Posts Tagged ‘Amherst Ohio’

NS Reopens Chicago Line in Amherst

December 4, 2020

Norfolk Southern has reopened its Chicago Line in Amherst, which had been blocked on Tuesday by the derailment of an eastbound manifest freight.

Railroad officials said on Wednesday they restored one mainline track at 5 a.m. and a second mainline track would be restored by early afternoon on the same day.

Workers continued to clear wreckage from the scene even after the tracks reopened.

The derailment occurred at CP 212 near the intersection of Middle Ridge Road and Dewey Road.

Amherst Fire Chief Jim Wilhelm said his department responded to the derailment, but NS refused their assistance, saying it would handle and cleanup on its own.

An NS spokeswoman said the cause of the derailment remained under investigation.

No hazardous material was involved in the derailment and no one was injured.

The train involved, No. 310, was en route from Eklhart, Indiana, to Binghamton, New York.

The Tradition Continues

August 8, 2018

Uncle Pete lends a hand to NS train 209 on the Chicago Line in Amherst.

I have a tradition during the annual picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts in Amherst of walking to the Jackson Street bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

The picnic is always held on a Saturday and doesn’t get underway until mid afternoon, so I’m always going up to the bridge in late afternoon.

Usually, I’m joined by RRE member Jerry Jordak. This year was no exception.

We took our places on the bridge around 5 p.m. and staked it out for the next hour and a half.

The light at that time of day clearly favors westbound traffic, which is good because there is a fence on the west side of the bridge where the sidewalk is located.

Fortunately, Jackson Street is not overly busy so we are able to walk to the east edge, get our images and scurry back to the sidewalk.

NS cooperated nicely this year by sending four westbounds our way. This included a pair of stack trains, manifest freight No. 309 and auto rack train No. 287.

The 309 had a Union Pacific leader, which marked the first time I’ve landed foreign power leading a train through Amherst.

The 287 took the siding at CP 213 located just east of Jackson Street en route to Fairlane Yard.

In all the years I’ve photographed from Jackson Street I’ve never caught an NS heritage or special tribute locomotive.

The most interesting sighting we’ve made was the NS executive train in 2014.

There is still bit of heritage left in Amherst. The eastbound home signals for CP 313 still have Type G signal heads even though they now are mounted on a modern support stand.

We also spotted a former Santa Fe cover hopper car that still carried its original markings and reporting numbers.

That was an appropriate find given that the program presented later that evening by Marty Surdyk prominently featured images of Santa Fe trains in in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, California and other points.


Into the Siding Leading to Fairlane

August 30, 2017

Passing the 213 milepost in Amherst as train 287 takes the siding.

About to duck beneath the Jackson Street bridge.

A parting shot as the auto rack cars catch a little glint from the filtered late day sunlight.

Traffic on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern has all but dried up.

A lull of more than an hour was broken by a radio transmission from the Toledo East dispatcher to westbound auto rack train No. 287.

The dispatcher informed the crew it would be going into the siding whose eastern end begins in Amherst beneath the Ohio Route 58 bridge.

They also received yarding instructions for Fairlane.

That prompted me to begin walking briskly from the restored former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern depot in Amherst to the bridge carrying Jackson Street over the NS tracks.

I had been shooting the breeze with the guys at the joint picnic hosted by the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts to which Akron Railroad Club members had been invited.

The RRE annually has its picnic in Amherst and every year I’ve attended I’ve spent time photographing on the Jackson Street bridge.

The headlight of the lead unit of the 287 was already in sight as I reached the bridge.

Slowly the train made its way into the siding, making it the first train I’ve shot in this siding.

For awhile I wasn’t sure if I would keep my Amherst bridge tradition going. So I felt better as I walked back to the depot knowing the streak had been kept alive.

ARRC Vermilion Outing Set for Saturday

August 23, 2017

An eastbound Norfolk Southern train crosses the bridge over the Vermilion River near the boat launchy during a previous Akron Railroad Club outing there.

The Akron Railroad Club will return to Vermilion on Saturday for another day along the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line. But this outing will feature something different.

In late afternoon we’ll travel to nearby Amherst for a picnic at the restored former New York Central depot.

Vermilion features two NS lines, the busiest of which is the ex-NYC route. Also passing through is the former Nickel Plate Road line that is now the NS Cleveland District.

The Cleveland District through Vermilion isn’t much at present as far as railroad traffic, but that is expected to change once NS completes installation of a new connection from the eastbound Chicago Line to the Cleveland District a couple of miles west of Vermilion.

Intermodal trains 205, 206, 22K and 23K are expected to be regular users of the connection.

But all of that is in the future. The Chicago Line hosts 40 to 50 trains with a traffic mix of intermodal, mixed freights, tanker trains, coal trains and even Amtrak.

We will begin our day at the boat launch located on West River Road between the two railroad bridges over the Vermilion River.

Being summer there should be ample boat traffic on the river to watch between trains.

Photographs of an eastbound on the bridge is the prized shot for this location.

Shooting a westbound these days is tough. You will need your wide-angle lens.

But don’t let that deter you from enjoying some time at the boat launch. It is an enjoyable experience.

After lunch, when the light shifts to a more westerly direction, we will move to the railfan pavilion in town.

This spot sets up well for westbounds with the city’s water tank as your backdrop.

Eastbounds can be shot with the Vermilion station that sits just to the east of the pavilion. This is also a wide-angle shot due to some pine trees along the tracks.

Still, it is a nice place to hang out and watch trains. The crossings in town are quiet zones, so there is no horn blowing.

Train crews know that the crossing protection is working if the “X” at the top of the poles at each crossing is flashing.

