Archive for the ‘Railfanning News and Features’ Category

My Very Few Highlights Around Thanksgiving

December 2, 2021

For most of my years while I was working, I very rarely had the opportunity to railfan on or around the Thanksgiving holiday.

If I wasn’t working, then I had family related activities. I did find a couple days I was able to sneak away for a few moments.

One of those was Thanksgiving of 1983. I was able to use vacation time for a family trip to Libertyville, Illinois for a holiday outing with my sister Janet.

The day after Thanksgiving I went to the ex-Milwaukee Road tracks near Rondout, Illinois , hoping to see and photograph Amtrak No. 8, the Empire Builder.

This was long before cell phones and the Internet. I was hoping No. 8 would be close to advertised. I do remember a bit of prayer was evident.

The Empire Builder did show up pretty close to schedule.

Two days after Thanksgiving 2017, I photographed the Central of New Jersey heritage unit, No. 1071, coming out the siding at Unionville, Ohio, on Norfolk Southern train 316.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Made in Ohio, Not Out West

December 1, 2021

Although this may look as if it were taken out west, this is an eastbound Wheeling & Lake Erie train headed for Rook Yard in Pennsylvania. On the point is SD40T-2 No. 5413. Note the very small “WE” above the number on the cab’s side. The train was photographed east of Harmon on Sept. 21, 2010.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

NS in Massillon on the Fort Wayne Line

December 1, 2021

Norfolk Southern AC44C6M No. 4084 with train 170 is eastbound in Massillon on the morning of July 5, 2021. the 4084 is a rebuilt C40-9 built by GE for NS in March 1995. Train 170 originates at DeButts Yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and runs to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh via Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

R.J. Corman Two for Tuesday in Warwick

November 30, 2021

R.J. Corman GP 20E No. 4119 rolls a train southbound after interchanging cars with CSX in Warwick Yard on Oct. 6, 2021. A few days later Corman SD40-2 No. 7107 leads a northbound awaiting permission to enter the yard.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Getting Lucky in Lodi Two for Tuesday

November 30, 2021

Somehow the passenger station in Lodi, Ohio, built by the original Wheeling & Lake Erie survived for decades after passenger service ended. By the time I first encountered it, the Lodi depot no longer served any function for the railroad.

The two images shown above were both made on Nov. 22, 2006, and feature eastbounds on the W&LE Brewster Subdivision passing the weathered structure.

I made several photographs with this depot over the years including some with the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society Santa train.

The ORHS Santa trains are only a memory now, but the depot has fared better. A local group acquired it and has renovated it. Today it looks pretty sharp and serves as a railroad museum.

Shorty

November 28, 2021

The precision scheduled railroading era has ushered in super sized trains that are a mile or longer and contain blocks of freight that used to move in separate trains. Therefore, you might find a long cut of double-stacked containers in the consist of a manifest freight or manifest freight in the consist of a train carrying an intermodal symbol.

It has meant fewer and longer trains, which management likes because that means fewer crews to pay, hence lower expenses and an improved operating ratio.

The longer is better trend, though, has yet to be applied to locals although in some instances through freights have been assigned switching responsibilities once performed by locals that have since been abolished.

Shown above is Norfolk Southern train L82 sitting just south of Cowan, Indiana, on the New Castle District. Based out of East Yard in Muncie, it works as far south as New Castle Monday through Friday before returning.

When I ran across the L82 on a recent Friday afternoon, the give-car train was sitting short of a control point known as York Point, where a four mile passing siding ends on its south (railroad east) end.

The dispatcher had informed the L82 crew that it would be waiting on a 122, a daily manifest freight operating from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Decatur, Illinois.

Those plans later changed and the L82 was allow to do some work at Oakville.

But at the time I photographed the L82 it was doing was trains have always spent part of their time doing: waiting.

Meet Me in Warwick

November 24, 2021

A CSX eastbound passes an inbound R.J. Corman train in Warwick Yard in Clinton on June 14, 1996. Corman GP16 1826 is entering the yard to interchange cars with CSX.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Fall Foliage Spectacular Two for Tuesday

November 23, 2021

I was looking in my slide collection earlier this week with an emphasis on images made on the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern in the vicinity of Brady Lake and Ravenna when I ran across the image shown above.

Seeing it brought back a lot of memories of a late October day, Oct. 28, 2005, to be exact.

I was in my first year as president of the Akron Railroad Club. It was a Friday and the October meeting was that night in the Carriage House of the Summit County Historical Society.

Before the meeting Ed Ribinskas and I got in some late day railfanning around Ravenna.

As you can see in this image the fall foliage along the Cleveland Line east of Lake Street was at peak color although some of the trees had already lost most or all of their leaves.

We were there in late afternoon and fortunate to get two westbounds before the shadows completely covered the rails.

As it was, the shadows were rapidly moving in, which turned out to be a good thing by creating some dramatic contrast. Contrast helps to give an image visual tension, which increases its drama and interest.

It is noteworthy that as dramatic as these images are they are not the photographs I remember the most from this outing.

Those images were made several minutes later on the CSX New Castle Subdivision at Chestnut Street.

In the last direct sunlight of the day we caught a westbound with a BNSF leader. I framed it with a Baltimore & Ohio color position light signal and the block sign denoting the end and beginning of the Kent and Rave blocks.

The warm light on a BNSF “pumpkin” was, I thought at the time, the catch of the day.

CSX has long since dropped the use of blocks on the New Castle Sub and the CPLs have been gone for years. So those photos now make nice period pieces.

Curious as to who had the program that night I dug out the October 2005 Bulletin. The program was titled Now and Then with the “now” being presented by Marty Surdyk and the “then” being shown by his father, the late William Surdyk.

The photographs shown were made roughly 40 years apart and used different types of slide film.

Marty’s images were 35 mm slides shown in a Kodak Carousel projector.

He featured the Bessemer & Lake Erie, CSX in the Akron area, Marion, Berea and the Wheeling & Lake Erie around Spencer.

Bill’s images were 2.25-inch format slides shown in a 1950s era Goldie projector that could be fed one slide at a time. In Bill’s show were images from Berea, Marion and Akron among other locations.

The meeting minutes for October reported that a record 18 members went to the Eat ‘n Park in Cuyahoga Falls after the meeting for dessert, a late dinner or an early breakfast.

The next day ARRC members gathered again, this time in Berea to dedicate the Dave McKay memorial.

A week before the meeting, ARRC members had enjoyed an excursion on the Ohio Central between Dennison and Morgan Run. It was supposed to have been pulled by 2-8-0 Baldwin-built No. 33.

But the steamer was sidelined with mechanical issues. Instead, a Montreal Locomotive Works RS18 pulled the trip to Morgan Run while an OC FP7 powered the return trip.

What a month October 2005 was for the ARRC.

Classic Clinton Auto Rack Train Photo

November 22, 2021

CSX 7211 was built as a U30C but rebuilt later into a model CM44AC. It shown leading an  eastbound in Clinton on the single track of the New Castle Subdivision on Sept. 6, 2021.

The photo was made in Warwick Park and sports a classic look of eastbound rounding the curve before passing the park.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Tribute Locomotives on the Wheeling & Lake Erie

November 21, 2021

A pair of Wheeling & Lake Erie tribute units lead a westbound through Navarre, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 2011. They are No. 107, which pays tribute to the Akron, Canton & Youngstown; and No. 200, the Ohio Bicentennial unit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas