creel said that the goal is to reduce transit time and improve service reliability.

CP currently relies on Norfolk Southern to move CP trains between Chicago and Detroit because CP does not have its own route from the east.

Stack trains cannot use the Windsor Tunnel beneath the Detroit River and CP has used CSX in recent years to move double stacked container between Chicago and Buffalo.

This puts CP at  competitive disadvantage against its chief rival Canadian National, which reaches Chicago over the former Grand Trunk Western and when can get through Chicago on the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, which CN acquired in 2009.

CSX and CP interchange about 400 cars per day in Chicago, making CSX CP’s largest interchange partner railroad there.

Creel told the investor conference that 100 of those cars could be sent deep into CSX territory as a run-through train to avoid handling in Chicago. CSX could build trains destined for points on CP.