Archive for the ‘Railfanning News and Features’ Category

Oddball Sightings on NS in Cleveland on Friday

July 22, 2017

On Friday afternoon Norfolk Southern train 17N came through Cleveland.

What made it special was an ex-Conrail E33 electric engine, No. 4601. Originally built for the Virginian Railway, it was on its way to the Illinois Railroad museum.

I also got the L13, which runs between Bellevue and Rockport and return. The past few weeks it has had a pair of former Burlington Northern SD60M engines.

These are somewhat oddballs on the NS diesel roster the past few years. Along with new locomotive purchases NS also has bought several hundred used locomotives.

Called tryclops by railfans because they have an unusual third window and also nose headlights where the NS standard is above the cab, another bonus is they are consecutively not numbered 6807 and 6808.

The 17N was at Sheldon Rd and the L13 was across from Hopkins airport.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Changing Faces at Cotter Merchandise Storage

July 21, 2017

Cotter Merchandise Storage was using LTEX 1231 (Ex-Canadian National GMD SW1200RS) at its facility in Akron on July 18. Its 95 ton GE No. 9 (Ex-PPG in Barberton) was nowhere to be seen. In the top image, CMS 9 was working on June 28, 2017. In the next image LTEX 1231 was working there on July 18, 2017.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

 

The Monroeville Flyer Doesn’t Run on Saturdays

July 20, 2017

This was the first time I’ve seen the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s “business train. “

I was driving to Bellevue on a Saturday afternoon where I was to present a program at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum.

As I was passing through Monroeville on U.S. 20, I looked to my left as I passed the grain elevator to the south of the road.

The Sandusky-Willard branch of the Baltimore & Ohio once crossed here.

When passing by I often think about how the Akron Railroad Club in the 1960s sponsored B&O Rail Diesel Car excursions over this line to the Cedar Point amusement park.  Those trips originated at Akron Union Depot.

The line was abandoned in the 1980s but a short stretch remains in place for the Wheeling & Lake Erie to serve the grain elevator next to Route 20.

There always seems to be a small switch engine parked next to the elevator and, sometimes, some covered hopper cars.

The switcher was there as usual, but beyond it was something else and it wasn’t covered hopper cars.

It was W&LE GP35 No. 102 and a passenger car. For reasons not known to me, the Wheeling had parked its “business train” in Monroeville for the weekend.

No. 102 carries an Operation Lifesaver logo so perhaps the car was there for an OLS event. Or maybe it was going to be used for a shipper’s special.

This passenger car has a long and varied history. It was built by Pullman Standard in 1954 as a parlor-buffet lounge car for the Northern Pacific.

Burlington Northern sold it to Amtrak in 1971  and in 1982 it was acquired by the Grand Trunk Western which converted it into a track inspection car with roster number 15013. GTW was controlled by Canadian National, which later sold the car to Robert Bixler of Orrville, Ohio.

Bixler named the car, which was painted blue, the Buckeye Lady. Bixler was one of the principles of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society and the Buckeye Lady often was part of the consist of ORHS excursions.

After Bixler’s death at age 80 on April 24, 2007, the car was acquired a year later by the W&LE.  It was painted in its current livery in 2010.

I am not sure why this car was in Monroeville on this day but perhaps it was was going to be used for an Operation Lifesaver program or a shipper’s special. It is the first time I’ve seen this car since it was repainted in W&LE colors.

I turned onto a side street, parked my car and made this series of images. It has probably been a long time since the wheels of a passenger car polished the rails of that former B&O branch.

Throttle Time Being Offered on NKP 765 for $999

July 20, 2017

Want to put your hands on the throttle of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 when it comes to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September?

A $999 fee will put you in the engineer’s seat for 30 minutes and a 6-mile roundtrip between Fitzwater Yard and Brecksville.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the Berkshire locomotive, will be offering opportunities to run NKP 765 on Sept. 18 and 25.

Participants will observe how the locomotive is operated and receive a half-hour of instruction before being allowed to run the locomotive at speeds up to 15 mph.

As part of the experience, the guest engineers and firemen will have their 30 minutes in the cab recorded on a professionally captured and edited video.

Participants must be 18, have a valid driver’s license and be in good health.

For a fee of $299, you can spend a half hour firing the NKP 765. Other packages include GoPro add-on throttle time for $99 and the complete fireman and engineer experience for $1,399.

The latter includes 30 minutes of being the fireman, 30 minutes of being the engineer, two open window tickets to ride a CVSR steam excursion and a tour of the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone that participates,” said Bill Otter, president of FWRHS. “There is rarely an experience at this duration or speed with an engine like the 765 in this country. Events like these are a great opportunity to realize a life-long dream, but they are also crucial to keeping the 765 operating for future generations.”

