Archive for June, 2018

There’s a Rain Coming Down

June 29, 2018

I could see the storm coming. The clouds to the northwest kept getting darker. A story was brewing in Berea.

Sure enough the storm struck, dumping a heavy rain. It came about the time that a westbound Norfolk Southern stack train passed through.

I made the photo above by rolling down a window and then getting the image.

I’ve photographed many a train in snowy conditions, but rarely when it was raining.

The rain didn’t last long and soon enough it was merely cloudy.

Leviathan Goes to Pa. Events Center

June 29, 2018

Leviathan was displayed at the steam festival in Owosso, Michigan, in July 2009.

Wanted be married on a steam locomotive? You’ll get your chance if you say your vows at a wedding and special events venue in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is the new home of a replica of an 1860s steam locomotive.

Leviathan No. 63, is now being housed at Stone Gables Estate, a 275-acre farm that includes an 1872 Gothic barn and a working horse ranch.

No. 63, which was built by Dave Kloke, is a replica of an 1868 Central Pacific 4-4-0 American-type steam locomotive

It took Kloke 10 years to build the oil-burning locomotive at his construction company shop in Elgin, Illinois.

The locomotive has appeared with the Lincoln Funeral Car replica train and has traveled to tourist railroads, museums, and festivals across in the East and Midwest.

It has been stored in recent years at the the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

Kloke used plans from the replica Jupiter, now on display at the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit in Utah.

Leviathan is not an exact replica of the Central Pacific locomotive. It has air brakes, which the original did not have.

Also, the backhead has two water glasses to conform to modern safety standards.

Cleveland Clinic to Sponsor Bike Aboard!

June 29, 2018

The Cleveland Clinic has agreed to sponsor the Bike Board! service of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The Clinic said the program that allows bicyclists to ride their bikes and take a train ride in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be incorporated into its Let’s Move It initiative.

More than 22,000 people participated in the Bike Aboard! program in 2017.

As part of the partnership, Bike Aboard! riders, CVSR members and volunteers will receive a LifeStyles fitness pass for Cleveland Clinic Akron General Health and Wellness Centers.

Cleveland Clinic employees will be able to buy discounted Bike Aboard! passes for $3 per person by showing their employee badge at any of CVSR’s boarding locations. The regular price is $5 per person.

In other CVSR news, Elizabeth I. Loveman has been named to the railroad’s board of trustees.

Loveman is vice president and controller for NACCO Industries, which she joined in December 2012.

In her present position, which she has held since 2014, Loveman is responsible for financial reporting, internal control, and taxes for the company.

She also worked at Deloitte and Touche as an auditor from 1995 to 1999.

“I have fond memories of riding the train with my son and I am excited to be a part of the railroad’s future,” Loveman said in a statement.

Loveman received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cleveland State University in 1995 and is a certified public accountant.

Durfee Used as Source in Airship Story

June 29, 2018

Wingfoot Three rolls out of the hangar at Wingfoot Lake for the first time.

Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee was quoted this week in a news story in the Akron Beacon Journal about the first flight of Wingfoot Three.

Durfee was at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake base when the semi-rigid air ship lifted off for the first time at 8:55 a.m. last Monday.

He was quoted in the story as saying that seeing the first flight was pretty cool.

Durfee told reporter Jim Mackinnon that his interest in air ships goes back to when his parents would take him to watch blimps and then go get ice cream.

Durfee is a member of the Northeast Ohio Blimp Spotters and has photographed the Goodyear airships multiple times over the years, sometimes even working a train into the image.

The story was picked up by various newspapers in Ohio, including The Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.

Wingfoot Three will a familiar sight in the skies of Northeast Ohio because it will be based at the Goodyear facility in Suffield Township in Portage County.

It is the last of three New Technology that German manufacturer Zeppelin built for Goodyear.

Wingfoot One is based in Florida whereas Wingfoot Two is based in California.

The Nitty Gritty of Railroading

June 28, 2018

Railfan photographers tend to pay scant attention to the details of railroading.

The typical photograph shows the lead locomotive of a train with, perhaps, at least some of the freight or passenger cars following it.

But less often does the photographer zoom in on the intricate details of the equipment.

There is much to see and study in images that zero in on the elements of railroads.

Such is the case with this image of the wheels of a Canadian Pacific AC44CW banging the diamonds of the crossing of the CSX Pemberville Subdivision with the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

Everything in the image is a uniform shade of brown, but there is much detail to examine in the track and locomotive trucks.

Such detail might be lost on trackside observers, but a breakdown of one of those components could disrupt a railroad’s operations.

CSX Derailment Halts Traffic in W.Va.

June 28, 2018

No injuries were reported and nearby residents were evacuated after a CSX train derailed on Wednesday morning in St. Albans, West Virginia.

Police Chief Joe Crawford said the evacuations were a precaution.

The derailment occurred about 7:15 a.m. and involved a coal train that derailed 20 cars.

The incident occurred near a crossover switch at the east end of St. Albans on the Kanawha Subdivision.

First responders said a small amount of coal tumbled into a nearby creek. Officials said the train was not hauling hazardous materials and the environmental impact is minimal.

The evacuation plans were activated in the event that flooding occurred.

Workers were expected to have the tracks cleared and rebuilt within 24 to 48 hours.

Amtrak’s eastbound Cardinal was halted at Huntington, West Virginia, and its westbound counterpart was canceled.

The coal train was traveling to Hinton, West Virginia.

Station Work to Result in Sked Changes

June 28, 2018

Station construction at Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, will result in schedule changes for Amtrak’s Keystone Service on June 30.

