Archive for September, 2021

Locomotive Finds at Collinwood Yard

September 30, 2021

It is late in the New York Central era or perhaps early in Penn Central Days. New York Central Alco RS3s No. 5344 and No. 5287 are joined by two EMD switchers, an ALCO FB, and an EMD E7A. all of them sitting in Collinwood Yard in Cleveland. Some of these locomotives might be used for parts or scrapped, others might be rebuilt or repaired, and still others might be repainted into PC paint.

Photography by Robert Farkas

Intermodal Holds Back U.S. Freight Traffic

September 30, 2021

Intermodal continued to hold back overall U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Sept. 25.

The Association of American Railroads said traffic last week was 511,713 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.3 percent decline compared with the same period in 2020.

U.S. Class I railroads hauled 239,069 carloads, increasing 6.6 percent while also hauling 272,644 containers and trailers, a decline of 7.3 percent from last year.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted gains. They included coal, up 11,681 carloads, to 70,002; metallic ores and metals, up 4,418 carloads, to 24,120; and nonmetallic minerals, up 4,103 carloads, to 34,083.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 4,774 carloads, to 11,563; grain, down 3,128 carloads, to 21,864; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 169 carloads, to 15,503.

For the first 38 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled 8,767,729 carloads, an 8 percent increase, and 10,538,169 intermodal units, a 10.4 percent gain over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 38 weeks was 19,305,898 carloads and intermodal units, rising 9.3 percent from last year.

NS to Reopen Louisville Intermodal Terminal

September 30, 2021

Norfolk Southern has done an about face and plans to reopen a Louisville, Kentucky, intermodal terminal that it closed in early summer.

In a service advisory, NS said the Louisville terminal will handle international containers from Virginia ports.

The advisory also attributed the reopening to strong growth in the Louisville intermodal market.

The terminal closed after NS shifted traffic to its Appliance Park intermodal facility in Louisville.

The reopening will occur on Oct. 4 with the terminal handling inbound traffic from Norfolk International Terminals and the Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth.

NS said the Port of Virginia has been handling record container volume for the past year.

Class 1 Employment Fell 1.07% in August

September 30, 2021

Data released this week by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board showed that U.S. Class I railroads employed 114,431 in mid August, a decline of  1.07 percent compared with July and a fall of 2.83 percent compared with the same period in 2020.

All six employment categories registered declines in August. They were: professional and administrative, down 2.32 percent to 9,853; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 1.79 percent to 17,205; transportation (other than train and engine), down 1.52 percent to 4,659; transportation (train and engine), down 0.82 percent; executives, officials and staff assistants, down 0.68 percent to 7,271; and maintenance of way and structures, down 0.63 percent to 28,334.

Compared with 2020 figures, all categories except transportation (train and engine) logged decreases. They were: maintenance of equipment and stores, down 10.23 percent; transportation (other than train and engine), down 8.09 percent; professional and administrative, down 4.83 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 3.73 percent; and executives, officials and staff assistants, down 2.94 percent.

The number of transportation (train and engine) employees rose 1.85 percent last month compared with August 2020.

Power for a Local

September 29, 2021

CSX GP40-2 No. 6425 reposes in Clinton (Warwick) on June 7, 2021. At the time this image was made, this was the motive power for the D750, a local based out of Warwick Yard.

Photoraph by Robert Farkas

Repainting Finished in Time for NKP Convention

September 29, 2021

Just in time for the annual convention of the Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society the Cincinnati Scenic Railway finished repainting a restored GP30 in a NKP livery.

No. 902 pulled an excursion on Sept. 24 for the NKP historical society on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad in Southwest Ohio.

The locomotive was built for the NKP in 1962 but of late had been painted in a livery of the Great Miami Railroad.

CSR had hired a contractor to repaint No. 902 but the job was delayed by several days of rain. As late as the evening before the NKP convention was to begin the contractor was still applying lettering and nose striping.

The next day No. 902 along with sister ex-NKP geep No. 901 pulled an excursion train for convention attendees that went from Lebanon to Mason and then to Monroe before returning to Lebanon.

That evening, No. 902 pulled a fundraising special to Mason and back to raise money to pay for the painting cost.

No. 901 also is painted in a NKP livery and has been used to pull Ohio Rail Experience excursion trains, which CSR oversees.

CSR owns Chesapeake & Ohio GP7 No. 5704 and a former Illinois Central GP10 that is in Conrail colors and numbered 7544.

Conrail Eastbound in Alliance

September 28, 2021

Conrail B23-7 No. 1992 leads an eastbound in Alliance on Aug. 22, 1988. The unit was built in July 1979 and later wound up on the roster of the Fore River Transportation Company in eastern Massachusetts.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Reminiscent of the Illinois Central

September 27, 2021

Norfolk Southern manifest freight 14N had something quite out of the ordinary in its consist when it left Elkhart, Indiana, on Sunday afternoon en route to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

Tacked on the rear were two former Iowa Pacific passenger cars reportedly en route to the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern, a Pennsylvania regional railroad.

The cars are painted in a livery inspired by the orange and chocolate brown of Illinois Central passenger trains, which reflected the interests of former IP CEO Ed Ellis.

The observation-type car is named Lookout Mountain and lettered “Rio Grande Scenic,” one of a number of passengers operations once operated by IP.

The cars were sold in the wake of financial difficulties that led to IP filing for bankruptcy protection in March 2021. As part of that proceeding, the trustees of IP began selling the company’s fleet of passenger equipment.

The train is shown at the west end of the CP 367 interlocking in Waterloo, Indiana.

EL Monday: An Alco in Hornell

September 27, 2021

Erie Lackawanna Alco RS3 No. 1043 is shown in Hornell, New York, in July 1973. It was built in April 1951 as Delaware, Lackawanna & Western No. 905. It would be conveyed to Conrail where it held roster numbers 5259 and 9949.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: Suitable for Framing

September 25, 2021

Both of these black and white images were made on Sept. 24, 2011, during a southbound steam in the valley excursion on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The top image was made at Indigo Lake while the bottom image shows the train crossing the Ohio & Erie Canal in Akron.

The type of lighting at these two spots along with the post processing changes the mood in each photo.

Photographs by Robert Farkas