In late afternoon ARRC members are invited to head to the depot in Amherst, about 10 miles east of Vermilion, for dinner.

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts is having its annual picnic there that evening and Chef Martè, a.k.a. as Marty Surdyk, would love to grill up some burgers and dogs for you.

ARRC President Craig Sanders, who is also an RRE member, will present a program titled When the IC had a G featuring images taken on the Illinois Central Gulf in the 1970s and early 1980s.

A highlight of the program will be a cab ride aboard an ICG intermodal train from Champaign to Centralia, Illinois.

As with most ARRC activities, the event begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last one leaves. Spent a few hours or the entire day, just plan to spend Saturday, Aug. 26, in Vermilion and Amherst.

To get to the boat launch go into Vermilion on Ohio Route 60. As you enter town and after crossing the single-tracked former NKP tracks, Route 60 will make a right turn at a flashing light.

About a block to the east, Route 60 will turn left but continue straight ahead on South Street to the stop sign at West River Road.

The entrance to the boat launch is a little left of straight across from that intersection. Park at the far end of the lot near the picnic table. You will have both railroad bridges over the Vermilion River in sight.

The Railfan pavilion, known as Vermilion Mainline Rail, is on Route 60 where it crosses the NS Chicago Line at the north end of Victory Park.

From the boat launch, go back west on South Street to Route 60 north at Main Street and make a right. The pavilion is on the right just before crossing the tracks.

Forgotten Photograph, Not Forgotten Man

May 27, 2017

I ran across this photograph recently while clearing out an electronic file folder on my computer.

The image was made in August 2014 in Amherst during a picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, a Cleveland-based group.

You probably recognize the man making a photo as the late Tim Krogg, who served as secretary of the ARRC between 1989 and his death in March 2015.

This westbound Norfolk Southern train was among the last that he photographed. I don’t know how active Tim was in photographing while trackside, but I get the impression he didn’t make photographs very often.

Maybe this is the last train he photographed. It is likely the last image made of him photographing a train.

We’ve never had a practice in the ARRC of paying tribute to our deceased members aside from the annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea in April.

Memorial Day is approaching and it’s a time to remember those who have gone before us.

A Few from NS Chicago Line in Amherst

August 14, 2016

Amherst 21Q-x

The westbound 21Q had a pair of Tier 4 compliant locomotives on the point. ET44AC No. 3637 was assembled by GE Transportation in May 2016 and still has that new locomotive look.

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts had its annual summer picnic at the former New York Central freight station in Amherst, Ohio, on Sunday, Aug. 7.

As he does for the Akron Railroad Club, Marty Surdyk manned the grill and also showed a one-tray slide show of photographs made during a trip to Oklahoma and Texas in 1999.

The RRE has held its picnic in Amherst for the past several years and as I’ve done in the past I got in some train photography of operations on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Nothing that was particularly out of the ordinary came by during the picnic. In fact, NS traffic was slow and we endured a two-hour lull in late afternoon. But, overall, it was a enjoyable outing highlighted by Marty’s show.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Another westbound stack train, this one the 25T.

Another westbound stack train, this one the 25T.

The L13 from Bellevue to Rockport Yard in Cleveland makes an appearance.

The L13 from Bellevue to Rockport Yard in Cleveland makes an appearance.

A pair of well-worn Canadian National locomotives were in the motive power consist of this westbound frac sand train.

A pair of well-worn Canadian National locomotives were in the motive power consist of this westbound frac sand train.

The setting sun was right down the rails as the L13 came past on its way home to Belleveue.

The setting sun was right down the rails as the L13 came past on its way home to Belleveue.

Day Set to Commemorate 1916 Amherst Wreck

March 23, 2016

A postcard photo of the 1916 Lake Shore & Michigan Southern wreck in Amherst.

A postcard photo of the 1916 Lake Shore & Michigan Southern wreck in Amherst.

A memorial will be dedicated on March 29 as part of the 100th anniversary of a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern train wreck that claimed the lives of 27 and injured 47 others in Amherst.

A plaque will be dedicated at 10 a.m. at Sandstone Village of the Amherst Historical Society. The plaque will be placed next to the caboose.

At 11 a.m., flowers will be placed in Crownhill Cemetery, where the remains of four victims are buried.

An open house will be held between 5 to 8 p.m. at the Grange Hall during which information about the wreck will be presented.

Also on hand will be Ray Bottles, the last brakeman to serve on the New York Central’s Twentieth Century Limited. An operating O-gauge model railroad will be on display.

The accident occurred before dawn on March 29, 1916, and involved the Century.

Eastbound passenger train No. 86 had stopped in a fog near the Amherst switch tender’s station. A second section of No. 86 plowed into the rear of the stopped train and many of the fatalities occurred in the rear wooden car of the stopped train.

Shortly thereafter, the westbound Twentieth Century Limited came along and struck the wreckage of the two eastbound trains.

Investigators initially blamed a switch operator and the conductor of the second eastbound train, but eventually said that poor weather conditions and a malfunctioning switch were contributing factors.

The official Interstate Commerce Commission report placed blame for the accident on the engineer of the second section of No. 86, saying that he misunderstood a signal indication to stop either because of technical error or the foggy condition. The report also noted that the second section was traveling very fast at the time of the wreck.

Five bodies were burned beyond recognition and buried in Crownhill Cemetery. However, one of those bodies was later exhumed and identified by the man’s widow.

The other four victims were later named by a newspaper in South Bend, Indiana, but have remain buried in Amherst because of the difficulty of knowing which body is which person.

In the days following the wreck, there were reports that $3,000 in cash and valuables having been taken from the pockets of some victims. Although a grand jury was convened to investigate, no charges were ever filed.