Train 661 will operate five minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Lancaster, six minutes earlier from Lancaster to Middletown and five minutes earlier into Harrisburg.

Train 662 will operate 10 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia while Train 664 will operate five minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.

Contractor Gives 1309 Restoration Update

June 28, 2018

The contractor rebuilding Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 last week issued a detailed status report on its work, but did not say when the locomotive would be ready for service.

The restoration is being undertaken on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad where the locomotive is based.

Diversified Rail Services said the top row of 36 superheaters has been installed; the cab floor, stoker elevator tube, and grate shaker levels have been installed; and the grate structure and ash pan have been attached.

The steam and water pipes for the injectors are being fitted, the steam lines for the blower and air pumps have been attached, and workers have been grinding and cleaning up washout seats.

It is unclear how this work is being funded. Restoration work on the 1309 had halted last fall when the project ran out of money.

In its statement, DRS said it is seeking donations in amounts equal to the roster numbers of well-known operating steam locomotives: $4,014 ( arch brick and stoker screw repairs), $4,449 (boiler and pipe lagging), $4,501 (steam and water pipes for injectors), and $4,960 (boiler jacketing).

Built in 1949, the 1309 was the last steam locomotive built by Baldwin for domestic use.

Amtrak Takes Step Toward Replacing Amfleet

June 28, 2018

Amtrak this week issued a request for information that is the first step toward replacement of its Amfleet I passenger cars.

The notice posted on the carrier’s website said that once the information received is reviewed that it expects to issue in 2019 a request for proposals to interested companies.

The information Amtrak is seeking is due by Oct. 11 and may pertain to propelled or non-propelled cars.

In the meantime, Amtrak is hold meetings with would-be bidders at its headquarters in Washington to discuss the request for information.

In a news release posted on its website, Amtrak said the new equipment is intended to replace Amfleet I cars used primarily east of the Mississippi River and cited such routes as the Keystones, Illinois corridor routes, the Carolinian and the Northeast Corridor.

Although the cars recently have had their interiors refurbished with new carpets, seats and lighting, Amtrak said in the news release that its Amfleet equipment is 40 years old and has reached the point where replacement is more cost efficient than maintenance.

The Amfleet cars were built by Budd between 1975 and 1977 and their curved design was based on the Metroliners developed by the same company in the 1960s.

“New equipment will provide our customers with a more modern experience, while improving ride quality and reliability,” said Amtrak Vice President of Corporate Planning Byron Comati said in a statement.

Dodging Clouds During Longest Day Outing

June 27, 2018

A former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit looking good aside from some exterior dirt leads train 234 through Fostoria during the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing.

Fostoria was as good as advertised last Sunday in terms of rail traffic as a thin crowd of Akron Railroad Club members turned out to watch trains at one of Ohio’s busiest railroad junctions.

Between 8:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m., 36 trains rumbled past the Iron Triangle Railfan Park while at least one ARRC member was present.

Marty Surdyk and his brother Robert were the first to arrive, pulling in at 8:45 a.m.

One minute later they logged their first train, an eastbound manifest freight on Norfolk Southern.

Rick Houck arrived later as did ARRC President Craig Sanders. That was the extent of ARRC participation.

The day featured good weather that was not too hot, not too cool and not too humid.

But there were quite a few clouds and the often 50-50 sky conditions meant that the Surdyk brothers, both of them confirmed film users, often watched a train pass by with a shrug of WWTF because of the shadows cast by the clouds.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term WWTF it doesn’t incorporate in part the phrase “what the” but instead means “why waste the film.”

Traffic was fairly steady through Fostoria during the time that ARRC members were on hand. The longest lull was about a half-hour.

Not surprisingly, most of the trains belonged to CSX. Fostoria is the crossing of former Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio mainlines with the ex-B&O handling most CSX traffic between the Midwest and Atlantic Coast.

CSX put 22 trains through Fostoria, using all of the connecting tracks between the ex-B&O and ex-C&O.

The vast majority of traffic on the ex-C&O was going to or coming from the ex-B&O with most of it taking the ex-C&O north of town.

Just one train made a straight move through town on the ex-C&O, a southbound (railroad eastbound) grain train that featured some of the most weathered covered hopper cars you will ever see.

No trains came into Fostoria from the south on the ex-C&O other than the yard job’s motive power, which was turning its locomotive to face a different direction.

It was a good day to see foreign motive power with units from Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National leading trains past the railfan park.

An eastbound NS stack train, the 234, came in with a former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit, which is now owned by a locomotive leasing company Progress Rail. But no NS heritage units made an appearance.

CSX eastbound intermodal train Q010 had as its second unit a Chessie System sticker unit No. 7765. It looked like an oversized bumper sticker.

Traffic was a mixture of intermodal, manifest freight, auto racks and tank car trains. Noticeably absent were coal trains.

Throughout the day Robert Surdyk was monitoring the progress of the NS executive train, which had left Altoona, Pennsylvania, about 8:30 a.m. en route to Chicago.

About 5 p.m., Robert, Marty and Craig decided to head north to Oak Harbor to intercept and photograph the NS F units.

And with that the longest day shifted for another two hours to a new location.

The Q507 was another one-hit wonder, albeit a colorful one.

I took 18 minutes for auto rack train Q253 to round the curve from the ex-B&O to the ex-C&O.

A mother and her son eye an NS light power move.

NS westbound train 11Q had a load of tank cars.

Grain train E781 was the only move straight through town on the former C&O. It is shown crossing Columbus Street.

NS train 10E comes around the curve with a brace of Union Pacific motive power.

The newest addition to the railfan park is a former B&O caboose.

The Chessie System sticket on the nose of CSX No. 7765.