The ‘Unofficial’ McKay Day

Q166 appears with its customary Canadian Pacific motive power.

Jason Worcester (standing), Dennis Taksar and Alex Bruchac watch the reduced rail action in Berea.

Alex Bruchac takes it easy as a westbound CSX train approaches in Berea.

This year’s Dave McKay Day event in Berea was officially cancelled, but unofficially it was a success. Six current and former members attended.

At least that’s who I saw; it’s possible there were others.

In attendance were Todd Dillon, Brian Szemon Alex Bruchec, Dennis Taksar, Jason Worcester and Richard Thompson.

There were many others there as well whether they knew it was Dave McKay day or not.

The parking lots were full as it turned out to be a pretty nice day although a bit windy with a high of 73 degrees.

We ended up with about 24 trains that we either saw or knew about.

Two Norfolk Southern heritage paint units and an Operation Lifesaver went by but in true club tradition we missed them all.

The Erie on the 15N arrived at 8:15 a.m. and the Central of Georgia was on 14N, which went by during lunch break.

An Operation Lifesaver unit was on 24Z which also went by before anyone arrived.

That left the most interesting power on CSX trains Q166 and Q165 which are the Canadian Pacific run-through trains.

The Q166 had CP power while Q165 had CP and Union Pacific power.

Two oil or ethanol trains 66Z and 66J, which would have run on the Fort Wayne Line a couple weeks ago but now run through Bellevue and Cleveland, added to the train count.

Missing from the train count was 22K which now takes the connection at Vermillion and bypasses Berea.

We left around 5 p.m. as there was only one westbound train on both NS and CSX which were still east of Cleveland.

On Sunday morning I returned for a few hours and got six NS and one CSX train.

In summary traffic levels are way down from previous years.

Part of this is due to the precision scheduled railroading operating model that favors longer and fewer trains, but part is the downturn in the economy with rail freight traffic levels dropping 30 percent or more in the first quarter.

A couple trains were huge. NS Train 310, for example, had two mid train DPUs and was basically two full-length trains combined.

The lone CSX train on Sunday morning was an empty tank and grain train combined.

Had these trains run separately, which they easily could have been, the train count would have increased.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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