What Has Roger Seen Lately? Take a Look

July 18, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee has been catching up on showing some of his more recent photographs.

He writes that this gallery is nothing too special, just some stuff from around work and nearby locations that he has captured.

The top image was made on one of the rails in the yard. Conrail’s welded rail plant was Lucknow in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

A splash of Kansas City Southern color on train 22K passed the Brookpark yard office when Roger was nearby.

Then there are these two views of LMIX 132, a car billed to Amtrak. Note the gas grill on the one end of the platform.

The Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit on was NS train 310 passing through Sheffield Lake. “[I] did the best I could with the higher summer sun,” Roger wrote.

You never know what you might find, including a restored Lake Shore Electric car in Avon.

Finally, here is the “Blue Mane” DC to AC conversion No. 4004 at Rockport.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Heritage Covered Hoppers?

July 17, 2017

We’ve all heard about heritage locomotives, particularly those that Norfolk Southern created to celebrate its 30th anniversary back in 2012.

If you pay attention as a train passes you at trackside, you might spot some freight cars in some semblance of their original livery.

It might be an outline of a former herald, e.g., Penn Central or Conrail, or it might be the faded markings of a one-time owner.

And then there is this covered hopper that can be described as heritage, BNSF style. One of its grain cars is shown in Cleveland with an added “Burlington Route” emblem on it.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Erie Heritage Unit Leads 22K

July 16, 2017

I saw on Saturday morning that Erie 1068 was on 22K. I had things to do and got home about 2 p.m. and, luckily,  it wasn’t by yet. I got it at 3:20 p.m. at the Painesville trestle. Each week it will be a different view with all the construction of the new bridge underway.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak Running Super Late Again

July 15, 2017

The past two Sundays have seen some extraordinary late running for Amtrak trains serving Northeast Ohio.

Now we can add today (Saturday, July 15) to that list. As this is written around 6: 30 a.m., the westbound Capitol Limited is still not in Pittsburgh. Amtrak’s website estimates it will arrive in Cleveland at 9:34 a.m., which is 6 hours and 41 minutes late.

An online report said the train left Washington late due to malfunctioning air conditioning in two cars.

Amtrak also reports that the westbound Cardinal is running 6 hours, 15 minutes late today.

The reasons for the last running the past two weekends have varied.

On July 2, flooding in New York State and Norfolk Southern track work in Ohio combined to force the westbound Lake Shore Limited to run more than five hours late and take a detour via Bellevue that added even more lateness as well as rare mileage for the train’s passengers.

On July 9 the westbound Capitol Limited suffered a locomotive failure in Pennsylvania that forced it to rely on freight units from its host railroads.

No. 29 became an afternoon train in Ohio rather than a middle of the night one.

Will this Sunday bring another catastrophic bout of late running? Probably not, but for those who missed the daylight westbound Capitol Limited, here is a look back at it passing through Elyria.

Looks like the AC might have failed on the NS unit given that it has an open nose door. On the rear was a string of private passenger cars.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Pair of Uncles Petes Minutes Apart in Marion

July 13, 2017

NS train 175 pounds the diamonds with the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision as it passes AC Tower in Marion, Ohio, on the NS Sandusky District.

NS Train 195 approaches AC Tower in Marion.

Union Pacific motive power is hardly a rarity on the Norfolk Southern lines radiating from Bellevue.

What might be a little out of the ordinary is seeing two trains led by UP locomotives in a span of less than five minutes.

That was the treat for trackside observers in Marion last Sunday afternoon when train No. 175, a Bellevue to Macon, Georgia, (Brosnan Yard) manifest freight cruised through town and past AC Tower with a pair of faded UP units on the point.

The 175 met at South Marion the 195, a Linwood, North Carolina, to Bellevue manifest freight that was led by a newer UP unit.

Minutes after the 175 cleared AC Tower, the 195 came roaring past.

Cass No. 11 to Return to Service

July 13, 2017

This weekend will see Cass Scenic Railroad Shay No. 11 return to service after nearly a three-year absence.

No. 11 will participate in the Great Train Race celebration in Spruce, West Virginia, running alongside Western Maryland EMD BL2 No. 82, which has been repainted into the WM fireball paint scheme.

The Shay will also join Shays Nos. 2, 4, and 5 in operation at Cass this season, along with Cass Scenic Railroad Heisler No. 6 in Durbin, West Virginia.

Built in 1923 for the Hutchinson Lumber Company of Feather Falls, California, No. 11 spent much of the mid-20th century at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in San Diego before going to Cass in 1997.

During its downtime, No. 11 underwent a Federal Railroad Administration required Form IV overhaul and the replacement of the locomotive’s left and rear firebox sheets.

Workers installed several hundred new rivets and staybolts and renewed several dozen flexible staybolts.

The locomotive also received a new stack and renewed bearings on the line shaft.