Plenty of Action on NS Sandusky District on Longest Day

While Marty was out on Sunday morning chasing trains on the Sandusky District, Norfolk Southern ran a steady stream of trains through the mini plant back in Bellevue. Shown is a manifest freight going to the Sandusky District with helpers on the rear. Reportedly, this train will separate into two sections further down the road.

The 2017 ARRC longest day outing took us to the Norfolk Southern capital of Ohio, Bellevue.

My day began about 10 minutes late at 7:10 a.m. I had hoped to be on the road by 7, but not to worry, Bellevue is less than an hour if I use the Ohio Turnpike.

I got to Bellevue just minutes before 8 a.m. I made a pit stop at McDonald’s on the way into town, passing the Kemper Railfan Pavilion at 8:05 a.m. No one else had arrived yet.

Train 12V was heading south on the Sandusky District, so I gave chase.

The first spot I got it was at Frank, which is the second wide spot in the road south of Bellevue. Flat Rock is the first.

It was easy to get ahead this morning as there was no traffic to speak of and the 12V was not going at any breakneck speed.

I was heading for the northerly road crossing at Caroline. This is south of Attica. I saw a shot on Railpictures.net of a morning southbound from this crossing.

It features the train in the dip crossing Honey Creek with the Attica water tower and grain elevator in the distance.

The 12V got hung up waiting to cross CSX at Attica Junction for a few minutes, so I had plenty of time to set up my shot. Alas, 300 mm of telephoto doesn’t quite make the shot; I needed more. I shot the 12V here anyway, just to record the scene.

NS had plenty more action in the works for this morning. The 188 was on the heels of 12V, a 51V grain train and the two hot eastbound van trains, 234 and 218, were coming south.

And if that’s not enough, I got 217 and a 604 coal train going north. A seven train morning in great light on a line with multiple good photo opportunities, what more could you want? I know, eight trains.

By 11:15 a.m. the last of the seven trains was heading off to it destination and I hadn’t been back to Bellevue to see if anyone else had shown up.

I rolled into town about 11:30 to find about a dozen ARRC people gathered in the parking lot across from Wheeling Tower.

The light was still on this side of the tracks for photography. Craig’s car was there but he wasn’t. I found out a few minutes later that he and Todd Vander Sluis had walked down the street looking for the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

As noon approached, lunch sounded like a good idea. So we were off to Subway for its foot-long sub of the day, a meatball sub. As I told the gal making my sandwich, “We are what we eat.”

Alas, I was only able to eat half of the sandwich. I had placed part of it on my Jeep Patriot, but the wind blew it off and onto the ground.

Traffic past the ARRC assembled faithful in Bellevue had been steady all day so far. The longest lull was just 15 minutes, plus they got the W&LE going into the yard.

The afternoon began much like the morning ended, busy.

Another coal train came north off the Sandusky District. Two trains came in off the Toledo District. A nauto rack train came off the Toledo District and headed out on the Fostoria District. Its destination was the Mixing Center just outside Fostoria.

The L11 bound for Blair Yard in Fostoria went past behind two SD 40s.

Craig and Todd wanted to spend some time south on the Sandusky District in the afternoon. I told them to be patient and we’d pick out the right train at the right time.

About 1:30 p.m. a 194 went south. It was a little too early for this one; the sun was still too high. We’ll wait for 175 in about another 45 minutes to an hour.

Besides we might see the 194 again. CSX was doing track work on its No. 2 main around Attica Junction and the 194 might get delayed there.

The 175 left about 2:30 p.m. and Craig, Todd and I were in hot pursuit. Our first shot was at Schriver, although the corn was getting a little high. In another week this shot won’t be doable.

We went Omar for the 175, shooting it framed between two barn-like structures on the farm near the Ohio Route 162 crossing.

We continued south to find the 194 cooling its heels at West Attica. CSX had the diamonds and wasn’t giving them back. The 194 was delayed an hour and 25 minutes waiting to get across Attica Junction.

The 194 finally was let loose and  we headed toward the old reservoir at Attica. Normally the calm water makes for a nice reflection, but it was so windy today that there were white caps on the water.

We heard a northbound train as we were going to shoot the 194. It was train 25G, a one-unit wonder and a very short stack train.

The CSX dispatcher let the 25G across, because it was short, but the 175 with its almost 9,000 feet of train would have to wait.

We went north of Omar for the 25G, shooting the train while watching one of the locals cutting his grass on a riding mower.

Paul Woodring OSed to me another southbound, a potash train with symbol 60U. We shot the 175 again at the old reservoir and waited there for the 60U.

It was time to head back to Bellevue, where we arrived about 6 p.m. In our absence the rest of the gang that had stayed there had seen one of the NS green “echo” units come by, albeit trailing, off the Fostoria District.

We decided that 7 p.m. would be our curfew. Dinner would be at the Bob Evans on the north side of Norwalk.

NS had two trains for us in the 6 o’clock hour, the last being the 12Q. It passed just minutes before 7 p.m.

When it passed, we wrapped things up and headed for dinner. It had been a fantastic day in one the busiest places for NS action around. We did not see any heritage units, but if we had stayed until after dark, we would have seen the Interstate H unit pass through.

That is the only H Unit I have not SEEN. Hopefully that changes sometime soon.

Article by Marty Surdyk

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