Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

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