Archive for January, 2023

B&O Two for Tuesday

January 31, 2023

Today’s two for Tuesday focuses on the Baltimore & Ohio in the 1970s. In the top image, B&O GP35 No. 3559 leads an eastbound near Kent. The bottom image was made in Youngstown. Leading a train through the area is B&O GP40-2 No. 4161. The unit has already received Chessie System paint unlike its two running mates in this gritty industrial scene that captures well railroading in the Mahoning Valley when steelmaking was still king.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: Hail to the Lake Cities

January 30, 2023

There is a light snow on the morning of Nov. 10, 1968, as westbound Erie Lackawanna EMD E8A 825 and a rather short The Lake Cities heads through Akron near where Wilbeth Road once crossed the tracks. The 825 was built for the Erie Railroad in February 1951 so it knows this route very well.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

NS Assisted 120 Companies in 2022

January 30, 2023

In its annual economic development report, Norfolk Southern said it worked with 120 companies in 2022 to help develop 159 industrial development projects valued at a combined $3.2 billion.

One of those was Commercial Metals Company, which spent $450 million to build a rebar steel mill in West Virginia.

Also in West Virginia, CONSOL Energy spent $100 million on the Itmann Preparation Plant in Itmann, West Virginia, to produce premium, low-vol metallurgical coking coal to serve the domestic and international steel markets.

In a news release, NS said it helps businesses identify rail-served sites that reliable, sustainable and efficient transportation.

This year NS said it is working with 33 companies that have announced plans for a new production facility or a significant plant expansion along the NS rail network or with one of its short-line partners.

OmniTRAX Donates to Local Non-Profits

January 30, 2023

Short line operator OmniTRAX said it is donating $430,000 to support local nonprofits spanning its system as part of its 2022 Good Neighbor community outreach program.

Recipients of the grants will include food banks, fire departments, women’s advocacy services, youth and family services, and the United Way.

In a news release, OmniTRAX said that each year its network of railroads collaborate with local officials in the communities they serve to identify local non-profits with the greatest need, the company said.

These include the Ohio properties of Cleveland Port Railway; Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railway; Northern Ohio & Western Railway; and Newburgh & South Shore Railroad.

OmniTRAX is affiliated with The Broe Group.

STB Won’t Reconsider Rate Reasonable Rule

January 30, 2023

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board last week denied two petitions seeking reconsideration of agency rules that establish a streamlined approach for pleading market dominance in rate reasonableness proceedings.

STB adopted the rules more than two years ago.

At the time, the STB said, “if demonstrated by a complainant, [it] would constitute a prima facie showing of market dominance.”

The factors the STB said it would consider in such cases include the movement has a revenue-to-variable cost ratio of 180 percent or greater; the movement would exceed 500 highway miles between origin and destination; there is no intramodal competition from other railroads; there is no barge competition; there is no pipeline competition; the complainant has used truck for 10 percent or less of its volume (by tonnage) subject to the rate at issue over a five-year period; the complainant has no practical build-out alternative due to physical, regulatory, financial, or other issues (or combination of issues).

The petitions for reconsideration were filed by several trade organizations representing railroad shippers.

Their petition claimed the STB “committed material error regarding four aspects of its final rule adopting the streamlined approach.

Also seeking reconsideration was the Association of American Railroads.

In denying the petitions for reconsideration, the STB said the petitioners had “failed to demonstrate material error, but instead merely disagree with the Board’s decision on these issues.”

SEPTA Names Chief Safety Officer

January 30, 2023

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has appointed Ronald Keele as its chief safety officer.

He will lead the development, monitoring and necessary adjustment of SEPTA’s plan to “ensure a safe and healthy environment for all employees, riders, and community members,” SEPTA said in a news release.

That includes development of methods to measure the Authority’s safety performance and establish programs to routinely involve executive leadership in safety planning.

Keele comes to SEPTA from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority where he held a similar position as a safety officer.

Southbound in Beach City

January 29, 2023

On a light engine move after interchanging with the Wheeling & Lake Erie, Ohio Central Nos. 4093 and 3185 are southbound  in Beach City on June 15, 2012. Note that the 3185 has received a Genesee & Wyoming logo on its nose.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Remembering the B&LE Erie Branch

January 29, 2023

I’ve never seen a train on the Erie branch of the former Besemer & Lake Erie, but some of you have. Edward Ribinskas sent along these photographs that he made over the years.

These images are from his “favorites over the years” series.

The top image of Norfolk & Western No. 611 was made on Aug. 11, 1984, when it was running a Buffalo, New York, to Albion, Pennsylvania, excursion.

It is shown crossing U.S. Route 20 in Girard, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 11, 1984.

Also shown are images made at Girar and Platea, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 1997, and at Girard on April 30, 1997.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Surdyk to Present at AOS Event on Feb. 9

January 29, 2023

Marty Surdyk will be among the headliners at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum winter speaker’s series.

Surdyk, a former Akron Railroad Club president and newsletter editor, will be showing images of excursion trains on the Ohio Central System,

The program opens with excursion trains rains that ran on the line through Sugarcreek when it was still operated by Norfolk Southern and continues into excursions out of Dennison in the Genesee & Wyoming era.

Featured will be the steam locomotives acquired and restored by the late Jerry Joe Jacobson and the excursion trains that they pulled over various segments of the Ohio Central system.

Not to be forgotten are the vintage F units Ohio Central operated including F9A Nos. 6307 and 6313 in their sharp livery that recalled the Pennsylvania Railroad pinstripes scheme.

Jacobson founded the Ohio Central and later created the Age of Steam Roundhouse to preserve his collection of steam locomotives, and vintage railroad rolling stock and diesel locomotives.

The program will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Roundhouse.

Also slated to be presented at the Roundhouse is the documentary Engineering Tragedy: The Ashtabula Train Disaster.

It will be shown at 6 p.m. on March 9. Attendees will be able to meet the producers, directors and some of the actors of the documentary, which aired on PBS.

The Roundhouse was used in the making of the documentary with former McCloud River Railroad No. 9 used as the stand-in for both of the steam locomotives in different scenes.

The Ashtabula train disaster and bridge collapse was the worst train disaster of the 19th century, and left 97 dead.

It involved the Dec. 29, 1876, collapse of a bridge on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern over the Ashtabula River as The Pacific Express was rolling over it during a winter storm.

The two-hour long narrated documentary explores the events surrounding the disaster, including the engineering, construction, and collapse of the bridge, and the treacherous conditions that hampered the rescue attempts of trapped passengers.

In the wake of the incident, public pressure resulted in the adoption of standards for  bridge construction and inspection that continue to apply today.

One Day at Collinwood Diesel Shop

January 28, 2023

This image was made at Penn Central’s Collinwood diesel shop in Cleveland in 1968 or 1969. From right to left there is what looks to be the back of a Pennsylvania Railroad GE U25B, a New York Central Alco RS32, an NYC Alco RS1 and an NYC Alco FB.

Photograph by Robert Farkas